Here is another great way to make your speech sparkle.
Still another way to make speech vivid or colorful is to use exaggerated pictures, or hyperbole.
For instance, a businessman said in a speech, “I thought this family was poor, but when I walked into the house the first thing I saw was a television set as big as that piano!”
Of course, he knew, and his listeners knew, that the television set was not half as large as the upright piano to which he referred. But making this comparison was far more impressive than simply saying, “When I entered the room I saw a big television set.” And this type of exaggeration is ethical in public speaking because it is not really an attempt to deceive an audience.
Another speaker, when talking about a gossiping woman said, “Her tongue was so long she could sit in the parlor and lick a skillet in the kitchen!”
Still another remarked, “The restaurant was so crowded that when a man bent over to tie his shoe, a waitress slapped a table-cloth and four plates on his back before he could straighten up.”
Ridiculous? Yes. But it vividly supports a point, and adds interest to a speech which might otherwise be dull.
Also understatements, such as, “Her mouth looked like a button-hole that had been washed in alum,” or, “I could have stuffed his toothpick body into my shirt pocket and have had plenty of room to spare,” may add color and interest to a speech.
All figures of speech should be chosen with care and used only when and where they aptly fit the situation or speech theme. They should never be “pulled in by the ears,” misused, or over-used. Rather, they should be used as verbal salt to season a speech and make it palatable for listeners’ minds.
I hope you have found this series on adding interest and color to your public speaking through similes and exaggerations useful. Let me know if you’ve found it useful,