One of the most effective tools a writer can use is the metaphor. It provides a great way to connect with the reader by presenting an analogous example that helps illustrate the main focus or an important element of the message. A good metaphor can make all the difference between engaging the audience and having them miss the point.
So what are some things to consider when writing a metaphor – not only in the creation of your reference, but whether to actually use one. Let’s consider some key points, shall we. Yes. Let’s.
Consider Whether Your Communication Needs a Metaphor
While metaphors can add a helpful component to your communication, there are times when they’re just not needed. After all, if you’re announcing a software update that will affect employees’ or customers’ software, then it’s probably better if you don’t clutter your message with an analogy.
That doesn’t mean that every regular article or sales piece needs it either. Depending on how much time you realistically have to deliver your message, you might be cluttering it up and causing your reader to give up due to content overload.
Be judicious. If your communication is enhanced by a metaphor, keep it; if it makes it cumbersome, lose it.
Think of Comparable Processes, Persons, Etc.
There’s not a lot of mystery to how one writes a metaphor. You need to analogize a like process, individual, situation, etc. The thing is that not everyone is coming up with a comparable metaphor. Try to make it as basic as possible. Brainstorm a few if possible. If you think your first analogy doesn’t work, it might spark a better idea. So keep at it until you feel you have a good metaphor that readers can understand and helps explain the focus of your communication.
Don’t Make It Complicated
What slows most writers when trying to create a good metaphor is that they overthink it. You’re not William Shakespeare. You don’t have to make your analogy a piece of poetic greatness. Think of something simple and relatable – something that most people will recognize immediately.
Don’t Overuse Your Metaphors
Try to keep your analogies to one or two per communication. Even if you’re explaining multiple topics, using metaphors for every one can turn off your reader. If you’re using them as a crutch, it will become obvious, and will subtract from your communication rather than add.
How often do you use metaphors in your writing? Does it come easy for you? What are some approaches you take to using analogous references? Let us know in the Comment section below!
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