Why Should I Listen to You?

Before you speak or interpret someone else’s message, you should consider framing.

You must provide the context or the approach to what you want to get across in such a way that it is appealing or at least acceptable to others’ thinking at the moment.

The frame of a painting “frames” that picture in such a way that it draws people into the picture, oblivious to the frame.

Framing in communication is a bit like that. Others want to know who you are (relative to them), why they should be paying attention to you, and why what you have to say has an adequate level of relevance for them. Framing is what suggests to them why they should attend to you – to the relevance of what you have to say to them.

As the poet Rilke said, people encounter each other as solitudes. The obstacles are always invisible to you. You can only guess what they may be thinking at any given moment.

The better you can frame what you say, the more likely it is they will attend to what you have to say.

They may be receptive only because you are “the boss.” But this kind of attention can also be faked. The more you need to be the boss, the more easily you can be fooled.

What is going on in your head is never what is going on in theirs. And vice versa.

Forgetting this, even momentarily, will be at the peril of your objectives.

-Lee Thayer, Thought-Leader, Excerpt from Communication: A Pocket Oracle for Leaders