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Smooth like butter is life’s lubricant?


If you opened this link based on the title alone, you either like butter or have time on your hands? Either way, glad you did because I have an interesting tidbit to help us improve our instructional outcomes.

If you have a topic that benefits from your listener's emotional connection, consider integrating more analogies and metaphors into your presentation.

Analogies connect the subject to a related example using the word "like".

  • "smooth like butter"
  • "rock a mic like a vandal" (Vanilla Ice, anyone?)

Metaphors connect the subject to an unrelated example.

  • "their heart is a frozen wasteland"
  • "life is a roller coaster of experiences"

Brain research linguists (yes, a real job) hooked up a bunch of volunteers to some sensors and determined that analogies and metaphors "engage the part of the brain involving emotional processing." Also note that the emotional engagement was evident only by looking at the brain activity, not by the volunteer's conscious recognition.

So, this using this tip only provides a nuanced difference in our student's outcomes. Nonetheless, I'm interested in using more analogies and metaphors to help my students create a greater emotional connection to my content. You?

"Enjoy your butter like a vandal???"

Or, better yet ...

"Use the information I've shared to be like a superhero saving the day."

"Ongoing instructor education is the jet fuel for our future successes."

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Keep up with the growing library of instructional support content here.

Mike McKenna

About the author

Mike McKenna is the founder and president of TEAM Solutions. He helps public and private sector leaders improve their outcomes before, during and after a planned event or unplanned crisis.Please contact Mike via the Contact page.

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  • AffiliateLabz says:

    Great content! Super high-quality! Keep it up! 🙂

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