Solutions: Creating context

Hello again. Thanks for taking the time to take the concept challenge on the topic ‘Creating context'. Here are the solutions and some mastery secrets from us.


1. What is the typical order for the elements within an introduction?
Context, Trigger, Question – or “CTQ” – is the typical order.

2. Who has the primary responsibility for creating clarity?

The communicator does. Make things easy for your audience by creating clarity for them.

3. An introduction must start with “context”.
False, it is preferable but not essential to start with context. You can change the order within an introduction for dramatic effect. The key thing is to ensure the elements are all there – context, trigger and question – to ensure the audience has enough context to make sense of what’s coming.

4. An introduction can contain controversial information.
Yes, if that information is already known to the audience. You must avoid raising information in the CTQ that requires support and data. Otherwise you will sidetrack your audience. If it’s critical to the story and not already known to the audience, it belongs in the body of the story.

5. A good introduction helps your document pass the 30 second test.
True, a good introduction goes a long way. There is no rule of logic that states this but a good introduction provides the reader or audience with enough information to understand where the topic came from, and your view on the topic and the structure of what will come – quickly!

6. Creating which part of your communication should occupy a disproportionate amount of time?
Clarifying the context, trigger and question. This can take much longer than you might expect but is key to creating a compelling story.

7. What is the best test to apply to see whether your question is connected sufficiently tightly to the rest of your introduction?
Ask a colleague to read the first two elements of your introduction and see whether they think that only one question naturally follows.

8. What should happen in the reader's mind between the first two elements of a standard introduction?
They should wonder “Why did you say that?”

9. You can have multiple questions in the introduction.
False, if there are several questions they should be grouped into a broader question. You must only have one question in the Introduction. Sometimes your audience asks you to address multiple questions or issues in a document. In that instance the question would group those together and ask, for example, “Have you been able to address the issues raised on X?” or “Are there any particular issues that we must address as show stoppers?”

10. An introduction MUST include a Trigger.
True, the Trigger is the reason for the communication. The trigger is the thing that changed and gave rise to the question you are addressing. If the Trigger did not exist you would not be communicating. The challenge is to ensure the Context, Trigger and Question work together.

Mastery Secrets



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Warm regards

Davina and Gerard



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