We communicate in metaphors not words!
Alright if you didn't get the connect then try adding the word – “On” ahead of “The rocks” which makes it “On the rocks”.
Now many of us will instantly realise that this means Ice. If we place the word ice ahead of berg – we get "Iceberg" which melts into? You got it - water which if placed in front of “fall” makes – “Waterfall”. Voila! You probably didn't realise it but your brain was working better than the best super computer’s performance by several magnitudes.
Provided - you had the understanding of “on the rocks” which a certain segment of us wouldn't. We will of course learn it immediately. Matter of fact if you didn't know that this phrase meant ice in the context of having a drink, just Google it now and you will instantly learn it forever. Some of us will grasp the subtle association of ‘on the rocks’ with whisky as well. Our brains are that sophisticated in discerning nuances.
Now if you did not have that metaphor in your head you couldn't have unlocked this puzzle no matter how well it was articulated or written. It is that simple.
So, many times, when we try to communicate to a set of people whose heads do not contain the metaphors that ours do – we will fail to communicate our thoughts and ideas with fidelity. The problem is that we will say some things but the recipient will not necessarily ‘get’ the same things.
“He just doesn't get it” Remember this phrase often uttered in frustration? This is classic situation of mismatch of metaphors. The metaphor set being used by the speaker and the recipient are so different, that the purport of the communication is falling through the gaps.
And remember communication is not just verbal. As a matter of fact, on an average, only 7% of our communication involves words per se. The rest 93% is all about the tonality, enunciation, body language and many subtle layers, each of which amplifies, distorts, corrupts and at times plainly contradicts the thoughts we want to transmit.
So the next time you are looking to make a compelling case, remember to use all the tools at your disposal, rather than just relying on your PowerPoint slides!
Great Books and Fascinating Talks
A brilliant book on Presentation, Magic and fooling the mind. This is the story of a young man who wishes to become the world's best magician by participating in an annual contest. The first time he tries it is a disaster but Alex Stone restarts his attempt by learning the nuances of presentation skills and finding out that magic teaches a lot about psychology, memory blind-spots and the working of the mind. Fascinating read...
What Every Body is Saying
Learn body language from an FBI Agent. Joe Navarro uses his decades of experience as an interrogator to teach how every BODY is talking. A great read. Also read People Watching by Desmond Morris.
Selling the Wheel
A little known masterpiece that teaches that different cycles of sales - require different styles and characteristics of selling. Narrated in the form of an interesting parable based in ancient Egypt, you will very quickly recognise your own style as you read through this book - and learn how to improve your ability to advocate better.
The Tell-Tale Brain
A fascinating book about the inner workings of the most powerful computer in the world - by the celebrated neuroscientist Ramachandran. It is a bit technical but very well worth the effort. Amazing insights into what makes our brain 'tick' and why we hear or see what we want to - rather than what is!
Here is good presentation on the structure of great talks
Keith Barry does some amazing brain magic. Watch to see a master of stagecraft at work
Watch Arthur Benjamin's stage presence. In particular see how he begins to almost dance in a graceful 'ballet' towards the end...