What’s Your Frame of Reference?

I spent a large part of this last weekend attending various sessions at the annual “It’s My Heart” conference on Congenital Heart Defects (my youngest daughter is a CHD survivor – and she and her mother are very active in trying to raise CHD awareness).

As the majority of the sessions were hosted by various members of the medical profession, I expected them to be freely peppered with jargon (see my last post), but what really caught my attention was the frequent referencing of names and research to an audience, that, no matter how educated they had made themselves on various aspects of CHD, could not follow the point being made.
This group of medical professionals knew they would be speaking to an audience of lay-people whose own experiences lay outside those of the medical staff they interact with on a day-to-day basis; but no adjustment was made to accommodate that.
The first rule of any sort of communication is know your audience and adjust as necessary. While the various surgeons did explain a lot of technical information, references to other supporting material and research remained obscure.
This made me think about my own techniques when presenting. My public speaking tends to fall into two camps, the corporate communications world, and the creative side of pop-culture. I know I often make pop-culture references when I talk about corporate communications, but now I wonder am I assuming too much that my audience will understand them?
Adjusting for the audience is not just about vocabulary and jargon, it’s also about adjusting your own frame of reference.

Comics in Corporate Communications


Is there a place for comics in corporate communications? I certainly think so, and have long been a vocal proponent of using comics graphic and story telling techniques in the business world.

Recently Scott Abel, industry leading consultant and blogger, offered me the opportunity to write about the subject on his CONTENT WRANGLER blog.

My two page article Comics Can Make You A Better Communicator is now up, and you can check it out simply by clicking HERE.