Business is rife with analogies. Every business leaders from Bill Gates to Jack Welch uses them, hoping that the apt analogy will make what they’re saying clear. Here’s a hint: if an analogy is the only way to make yourself understood, what you’re saying doesn’t make sense.Used judiciously, analogies are tremendous communication tools for illustrating your point and making concepts more accessible. However, overusing analogies can send you off into a universe of abstraction that will leave your audience confused and you looking like a buffoon.
Consider the cartoon panels posted to Language Log demonstrating how an analogy can quickly spin out of control.
By contrast, Jennifer Rice at What’s Your Brand Mantra has posted primer on analogies in business settings that should be required reading. As Rice says, analogies can be very helpful in “making the connection between two seemingly unrelated concepts.”