Sunday, April 17, 2011

Contextual Intercourse

This video has been getting posted amongst my Facebook friends lately...  Please have a look:

Powerful, no?  Compelling, no?  It kind of makes you wonder about how you could be framing things in a more impactful or easy to understand way using the notion of context as your guide.  And, if you're like me, maybe you're also going through the annals of "I could have done that better" because that's what aspirational perfectionists do.

(Really, why rest on your laurels of a job well done when you can find the .05% that could have been better?  I kid.  Sort of.)

False Advertising.

I'll admit that I chose today's post title before writing a single word.  It was meant to intrigue, titillate and perhaps put thoughts into your head based on a snap judgement only to learn that I mean to discuss something else.  If it worked, great, and thanks for humoring me!  If it didn't work, please humor me and pretend it did anyway.

I've said many a time before that first impressions matter because we don't often get a second chance to make one.  I still stand behind those words but this video, seeing Abbas Kiarostami's Certified Copy and a couple of different online conversations have me thinking about context and what it means in the grand scheme of things.

Limp Handshakes Mean Nothing.

There was a great chat earlier this week on Twitter about networking with a sidebar conversation about the impact of a weak handshake.  There was a question on Facebook on the impression you have of someone with a weak handshake.  For the most part, the impressions were negative.  As the recipient of many a weak shake, I was sympathetic.  

But lately, thanks to the movie and now this video, I've been thinking about context.  So in answer to the Facebook query and the chatter, I wrote something like, "It just means they have a weak handshake.  I have no impression."  Why did I say that?  This is a contextual problem.  The weak handshake could be because:
  • They have a cultural reason.
  • They are coming off a sprain/break and are treating the wrist with care.
  • They hate shaking hands.
  • They have a thing about germs generally.
  • They just coughed or sneezed into their hands and don't know how to remove themselves from shaking yours.... things moved too quickly to come up with something.  
  • Similarly, you just coughed or sneezed into your hands.
  • [Insert your favorite reason here]
In other words, there are so many variables and/or reasons why things are the way they are.  By just quickly looking at the surface of something and rushing to judgement, we miss so very much.

So what are the implications here?  As a seller of a product or service, it becomes that much more critical for us to do more than just have the facts and figures of our personas down pat.  The onus is on us to create and act on their personas in their context in the best way we can...  just as the woman in the video put the blind man's message in context of others' vistas (pun intended).  

What say you?  Please comment below and share this post with others so they can see how smart and cogently written your comment is!

Parissa Behnia
Idea Chef

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