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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Rolling Stone Gathers too Many Cooks or Something

Last week there was some talk around the water cooler about how to effectively use clichés in presentations. Seth Godin relates the fascinating story of the origin of clichés - in the early days of the printing press in France they would cast oft used phrases as one piece to save the time of setting the type letter by letter. They called those blocks of text clichés.

Now we think of them as something to be avoided, but Seth points out that perhaps we can use them still: "The effective way to use a cliché is to point to it and then do precisely the opposite. Juxtapose the cliché with the unexpected truth of what you have to offer."

Slides that Stick picked up the theme for the visual side of things. Pointing out that there are some cliché images that show up too often. There's even a blog about them. Some images are so over-used that they lose their power - unless you change up people's expectations. A juxtaposition can be a powerful mnemonic device.

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