Consciously or sub-consciously – I personally think that I have always been extremely liberal in the use of metaphors (or similes or personifications) in my day-to-day communication. I have always felt that most of the times it has always helped me in communicating my thoughts across.
This weekend I came across this blog by Dave Pollard which I thought summarizes the advantages and risks associated with using metaphors in regular communication quite well. According to Dave, the advantages of using Metaphors as a technique/device in communication has its plus -
“Use of these devices is a very human tendency: They make things easier to understand. When used properly they can bring clarity the way no amount of detailed explanation or information can, and do so very quickly. They can also trigger the imagination, and produce brilliant creative insight. “
However, according to Dave overuse of such techniques in communication can lead to over-simplification of the point which needs to be communicated. Interestingly, Dave also feels that this is a representation of the kind of society we are staying in today – where there is an increasing demand on simplifying things because of the over-whelming feeling that information seekers do not have enough time.
The blog is an interesting read and I would encourage all of you to read the same. While I think I will continue with my use of metaphors in my conversation, however I will certainly keep Dave’s parting advice in mind -
The only practical answer is to learn (and to teach young people) to recognize them, and to recognize them for what they are: Useful, incomplete, imprecise shorthand representations of reality.
Thanks for the great advice, Dave!!