Context is King (and Queen) of the Workplace

We have a lot to do at work. We attend meetings (and often those meetings run too long…), answer e-mail and deliver finished projects to co-workers. Often, it can feel like we are asked to do the impossible at work.

Is there ONE word that can make work easier? I think so.

That word is CONTEXT. (Interested in the definition of context? Merriam-Webster offers several definitions of context, including  “the situation in which something happens : the group of conditions that exist where and when something happens”.

I believe that by offering context or explanation we make work easier or simpler. Content is indeed the king and queen of the workplace.

Great Reads in Favor of Context

What does context mean to me in the workplace? When chatting with co-workers or clients, explain yourself! Tell people what you are working on and, if applicable, why you might need extra time to complete a project. Figure out who your audience is. What are their concerns? What are their hobbies?

What’s New for 123communications?

At the end of June, I started making less obvious changes to 123communications. That is, I haven’t been writing long entries for you to read!

There’s what I’ve been up to…

  1. I refined my mission statement (AKA the “About” section) to one idea — that communication and life should be simple, almost like we are following a set of numbered instructions. (Hence the name, 123communications.)
  2. I started adding categories to my blog. I think it may be helpful to file all of my non-communication strategy musings by topic under certain headings. You’ll find some categories already in place…however, this is a work-in- progress task and the categories may change in the near future. (I want categories that make the most sense for me and this blog.)
  3. I finished a post about communication (and it also nods to one of my other favorite things … reading magazines).

Questions for the crowd! Do you think blog articles should be categorized by topic? Are you a fan of more communication in life and in the workplace?

Can Communicators Learn from A Pop Star?

Admittedly, I am a Taylor Swift fan. (The song Shake It Off is one of my favorite things.) But, I don’t know everything about her. What I do know is that she can teach us about communication.

Stay with me.

I am most interested in how Taylor Swift maintains popularity and success. Because, as a communicator, I want my audience to pay attention to my cause, program, product or business process. I want my cause, program, product or business process to be popular and to succeed.

In the May issue of Vogue, Swift speaks about how to dispel rumors  — in addition to other topics. Swift is quoted like this …

“There are a lot of ways to dispel rumors… if they say you have fake friendships, all you have to do is continue to be there for each other.”

I would like to un-pack this statement a bit more. Now, communicators dispel rumors all the time. If we are successful, our audience actively avoids the rumors saying that we are less than our competition. The audience chooses our cause, program, product or business process.

In the example above, Swift dispels rumors using the following tactics…

  1. She researches – or notices what is being said or written about her.
  2. She decides what image she wants to project.
  3. She acts accordingly.

Kudos to Vogue for unearthing a communications tactic that is very powerful. Let me add this — it makes communication and business sense to research the competition and get a sense of how we are perceived. It is in our power to speak to our audience and gain their attention.

More About the Delay…

Since Fall 2014, I’ve had the great fortune of working — I love being able to pay bills! – editing an annual report for a non-profit and building communications/marketing/operations for a start-up. And I relocated to Chicago. I have been busy!

Now, my “busy” is certainly not someone else’s. I know people with multiple jobs (and with no job), with small children and with businesses of their own… people whose lives are defined by juggling.

Here is what I strive for …I will not be comparing myself to anyone else. The only thing I will be doing is learning.

The desire to compare is real. Take the first steps to overcome comparison. Try these tactics from Psychology Today.*

*https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/communication-success/201409/how-stop-comparing-yourself-others-and-feel-happier

About the Delay…

Apologies for the long delay! I’m back … with a few modifications. Namely, I am going to strive for discipline this time around…and actually post once or twice a week.

Here is what you can expect from me…

  • I’ll be commenting on communication & media — noting best practices (and bad endings) in communication, content development, change management and training.
  • I’ll be writing about my own interests in continuous learning, communication (see above) and keeping a work life balance through yoga practice, through traveling around Chicago and through reading – especially magazines (my love of magazines should become fairly clear!).

Are You Person A?

I have been thinking a lot about emotions lately. What makes a person succeed or reach his/her goals? How does a person fulfill most of their wishes in life? (Heavy and demanding topics, I know.)

But, truly, take person A and person B. How is it that person A defines him or herself as fulfilled and person B does not define that way?

Can we all be person A? Can we all succeed?

With those questions in mind, I have just started reading “The Winner’s Brain: Eight Strategies Great Minds Use to Achieve Success. ” I am only on page 48, a few hours in. The “Winner’s Brain…” authors believe that successful/fulfilled people have the following traits:

1. They are self-aware.
2. They are motivated.
3. They are emotionally balanced.
4. They have an ability to commit items to memory.
5. They adapt to their situation.
6. They care for their brain.

Can I become more self-aware, etc? Can everyone?

Pursuit of Happiness…

Happy Memorial Day to all! Let’s remember those who serve. Remind yourself of your freedoms, joys and pursuits made possible by service and sacrifice.

About Memorial Day…

http://www.pbs.org/national-memorial-day-concert/memorial-day/history/
http://www.memorialdayfoundation.org/faqs/the-price-of-freedom.html

 What is fought for:

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html
http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html

How to observe the day…

http://www.memorialdayfoundation.org/education-and-history/how-to-observe-memorial-day.html

On Memorial Day (and Veterans’ Day) many cities display a Field of Flags.

Image

I love the “Field of Flags’ idea! You too? 

Current pursuits: I’ll continue to post about communication issues and my wishlist/pursuits…exercise, travels, DIY wishlist. I probably won’t be posting DIY home or jewelry projects anytime soon. I am currently staying with the parents until I find a new, paying communication/marketing job. Thus, I have no space for DIYs (jewelry, fashion, interior design…) Someday, I’ll get to all the goals!

The Best Laid Plans …

In order to find out if blogging can help me achieve balance and help to identify goals, I have to actually, you know, BLOG. I have to act on my plans.

A while back, I crafted a blogging schedule to help me in this adventure. I told myself I should write about specific topics on specific days. This hasn’t happened yet, so I have revised my schedule to something more achievable…

Best Laid Plans…” schedule

Blog at least once a week about life and the things I love: DIY, yoga, reading, communication best practices and communication issues.

As a communications/marketing professional, I believe in publishing schedules and in the power of brand. (This scheduling and effort always helps me accomplish more at work.)

I need advice from experienced bloggers and experienced people, I think.

Question: Will the workplace tactics of scheduling and branding help me deliver a blog? Can a blog truly help me identify goals and grow? How can I make my blog a place for those things?

Best laid plans, indeed…