Sell Your Speech Idea with Sheep, Wolves and Sheep Dogs
Rob is in his mid-50’s – bald, stocky, with a serious demeanor. Think of him as a laid back drill sergeant. He calmly strode to the front of the room and, in a gravely voice, started his speech with these words, “I’m here today to help you understand the importance of police and citizens working together to keep the bad guys in line.”
Rob then proceeded to use a classic storytelling tool – the metaphor – to illustrate the challenge faced by law enforcement and how responsible ownership and use of guns by everyday citizens can help them manage crime.
He went on, “Society consists of three types of characters:
Sheep – This is most people in our society. I don’t use ‘sheep’ in a demeaning or negative way. I simply mean sheep represent the people who are going about their business. They want to work, take care of their families and enjoy life. Typically they’ve got their heads down, doing their thing. And that can be a problem.
Wolves – There is a number of people who want to either hurt or take away everything owned by the sheep. These are cold and heartless sociopaths whose only concern is for themselves. For every 600 sheep in our country, there are three wolves waiting to attack or take everything you own.
Sheep dogs – These are the individuals whose main concerns are to watch out for the entire group of sheep – to fight off the wolves. The vast majority of sheep dogs care deeply about the sheep. Like with any other profession, some of these sheep dogs shouldn’t be in a position to watch over the sheep because they’re too aggressive.
For the most part, though, the sheep dogs are loyal and caring. They keep the order and peace within the community. For every 600 sheep, there is one sheep dog to watch over.
There are 3 wolves for every one sheep dog. And that’s why the sheep keeping their heads down is a problem. If the sheep don’t occasionally lift their heads and pay attention to what’s happening around them – i.e. watch out for the wolves, they’re much more at risk to be attacked.“
In two minutes, Rob used a metaphor in his speech that was relatable to everyone in the room. He also expertly used numbers to illustrate the difficulty police officers face managing criminals without the help of citizens. By using images that everyone knows, Rob created pictures that lasted long after he spoke, and created desire in the audience to be more aware of their environment.
As you create your next speech, use metaphors to create memorable images that underscore your message and leave lasting impressions on others.
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