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Do you and your counterpart use the same context for the same word?

Profile picture of Author Carlo Mahfouz
Carlo Mahfouz | Jul 06, 2023

Word definitions change when you change the context. (Share on Twitter)

Have you ever tried to get a message across and felt it was not landing? Your counterpart is listening, but they can’t understand why you are trying to prove a point where there is no point to be made.

If you’ve been there, one of the most common reasons for that is pre-canned knowledge and understanding of certain words in different contexts.

And you would be surprised how many words we use every day, which can mean many things based on the context they operate in.

Let’s use asset as an example. What does that mean to you?



Which context was automatically deployed in your mind the second you heard that word?

Was it finance, technology, human resources, etc? Which one was it you relied upon to explain and visualize that word?

That frame you just pictured is your context and the bane of your conversations that go nowhere. Be mindful of the context to improve your messages.

Do you and your counterpart use the same context for the same word?

Join the conversation on LinkedIn

A Poem: Every pain transforms by Carlo Mahfouz

Every pain transforms
Sometimes as a silent seed, it grows

Or as a flower rising from the murky depths
With a beauty not witnessed or met

Or even as a leap of faith that doesn’t know
How it came to be or where to go

It grows older with every bruise
Taking shape in many folds that muse

Read the full poem

& one resource: Commercial Innovation Strategy by Roger Martin

A 7min read on capitalizing on existing value by introducing a different frame. As Roger Martin explains it: "Hold your core offering largely constant and ask within that constraint is there a way that you could make it substantially more valuable to the customers in your existing WTP? Go deeply into your customers’ heads.”

Give it a read here

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