Executive Speaking Weblog

Communication – the future of business

A Presentation is a Lot Like a Marriage…

Posted by Presentation Skills on November 13, 2008

A presentation is a lot like a marriage; you spend a lot of time setting up good intentions and preparing for what you will do; then when you get into it, you end up doing whatever you want.


Whilst this may not necessarily be true of marriages, it does highlight the power of the analogy – and that is why you are still reading.


Why do analogies work?


Analogies work because they draw on a well known topic (a marriage) to explain another (the difficulty of giving a speech). As we can all relate to failed intentions in a marriage (even if it is only a truism!) it highlights how we can have failed intentions in our presentation.


Analogies can be drawn between similar objects – ‘The human heart is like the fuel pump in a car”, or dissimilar concepts – “Pupils are more like oysters than sausages. The job of teaching is not to stuff them and then seal them up, but to help them open and reveal the riches within.”


The best analogies are those that draw on dissimilar objects to make a point. Using dissimilar objects creates dissonance in our thought patterns and causes us to think more thoroughly about what is being presented. This helps us remember the point. By showing that two dissimilar objects are closely related (marriage and presentations, students and oysters) you break the chain of thought in your audience and plant a new thought.


How can you use this today?


Consider how you can use analogies to more clearly explain your message. Will an analogy help clarify your point, make it more memorable and cause people to think about what you have said? If it does, then you will change the way your audience thinks, and to having the impact that you are after!



Darren Fleming

Australian Public Speaking Courses

5 Responses to “A Presentation is a Lot Like a Marriage…”

  1. May said

    Hi Darren,

    This is a great method and very true.
    It’s a good way of preenting a topic and I will be using this method in my presentations.



  2. That’s great May. Let me know how you go.



  3. […] Fleming compares presentations to marriage to make his point about analogies. The best analogies are those that draw on dissimilar objects to […]

  4. I often use a point-story-point formula when delivering a keynote. As a former stand-up comedian, I found some of my old material worked well with the points I was making in my programs. The stories are entertaining and serve as analogies without me having to say “this is like this” or “this is an example”. The audience naturally understands the story relates to the point. At least if I have been successful in my delivery. 🙂 Thanks for the article. ~ Garrison

  5. technocrat said

    Great point Darren

    Explanation of the purpose of analogy for presenting a topic and making the readers or listeners understand is a good strategy.


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