How Context Improves Message Communication

In Chapter 11 of 17 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, leadership philosopher Bijoy Goswami answers "How Are You Learning to Adapt Your Message to Reach Different Audiences?"  Goswami firstly tries not to change the message and focus more on changing the message context to connect with different groups. 

Bijoy Goswami is a writer, teacher, and community leader based in Austin, Texas.  He develops learning models, including MRE, youPlusU, and Bootstrap, to help others live more meaningfully.  Previously, he co-founded Aviri Software after working at Trilogy Software.  Goswami graduated from Stanford University, where he studied Computer Science, Economics, and History.


Erik Michielsen:  How are you learning to adapt to your message to reach different audiences?

Bijoy Goswami:  Actually it’s funny. I think I've done that a lot where I’m actually doing the reverse right now, which is I'm trying to find the message that appeals to lots of audiences but have it be the same message.

If you were asking me tactically what I do with audiences, you know, it’s really to think about their context and think about where are they, what’s happening, what are they trying to achieve? If I'm speaking at conference I'm going, okay, what’s this conference? What’s the larger picture of what they’re trying to achieve? And how do I go to that flow? And I think that’s exactly what one ought do is really who’s coming before me? Who’s coming after me? Why are they asking me to be here, you know? And it’s not that the message doesn’t change but the context of the message changes.

So, I had a great example of that recently where people came back and said, wow, that was the best thing ever and I was still giving the core of my message but it was political context or an activist context versus an entrepreneurial context. I'm still taking entrepreneurial concepts and saying, here’s how you can maybe think about them here in this context.

So, I think that’s, that’s what you do there but I think it’s really interesting to think about how you actually put out something that again I think if you’re not in someone else’s context but you're trying to create a context, a container for something then it’s about one message that you can take out, and that’s I think a different problem.