A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Here’s a practice to develop the art of analogies. It’s very effective, but must be repeated several times to really grow on you. For the next 5 days:

  • Step 1: Some time before you go to lunch, write down three random objects, concepts, animals, people, food, etc. on a piece of paper (e.g. caterpillar, sushi, coat hanger). Then leave them alone.
  • Step 2: Some time after lunch, take 10 minutes to brainstorm as many associations as you can between your objects and the future of your industry or business.

Be creative, stretch boundaries, and don’t feel held back by your rational mind. And don’t try to engineer your randomly chosen objects. Even with what may seem to be the most useless things, you’ll undoubtedly find a surprising number of insightful, remarkable, and fun associations to explore.

After a few days, start using your most promising and productive associations in your visionary communications. These analogies will help bring your vision to life, relating it to something already known and understood.

Facts are reassuring to our rational minds. When people want answers, they like the black-and-white, the right-or-wrong. But when you need communicate a vision, sterile facts won’t work. You need to appeal to your audience’s imaginations, bringing them into your vision for the future.

Analogies serve this purpose well. X is like Y, Y is as Z. Essentially, you’re taking something unfamiliar and wrapping it in the familiar, heightening your audience’s ability to “see” what you mean.


This is to practice with the power of images. Using images, metaphors and pictorial language, you unlock the imaginative power of yourself and of your audience. No longer do you need to communicate the dry facts, but you can inspire with fun, powerful images that carry your message much further.

Put the old adage to use for your vision. If a picture says more than a thousand words, a well-chosen image will help you paint an imaginative picture of what the future might be.