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Speak with a splash of visual imagery

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

You want to make a point clearly. So you state it slowly, cite supporting facts and emphasize its importance.

That’s not good enough.

Research shows that people will not necessarily listen to (and retain) a dry but well supported set of observations. They are more apt to remember what you say if you paint a visual image that’s vivid and memorable.

Consider how Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, galvanized his employees to beat the company’s rivals. In the new book The Hamburger, author Josh Ozersky writes that Kroc liked to say about his competitors, “If they were drowning, I’d put a hose in their mouth.”

Employees who heard Kroc say that line even once rarely forgot it. The visual image of allowing a person to drown is so visceral that it resonates with just about everyone.

To speak with visual flair, think in metaphors. Prepare to make your point by asking yourself, “What is this like? What can I compare it to? What do I see in my mind when I think about this issue?”

Imagine you’re drawing a cartoon strip to illustrate your point. What would the characters do?

These exercises can stoke your creativity and help you reduce your message to a colorful, action-oriented verbal picture.

Props can also accentuate your points. A manager at a manufacturing firm used a megaphone to unders-core key messages. When he sought compliance from his workers, he would speak through a bullhorn (al-though not at full volume). Even though he wound up saying the same words in his normal tone, the fact that he spoke through a megaphone reinforced the importance of his comments.

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