Anne Miller — Words Matter Make What You Say Pay!
Presentation & Sales Specialist
Author | Speaker | Coach
Words Matter – Make What You Say Pay!


Metaphor Minute: Bits Of Wisdom




March 27 , 2008


Maybe it’s the change of season, the longer sunny days, and the sense of renewal, but these three life-affirming metaphoric insights were all sent to me at just about the same time.

An occupational hazard as a person becomes more experienced is to think he/she pretty much has seen it all and knows it all. Barbra Gazo, a sales rep at Metro New York and an adult student at college at the same time, knows better.

Says Barbra, “I love training and learning. So many of us tend to think that ‘we know it all.’ Of course, NONE of us do, Although I have been very successful in my career to date, this college experience has reminded me—metaphorically—that there is always MUCH more to learn! One of my courses is geology, where we studied the accumulation of groundwater. Although the soil typically appears to be a very stable and solid foundation, there are always little cracks and crevices for more water to seep into. Amazingly, ground water could take centuries to replenish and even that accumulation reaches well below the surface! Seems to me that we “seasoned pros” are like that soil, solid on the surface in our knowledge, but never fully saturated in what we can learn.” (Could not agree more.)

According to the positive psychology movement, psychologically healthy people practice positive qualities such as gratefulness, hope, etc. Then, when life's inevitable adversities come, they are immunized against getting depressed, anxious, or having any other negative reaction. Now, if you are someone seeking donors to promote healthy positive thinking to children, how do you communicate that abstract concept in a compelling manner?

Ron Palermo and Optimist International Foundation President Ron Graves make their point with a weather analogy. They compare wearing layers of clothing during the winter months to the positive qualities that can be used against the bitter adversities of life represented by the cold weather. The fewer layers you have, the less prepared you are for the adverse situations and the more likely you are to be affected negatively by them. Key message: supporting our foundation to support optimism in kids is worthwhile.

Adds Ron, “Ideally, this concept would be taught on a cold winter day. Even turning the AC way up works well.” Nice added touch to intensify the analogy.

Last, Sharon Melnick,Ph.D and an executive coach who “helps successful people get out of their own way,” makes the point in her seminars that our thoughts control our actions. Negative thoughts, negative actions. Positive thoughts, positive actions. To be in control, says Sharon, you need to “Be the DJ of your own mental ipod.” Sharon’s metaphor manages to combine high touch with high tech for high listener impact and opens up people’s thinking to how much control they could have in their lives to effect the changes they want.

Look around you. The sources for analogies and metaphors are everywhere. Science, weather, music, and technology were only four worlds or domains used in the above examples to make points dramatically and memorably. What worlds can you visit for your metaphors and analogies to make equally memorable points with your listeners in your business?.

Until next month, remember to "make what you say, pay--with metaphors."

Anne Miller

For more info on Metro New York,

For more info on the Optimist Foundation which serves children around the world,

For more on Sharon,


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Election Metaphors Getting Ugly
Republican or Democrat, you have to wince at the metaphor mudslinging going on between Clinton and Obama. Obama’s co-chairman compared former President Clinton to Cold War communist hunter Joseph McCarthy and a Clinton ally described Gov. Bill Richardson, who came out for Obama, as "Judas." No one wins here. And this is only March.

As for McCain, The New York Times, noted that his campaign has become a “side show” next to the much more dramatic fight between the Democratic candidates.

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The Metaphor Minute" is a brief monthly note with examples from business, media, or politics that illustrate the power of metaphors and analogies to make a point, solve a problem, and get results. Use these stories to stimulate high pay-off metaphoric thinking in your business. © 2007. Anne Miller. -- PERMISSION TO REPRINT -- Feel free to reprint in company newsletters or articles. Just include ©2007, Anne Miller, author, "Metaphorically Selling,"
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