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10 sports metaphors to be a more memorable speaker

 In Journalist, Learning from Luminaries

In memory of the poet and playwright William Shakespeare – who was born in the month of April  (23 April 1564)

– this month’s theme is: Sharpen your language.

The focus will be on the practical use of words, metaphor and other literary devices for the business context – to help you notch up your spoken communication impact.

To be clear, the focus is not on showing off with new words and phrases.

Rather, the focus is on avoiding staleness of language – where everyone seems to be speaking and sounding alike.

The focus is on promoting richer word and language usage.

Your choice of words –

can make people want to listen to you, 

– and act on what you say.

It can make your voice be heard, above the cacophony of buzz words and acronyms. It can make you more articulate.

To warm you up for the month, here are examples of 10 sports metaphors used in business and where they came from.

Many of the metaphors are from the U.S. You might be surprised at their origin of some.

In addition, here’s a superb AFR article by Michael Dirda, What does that remind you of? The power of metaphor.

The article ends with this vignette.

‘Let me end with a glorious passage from H.L. Mencken in full throat as he destroys the prose of Warren G. Harding:

“He writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights.

It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of tosh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash.”*

Lord, what I’d give to be able to write like that!’


Own the Conversation

Over the next seven days identify at least one stale, redundant or empty word or phrase that you speak or write. Write it down where you can readily see it. Aim to axe it from your speaking and writing.


*Mencken, in starting a string of sentences with the same word, (‘It’), is using the literary device of anaphora.

Check out this post on the first job of a leader.

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