Framing Effective Messages

Leadership Communication Skills

The content you select for your message, the words and stories you choose, and even the way you deliver your message are all forms of framing meaning.

When we prepare for any communication, we make a series of choices from an infinite array of possibilities. We structure the message in a certain way to provide our reasoning; we choose specific vocabulary to convey our ideas; we choose verbal and visual images that grab attention and aid understanding.

A wonderful example is the story of two stone masons. When each was asked what they were doing, the first said, "I'm cutting stone blocks", while the second said, "I'm building a great cathedral."

The same task but expressed with a completely different choice of frame.

And when we deliver the message, we make more choices in the way we use our body language and voice to indicate how we feel about the subject, as well as what we want our audience to feel. 

A communication consists of a collection of frames that build upon each other to shape a focus of attention for the audience. These frames take on a ‘gestalt’ quality - they are seen as a unified whole. It is vital therefore that these frames are aligned, otherwise the communication can be undermined by the sending out of mixed messages, for example between:

• our words and our non-verbal communication

• our words and the way we deliver the message vocally

• our vocal delivery and our body language

• our words and our audience’s expectations

As influencers, managers and leaders of others, senior executives frame meaning all the time. This means helping others to make sense of events, understand the reasoning behind decisions, commit to plans and agree to proposals.

Professional Voice coaches senior executives in how to understand and align communication frames, in order to create and deliver effective messages - in every speaking context.