A metaphor is a good friend of a trainer (see what I did there?).
It helps you communicate complex and abstract concepts easily, by creating quick visual imagery in the minds of your audience.
Let me explain…
Benefits of using a metaphor:
Metaphors makes abstract concepts tangible
A boring sentence like, “Metaphors are useful for trainers” – doesn’t help you paint a mental picture. The moment I say, “A metaphor is a good friend for a trainer” – your mind quickly forms a mental picture of ‘metaphor’ being a friend.
All the attributes of a good friend, like – supporting your view, strengthening your side, etc. get transferred onto the word -‘Metaphor’. Now suddenly, an abstract concept like ‘Metaphor’ becomes tangible.
Metaphor helps understand new information
Another significant benefit of a metaphor is – it helps you set a framework to absorb new information.
When I say, “Let me share the path we traversed over the last few years in creating this product”,
I use the metaphor of ‘Path’ to connect the various events that happened over the last few years.
When you learn how to use metaphors correctly, your training presentations will get far more powerful and memorable.
The process of generating metaphors
When trainers ask me – “How do you come with ideas for visual metaphors?”
My answer has always been – “I consciously practice creating visual metaphors”.
Metaphors are everywhere around us. We just need to open our eyes to them. (Another metaphor…huh!)
Let me show you how I create visual metaphors by picking up simple objects around me.
Metaphor: Path we traversed
Let me continue with the metaphor I talked about earlier – “The path we traversed”.
When I visualize this on slide, I create something like this:
Those 6 points represent the various events that happened in the past few years.
To narrate the story, I use purposeful custom animation like this:
Metaphor: Milestones along the path
When I think of a road, the next natural thing that comes to mind is – the various milestones that come along the way.
So, I visualize milestones with a graphic like this:
Taking this comparison forward…
Metaphor: Confusion along the path
When you travel along the road, you end up getting confused with forks along the road. I capture that ‘confused state’ as a visual metaphor as shown below:
I can use the slide to represent three different options, the risks involved in each of the options and so on.
If I continue my thought process…
Metaphor: Getting clarity to move forward
The thing that gives you clarity to move forward is a sign post. So, I create that as a visual metaphor as follows:
Metaphor: Barrier that prevent from reaching goals
Now, when I choose one of the directions and carry my journey along, I can think of barriers that prevent me from reaching my destination or goal. I visualize those barriers using a graphic like this:
Metaphor: Travelling without confusion
If I then think about many people travelling along the road trying to reach their own destinations, a system that helps them get where they want without getting into a mess is – the system of traffic signals. I then visualize that as follows:
I can use that metaphor for various other purposes like task management, prioritization etc.
Now do you see how easy it is to create visual metaphors for your training presentations?
You just need to pick up one idea and travel with it inside your mind. You will automatically come up with tons of ideas to create visual metaphors.
The hard part is not about getting the ideas for visual metaphors. The issue always comes in converting those ideas into meaningful visuals.
It takes a lot of time and skill to create powerful visual metaphors on a PowerPoint slide.
If you are a busy trainer who doesn’t have time to create all those graphics from scratch, you can always take a look at our ‘Complete Trainer’s Bundle’
It is a collection of more than 4000 fully editable PowerPoint templates created specifically for trainers and course creators.
All the examples I showed above are taken from our Comprehensive All In One Bundle. The bundle has unique collections like – Industry specific models & frameworks, animated actions, illustrated concepts, creative visual metaphors and more bonuses that help you create your training presentations in a heartbeat.
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