Public Speaking Training:
A simile, which is part of your public speaking training, means a comparison of two ideas or things that seem different at
first, but have other strong points in common. The words 'like' and 'as' will
normally be used when making these types of comparisons.
For example you could say, 'Getting this contract signed is as impossible as
trying to smuggle daybreak past a rooster.' Contracts and roosters don't have
anything in common (which is funny), but in this case, the presenter is telling
you what they do have in common. Getting the contract signed and smuggling
daybreak past a rooster are both impossible things to do.
You could even shorten that simile by changing 'as impossible as' to 'like.'
You would then say, "Getting this contract signed is like trying
to smuggle daybreak past a rooster."
In this case, the audience would have to make the interpretation that both
are impossible things to do. It's good to make the audience think sometimes
because it forces them to be involved, which you will understand better in my
public speaking course.
A recurring theme with me is that humorous things surrounds you everywhere,
so look around and share it. I got a great simile out of a child's joke book I
acquired for 10 cents at a flea market. I now use this line in
presentations all over the country. I do a seminar called Business Lite: Low
Cost/No Cost Ways to Improve Productivity. In that seminar I talk about how
employees feel at work. I say, 'Sometimes you go to work and you feel like a
turtle with claustrophobia you've got to be there, but you feel closed in.'
I like to mix and match different types of humor in one concise chunk. Here's
a simile that I just love.
"If you put his brain on a matchstick, it would be like rolling a BB
down a four-lane highway."
For a lesson from my public speaking training, I will break this one-liner down
to see how I used several types of humor. Putting a person's brain on a
matchstick and rolling a BB down a four-lane highway are both ridiculous
No one is going to put someone's brain on a matchstick, or roll a BB down a
four-lane highway. This remark is a simile because the two juxtapositions are
compared with the connective word "like".
The point of this simile is to exaggerate how small this man's brain is. So,
three different types of humor juxtaposition, simile and exaggeration were
combined to make a great one-liner. These are the types of relationships you
would explore if you were feeling adventurous and decided to write some of your
own humor. Many of the one-liners you run across will be combinations like this.
All you have to be able to do is pick the ones that make your point (in this
case similes), and use them where and when appropriate.