This way, you increase the odds that others will heed your message. You also come across as an intelligent, compelling communicator.
Whether you make a literary allusion (“their campaign reminds me of Charles Dickens: ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...’”) or place your company’s current events in historical context ( “I don’t want us to assume the battle’s over—look what happened when a newspaper jumped the gun and reported that Dewey beat Truman”), your goal is to find colorful ways to drill home your points.
Inject flair into your remarks by applying these strategies:
Look for clever comparisons. When you read a book or a newspaper article, note any evocative metaphors. Create a file of your favorite articles and weave them into your conversation. Example: A credit union manager noticed in a recent Wall Street Journal article about how Russia charges high fees to let international airlines use its air space that Russians were called “modern-day Barbary pirates” (referring to pirates who plundered North African seafarers in the 19th century). “I was in a meeting discussing how our competition was imposing all these banking fees on their customers, and I said, ‘They’re acting like modern-day Barbary pirates, plundering the innocent.’ My boss just loved that line.”
Paint word pictures. If you’re trying to explain a lofty or complex concept in concrete terms, provide a visual image. How? Begin with the phrase “Imagine that...” Then choose a familiar device (stacks of dollar bills, football fields, grains of sand) to describe a less familiar idea (effect of taxes, vast distances between points).