Rhetoric Made Easy – Bringing Back the Magic

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2000 years ago our Greek and Roman presenter-ancestors left us an awesome inheritance — the formulae for magic. They left us scrolls and manuscripts full of magical word-spells. Spells that help us to bond with an audience. Spells that create indelible soundbites. Spells that let us influence an audience’s perceptions of scale and logic and argument. And those spells have always been there for the taking! We know them in today’s world as “rhetoric”.

The snag? 2000 years of dust, detours and occasionally deliberate destruction had turned rhetoric into a tangled mess of ancient names and obscure descriptions.

Someone needed to re-write the spell-book and that’s just what we set out to do.

Partnering with Gavin McMahon and his sensationally creative team at New York’s leading transformational change and communications agency, fassforward consulting group, we’re now close to liberating the long-lost power of words — for presenters big and small.

And today, we’d like to show you for the very first time what it is that we’ve come up with.

It’s quick, it’s dirty, and our pilot sessions are showing that presenters, from Jersey to Johannesburg, just love it!

Want to know what we’ve got? Just click this link!

Metaphor made easy

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Magnificent metaphors bring your presentations to life. Start simple

by Peter Watts

Metaphor and simile bring speaking to life by creating comparisons between objects and concepts.

In normal speech we all use them constantly, yet when we attempt to consciously develop them for presentation purposes, those pesky little metaphors just seem to run and hide beneath the rocks.

This morning I was struck by a way to make it easy. You might say I was hit by a lightning bolt of inspiration, just moments after a literal lightning bolt had almost hit me!

It all started when, with a thunder storm rumbling in the distance, I went to look for our cat, who is to be found most mornings snoring beneath the porch swing. As I stepped through the front door the neighbourhood lit up ice-white around me.

A lightning bolt had touched down so close to where I was standing that I heard it land.

It was a most peculiar combination of sound. There was the inevitable zap, but at the same time an unexpected slapping sound. It had an oddly wet quality as the lightning licked into the ground. Most startling of all, a hiss that I can only liken to a warning snake.

Believe me, you never want to be standing right next to a clap of thunder. It hurts, although possibly not as much as it would have hurt if I’d been standing a little further over towards where the lightning had struck!

There are few elements that bind us in quite the same way as the primordial elements of sun, storm, fire and ice. Weather and temperature are the launch pads for countless metaphors, similes, and descriptions.

  • We can summon fast and furious by mentioning storms, tempests, blizzards, and hurricanes
  • We can condemn something as lacking passion when we describe it as damp, wet, or foggy
  • We can uplift by using phrases that are sunny, breezy, or bright
  • We can repel and distance through language that is cold, frozen, icy, or bitter

So much of our language revolves around weather, and yes, much of it collapses into everyday cliche. For everyday use in presentations however, I see no problem with this. For many presenters in the stressful moments of speaking in public, it can be a challenge to shade any degree of verbal color into their speaking at all.

Sure, weather based metaphors are often over-used, but they are only over-used because they are universal, because they are easy, and because they work!

Next time you are about to make a presentation, and would like to find an easy way into using metaphor and simile, try taking inspiration from the weather.

You’ll find that even though genuine lightning might only strike once in the same spot (I hope), lightning bolts of inspiration can strike again and again.

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