Archive for July, 2011

Want better questions? Practice the “play the metaphor” exercise

July 28th, 2011 Kevin No comments

What’s this blog about?

The title refers to an exercise that will help you explore the metaphors that people use. The exercise encourages you to create questions that  “play” with the language and imagery of their metaphors.

I don’t understand; what do you mean?

An example might be best.

What’s your example?

A friend recently used the term “path” to represent some work in life she is doing.

Okay, so what happened next?

Here’s the gist of what happened next, in the form of the dialogue we had as I remember it:

Q: When you mention “path,” what do you mean?

A: You know, path. Like, a path I am on and moving forward on in my life.

Q: Okay, is there a place you are heading to on it?

A: Sort of… no, not really.

Q: Is there some distance you are traveling on the path?

A: No. It’s not that way.

Q: And it is a path?

A: Absolutely.

Q: Can you gesture for me what you mean?

A: Ummmm, yes; its, you know… a “path.” [Extended gesture with hands moving up in the air].

What gesture did she use to show you what “path” meant for her?

Good question! The gesture she use was two hands that start in a clapping position and then swoop up and out to the sky. I have use this gesture to mean “flowering” or “open,” not so much for “path.”

But she did, so that’s exactly what path meant to her at that time, right?


Did it mean something else?

Yes. She also realized it was referring to the outpouring from a deep well. So for her, it is both a path and a gushing well. Pretty exciting stuff.

So this is how we “play” with metaphors; we ask questions to better understand them?


That’s it?

Well, there’s lots more. Metaphors burst out of the right side of the brain for most of us, they can be hard to tease out, and people are not always ready to share them. Ask with care, kindness and love.

Anything else?

Yes; exploring the imagery and sounds and emotions of the metaphor will help. Tying the metaphor to current conditions is important too. Making sure the metaphor makes sense for the person is key.

Is that it?

No. Metaphors are critical since they frame our references and inform our lives. We live with and by them. To avoid another “anything else” question, I’ll simply list some resources for you to learn more:

George Lakoff, professor and author, read his books or catch videos of him on You Tube

Marketing Metaphoria: What Deep Metaphors Reveal About the Minds of Consumers, by Gerald and Lindsay  Zaltman; a great book that extends beyond marketing stuff

David Grove, creator of the Clean Language concept, read his work on line

William Shakespeare, for example, “the world is a stage”

Jesus, parables are extended metaphors used to help teach, like the parable of the mustard seed

Maya Angelou, her poetry is genius, filled with heart, image, and haunting beauty, so is the metaphor she borrowed for her book titled: “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”

Thank you… this is a great start.

You are welcome!

Kevin Leahy, founder

Knowledge Advocate, LLC

Comments about metaphors? Let me know:

Categories: Consulting, Questioning Tags:

Love is an energy wave so use it more when you question others

July 26th, 2011 Kevin No comments

What’s this post about?

This post claims love is a waveform. Scientists have shown love creates an energy that passes from one to another by waveform. The creator creates the wave and sends it to the other person. That’s it.

And what’s your point?

Since love is energy, an actual waveform, we can question by sending the love wave (with our words, tone, body language and touch). People will, pardon the pun, love us more for doing that.

I don’t believe you; can you prove it?

Yes. Search “Manfred Clynes,” a musician and neuroscientist. He discovered that a “love touch” creates a distinct wave. Then there is the heart coherence work of “Heart Math.” Check them out.

And how does this work exactly?

Prior to your question, feel appreciation and love for the other person. Be clear to let your body and words express your feeling of love. Do this and you will send a waveform of love with your question.

I still don’t believe you. Why should I do this, what if it doesn’t work?

What have you got to lose? Don’t you enjoy it when others send love your way? Try it!

You make a point.

Okay, so give it a try and let me know how it goes here:


Kevin Leahy, founder

Knowledge Advocate, LLC

Categories: Brain power Tags:

Want to question better? Wonder more. Here’s a game that helps you do that.

July 23rd, 2011 Kevin No comments

What’s this post about?

This post is about becoming a better questioner. Here’s the point: before you ask your next question, play a little game and guess what it is you don’t know that the other person might. Do this instead of predicting what his answer will be. It will work wonders, I promise.

How do I become a better questioner?

Start by questioning with wonder. After we turn six or so, many of us begin to predict what others will say in advance, and then we can forget to wonder about what we don’t know that they do know. Oy.

Are you saying that every time I ask a question, I predict what I’ll hear in advance?

That’s one way of looking at it. It might not be that cut and dry, although that’s the gist. Another way to look at it is that people who predict the answer in advance judge more and are curious less.

So what can I do about it?

You can play a little game next time you ask questions.

What game will help me question better?

It’s the game I mentioned above. Before you ask your next question, guess what it is you don’t know instead of guessing what the answer will be. This game will help you learn more and judge less.

So, I guess what I don’t know before asking my question and then I question better?


Why does this work?

The game makes sure you remain curious — in a state of wonder — and far more open to what you’re about to hear. The other person will feel better when this happens since you are honoring his answer.

Okay, thanks!

You’re welcome.

Good luck and let me know how it goes!

Kevin Leahy, founder

Knowledge Advocate, LLC

Categories: Questioning Tags: