Zorro, or Wonder Woman?
Occasionally, people are called upon to speak before audiences that are not the
norm for them. That can be at a wedding for a toast to the bride and groom, at a
funeral to deliver a eulogy, or, in Jim Sayers' case, in the pulpit of his
church when his pastor was called out of town.
Jim's sermon was to be on Hero Worship in reference to Mark 1:14-20 (Christ
recruiting disciples Simon, Andrew, James, and John in which he asked them to
follow him and then have others follow them).
Jim knew his topic, but thought, "How am I going to engage this congregation?"
He decided to use the power of analogy. "I began talking about the heroes we
worship today, those people or figures we respect, who lift us up, make us want
to be like them and who we willingly follow."
"I continued about how we have heroes all during our lives - beginning when we
were kids and our heroes were the ones on our pajamas, lunchboxes, and who we
dressed up as for Halloween. Later in life our heroes were ‘real’ people such as
musicians, movie/TV stars, athletes and political leaders. As adults, we come to
realize that our heroes do not necessarily have to be superstars, but can be
normal, ordinary people whom we respect equally to inspire us."
"As I spoke," reports Jim, "I could see people nodding with the understanding
that comes from recalling personal experiences. Eighty or eighteen, they were
each thinking about their personal heroes from childhood on. Not only did I have
their attention, but I knew my analogy had succeeded in helping them imagine how
the disciples felt about Christ when they chose to follow him."
It was a short leap from that opening analogy to his sermon that we all have the
opportunity to be heroes to others.
Stuck for an Opening?
Reach for a (relevant) story or reference that connects with your listeners'
experiences and you will always establish a deep connection with an audience.
Mentally, your metaphor or analogy engages that visual, emotional, associative
right brain to move your audience from "ho-hum" to "Yes, tell me more…"
(Who were/are your heroes? For the record, Jim's childhood heroes were Roy
Rogers, Lone Ranger and Zorro. He works for Corn Belt Power in Humbolt, IA, a
generation and transmission electric cooperative owned by its members.) .
Make what you say pay — with metaphors.
Metaphors in the News
"She was a sunbeam—radiant, perspective altering, impossible to reach."
Caramanica, The New York Times on Whitney Houston
"The Beast with a Billion Eyes" -Time
Magazine on YouTube
"The world’s social bazaar." -
The Wall Street Journal, on Facebook
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Jane Newton, Wealth Manager, Regent Atlantic Capital LLC