Rhetoric and Metaphors

One of the lesser used meanings of the word “rhetoric” is the ability to use language effectively, as in the classical art of rhetoric.

In this sense of rhetoric, it is a continuing challenge to be able to explain the way mediators like me work without using loaded or technical words such as transformative, empowerment, recognition and the like.  The use of metaphors can be of great assistance.

Here’s a great example of metaphors used to explain the difference between a “blog” and a “wiki”:

Blog – a Talk Show with call-in guests (e.g., Bill O’Reilly) — while guests and callers can comment on the conversation, at the end of the day — it’s Bill’s show.

Wiki – a Talk Show with a panel (e.g., The View) — Everyone contributes to the conversation.

The point is to find an explanation that is effective in reaching the listener/reader.

Have a look at Mike Sansone’s post, What’s the Difference between a Blog and a Wiki? for other good examples of effective explanations.