Think about this scenario:

You are at a business networking event. People are dressed up, talking to each other, and looking for compliments of their skill sets and connections to help each other out. While you’re talking with a group of people, it becomes noticeable that one of the attendees is using this networking event to meet some potential dates. The general mood of the event becomes a little awkward because the “flirter” is hitting on people very distastefully.

Using a business networking event to test your pickup skills is generally considered poor judgment.

However, the key word here is “generally.”

I’m not saying that networking events have never led to successful dates, nor am I saying that a date on Tinder has never led to meeting a guy who knows a guy who can get you a job.

I simply want to bring up some questions worth analyzing:

  1. Why are you more likely to land a job at a networking event and meet a date on Tinder?
  2. Why is it possible to find the love of your life at a networking event and land a job through a contact you met on Tinder?
  3. Since it’s possible, why is it that you risk making people feel on edge when you try to find love while networking or get a job through a romantic contact?

I would argue that networking events and apps like Tinder are successful because they dial in the scope of expected communication. When you go to a business networking event, it’s to meet other professionals and make connections. When you use Tinder, your purpose is usually to communicate romantic interests. Framing the context of your communication is one less variable you have to worry about. However, those who are successful at framing the context themselves are able to achieve objectives that are outside the conventional context.

This is why people can meet dates at networking events and land jobs through dating platforms.

Most people are neither aware of this fact nor interacting with other people who are open to possibilities outside of the conventional context.

This is why communicating out of context poses a greater risk of failure.

Here are some ways that we frame the context in which we communicate:

  • Type of communication – The number of speakers, their objectives
  • Environment – The space in which communication is taking place
  • Intensity – The energy or stress of the environment in which the communication is taking place
  • Personality – The behavior and values of individual participants in communication

Type of Communication

The number of speakers and their objectives will play a part in determining the context in which communication is shared. For example, a public speech on global warming and an open discussion on the same subject will be handled differently.

Environment

Why does environment have anything to do with how we communicate?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Would you have to project your voice differently if you were on stage in an auditorium speaking to a mass of people than if you were talking with a friend face-to-face in a coffee shop?
  • Would you speak to somebody differently in the middle of a nightclub than you would in your living room?
  • Are there times when you speak with your “inside voice” versus your “outside voice”?

Intensity

A kitchen is an intense environment in which to work where communication has to be crystal clear and efficient lest an order is messed up. In contrast, an offfice enviroment is no where near as high as it is in the kitchen so communication will be different.

Personality

The personality of those we communicate with will determine how we express our message. Various factors are in the realm of personality, including maturity, culture, and even an individual’s expertise in a given field of study.


Speaking consistently with the context and learning to frame the various factors that make up context in a way that favors your objectives will make your communication skills way more effective!