Work in Japan Advice Board
“Metaphors be with you” is a play on words made famous by Eric Daniels and poet Peter Schneidre, playing off of the phrase from Star Wars, may the force be with you. It is more than just a clever play on words, it points to a powerful way to become a more effective communicator.
Anne Miller, author of Metaphorically Selling, says that metaphor has the power to sell ideas, evaporate objections, make a point, or close a sale. She also provides a four-step process for doing this, illustrated with hundreds of contemporary examples from business, politics, and media.
Metaphors cut to the quick, and help you get your point across instantly by creating word pictures, analogies, or connections that don’t require further explanation. Of course it takes skill and practice to use metaphors effectively. Bad metaphors may backfire, mixed metaphors sound forced, and dying metaphors suffer from lack of originality. But if you can find the right turn of phrase, your words will resonate with meaning and significance.
The most interesting metaphors are those which take you someplace you have never been before, or may never actually go, were it not for the transformation of the metaphor.
A Zen proverb has it that we know hot and cold through experience (冷暖自知, reidan jichi).
I could say it was very cold, but that wouldn’t mean much without a metaphor to take you there. You could start with the name of the river Kinugawa, meaning Angry Devil River, so cold it made the Devil mad!
You could give the air temperature, which averaged 7 degrees below zero Celsius, but if you grew up with the Fahrenheit temperature scale, then Celsius doesn’t mean much until you convert it back to Fahrenheit.
It was so cold, that you can’t feel your fingers or toes, nor the rocks on the bottom that you are kicking with your bare feet, at least until you thaw out the next day!
How cold was it? It was so cold that I didn’t even notice that the women around me were changing from their wet to their dry clothes until I was already changed, and so were they!
We are bombarded by messages in this hyper-connected world, and the noise level keeps rising. And yet metaphors can cut through all of the noise and bring you to the threshold of the story. To see a video of how I presented this metaphor in a Toastmasters Keynote speech visit: http://budurl.com/wbz8
William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.