“The pebble in the shoe”: The power of metaphor

Metaphors are powerful tools for communication.I couldn’t get the phrase “the pebble in the shoe” out of my mind after an advisor mentioned it to me at the annual conference of the Financial Planning Association of Massachusetts.

Photo by Kaptain Kobold

Apparently speaker Todd Fithian of the Legacy Companies suggested that advisors tackle whatever represents “the pebble in the shoe” for their clients.

I felt anxious just thinking about that pebble. This metaphor also sparked my curiosity about the presentation in which the term popped up.

Pebble vs. pressing problem

Which phrase is more memorable? “The pebble in the shoe” or “The pressing problem your client wants to address”?

For me, it’s clearly the first phrase. I’ll probably remember this phrase and perhaps even Todd Fithian long after I’ve forgotten the rest of the day’s sessions. This is true even though I didn’t attend Fithian’s presentation.

Your metaphors

Some of you are already using metaphors to your advantage, as I learned in your comments on “Reader challenge: New, non-liquid metaphors for money.”

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