Stage Time: Frame It or They'll Forget It | Darren LaCroix

Stage Time: Frame It or They'll Forget It

By Darren LaCroix | Stage Time Articles

Do you care about your message? Do you want people to take it home? Then, frame it! Do so especially if your message or examples are controversial. In fact, I believe the more controversial the topic, the more important your frame!

What is a frame? Good question.
According to Dictionary.com one of the definitions of frame is:

  • a structure for admitting or enclosing something

When you think about your message in a presentation, I actually think this next definition fits even better:

  • a rigid structure formed of relatively slender pieces, joined so as to surround sizable empty spaces or nonstructural panels, and generally used as a major support in building or engineering works, machinery, furniture, etc.

Darren's GlassesIn a presentation this means “relatively slender pieces” can mean, we don’t need to spend a lot of time framing our message, it just needs a short, clear, frame. “Generally used as a major support in building” means the same thing for your message.

Why is a frame important?

“The most important part of presentation is
the thought process in the listener’s mind.” ~ Me

You have to know what your audience is thinking. What are their general “preconceived notions” about your message or your topics? Is there anything that you might say that “turns them off”? If so, you need to frame your message with context so that your audience will be more opened to your idea. For example, emotionally charged topics like gun control, abortion or pro-life can take an audience’s mind off to a preconceived notion about your topic. If you do not frame your set up properly, you can lose an audience in an instant. You can also gain too much favor with an audience if they see exactly where you are going with it as well. They could be “on your side” and still miss the point of your message because it is such an emotionally charged topic.

As you may know, I work with a wide range of presenters helping them to connect with their audience. I enjoy helping serious presenters get their message heard. I have one specific real-life situation that I think would help you gain clarity on this point. It is a perfect example of framing a controversial message. Before you hear this example, I ask you to look for the idea and how this specific idea will help you. You will learn from it no matter what your religious beliefs, though it is from the Christian world.

This past week my pastor, Vince Antonucci, was working on one of his messages for a reality T.V. program that is currently being filmed about his church. It is a Christian message that will go out to a wide range of Christians. Vince is building a Church here in Vegas called Verve which is aimed at bringing non-believers to Christ in Sin City. The T.V. Producers have asked Vince to explain how he and his church reach non-believers. Some of the methods they use might “turn off” conservative Christians.

Vince explained to me that one example was a guy who works for a Christian organization and brews beer in his garage.  Though Mr. Beer Brewer doesn’t drink himself, the guys in his neighborhood do. They come over for the beer and while they are drinking the home brew, it gives Mr. Beer Brewer an opportunity to build a connection and talk about God. It works. There are also examples of some women who go to brothels to bring cupcakes and love to the women who work there. Some of the women end up asking why they do this and end up coming to check out the church. Few of them even get baptized and change their lives.

Vince explained to me the problem was that many conservative Christians would “tune out” as soon as you mentioned beer or brothels. What I suggested to Vince was to first “frame” his message with a Jesus example first. Reminding his audience that Jesus came for the sinners and was not a fan of organized religion. Vince could then site some specific examples of Jesus spending time with prostitutes reminding people who Jesus came to help.

With this “frame of reference” it would remind conservative Christians of why Jesus came and who He spent His time with before he mentioned the beer and the brothels. Often people need the reminders of the big picture to see the reasoning behind specific examples. If Vince began with the examples his message may be forgotten, in fact, more likely never even heard.

Stop. Did you see what I did? I too also framed the message in this article. My message was a secular one, however, I framed it so that readers of any belief could get clearer on my point. If I started talking about Jesus I could have lost some readers. How did you feel after you read this paragraph?

As you may know, I work with a wide range of presenters helping them with connect with their audience. I enjoy helping people get their message heard. I have one specific real-life situation that I think would help you gain clarity on this point. It is a perfect example of framing a controversial message. Before you hear this example, I ask you to look for the idea. You will learn from it no matter what your religious beliefs, though it is from the Christian world.

Were you curious? Were you more intrigued about hearing the example? It was just that, a frame. Think about a frame in a presentation like eyeglasses frame. The “frame” holds the message in place so that you can see it and use it. Eyeglass frames have a definite function, but alone would do you no good without the lenses. Your message is the lens. The frames allow your audience to see and absorb the message.

If you care about your message, frame it. It is a crucial part of structure. Without a frame your message may be futile. It is a fatal flaw to not frame a controversial message. See what I mean?

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