When you see this photo of a dog, what comes to mind for you?
You could either say “I see a dog looking at something.“…or you could say “I see a smaller dog who looks longingly with his big brown eyes.” These two statements are both accurate, however the second one is much more visually descriptive and more readily conjures up an image. That’s the goal when we speak.
A recent example of this type of visual communication was exhibited by Governor Cuomo who in his daily briefings, used these three analogies:
- Opening the valve too fast (referring to restarting the economy).
- Watch the meter (referring to the rate of infection).
- You can’t start one gear with the other gear stopped (referring to the necessary coordination of systems).
These are three examples of communicating about a complex subject in an uncomplicated way. Easy to do? Absolutely not. However, when we put the effort into helping people see in their mind’s eye what they’re hearing, it has a far greater impact. Seems we all want that.
This form of communication works when we can’t see the speaker but has an even better effect when we can see gestures the speaker creates which serve to amplify the message. Governor Cuomo used non-verbal language (his hands) to simulate each of these analogies, which was extremely helpful to listeners in his audience.
Whether you’re communicating in-person, virtually, or by phone, modify your language as you remember that seeing it helps hearing it. Want some guidance on this topic?
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