Do you speak with clarity, or confusion?
How often do you hear someone speak and create confusion? S/he gives a talk filled with facts, figures or vague ideas. You’re left wondering, “What in the world is this speaker talking about?”
Have you ever given a presentation like this?
Clearly introducing new concepts to audiences can be challenging. There is the risk of the audience feeling confused and frustrated if you’re not clear.
The negative impact of confusion when you speak
If you leave audiences feeling this way, it damages your credibility. Worse, it practically guarantees you won’t speak for that group again.
What’s the solution?
How do you present your idea in a concrete manner that provides clarity for the listener?
Use the literary device that creates clarity and vivid pictures for your audience.
What is this device?
Similes are figures of speech that compare two different ideas, or things. It creates a clearer understanding of one of the items.
For example, the phrase “I slept like a baby last night.” Usually, this means someone slept soundly and peacefully. The word “like” is the connector that makes the abstract idea more concrete.
A terrific example of creating a clear picture
Recently, I heard a terrific illustartion of simile. It explained a vague emotional concept.
The speaker, Eunice Varughese, is a microbiologist.
Which means she’s smart
There’s high potential for her to talk over the heads of people who aren’t “microbiologist-smart.” That includes me.
Yet, when asked to elaborate on the subject of adversity, this was her response:
“Adversity is like a car wash.
“As you drive through, there’s a lot of noise and turbulence. You can’t see far, you have limited vision.
“Then, the air-jet blowers start. That creates a lot of noise, resistance, and more turbulence.
I immediately wrote that down. What a terrific way to describe a vague idea!
Many books and articles have been written to explain this concept. Speakers and trainers build careers to help people overcome this problem. Yet, in seven short sentences – and less than 30 seconds – Eunice created a vivid picture.
The word “adversity” doesn’t create an emotional connection because of it’s vagueness. The imagery of the car wash involves visual, auditory and kinesthetic responses. The audience can now feel the concept of adversity.
This is a textbook simile because it engages the emotions and senses of the audience.
Thanks, Eunice, for providing this terrific simile. It created a vivid picture of an abstract concept.
Speak with clarity for your next audience
Do you have a difficult idea to get across to others?
Is your presentation filled vague terms, or facts and figures?
Don’t leave ‘em confused. Use similes to create vivid pictures that clarify your points.
Do this and your audience will see idea in a new way.
They’ll feel they can clearly see your point. Like looking through a freshly washed windshield.
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