Metaphors and analogies are very powerful tools in communication. If you can encourage people not just to hear you but to see, feel and experience what it is you are talking about then your message will be stronger. This kind of enhancement also means that listeners will be more emotionally engaged. Even simple, common place metaphors work well and their very familiarity is an advantage. They are instantly recognisable but their impact is much more far-reaching. Whilst we may hear the same words when a speaker says someone is “as cold as ice”, each person associates into unique images and experiences that are theirs alone. It this individualised association that makes metaphors so powerful and draws the audience in.
Each language tends to have its own variations and specialties and not all metaphors cross borders well. Here are some examples from the English language:
As warm as toast As bright as the sun As mad as a box of frogs
All froth and no coffee Painting the town red Pulling a rabbit from a hat
You can also build in references to well-known stories, myths, historical and literary figures if they illustrate your point well and if you can be sure your audience will get them.
Great communicators not only understand the magical appeal of metaphors. They are often masterful at painting pictures with words too so that their messages become more memorable. They will not just tell you that they ate a good meal; they describe how the food looked, how it smelled and vividly linger on the various tastes. The will not simply say they walked through the forest; they tell you how the light sparkled, how the dried leaves on the ground crunched beneath their feet and how the recent rain had realised the earthy odours of the soil.
Using metaphors, vivid language and descriptive words will enable you to transport your audiences, readers and listeners by involving all of their senses.
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