Guy Kawasaki knows how to use a well-placed rhyme. In an interview about Kawasaki’s book, for instance, he said he wanted to write something that was “really tactical, really practical.”
Rhyming, according to Kawasaki, is serious business. People actually believe rhymed statements are more accurate than unrhymed statements; so if you want to remove psychological “fences” for your customers, you might want to speak in rhymes to ease their minds. (I’m assuming Kawasaki isn’t recommending that we turn into Dr. Seuss, just that we learn how to use… a well-placed rhyme.)
In a similar poetic vein, Kawasaki also recommends three ways to make our business messages “swallowable”: use metaphor, simile, and brevity. Metaphor “[conveys] the meaning of your cause,” while similes “provide a familiar starting point,” and brevity promotes memory and repetition of your message.
Okay, so Kawasaki never quite says, “Use poetry in business.” (That’s me taking poetic license. But I think just about anybody can recognize that rhyme, metaphor, simile, and brevity are the tools of poetry.
It turns out, in Kawasaki’s world, that these poetic tools aren’t for lovers. They’re for good business.
So if you ever needed permission to become a student of poetry, this is your official invitation to get intimate with Whitman, Collins, or Wheeler. This is your day to say, “If poetry is good for business, then poetry is good for me.”
As part of your official invitation, I want to give you the chance to revive a dead metaphor in a poem— and post the result here in the comment box by next Friday, April 20th. Then the following week, we’ll feature one poem on our Facebook Wall (and give thanks to everyone who participated).
What’s a Dead Metaphor?
Much of our language is rooted in metaphor (there’s one now… did you catch it? :). Over time, metaphors lose their power, become tired. Here are a few you might recognize:
I cried a river of tears
We hammered out our differences
That kind of thinking is a dead end
She broke the ice at the party
Author Kim Addonizio suggests that we can revive dead metaphors in our poetry, by adding specificity (When you left, I cried the Ganges, I cried the Amazon, I cried the/entire Mississipi…)
Try it out. Take a dead metaphor and get specific with it in a poem. We look forward to your word revival.
Photo by FatMandy. Creative Commons, via Flickr. This post is a modified reprint of a post that first published at TheHighCalling.org. Post by L.L. Barkat, author of Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity & Writing
Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $2.99— Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In April we’re exploring the theme Candy.