April 28, 2011
At the Very Heart of It
a guess how often people use metaphors in their daily conversation. The
surprising answer is every ten to twenty-five words, according to research
I Is An Other, a new
book by James Geary. Geary's book takes a much deeper more linguistic oriented
dive (oops! there’s one) into the world of metaphor than my more
business-focused books "Metaphorically
Selling" or "Make
What You Say Pay!" do, but for those more curious about
language and thought, you will be richly rewarded. His book amply demonstrates
are not rhetorical frills (that’s two) at the edge of how we think... They are
at the very heart of it (there's three)."
If you don't have time for the book, catch (four) David Brooks'
article on it in The New York Times. As
a reader of "The Metaphor Minute," you will appreciate Brooks' point, "If
much of our thinking is shaped and driven by metaphor, then the skilled thinker
will be able to recognize patterns, blend patterns, apprehend the relationships
and pursue unexpected likenesses."
Pursuing the Unexpected
Lynn Hutzel-Visel, VP Institutional Trust, Comerica Bank did just that after
reading an article in
World magazine that compared the West’s
historical treatment of Egypt to that of a parent who continuously looks the
other way when his fractious teenager repeatedly acts out ,only to one day wake
up and find himself with a seriously destructive child on his hands.
used [this] analogy recently in a sales presentation," recounts Lynn. "My client
was stuck in a state of inertia about whether to buy our services or not. He
thought he could just continue going along with the small setbacks he had been
experiencing. He did not want to face the consequences of not moving ahead.
Remembering the article, I said to him, "Yet there comes a time, as it does with
any parent who ignores the ultimate effect of permissiveness, when it all tends
to blow up in your face." Perhaps he had children and could identify with the
analogy or perhaps, he simply saw the truth of the reference. Whatever it was,
the comparison changed his perception of the issue and he decided to move
New patterns. Fresh perspectives. Changed outcomes.
A SVP of sales at a digital advertising company asked me at our
recent presentations follow-up session how he could up his game (there’s
five) when it came to coining (six) metaphors in business. My advice:
antennae up! (seven). Notice
how people in the media use metaphors and adapt what you hear to
“It’s just like...” habit and you will find them springing (eight)
into your mind
often images in advertising are used metaphorically to convey
the ad’s message: mountains for challenges, chains for strength,
umbrellas for protection. Put these pictures in your mental
files (nine) and retrieve (ten)
them at the right moment.
Brooks wrote metaphors
are “poetry for everyday life.” I would add, for anyone who sells, influences,
or leads, they can be the hidden gold (eleven)
in everyday business life.
Make what you say pay — with metaphors.
In Case You Missed It...
Geary did a wonderful talk on Metaphorically
Speaking beginning with that marvel of metaphor himself: Elvis Presley.
Catch it at
New book by branding expert Bill Schley: "The
Filled with many examples, Bill's premise is that to be memorable, "5 words are
better than 5000." My favorite part is his endorsement of metaphor as the
ultimate way to communicate to someone. Check it out. It is short. It is
insightful and It can help you figure out how to describe what you do in very
few words to make an indelible mark on buyers.
Need Personal Presentation Consulting? Contact me:
"I sing your praises every opportunity I get. I look forward to
continuing our work together"
Jane Newton, Wealth Manager, Regent Atlantic Capital LLC