Learn how to get paid to speak in public. Subscribe to a Great Speaking ezine for FREE

Public Speaking Course: 

Simile

A simile is a word that means a comparison of two things or ideas that seem different, but have other strong points in common. The words 'like' and 'as' will normally be used when you make these types of comparisons during your program.

For instance you could say, 'Getting this contract signed is as impossible as trying to smuggle daybreak past a rooster.' Contracts and roosters don't have anything in common (which is funny), but in this case, the presenter is telling you what they do have in common. Getting the contract signed and smuggling daybreak past a rooster are both impossible things to do.

You could even shorten that simile by changing 'as impossible as' to 'like.'

 You would then say, "Getting this contract signed is like trying to smuggle daybreak past a rooster."

In this case, the audience must make the interpretation that both are impossible. It's good to make the audience think sometimes because it forces them to be involved, which you will understand better in my public speaking course.

A recurring theme with me is that humor surrounds you everywhere you go, so look around and share it. I got a great simile out of a child's joke book I acquired  for 10 cents at a flea market. I now use this line in presentations all over the country. I do a seminar called Business Lite: Low Cost/No Cost Ways to Improve Productivity. In that seminar I talk about how employees feel at work. I say, 'Sometimes you go to work and you feel like a turtle with claustrophobia you've got to be there, but you feel closed in.'

I like to mix and match different types of humor in one concise chunk. Here's a simile that I just love.

"If you put his brain on a matchstick, it would be like rolling a BB down a four-lane highway."

For a lesson from my public speaking course, let's break this one-liner down to see how I used several types of humor. Putting a person's brain on a matchstick and rolling a BB down a four-lane highway are both ridiculous juxtapositions. No one is going to put someone's brain on a matchstick, or roll a BB down a four-lane highway. This remark is a simile because the two ridiculous juxtapositions are compared with the connective word "like".

The effect of the simile is to exaggerate how small this man's brain is. So, three different types of humor juxtaposition, simile and exaggeration were combined to make a great one-liner. These are the types of relationships you would explore if you were feeling adventurous and decided to write some of your own humor. Many of the one-liners you run across will be combinations like this. You don't have to be able to dissect them like I just did. All you have to be able to do is pick the ones that make your point (in this case similes), and use them where and when appropriate.

 Home
Free Article Index

 

Copyright 2005 All Rights Reserved