There is always a musical, political or Simpsons reference

It was way back with Jesus, maybe before, that we discovered that metaphors and parallels are useful when trying to bring people to their senses. As a writer it didn’t take me long to unearth some 21st century versions of the loaves and the fishes that even the heathen folk can relate to. There are so many to plunder, especially in popular music, modern politics and even the Simpsons.

Observe. Someone on your team has the seed of a good idea, but she’s over-worked it and now, it’s pretty bad. But she’s too close and can’t see the problem. A client of mine recently descended down this path, and try as I might, she couldn’t see the forest for the trees she was careening toward. She was about to communicate this idea to senior leadership, and the results weren’t going to be pretty. So I turned to a television classic – Homer Simpson’s Nuts and Gum.

Individually, nuts and gum can be quite tasty. Together, though Homer might think it a culinary sensation, I suspect my client’s team wouldn’t concur. There are thousands of other examples. Here are just a few:

Together at last...

Homer’s homage to over-engineering, The Homer, which bankrupted his brother’s manufacturing company. How about a Bono and Frank Sinatra duet , or the hastily constructed Liberal/NDP/Bloc coalition that never was? But work is no place to talk politics, is it?!

Thankfully, my client got the nuts and gum reference, and I didn’t have to pull out the Lawyers, Guns and Money or administer a Cher slap. When you need to convey a complex message, think about how you can make it real for your audience. And don’t shy away from drawing analogies to the things they experience every day like movies, music or the Simpson’s.