The 5 C's: Context

In the previous blog we have introduced the model of the 5 C’s, a model to come to an inspiring presentation. In this blog we are going deeper into the first C, context. First of all, we would like to show the video below to introduce the concept of context. A video featuring a famous violinist named Joshua Bell, playing on € 3.5 million dollars violin, in the American subway. Nobody pays attention to him, while a few days earlier he played in a sold out theater.

The video clarifies how important context is. One violinist, in two completely different settings, leads to two very different situations. Give the same information, but use two different background situations and it will lead to two very different stories and conclusions. That’s context. A popular term, but what does it actually means? When you type ‘context’ into a search engine, you will get a lot of irrelevant results. According to the dictionary, context is ‘the relation in which something occurs.’

For us, context is one of the key elements while giving a presentation. It is one of the main components of communication in general. Yet not everyone keeps that in mind during a conversation or presentation. How many times it has occurred that you have determined what your reaction is going to be before the speaker has finished his or her sentence? Or that you already figured out which way the person is likely going to with his story ?

People are programmed to place all information given in their own categories and paradigms. As a speaker or presenter, you must prepare for this. So when you only give information without the story around it (the how and why), people are likely to misinterpret the information and draw the wrong conclusions. Therefore you should always give your listeners context!

To provide context in a professional PowerPoint presentation, you have several means. In addition to explanations in text, you can also think of graphics, animations, videos or slides with interactive menu choices. In addition, we have a number of presentation principles around the concept of context:

• Transfer: Transfer the experience. When you share your experience, people understand why certain choices were made.
• Conclusion: Let the listeners come to a conclusion themselves, the conclusion that you have inserted yourself.
• Nuance: Distinguish the message so that it suits the listener.
• Repeat: Repeat the essence in various forms.
• Imagine: No text without images. This will lead to a complete overall.

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