Images, analogies and other ‘gies’

Parents, before & after kids:

What’s your reaction to these photos? Amusement? Horror? Distastefulness? Annoyance? I’m sure everyone has a different reaction based on his or her own values and beliefs. I did think twice before posting these, because to a certain extent, they are distasteful, but they help me make my point.

If this was a speech or presentation and these were the slides I’d prepared, the point I’d be making is that being a parent is hard work – it takes its toll on you physically and mentally. Just in case my children ever read this, I’d then show you something else that helps illustrate the point that it’s more than worth it and it’s the best thing that can ever happen to you too ☺

The real point I want to make is the power of an analogy. In this case an analogous image. With a good image, you get the point in an instant, no need to think. In this case, “That’s funny, they look haggard and they’ve got babies, ergo, babies are hard work.” With a really good image it will do that on one level, but it can also do quite the opposite too. It stops you and makes you think – “If that’s the downside of parenting, what’s the upside?”. “Those are the faces from that drugs campaign – I wonder if any of them are parents? What sort of life are their children going to lead?” and so on and so forth.

So, when using an analogy / metaphor / simile, think about using an image to back up your words – it can add another subtle layer of depth to your presentation and hook your audience in deeper. Don’t get caught up in the detail of your analogy – if you scrutinise it too much, it will probably fall apart. If it makes the broad point quickly then go with it.