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Analogies? A Great Way To Effectively Communicate

Analogies? A Great Way To Effectively Communicate

by Conor Meyers, ESQ

What is an analogy? An analogy is defined in Merriam-Webster as "a comparison of two things based on their being alike in some way." Sounds pretty simple.

Who should use analogies in our industry? Everyone involved in our industry should use the power of analogies to explain and develop an opinion or position. Attorneys and experts can use them effectively with juries, judges and arbitrators. If you are afforded the opportunity to meet with the opposing side it can be an effective way to explain to non-professionals, such as board members, in simple to understand language a complex issue that can affect their position. In the same regard, it can be effective to illuminate strengths and weaknesses of your case and expert opinions when discussing with the client.

Why use them? Analogies are a powerful literary device. When used effectively they can simplify complex construction issues. Experts, insurance people and lawyer sare generally smart people who are well versed in their field. They are accustom to discussing complex issues with veteran construction business professionals that comprehend the specialized issues. Step outside that group and you are asking a lot from lay people to understand technical details. By way of example, ask some of your friends not involved in construction what a window flashing is. Almost guarantee most have no idea. But if you can explain it to them using something out of ordinary life you may get an "ah-ha" moment where they understand. Juries and other non-construction professionals in the industry are the same way. Make it simple and you can more effectively make your point.

Moreover, never assume that everyone, even those in the industry, know and understand everything that is being discussed. I admit that although I worked in construction through college, when I first started practicing law there were things discussed that I did not fully comprehend. I often pretended I did to not appear like a blockhead. In retrospect I was actually more of a blockhead for not asking more questions. Fortunately one expert was gracious about explaining to me through analogies so I clearly understood the concept. He did it for everyone whether they were brand new or a seasoned veteran and he got his point across effectively.

So take the time to develop effective analogies and when you get the chance to describe the complex in comparison to something of everyday life, do it. It will be worth your time and make you more effective. You will be rewarded for transforming the complex into something comprehensible for all.

If you would like more information on Axis Consulting or have a question about a case, please contact Conor Meyers at