Simile is a comparison of two things which, however different in other respects,
have some strong point or points in common. The words 'like' and 'as' will
normally be used in your art of public speaking when making the
You might say, 'Getting this contract signed is as impossible as trying to
smuggle daybreak past a rooster.' Contracts and roosters don't have much in
common (which is funny), but in this case, the presenter is telling you what
they do have in common. Getting the contract signed and smuggling daybreak past
a rooster are both impossible.
You could shorten the last simile by changing 'as impossible as' to 'like.'
"Getting this contract signed is like trying to smuggle daybreak past a
In this case, the audience must make the interpretation that both are
impossible. It's good to make the audience think sometimes because it forces
them to be involved, and the art of public speaking includes getting your
A recurring theme with me in my art of public speaking is that humor
surrounds you wherever you go, so look around and share it. I got a great simile
out of a child's joke book I acquired (if something is valuable you acquire it)
for 10 cents at a flea market. I now use this line in presentations all over the
country. I do a seminar called Business Lite: Low Cost/No Cost Ways to Improve
Productivity. In that seminar I talk about how employees feel at work. I say,
'Sometimes you go to work and you feel like a turtle with claustrophobia you've
got to be there, but you feel closed in.'
I like to mix and match many types of humor in one concise chunk. Here's a
simile that I just love.
"If you put his brain on a matchstick, it would be like rolling a BB down a
For a lesson in the art of public speaking, let's break this one-liner
down to see how several different forms of humor were used. Putting a person's
brain on a matchstick and rolling a BB down a four-lane highway are both
ludicrous juxtapositions. (View this web site's 'Juxtaposition' article, for
reference.) No one is going to put someone's brain on a matchstick, or roll a BB
down a four-lane highway. This piece of humor is a simile because the two
ludicrous juxtapositions are compared with the connective word "like".
The effect of the simile is to exaggerate how small this man's brain is. So,
three different types of humor juxtaposition, simile and exaggeration were
combined to make a great one-liner in the art of public speaking. These
are the types of relationships you would explore if you were feeling adventurous
and decided to write some of your own humor. Many of the one-liners you run
across will be combinations like this. You don't have to be able to dissect them
like I just did. All you have to be able to do is pick the ones that make your
point (in this case similes), and use them where and when appropriate in your
art of public speaking.