Why are Metaphors so powerful?

Metaphors are one of the tools I urge my clients to use in their presentations. Here’s a very short slideshow that makes great use of an overall metaphor for the theme of the whole presentation.

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

This slideshow, created in HaikuDeck, uses a couple of really great features:

  • First, it has very strong visual images.  Limiting the photos to black and white makes them even stronger in this case, but they are very high quality photos too.
  • The author, Niels Tybjerg, has wisely chosen to limit the number of ideas presented.  This makes the content easy to view and process.
  • The analogy used — comparing social media to having a baby — is also very powerful and effective.

While there are technical distinctions between metaphors and analogies, those distinctions are not relevant to this discuss and so I will simply use the term metaphor for the rest of this post.

Metaphors are not only good in presentations, but can be used in many other forms of content marketing. They work well in written content, but are especially powerful in visual forms.

What makes metaphors so powerful?

  • Metaphors get your audience to think about your ideas in a different way.
  • A well chosen metaphor can symbolize some new insight that you are trying to teach your audience.
  • Visual metaphors let your audience process ideas in two channels of their brain, creating a deeper impact as  they sync the visual with the verbal.
  • You can use a metaphor to help a prospect see their own misunderstanding that is keeping them from moving forward with your product or service
  • Because metaphors are creative and thought-provoking, they stimulate the subconscious, emotional part of your audience’s brains

An important goal in great content creation is to engage your audience both at a logical, conscious level and at an emotional, subconscious level.

Since the subconscious is really the final decision maker, you want to use techniques that help you communicate with that part of the brain, rather than just addressing the rational, verbal part.

How did the metaphor in this slideshow effect you as you watched it?  Did you have any insights that would not have arisen without the metaphor?  Leave a comment and share your experience!

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