March is One of Those Months
kind of betwixt and between. Here in New England, winter has basically lost its grip, but spring is playing hard-to-get. I remember this proverb from childhood: March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb. A little Googling turns up the year 1732 as the earliest reference to these lines! Now that’s staying power. What makes the image stick?

Visual Description is Powerful
We can all picture what a lion looks like, and what a lamb looks like. Those visuals immediately conjure up feelings. Lion stands for rough, tough, mean, snarly. Lamb stands for gentle, meek, cute, cuddly. A very few words can pack a punch by creating a visual picture that comes along with built-in meaning. Thus the transition from tough winter to gentle spring.

Use Analogies
to say something is like something else, making it easier to understand. This is particularly helpful for business communicators who often have to talk about complex issues and concepts. You’re basically saying to your audience: we’ve seen this before, we understand it, it’s just now in a different setting. So here’s a creative way to help you relate and think about it.

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates…
you never know what you’re going to get. Try creating prompts for yourself to discover new approaches to talk about what you do:

Mitigating risk is like…
Trying to partner when we have competing goals is like…
Analyzing data is like…
Projecting numbers for 2022 is like…

Where do you get ideas? You’re probably living analogies every day in your daily routine. Think about your family dynamics, client interaction, pets, cooking, sports, grocery shopping, trying to fix a leaky faucet! How is problem-solving your client’s crisis like shopping for nails in the hardware store (or on Amazon)? Do you see how this works? Compare the issue to something commonplace to give your listeners a different entry point into the conversation.

Wandering in the Desert of Extraneous Verbiage
I came up with this visual metaphor when I was trying to explain (with a light touch and looking for a laugh) how some speakers just keep on talking as they are searching for their own point. It’s been very effective! I even wrote a blogpost about it.

Mix It Up
Instead of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, try interjecting a fresh figure of speech, and you’ll be good as gold. (Ahem.) Metaphors, analogies, similes are all ways of saying what you want to say in a new and unexpected way that makes it easier for your listeners to understand. Give it a try.

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