Content vs. Context

Talking with a friend about a monthly variety show he puts on and how to sell it out.

There are two elements to look at: the content and the context. It’s vital to have good content – good performers, to do a good job hosting etc. That’s a must. But there’s also the context – the set, how full the audience is (‘It was sold out! They turned people away at the door!) the set on the stage, the lighting and sound, the venue itself (‘It was an accoustic music concert on a streetcar on top of a bridge at sunset overlooking the river valley!“) etc.

Don’t just try to make your content better.

You also need to make your content LOOK better in the eyes of your audience by what you put around it, where you put it, how you present it etc. 

If you wrap a gift beautifully, not only are they more excited to receive it – you’re more excited to give it. The wrapping is not just the covering of the gift. It’s a part of the gift.

And, just like beautiful wrapping can add to a gift, bad wrapping can detract from it. I’ve been to many workshops where the content is good but the context is all ‘high five your neighbour’ and ‘repeat after me’ which I hate. I’ve also seen the converse – the context, the venue, the production values etc. were so strong but the content was mediocre. 

When we offer our gifts to the community, we need to consider both.

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