|Photo credit: AussieGall (CC)|
Many people use clichés unconsciously when they speak. For instance, I ghostwrote a book about business success for a businesswoman who used a lot of clichés. One of her favorites was “we were just like peas in a pod.” For anyone she liked, she’d describe their relationship as being two peas in a pod. It started with her grandmother, who she credited for establishing her values that she used in business. I therefore asked many questions about Grandma – what she looked like, how she talked, and so on. Turns out Grandma liked jewelry, and so did my client. Grandma liked to entertain people, and so did my client. Grandma was basically a wild old rip, lots of fun, and an adventurer. My client admired and loved her grandmother, and deliberately copied her style. So her “peas in a pod” cliché was actually true, and exploring it added depth to her book about business.
Another benefit of the peas in a pod cliché and one of my client’s keys to success was that whenever she would try something new – a new product, new system, new advertising – she’d go out and find people who were already doing something similar and doing it well – and then she’d find out how they did it so she could recreate it for her own situation. In other words she looked to people she admired and copied them, so they could be like peas in a pod. This turned out to be a whole chapter of her book.
Now I always try to find out what my clients’ – or my fictional characters’ – favorite clichés are, and probe for their deeper meaning. Sometimes I find gold. Or at least peas.