The power of the metaphor

Explaining things isn’t always easy.

When Steve Jobs pitched the Apple Mac computer, he might as well have been trying to explain electricity to cavemen – his audience had no point of reference for what it was he was trying to explain.

The solution for Steve, and for us too, is to make use of metaphors*. To compare what we are trying to explain to our audience to a relevant point in their lives.

In the end Steve got his message across and made millions (many millions) selling a product that no one originally understood. If you’d like an example, take a look at any of Steve Jobs’ product launches – a metaphor masterclass!

If Steve can sell a computer with a metaphor, what can we achieve by bringing metaphors to our hard to explain concept?

*A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance.

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Rich Watts is the UK Business Speaker of the Year and a past JCI National Public Speaking champion. He setup and now runs Rich Public Speaking providing presentation skills and public speaking training.

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