By Gerry Murray. 18-09-2022
(Scroll down for a laugh)

"We are prisoners of our own metaphors, metaphorically speaking..." ~ R. Buckminster Fuller

This past week I was part of an 8-person training team delivering a course on decision making. I had been asked to revamp this course. So, technically, I was regarded as the course designer. 

As you might imagine a course on decision-making contains concepts, principles, processes, models and tools. Not all trainers had taught this specific course before and some of my new content also needed explaining to the more seasoned trainers. I found myself suggesting metaphors and analogies to help the trainer team explain these aspects to the participants

During a coffee break, several of the trainers suggested that I write a book on metaphors. I like metaphors and it seems that others perceive that I'm somewhat versatile in my use of them. 

I'm not sure whether I'm going to write a book on metaphors as others have already comprehensively covered the topic. However, I will continue using and teaching others how to use them. In the past, I've integrated metaphor into a storytelling course that I created. One of my grandfathers was a master storyteller in the tradition of what we call in Ireland the Seanchaí. So, I guess this might be in my DNA. 

The word metaphor literally means in Old Greek to carry across or transfer. In this respect, ideas from one set of concepts can be carried across to another set of concepts. This enables us to think about how we think about or interpret the original concept. 

Metaphors can enable us to widen our perspective, and gain clarity and wisdom. Metaphors also allow us to take complex concepts that are difficult to explain and recreate them in much more concrete forms. Abstract thinking can be translated into sensory-based tangible representations. 

Metaphors frame meaning and your choice of metaphor therefore can alter someone's perception and experience. You can also think of stories as extended metaphors. 

In the second half of the week, we were teaching the same participants how to use their decision-making skills to take rather abstract topics, analyse them and present their findings. Once again, we were able to remind these participants that, regardless of the nature of the topic they had analysed, their presentation of that topic could be crafted and conveyed in a high-impact way using principles from storytelling. 

If you're interested in learning more about how to create metaphors and craft stories please get in touch...


Listen to the Podcast


Dave struggles to not use Train metaphors

"No more!" he swore to himself. "Today's the day I finally change my one-track mind! Oh. Ok, I'll let that one go, but no more!"
He entered the meeting. Several minutes passed.
"Everyone, let's try not to get off track." **Damn it! I did it again. That's the last one!**
"What I mean to say it, let's not derail the conversation with-" **Again! What is wrong with me!**
"Dave, are you alright?" 
"Do you need to sit down?"
"I'm...I'm...sorry everyone. I just lost my train of thought" 

Dave screamed and jumped out of the window.

Poor Dave. He was on the fast track to success but I guess not everyone can handle working for the Railway.
If you don't let off steam you get tunnel vision and end up blowing your top.
Moderation, that's the ticket!

Every time I come up with a new metaphor it makes me sneeze.
It really sets off my analogies.

How do poets say hello?
Hey, haven’t we metaphor?

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