Through a frame, darkly...or brightly

It's her party, and she'll cry if she wants to.

Soft murmurs of conversations come drifting in from the living room, through the silent air of the kitchen as she stands by her stove with her drink in her hand and her mind racing with dark thoughts.  She'd told them all she'd be right back.  She wonders if she was lying.  She wonders if there is precedent for someone sneaking out of their own birthday party.

"There you are."  Her friend enters the kitchen.  "We've all been waiting for you.  Have you been hiding in here all this time?  Is something wrong?"

"Everything's wrong," she says.  "You haven't had to face this yet.  You haven't turned 50.  It's going to bother you, too."  She sighs, swirling the ice cubes in her drink.  "Think about it.  This is the oldest I've ever been."

"It is," says her friend.  They lock eyes.  "And as of today, it's the youngest you'll ever be."

Take a moment to think about how you, and your organization, are using the power of positive and negative frames in your communications.  When you speak to your shareholders, or your donors, or your employees, or your potential acquisitions, how are you framing yourself and your mission so as to reap the most beneficial responses possible?

Are you tapping into your audiences' excitement, or their fear?  Are you making them excited to be a part of your mission, or afraid not to be?  Is your message "here is what, together, we can do" -- or is it "here is what, together, we must do"?  Are you working together to make things better -- or are you working together to keep things from getting worse?

Make no mistake -- frames are powerful tools, and like all tools, they have no intrinsic morality. Positive and negative framing is not synonymous with good and bad.  Each have their uses.  Are you, and your organization, being seen through the best one?