At the next break in the workshop, a participant told me privately that she was a vegetarian and was offended by the saying. She felt it implied that meat was important and necessary; a belief she did not share. I thanked her for her courage and willingness to share her opinion with me and then asked her to help me think of a different metaphor that would convey a similar powerful image and, to the best of our knowledge, not offend anyone. We both struggled with a comparative image and finally settled on several possibilities:
Add the finishing touches
Accessorize an outfit
I learned that I need to re-think the casual use of sayings in workshops. Yes, the reaction of the vegetarian might be a case of political correctness or over-sensitivity; yet, I am glad for the wake-up call to remember to carefully choose my words.
My facilitation blog questions are: What sayings, metaphors, and analogies do you regularly use? How might they perceived by someone else?