It’s Like

Collage of human head, molecules and various abstract elements on the subject of modern science, chemistry, physics, human and artificial minds

“As sweet as Tupelo honey” is how Van Morrison described his sweetheart, and followed the simile with a metaphor, “She’s an angel of the first degree.” But it’s not only songwriters and Celtic poets who employ these writer’s tools.

Deborah had a knee replaced a few weeks ago. Her surgeon said he anchored her damaged MCL in three places and illustrated it with a sketch. Then he said he reefed the ligament. As sailors, we knew that meant folding or rolling the ligament over on itself. His process became clear.

The best TED speakers use similes to compare complex concepts to everyday experiences. There’s no better way to breach the expert/non-expert barrier; increase understanding; and to view the content as ideas to be discussed-- rather than information to be passively received. Model these forward-thinking individuals when you present on your topic and make your audiences mentally participate with your talk. Be descriptive and memorable.

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