Dictionary

Communicate to Win: 026 – This Rings as Clear as a Bell

Continuing to look at the power of language, in this post I’ll focus on lexical diversity through leveraging metaphors and analogies. When you use greater lexical diversity, relying on a variety of terms with the same meaning rather than using the same word repeatedly, it shows you know your topic well. You exude confidence.

Take a few examples of typical business words you can use interchangeably…

  • Firm, organization, company and business
  • Plan, proposal, idea and concept
  • Problem, issue, challenge and test
  • Use, apply, employ and take advantage of
  • Eliminate, eradicate, remove and get rid of

Using a variety of words makes your story much more interesting than simply using the same repeatedly throughout the presentation. Be sure to take advantage of the built-in thesaurus in Word and PowerPoint. This most certainly will help you come up with a variety of word options.

A way to further diversify your language language is to use metaphors and analogies. The practice of using metaphors and analogies takes advantage of at least two key facts. The brain…

  • works by building connections and associations and
  • remembers things more easily when they are unusual.

The perfect analogy or metaphor can be quite novel. It builds connections to the material you are presenting and often creates that “ah-ha” experience listeners need to effectively learn new information.

A metaphor is a direct comparison between two things, one representing the other. For example…

The sun was a ball of fire.

An analogy liken one thing to another for the purpose of clarity or further explanation often using ”like” or “as”…

The earth’s layers are like a layer cake: the surface is the icing, and the layers are the mantle, and outer and inner cores.

Using these techniques help you vividly paint a picture for your audience. Practice using these techniques in all of your writing, not just in your presentations.

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