May 21, 2009

Analogies ... American Idol-style



Another season of American Idol has ended, along with Simon Cowell's endless creative analogies to describe how poorly each contestant has performed.

Here are some examples:

"It sounds like a cat jumping off the empire state building."

"You remind me of someone, when you're at a party and someone has had a few drinks, right at the end attempts to sing something and then you're thrown out of the house."

"That was exactly identical to a nightmare I had last week."

"Using the boxing analogy, it was a bit of a lightweight I thought.”

"It was a bit like someone singing in their bedroom."

"That last note … it was like watching a horror movie."

"It sounded like something you'd hear on a cruise ship [or at a wedding, or in a karaoke bar, etc.]."

"It was rather like eating ice for lunch — it will leave you with nothing to remember afterwards."

"My pen has got more charisma."

Oftentimes, Simon's analogies are meaningful only to him. His analogies clearly refer to experiences he's had, but which might not mean anything to the audience.

If you're going to use analogies in public speaking, and you should, make sure that they're universal enough for the audience to get them. Because an analogy is meant to help your audience relate to your point, if they don't get the analogy, they won't get the point either.

Keep using analogies, but only if they mean something!

Here are some of my favorite Speak Schmeak analogies.

Thank you, Paul Yerrick, for the unbelievably perfect photo.

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