Leaders are born with a megaphone at their mouth and a laptop at their fingertips. Whether they’re giving stadium keynotes or elevator speeches, writing year-end appeals or weekly thank you notes, they paint the sky with their impassioned, flowery words. But… leaders who learn to write tight have happier readers.
Did you catch what I just did? In two sentences, I overloaded you with mixed metaphors and took you from cheerleading to technology to multi-sized venues and letters, and then switched to art and even nature!
I know this because I’m guilty of it. My book editor catches mixed metaphors all throughout my writing. Here are some tips I’ve learned. Let’s put them in the context of writing a fund raising letter.
In a recent fund raising letter, I used the metaphor of “drowning” to describe a client who was overwhelmed, and coupled it with the word “lifeline” to convey our vital help.
Jesus was famous for using metaphor as He communicated. Notice how clear, tight, and powerful His words are:
“I am the bread of life; he who comes to me will not hunger, and he who believes in me will never thirst” (John 6:35).
“Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest?’ Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest” (John 4:35).
Most leaders are passionate communicators and inadvertently mix metaphors to strengthen their messages. But just like Jesus, leaders who streamline their metaphors and pare down their words don’t diminish their messages; they enhance them.
“Leaders who streamline their metaphors and pare down their words don’t diminish their messages; they enhance them.”- Lisa Hosler
What’s one writing tip you’ve learned in your leadership journey? Feel free to share it in the Comment Section below.