Peoples Minds Don't Grasp Words Too Well But They Can Quickly Focus On Pictures

The name of the game in communicating to another person is to take that important thought in your mind and transmit it to another person or persons. For a "turbo" boost to the process, you can create dynamic mental pictures by using metaphors, examples, analogies, and similes. An example is an illustration from the real world you are talking about. In explaining an inventory reorder system you could say, "Calculate the amount of stock used during the time it takes to receive a new order and label that the reorder point. When the stock is used down to that level, place an order." A better way might be, "Visualize a milk bottle that is full. If you use 1/4 bottle of milk a day and it takes one day to secure a new bottle, draw a line 1/4th of the way up on the bottle. That is your reorder point. When the milk level drops to the line, get a new bottle". The picture of the milk bottle will stick around a long time. The set of words will be quickly forgotten, or not understood.

Another way to enhance a communication is to use an analogy or simile of what you are talking about. An analogy is an illustration which is usually simpler than the actual situation you are addressing. For illustration, if you are explaining the fact that planning ahead in a situation will make or break you, one might say, "You must build the ark before the flood comes." A simile is a comparison using "like" or "as." An illustration is "I felt like a kid in a candy store" (vs. "I was excited").

People who evoke mental images in their listeners are known to be interesting, knowledgeable, and bright. Good speaking skills boil down not to not only what someone is saying, but how someone says it.

©  2002 John D. Toellner, All Rights Reserved