Helping the Client Understand Technical Terms Reviewed by Momizat on . To Create a Visual Picture Every profession has its own unique vocabulary, and although everyone in the field understands the terms or abbreviations, the public To Create a Visual Picture Every profession has its own unique vocabulary, and although everyone in the field understands the terms or abbreviations, the public Rating: 0
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Helping the Client Understand Technical Terms

To Create a Visual Picture

Every profession has its own unique vocabulary, and although everyone in the field understands the terms or abbreviations, the public most likely does not. An easy way to help people understand technical terms or a profession’s distinctive vocabulary is to create a “word picture” that links that unique word to some everyday idea or object. The author suggests that metaphors and similes are keys to enabling the client to make these connections.

Helping the Client Understand Technical Terms: To Create a Visual Picture

Every profession has its own unique vocabulary, and although everyone in the field understands the terms or abbreviations, the public most likely does not. When CPAs, CVAs, financial analysts, valuation analysts, attorneys, and others who deal with economics, financial forecasting and related topics speak, not everyone understands the terms and statements, or even has an inkling of the significance of the remarks. This could create problems for a CPA, CVA, financial advisor, or others who are attempting to guide a client, or even for an expert trying to persuade a jury.

An easy way to help people understand technical terms or a profession’s distinctive vocabulary is to create a “word picture” that links that unique word to some everyday idea or object. Metaphors and similes are the easiest way to make these connections.

Definitions

A metaphor states that one thing is the same as another, and it will typically use the word “is” or “are”. Metaphors help people make sense out of something they do not understand by comparing it to something familiar. For example: “The traffic is murder;” or “It is raining cats and dogs;” or “Her eyes are homes of silent prayer.”

A simile compares two dissimilar objects, using “like” or “as” to make the connection. For example: “My feet are as warm as toast;” or “She ran like the wind;” or “My love is like a red, red rose.” 

Application

When working with clients and attempting to educate them about a concept, or persuading them to do something, metaphors and similes can be extremely effective. If the metaphor or simile resonates, the client is more likely to listen, and place a positive value on the information provided.

Some examples of metaphors that could help a client understand a concept or terminology include: “A debenture is an IOU;” or “Greenmail is greenbacks for your stock;” or “Kiting is writing a check on an account with no funds.” 

Some examples of similes that could help a client understand unique terminology include: “A wrap-around mortgage is like a large blanket—it covers everything;” or “The high-low method is like separating apples from oranges;” or “A portfolio is like the basket you put all your eggs into.”

CPAs and CVAs using terms such as “investment value”, “fair value”, “fair market value”, “discounts for lack of marketability” (DLOM), “guideline companies”, and other technical terms may benefit from developing metaphors and/or similes to enable the client to understand these terms and their nuances.

Conclusion

Metaphors and similes help people, who are unfamiliar with the unique industry terms, to listen and better understand the principle or idea that is being communicated. Using metaphors and similes may help people hear different points of view and visualize other options. In addition, they may help the consultant build rapport and trust with the client or make the expert’s argument more persuasive to a jury.


TES founder, Nancy Neal Yeend, has served as a mediator for over 30 years, and her mediation practice focuses on helping businesses resolve disputes from pre-litigation thru trial and even at the appellate level. In addition, she mediates ADA cases that emanate from the DOJ for the Key Bridge Foundation.

During her career, she often reflected on “What if they had done ‘X’ then could the conflict have been avoided?” The answer is a resounding “yes”! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Research demonstrates that preventing conflict has huge benefits to businesses. Controversies and conflict cause stress, and people working in stressful situations are more likely to develop significant health issues: heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even cancer.

Reducing and preventing stress has multiple benefits: productivity increases, and absenteeism is reduced, which in turn helps reduce healthcare costs. These factors significantly impact an organization’s bottom line. Our name, The End Strategy, evolved from the desire to tell people, up front, what TES does. The End Strategy says it all—TES helps put an end to business related conflict. There is also a historical footnote: the founder’s last name, Yeend, mean “the end” in old English!

Ms. Yeend can be contacted at (503) 481-2986 or by e-mail to Nancy@TESresults.com.

The National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA) supports the users of business and intangible asset valuation services and financial forensic services, including damages determinations of all kinds and fraud detection and prevention, by training and certifying financial professionals in these disciplines.

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