Metaphors Examples – Tips and Best Complete Guide With A Story List

Metaphors Examples – Metaphors have a great effect on people: they cause change. In this article, you will find a complete list of tips and examples to learn how to tell metaphors and stories. Let’s warm up with a few quick examples of a metaphor …Tips and Best Metaphors Examples

A few quick and fun examples of a metaphor

  • The protagonist from a metaphor shot with a bow and arrow on a tree, and drew a circle around it: exactly in the rose! Everything was already good as it was.
  • Tell a story about the best shooter in the country, who one day went wrong … His reaction was: even the best can make a mistake!

What do you already notice from the above two examples? They lead to a message that you want to convey. The message of the first story was: everything was already right as it was. And the message of the second story was: even the best can make a mistake! Now it is true that there is a lot more to it if you want to work with metaphors. This way the metaphors are most elegant if you do not make the message explicit. So read the article carefully to find all the tips.

What is a metaphor?

A metaphor is a linguistic tool in which you transfer a property of a certain concept to a different concept. Why would you do that if you could just come straight to the point? That is where the power of metaphors lies: unconscious influence!

Metaphors and stories influence people without their knowledge. When you work with metaphors, the resistance of your audience is automatically reduced. The story is far away at a conscious level and is not happening now so that critical thinking can be eliminated.

For the subconscious, however, the messages in your metaphor do have an effect on the now, because the subconscious makes no distinction in time. You can make use of this by creating a ‘parallel reality’ with your metaphor with which you ‘follow and guide’ the situation of your listener. How you can achieve this, we will discuss extensively in the coming paragraphs.

So you tell a powerful narrative metaphor with a moral or healing effect (9 tips)

powerful narrative metaphor

It is essential to be able to tell well. For example, the following sentence is very descriptive, emotional and interactive :

 “I felt so small at that moment, but my hands were shaking with tension. You know that feeling too? “

Do you want to be able to do this yourself? Below you will find the guide to get started with these kinds of metaphorical stories.

Tip 1 – Keep this construction on

A metaphor in the form of an anecdote or story preferably has the construction of ‘The Journey of the Hero’. Do you really want to take advantage of these steps? Then the comprehensible book about the 12 steps of  De Reis van de Held  (via is highly recommended.

Below is this recommended construction:

  1. If necessary, start with a question: “What is the most beautiful clock you have ever seen?”
  2. Introduce the protagonist  “There was once a clock in a very distant country, in a very distant past …” – The hero must be identicable. Authenticity, hope, vulnerability, love, determination and desire are better for heroes than intelligence or ‘swag’. Just think about Disney: they are always misfits. So when we make a translation to another context, such as vlogging: make yourself human and imperfect. Emphasize that. For example, the story of David Copperfield, about his father and grandfather who died without being able to say goodbye. Something like that has also happened to the public. Everyone knows what it feels like to have a second chance with someone who is dead.
  3. Introduce a daily routine of the main character.
  4. Interruption of the routine, or a problem. For example: a mountain has to be climbed. Bonus points if the break of the routine is a shock or a surprise. You do this by building up expectation or anticipation and then breaking it. Think of a man who bites a dog. Also think of contrasts. Contrasts are easy and effective for surprise, humor and creativity/brainstorming for your vlog.
  5. Emotional impact on the main character. In the end, he has to undergo an emotional change.
  6. Determine the desired result or need. This corresponds to the real-life desired outcome that the metaphor is about.
  7. Make it important. What can you win or lose? What is at stake? What is of value / important to the protagonist?
  8. Identify all obstacles. This corresponds to the real-life obstacles that the metaphor is about.
  9. Emotions during those obstacles.
  10. Resources: what do you need to overcome those obstacles? Which people are needed? This can also be fictitious people. For example, the best mountaineer in the world. You can also choose not to mention the resources explicitly, so that the listener can give his / her interpretation.
  11. The result:  a series of events takes place in which the characters of the story solve the conflict and reach the desired outcome. You can choose to keep this vague, just like the resources, so that the subconscious of the listener can make the appropriate changes independently.
  12. Emotions after overcoming those obstacles.
  13. Link to the listener’s situation: “Think about it.”
  14. A conclusion. What did you learn from it?

Tip 2 – Use sensory-rich language and imagery

.”It was deadly quiet, and I asked him, and he laughed, and with a twinkle in his eyes, he told me …” “I looked into his eyes, and she looked into my eyes, and she leaned forward. It was as if time stood still for a moment. ”

  • When it is silent in the story, you yourself are silent for a moment.
  • Use words like: shouting, whispering, dialects, emotions, muscles, glasses, rays, glowing, character traits, habits, etc.
  • Use imagery to suck people into your story. Information is transferred to the brain of your listeners with imagery.

Tip 3 – Use different observation positions

  • First position: and then my mother told me that I had to take my hair.
  • Second position: do your mother. “Tom, comb your hair.”
    You can also do this for objects, such as a chair, with which you can score some laughers: “Oh no! Here are two more buttocks! “
  • Third position: you tell the story further from a distance.

Tip 4 – Learning metaphor tips

  • Let the metaphor be more difficult than the real problem.
  • Use healing / encouraging words during your metaphor,
  • Explain metaphors nooi. Sin of the mysterious, powerful aspect of a metaphor.

Tip 5 – This way you can tell easier

  • Let an object talk. Then you get inspiration quickly to a learning metaphor.
  • Improvisation: make associations to objects and activities related to the story. You make yourself easy by visualizing a magic box where you get things out. You can literally look into it. Your subconscious does the job and you just have to mention what comes out.
  • Experience the story yourself in the first person while telling or while memorizing your metaphor! This storytelling technique is called: ‘A strange new world’. Imagine a world that no one has seen. In advance, you can possibly turn around completely. ‘Stream’ everything you experience lives by telling it. Describe the elements from the list ‘VAKOG’: what do you see, hear, feel, jerk and taste? The plot did not exist in advance but arises. The same applies to emotions. They also arise.
  • The only thing you have to keep in mind is a word, idea, lesson or state. Keeping these in mind keeps you from blocking yourself. It then just leads you further. For example, if your protagonists arrive at a witch, you listen to what the witch says, and you keep an eye on the theme of ‘courage’, after which you can come up with a situation where courage is needed: The witch says: “You are just on time for eating.” “What’s for food? ” ” You. “

Tip 6 – Use these technical, advanced tips

  • Ask questions while telling your metaphors. For example: “Have you ever tried to travel long distances on a mountain?”
  • Use the qualities of your voice. For example, use many breaks. That also applies to presentations and coaching conversations. Also play with your volume, for example by whispering sometimes. Also play with raising and lowering your voice.
  • Use rhyme and wordplay in your stories.
  • This tip is essential: because you are telling a story, the listener has set out his critical thinking ability. Make smart use of this by incorporating embedded assignments (subliminal influencing)  and subliminal priming in your story. These are assignments that your listener will unconsciously pick up.
  • With a story you are basically already circumventing the critical factor, but you can add extra to that kind of memory loss techniques.
  • At the peak of your story (during the application of the resources) you can also immediately install an anchor for later use. You can even place an anchor in front of the obstacles earlier in the story, allowing you to ‘collapse’ them while overcoming the obstacles. So you are simultaneously anchoring and telling a metaphor.
  • To let the listeners sink deeper into your story, you can incorporate the countdown from 10 to 1 in your story.
  • Do foreshadowing . Give hints about what is to come.
  • Use everything you have to keep the conscious mind out of the game. You achieve this, for example, by selective restriction (giving objects human qualities). We used the example earlier: “What is the most beautiful clock you have ever seen?” Selective restriction is part of the milton model.
  • Process the experiences of your audience. They have to be able to identify themselves to let them absorb more: You say: I am you. I have the same frustrations and problems as you.
  • Leave a lot at stake. That makes it more exciting and difficult. And the more difficult the problem overcome, the more powerful the metaphor. Do not go through life like that, but tell stories like that.
  • The story is successful when you say ‘aha’ together with the listener, because then there is empathy: you move in a person and his story. The audience must experience your eureka moment yourself.
  • What does the audience want? What are they interested in? So not interesting but interested.
  • Always let go of your story in all applications for which you use it. Let others contribute and allow interaction. This happens anyway, so do not mind.
  • Provide a certain openness or place holes in the story.
  • Multiplier: the listeners have to be able to tell it (this is important in marketing).
  • Give as many characters as possible a name . This, however, makes it easier and easier to listen. Describe more about these characters, such as their origin, background story and appearance.
  • Use hypnosis  in your metaphor, so that the subconscious mind is more open to the messages that come later in the metaphor. For example, if a phone is used in the story, take that opportunity for hypnosis: ‘The phone went once … 2 times … 3 times …’ And at a later point: ‘The phone went once … 2 times … 3 times … 4 times … 5 times …. ‘
  • Tell your story or metaphor in the present tense. None: “There I was, on my own in the mysterious garden” But: “There I am, alone in the mysterious garden”.

Tip 7 – Make the metaphor isomorphic

An isomorphic story is a story that is very precise about the listener, and is mainly used by experienced NLP practitioners.

    • Tell a story about the previous client.
    • An entrepreneur can tell his employees myths about the employees who worked for them here to outline the company culture.
    • Try to make stories as isomorphic as possible with analogies and metaphors. For example: the object, like a grenade, can talk and tell not to be a grenade but a constructive, peace-loving object
    • Indirect feedback loop: use mind reading  and literal live pacing:
      The eyes of the audience become tired: the eyes of the protagonist also become tired. The same applies to scratching, yawning, etc.,
      but also a thought. For example: he thinks that hypnosis does not work/feels alarmed, etc.
    • Is your client a mother with nagging children, for example tell a story about a gardener with two roses that were stuck together.

Tip 8 – Build a ‘nested loop’ to wrap your suggestion (nested metaphors)

Start a story/metaphor and stop at the peak. Then you continue to the beginning of a new story. You can do that abruptly or with a nice transition. Then you do that again. In this way, open three to five stories/metaphors and stop at the peak. This looks like this:

  1. Start metaphor 1. Stop at the highlight / the cliffhanger.
  2. Start metaphor 2. Stop at the peak / the cliffhanger.
  3. Start metaphor 3. Stop at the peak / the cliffhanger.

After the cliffhanger of metaphor 3, you place the resources in the form of direct hypnotic suggestion (s). These are your lessons, encouragements and the resources that you want to bring to your audience.

Now you close all stories in reverse order. That looks like this:

  1. Close metaphor 3.
  2. Close metaphor 2.
  3. Close metaphor 1.

The direct suggestion is forgotten by the conscious by all those layers in the story and by the memory loss effect that this entails. Our brain remembers the beginning and the end of stories the best.

The beginning and the end of metaphor 1 thus ensure that the rest is forgotten: all positive suggestions and resources that you told in between. The story is therefore found to be more important, the learning process is not closed and the subconscious is occupied, thus paving the way for suggestions.

More tips for nested loops:

  • Create different times and locations for the different stories. Because you go to a different time and space, memory loss occurs for the conscious brain. Just think about all those times when you walked to another room to get something, and once you got there, you forgot what you were going to that room for.
  • Let the stories flow smoothly or abruptly: soft loop or hard loops. The transition can go like this: “I can remember that I met John for the first time … He told me that he met someone who said to him … But I’ll come back to that later.
  • If necessary, treat in each story of the nested course a different emotion or state (for a rollercoaster of emotions), such as fascination, relaxation, pleasure, attention, etc.
  • Use every loop (story) to always tackle a part of the whole, for example to remove obstacles one at a time from that person.
  • Make the transition abrupt, for example when breaking a sentence: “The best thing about relaxing is … Do you know when you ever drive, that you suddenly notice that you are in a state where you focus your thoughts on the road. see and you can not hear the radio anymore? “

Tip 9 – Use the ‘magic 3’ for easy telling: Action, Color, Emotion!

At any moment in your story you can think about whether you want to use one of these three elements. Let’s take some examples.

  • Action: ‘Anneke burst into the door of the management, slammed her fist on the table and shouted: …’
    Take care: you do not use it when it comes to action: ‘She thought then …’
  • Color: ‘Her face turned red, the vein on her forehead could burst at any moment, the table made an awfully loud noise when her first touched the surface …’
  • Emotion: “She felt the anger in her fist and at the same time the fear in her throat. Or no, she felt it all over her body, she was so panicked! ‘

Metaphors are a powerful influencing tool

Metaphors are a powerful influencing tool

By using metaphors, you can express messages and motivations effectively, effectively reach the subconscious and send the desired direction. This makes the listener more inclined to cooperate without being aware of it.

Fairy tales are a good example: as soon as we hear “Once upon a time”, we switch to story mode. We no longer have to activate our critical factor – a defense mechanism to discuss or question things – because ‘it’s just a story’. Your unconscious will think: “Oh, I’m going to open myself up and I’m going to absorb everything just like in my childhood and listen to everything instead of being critical.” Giants, trolls, bankers who are honest … It does not matter anymore what you say.

For example, you can use metaphors to sketch a business link or goal: “Look, I finance half. Our feet, tongues, hearts and wallets all go in the same direction. So I am in the same position as you. We either cry together or laugh together. Let’s laugh together. It’s going to be okay. “A teacher can do storytelling instead of just dumping data on his students.

Symbolism in stories – List of examples

List of metaphor examples

Process symbolism in your stories by thinking creatively. In addition, there are a number of universal metaphors that you can use.

Perhaps you were looking for examples of metaphors. Then there are examples of symbolism in stories:

  • A journey is for life. Success, failure, and cure occur along the way.
    – there are always good times
    – there are always bad times
    – there are always difficult times
    – there are always easy times
  • Mountains are big and difficult challenges. You can slip away, even when descending.
    There is success. There is a peak. There is glory. There is a feeling of having achieved something.
  • Hills are less challenging. They prepare you to climb the mountains that are to come.
  • Waterfalls are beautiful, overwhelming, very powerful. You are powerless against it.
    You can not stop it. You have to find another way.
  • River: every river on the earth ends up in the sea. At no point in his journey does he know how to get there, it only knows that it keeps flowing, and eventually gravity will steer it in the right direction. The river does not have to think about it, it is in its nature. It is in your nature, to feel those {sources} …
  • Weed: it is useless to prune it. They must be removed with root and all.
  • Flowers: make us feel welcome, we feel good about it.
  • Sun: optimism. It warms us. It is the source of all life.
  • Moon: it illuminates us in the dark.
  • Stars: wonder.
  • Wind: it can heat or cool us, it is the power of change. It can blow trees away, it can also be pleasant and only carry some leaves. It can be a wind in the back and it can be a headwind.
  • Snow: beautiful, white. But difficult and slowing, but with the right tools such as skis, you go much faster than normal.
  • Storm: very difficult to deal with, but if you are safe, it is beautiful.
  • Rain: no rain without rain. It makes traveling difficult, but it is necessary for the growth of plants. It is also necessary for us to drink water. Too many causes of flooding.
  • Leaves: change color, provide shade, smell even good.
  • A metaphor of Voltaire: we have to cultivate our garden. See your thinking, your emotions and your soul as a beautiful ultimate garden. You get a nice nutritious harvest by sowing seeds of warmth, love and appreciation instead of seeds of disappointment, anger and fear. A weed is a call to action to pick it. “
  • You talk about a child who came to you with his parents. The child was allowed to stay and the parents had to wait outside. This is a symbol for recognizing the child in the client towards you. He can talk freely now.

5 Examples of beautiful metaphors

 Examples of beautiful metaphors

Example 1: The Rabbit and I – Just a story based on the tips of this article

Let’s see if we can now apply all tips:

I was walking through the woods when suddenly a little bunny jumped in front of me and said, “Please, mister, do not let the dog eat me!” I decided I can not let this little creature suffer, so I picked it up and I said, “Do not worry, little friend, I’ll protect you.”

Suddenly the dog came running. It is a small Chihuahua and I look at it, I laugh and I say: “Hey, if you want to come to my friend, you must first pass me.” The poor little dog turned around and ran away so fast! Then I went home with my rabbit and now we are best friends.

Can you recognize the structure in the above example?

  1. In the above example, a routine is started: I was walking through the forest.
  2. Then the routine is broken: a rabbit jumped out before me.
  3. Then someone has to be changed emotionally. In this case it was me: I said I would take care of the rabbit and I would chase the dog away.
  4. The belonging, or the result: we have become friends.

Example 2: The Hawksnest – A metaphor for giving to your students during a training session

The following metaphor serves excellent as an overarching metaphor for a complete training that you give. You welcome your students, who are still in their comfort zone, you stretch them outside their comfort zone and you send them forward back into the world. You can implicitly put this feeling into a metaphor, without having to explicitly name it. This example contains the format of the previous example and it contains powerful embedded messages for the listeners. You start the metaphor on the first day of your training:

There was once a hawk nest … High in a tree … Near a clear blue river … Like blue silk under the sky …
With a base of sturdy branches … Comfortable … Safe … A wonderful comfort zone for the youngsters … in the nest … Delicious … Here … . Now…. {Breathe and check if the audience breathes}

And one of the youngsters was sitting there nice … Lovely high above the trees, and the leaves of the trees rock back and forth, as if they were even sheltering the young for the sun …

And the litter is well taken care of for the boy: sweet, deliciously juicy insects glide from the beak of daddy into the beak of the young. Every time a different kind of insect … They get a rich bouquet of insects presented.

And the day would dawn that the young hawks would leave the comfortable nest. And the young hawks have serious doubts … How should they fly? They have never flown before!

Then there are a few days of training, and suddenly the metaphor is picked up again:

And fearing father-hawk would be disappointed in them … They told them they did not want …: ‘I do not dare to fly …’ It was told … They looked his father in the eye … And the father looked the youngsters in the eye … And he leaned forward … and it was dead silent … And it was as if time stood still for a moment … And his father laughed, and with a twinkle in his eyes he whispered to them:

“I believe in myself, and I believe in you, and together we will catch this little bunny! I believe in myself, and I believe in you (pay attention to the  subliminal messages ), and together we will catch this leap! I believe in myself, and I believe in you, and together we will catch this leap! It is of course for you. You find it easy. I believe in myself, and I believe in you, and together we will catch this leap! ”

As a blossom illuminated the face of the Hawk, and his heart opened:

I can, and I will!

And the day dawned that the daddy and mommy hawks bring their youngsters to the edge … of the nest … one by one … And mama-hawk pushes the young hawks … And they fall ….

Then there are a few more training days … And in the last half hour of the last training day you finish the metaphor.

And the young bird fell …

And the young hawk knew …

I believe in myself, and I believe in you, and together we will catch this leap! I believe in myself, and I believe in you, and together we will catch this leap! I believe in myself, and I believe in you, and together we will catch this leap! It is of course for you. You find it easy. I believe in myself, and I believe in you, and together we will catch this leap! I can, and I will!

And he still falls …. Opens his wings …. And flies …. fluttering from the edge … as an accomplished aviator … The wide world in … The nest is deserted … Forward!

Example 3: The Drum – A random story from the Sufi tradition

Once upon a time there was a boy who hit the drum all day and enjoyed every second of it. He never stopped. In the end, the neighbor Sufis called to calm him down.
The first said: “You pierce your eardrums if you continue.” That was spoken to deaf ears.
The second said: “It is a sacred activity, only for special occasions.”
The third gave earplugs to all other neighbors.
The fourth gave the boy a book.
The fifth gave the neighbors a book with a method to control anger through biofeedback.
The sixth let the boy do meditation exercises to calm him down “reality is mere imagination”.
None of it worked.
Finally a real Sufi arrived, he looked at the situation for a moment, handed the boy a hammer and a chisel and said: “What would be in the drum?”

Example 4: The Horse – A metaphor by Milton Erickson

During his childhood, a horse came home to Milton Erickson and Erickson sat down to bring him back to the owner, but instead of going everywhere to ask if the horse was someone, he let the horse himself find a way. When the owners of the horse asked how he knew it, he said: “I did not know: the horse knew it! The only thing I did was keep him on the road. “In this story, the horse symbolizes the subconscious.

Example 5: Gary Player – A metaphor about hard work

This reminds me of sports interviewers: Perhaps you have seen on TV that there are those difficult, tricky commentators and interviewers who want to take down the athletes: they make life difficult because it is good TV.

Gary Player was a South African golfer, and was world class. He was in a big game and he knew that there was pressure on him, and unfortunately … He made a big mistake: one of his shots ended up in the bunker (that part of the sand). That is very bad for golfers at his level. And from there he shot … He looked, and the ball went hard, went far, and eventually rolled into the hole at once. So he recovered.

After the game: that awkward commentator wanted to make it difficult for him again, and said: You were lucky, did you get that shot? Well … What was Gary’s answer …

Now the metaphor could be truncated so that the direct suggestions/lessons can be given. That could for example be: have a good preparation, have a lot of practice. That gives you the luxury and the confidence to flow and improvise. Then the metaphor is closed again:

From the sand Gary shot into the hole in one go. So he recovered. The commentator said: you were lucky there, did not you? To which Gary replied: The more I practice that shot, the luckier I get.

Other forms of metaphors

Other forms of metaphors

In addition to the forms and elements of metaphors that were discussed in this article, such as imagery and the story construction, you can also process the following things in your metaphor or use them as a stand-alone metaphor:

  • Symbolism.
  • An anecdote.
  • A traditional metaphor in which you, often in one sense, make a comparison with something. “You are like a leaf because you smell nice and fresh, you protect us and you always change color.”
  • A traditional metaphor in which you make an equivalence. “You are a radiant sun.”
  • Isomorphic metaphor: a story that refers to the situation of the client where some elements are very parallel with reality.
  • An XYZ construction: Tiger Woods is the Michael Jordan of golf.
  • To experience a metaphor: Erickson had a client who wanted to get rid of his drink addiction, buy a cactus plant and watch it for a period of time.
  • A proverb.

Exercise – The metaphoric game

How powerful would it be if you could make using metaphors a real habit? Play this game as often as possible, for example at the table during dinner.

  1. Choose a goal. For example, to write easier.
  2. Person A says: “Writing a book can be compared to …”
  3. Person B searches for a metaphor and says: “An apple.”
  4. Person C connects the metaphor and says: “Because you can put your teeth in it.”

Connect the topics together. For example: men and computers. Metaphor: men are like computers.
To get their attention, you have to excite them.
They are meant to solve your problems, but half the time they are the problem themselves.
Continue to find the funny or special resemblance (women are like cars, pubs are like work, etc.)

Exercise – Metaphors game as icebreaker

Find someone you do not know yet. Tell that person that you are doing a homework assignment to learn how to use metaphors. The assignment is:

Imagine yourself through a metaphor.

For example:

  • I am like a car because I often need guidance.
  • I am like the sun, because I always radiate.

Utilization / adoption of metaphors – Use this powerful NLP tip

metaphor and stories

In the process of dilation, you are basically working with metaphors, and in particular with metaphors from other people. You adopt the metaphor that already belongs to someone else! One of the most elegant things you can do is use the underlying idea of utilization in combination with metaphors.

Use metaphors that are tailored to your audience. You can, for example, base them on their identity, interests or metaphors. You ‘utilize’ these things. So make sure that you first find out what they are in one way or another. You can also adopt the metaphors that the client uses.

You can also use the syntax of someone’s sense or metaphor. Use the same structure as the structure of the problem or restrictive thought.
“Life is like …”
“I once heard a poet say: Life is like …”
First, direct to another random subject for the indirect way. Then you can offer the solution as a metaphor. Even after that you immediately divert attention again. If the other person asks: what was that? Then you say: “Oh yes, what did I say about that?” Then the client will explain it yourself and you will confirm it in it.

Let’s look at some examples of this adoption principle:

  • Are you talking to a cat lover, then you make up a metaphor about a cat’s nest in which for example one kitten always falls outside the boat?
  • Talk to a golfer, use the metaphor of a ‘hole in one.’
  • If you present something to a group of mothers, compare your subject with pregnancy.
  • The weight of the world on my back: set the world off.
  • “I’ll just run into it.” “Just make a hole in it, go over it, go through it or open a door and go through it.
  • “I am in the dark.” “What happens when you turn on the light?”
  • Do you know who the favorite sporting partner of your conversation partner is, formulate your message or conviction in the spirit of his favorite sporting hero, for example about a trait or something that he has experienced in his career, to get your conversation partner out of his way?
  • When Erickson visited a psychiatric institution, there was a rebellious client who thought he was Jesus. Erickson accepted that and from there he sought a solution to let him cooperate with something constructive: the father of Jesus was a carpenter, so the client will accept it to be useful as a carpenter.
  • “It feels like a huge burden, a kind of backpack that I carry with me all my life.” “What if you release the backpack? What if you put him in a rack and send him to the sun? And after that happens, tell me what happens when you walk around outside? And how does {the problem} feel?
  • “If you would make a picture of it, what kind of image would you see in front of you?” “An elastic on tension.” “Can you relax that elastic? What happens then?”

So what you should not do is: “I scored a home run at work” if your listener does not like baseball.

Exercise – In practice

In the next activity, meeting or context you are involved in, you will use a metaphor that can be derived from an object, feeling or sound in that situation.

For example:

  • There is some fruit on the table during a meeting: “If we continue the plan, we can reap the benefits later on”, picking up the fruit.
  • There are still rolls of lunch. “We can reap the much-needed results later on.”
  • During a coaching session with a client who wants more confidence, they knock on the door: “And while you relax even more, you know that it is self-confidence at the door.”

From now on, use every opportunity to use a metaphor that is based on the context you are dealing with at the time.

Exercise – Use a metaphor to give insight into another

You can give this exercise as a gift to another person. You can also do it for an organization.

  1. Let someone else tell you about his / her problematic situation.
  2. Explore the problem and encourage the other person to make a metaphor for this situation. Help by saying, for example, “If your problem was a vehicle, what vehicle would it be?” Think of a category other than a vehicle. That is just an example. Or: ‘Where can you compare the problem?’ Or fill in: ‘So the problem feels like a … (by filling in the other person)?’
  3. While you stay within the chosen metaphor, you are steering for possible solutions. How do you get from the current situation to the desired situation in the metaphor?
  4. Ask the other person how he/she experienced working with the metaphor.
  5. Tip: let someone watch and give feedback to you: what did you do to steer the metaphor, how did you ensure to stay within the metaphor and what was the effect on the other? Otherwise, take the third observer position to give yourself feedback and set a goal for the next time you start working with metaphors.

Exercise – Use a metaphor to give someone feedback

Giving feedback is a wonderful gift and it is essential to grow. Give us your feedback, even to provide feedback using a metaphor. In the metaphor, you process the current situation, the desired situation, the positive intention and the way to the desired situation. You think up the metaphor and then tell it as a story to the other person.

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