(over)Exploring a metaphor to test its meddle…

I’m exploring (hey, that’s a metaphor too) an exercise where I (over?)extend a root metaphor to see just how well it could help me tell a particular story. The story is about a client engagement from a User Experience perspective. I’m trying to thread together a discussion. here goes:

Cruise ship as project…

  • Goal: Get from point A to Point (n)
  • Change of direction is hard and slow going (obvious one)
  • Launch is always a party
  • The navigation system is key to maintain the course
  • We get onboard with the client
    • Sometimes we board while at sea
    • Sometimes we have to finish the ship before we can launch
  • Hope to not sink
  • Hope to not hit something really big
  • Get involved with the activities on board
    • A shuffleboard game could build a key relationship
  • Our challenge is to plan the course, usually while we are already cruising
  • You can only take so many shots to the hull before it bursts
  • Sometimes pirates take over the ship
  • Something about there being no one at the helm
  • Something about Isaac from Love Boat
  • Some journeys run out of gas and are left adrift
  • Some sink
    • Even the wreckage can tell a story

Other general nautical metaphors:

found on Wiki-pedia. Thought starters to extend further —

“Thanks to the historical importance of seafaring in British culture, the English language is rich in related metaphors from the age of sail. Some examples are:

  • Taken aback
  • Batten down the hatches
  • Clear the decks
  • Loaded to the gunwales
  • Back and fill
  • On one’s beam ends
  • Awash
  • Nail one’s colours to the mast
  • Flying the flag
  • Plain sailing
  • With flying colours
  • In the doldrums
  • All hands to the pumps
  • Take soundings
  • Weathering a storm
  • Swinging the lead
  • All set
  • Left high and dry
  • May the wind always be at your back and may you have following seas”

Other finds:

Has legs, but i don’t know yet if i’ll run with it. only sea legs (rim shot).


2 thoughts on “(over)Exploring a metaphor to test its meddle…

  1. Thank you for recommending my book, Metaphorically Selling. I really enjoyed how you played out the nautical metaphor. That is the kind of thinking a true “metaphorian” does. FYI, you might want to subscribe to my free monthly newsletter, The Metaphor Minute to see how others use metaphors in business, politics and/or the media to make their points and influence others. (Sign up at http://www.annemiller.com) Anne Miller

  2. Anne, ahoy there. thanks for the comment/promotion. Great to know you are listening. the term ‘influence’ stood out to me… ‘influence’ in the context of business and political perspectives often walks a fine line between helpful persuasion and creepy propaganda. Hopefully people enjoy your book and choose to not be creepy. Either your book is very good (it has great reviews) or you have done a great job of persuading folks to think so. either way, kudos.

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