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Forestry group should be congratulated for All Blacks analogy

5 December 2013
Earlier this week, Hancock Forestry Management was criticised for using an All Blacks analogy when discussing the recent spate of deaths in the industry. I congratulate them. Use of analogies is something we encourage in both our media training and presentation training workshops. It helps people remember the point being made. Forest WorkerThe issue came to media attention when a meeting of 90 forest contractors was told that the All Blacks perfect season this year was taken one game at a time. This was used to make the point that they should take each day at a time to achieve a season of zero harm. The need for everyone to work together was also likened to the All Blacks. When word got out, CTU boss Helen Kelly called the analogy patronising and simplistic. Others joined her in condemning the approach. But the analogy was perfect for the occasion. When stories or analogies are used to make points, they bring the point to life and audiences make more sense of them. This is also why they are a great way to make a point to journalists. We tell our media training clients that if they can make an important point by using an analogy, they can almost guarantee it will make it into the story. The other great thing about analogies is that audiences remember them. This is why the link to the All Blacks was so effective. Presumably, lots of those at the meeting would have been rugby fans. Because of this, they would have listened far more intently to what was being said, and remembered exactly what the point was. We ask participants in our presentation training sessions what they remember about recent speeches they have heard. Most remember very little, but it’s the stories and analogies used to make the points that they remember. Most presentations are data dumps, with multiple bullet points on multiple PowerPoint slides. As we tell our presentation training clients, this is a recipe for disaster. People walk away remembering nothing. But if you limit the number of points you make and back them up with stories and analogies, people will remember. I commend Hancock Forestry Management for using this approach. For such a serious issue, it was important that the contractors in attendance remembered the message. Their use of the All Blacks analogy would have almost guaranteed that. For more on our media training and presentation training workshops, email pete@mediatrainingnz.co.nz today.

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Pete is a leading New Zealand media trainer and regular blogger for his company, Media Training NZ . He has helped leaders from all sectors of society communicate with the media and other stakeholders. Pete is a former daily newspaper reporter and press secretary in the New Zealand government. From these roles, he understands the media process from both sides of the camera.

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