Why You Should Use Analogies

Do you know what a “pomelo” is? If not, consider these competing definitions:

1. A pomelo is the largest citrus fruit. The rind is very thick but soft and easy to peel away. The resulting fruit has a light yellow to coral pink flesh and can vary from juicy to slightly dry and from seductively spicy-sweet to tangy and tart.

2. A pomelo is basically a supersized grapefruit with a very thick and soft rind.

Which is better? The first infuses the definition with detail; the second draws an accessible analogy.

In Made to Stick, Dan and Chip Heath argue that the second version works better because it “taps the existing memory terrain of your audience. You use what’s already there.”

That’s the power of an analogy.

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