Discover Simple Ways to Use Visual Metaphor in PowerPoint

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Discover simple ways to use Visual Comparisons in your PowerPoint slides. Make your message effective and memorable using this useful tool.

What is a Visual Metaphor?

It is a comparison of two things that are unrelated in most ways but are related in one important way, which is relevant to your point of emphasis.

It is a powerful way to simplify a complex idea in a business presentation. Let us understand this with some examples:

Example: Attractiveness of a business deal

In this slide, the metaphor of a cake is used to explain the attractiveness of a business deal:

Good Visual MetaphorThe correlation of the metaphor is – ‘Not only did they get a bulk order, but also got an exclusive contract for 1 year –which is like icing on a cake. To top it all, they got payment in advance – which is like cherry on top of the icing’.

This simple comparison helped the presenter to put the various parts of a deal in context. Since ‘icing on a cake’ is a figure of speech used commonly in everyday language, the connection is established instantly.

Important point to consider while using metaphors:

The metaphor you use should be intuitive enough to help your audience get the message quickly. If they spend time processing your metaphor to understand the ‘correlation’, you lose your audience.

For example, take a look at the following metaphor:

Inappropriate metaphor: Components of a persuasive presentation

Not Good Visual MetaphorThe presenter wanted to show the various components of a persuasive presentation. But a burger is not totally appropriate to draw relevant comparison. The reasons are:

  • People may not readily correlate a presentation with a burger. The stretch requires your audience to process the ‘correlation’
  • The comparison doesn’t give an accurate picture in terms of sequencing the components (The items are placed in reverse sequence while preparing the burger, so this may lead to confusion)
  • When people consume burger, they take in chunks that cut across layers, instead of consuming layer by layer. This contradicts the way a presentation is ‘consumed’, where the components are presented one after another.

So, you may need to take extra care to ensure that the comparison is relevant and accurate.

Related: More examples on visualizing presentations wrong

Where to find ideas for Visual Metaphors?

When you look for it, you can find ideas for metaphors everywhere:

  • You can get tons of ideas from any reference book on common “Idioms and Phrases”. You would be amazed at the number of metaphors we use in our daily conversations, which can serve as a useful starting point
  • You can find inspiration from print and television advertisements
  • You can get ideas from ‘Google image’ search

More Ideas for Metaphors in PowerPoint

You can either conceptualize the metaphors and then use public domain images or create your own diagrams in PowerPoint to serve as Metaphors. Take a look at some of the examples below:

Examples of leverage and differenciation

Business Metaphors from PowerPoint CEO Pack

Source: Business Concepts from PowerPoint Charts & Diagrams Pack

Metaphors for getting to Clarity and Organizing Activities

Visual Metaphors from CEO Pack

Problem resolution & Team Management Concepts

Metaphors Concepts from CEO PackThe diagram templates you see above are part of our ‘750+ PowerPoint Charts & Diagram Templates Pack for CEOs’.

There are a whole range of useful visual metaphors included in the pack which are highly appropriate for business presentations. All the diagrams in the pack are fully editable. Just select the comparison suitable for your business situation and copy and paste it into your presentation. Your powerful slides are ready in minutes!

To conclude:

Keep looking around you to find more concepts that will make your business presentation more interesting and engaging.

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