September 18, 2016 fm

When Will You Start To Use Rhetoric That Rocks?


In biology the term symbiosis means, the relationship between two different kinds of living things that live together and depend on each other. In general, it’s a relationship between two people or groups that work with and depend on each other (Merriam-Webster).

I played bullshit bingo (BSB) for more than eight years of my life. As a business consultant I dreamed of added values and value chains and critical masses and win-win-situations. This meaningless business jargon was my daily bread for 3,013 days. And I ate a lot of bread!

Today, as a professional speaker I avoid it like Stephen Hawking avoids the yellow press. Why? Because your rhetoric can be so much more powerful, so much more meaningful, so much more imaginative, so much more emotional, so much more inspiring.

One of my favorite BSB expressions is: win-win.

We created a win-win-situation with our client.

Even if the logical concept is clear – both parties are winners -, I’ll always prefer a metaphor. In this case the metaphor of the symbiosis.

Imagine you’re having a business lunch with a prospect. Imagine this conversation.

Tom, have you ever been to Africa?

No, but it’s right on top of my bucket list! Why?

You know, three years ago, my wife Alexandra and I went on a safari in Kenya. It was amazing – a zoo without bars. One day, we left the camp and explored the savanna. We saw lions and zebras and gnus, but the one animal that impressed me the most was a rhino. That rhino had birds sitting on its back. Constantly, those birds were picking and licking. Natural bug butchers!


Well, we’ve been discussing our proposal for quite a while now. We can continue to talk about prices, we can continue to talk about quality, we can continue to talk about liability. But – in the end I want you to know that we’ll be your bug butchers. Our professional relationship will be a wonderful symbiosis. And I’m not saying you’re the rhino hahaha.

Speak more in metaphor. The biological concept of symbiosis says so much more than any win-win bla bla will ever do.

I stopped playing BSB in October 2008. When will you start to use rhetoric that rocks?

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