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It's Like Jaws in Space, or, The Power of a Good Metaphor

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

December 12, 2008

Comments (2)

Shark jawsIf you had only a few words to describe your voice, what would you say it sounds like?

One of the easiest and fastest ways to get your point across is to use metaphors.

Discover how you can create your own metaphor by reading this article inspired by a lecture I heard given by Dr. Michael Sider at the Ivey School of Business in London, ON Canada.


When you use a metaphor to explain your profession or how you sound, you have the opportunity to use language that your listener is comfortable with and can relate to, driving your point home with clarity and instant recognition.

Powerful Imagery

Metaphors are incredibly powerful because not only do they make use of preexisting knowledge and ideas to leverage your pitch, they also create a profound visual picture that stays with people for years.

Hollywood Pitches Through Metaphors

In the movie biz, producers pitch their films by likening their concept to a film that has already achieved box office success, critical acclaim and public adoption.

When Ridley Scott was pitching for his movie "Alien" (1979), he was able to draw on the wildly popular movie "Jaws" (1975) as a reference point but instead of his movie being set in the US with an oversized shark as the predator, it was an alien creeping around on a ship in outer space with similar intentions, thus the metaphor "It's like Jaws in Space".

Want another example? Try this:

"It's like Big for Girls".


The pitch concept is borrowed from a box office hit starring Tom Hanks called "Big" (1988) that tells the story of a boy on his birthday who wishes to be older whose wish is granted, subsequently trapping him in an older man's body. The parallel is drawn nicely when pitching a movie meant for girls along the same lines, in this case "13 Going On 30" (2004) starring Jennifer Garner.

Taking A Crack At Metaphors

How do you describe your business or your voice?

If I were to describe Voices.com in a Hollywood style pitch, I might say:

It's like eBay for Voices

How-To For Creating a Good Metaphor

  1. Take a commonly understood concept or example
  2. Find a way to connect it to your business
  3. Put that information into language your audience relates to

Regardless of what you do, you can think of a couple good metaphors that will work for people outside of your industry.

Do you have a metaphor for your voice or what you do?

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Best wishes,


Article inspired by a lecture given by Michael Sider

©iStockphoto.com/Lesjak Rok

Related Topics: Hollywood, industry, metaphor, metaphors, michael sider, movies, pitch, voice over, voices.com


    I thought about this for a while and came up empty. I guess I would say "It's like Jaws in space!" -- Just kidding.


    Posted by:

      thats a good idea.. my voice is @ www.aievoiceovers.com --- what
      metaphor would you use for my voice??? ---- Johnny

      Posted by:
      • Teflon Johnny
      • December 14, 2008 6:04 PM

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