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


Metaphor Minute: Stack The Deck




May 29, 2008


Karen Kelm is a singer/musician who coaches less experienced performers. Many of her students are reluctant to “cheat” when they perform with any kind of tricks or tools that would make them better performers onstage. Wanna be professionals to the core, they think they are only “good” if they can get out there and sing or play without any kind of safety net.

How does she change their minds?

She wins them over metaphorically and encourages them to “stack the deck” to help their performance any way they can (short of questionable measures). Rather than disdain to have the music in front of them, she tells them to have it there if they will play better as a result. Check the key, carefully count the band in, stand next to the piano player—whatever it takes to give themselves the better performance they will give.

“The metaphor really sinks in,” says Karen, “when I tell them that this is what the professionals do, too, only on a more artful level that the audience can't see, just like the difference between a home card game and a Las Vegas dealer's table. When people grasp the concept of “stacking the deck,” it is amazing to see how their performance improves, even though their actual skill level remains the same.”

I never thought of it as “stacking the deck,” but after Karen’s example, I realize I provide similar tricks to my group presentation and public speaking clients. To help control their nerves, strengthen their eye contact, and speak in a thoughtful, conversational manner, I have them imagine the audience as a baseball field and ask them to speak to individuals at what would be, for example, the infield position, second base position, outfield position, etc. for about the length of a sentence, a phrase or until they have to breathe and then move to the next position in a random pattern. By speaking in this fashion, they find their nervousness replaced with calm, their hyperventilation replaced with normal breathing, and their anxiety replaced with confidence.

Mentor with Metaphors

Readers of “The Metaphor Minute” are used to examples of metaphors and analogies that help close deals and simplify complexity, but these rhetorical tools are equally powerful in coaching situations. Who do you coach? What metaphors or analogies can you use to bring out the best in those people who look to you to improve their performance?

Until next month, remember to "Make What You Say, Pay – with Metaphors"

Anne Miller

P.S. Check out details on my MoneyWords Webinar,
tomorrow, May 30, 11:30 $79


Numbers, Metaphorically
In announcing the 7th Annual Boomer Marketing Conference-Livewire: The Summit which is being held in San Francisco June 2-3, the sponsors wanted to be sure prospective registrants would appreciate the importance of this market and ran this headline: “If baby boomers were a country, they’d be the world’s 11th largest economy. Want to tap into it?”If your market is Boomers, how could you not attend?

AnalyzingThe Oil Crisis, Metaphorically
As the price of oil rises and experts disagree over the supply of oil, the demand for it and whether or not commodity speculation is the cause of such high prices, Tim Evans, energy analyst at Citi captured the essence of the analysis challenge saying, “trading commodities these days is like sticking your hand in a blender.” (Ouch!)

Want "Metaphorically Selling" tips delivered to your mobile? Check out which offers a unique, next-generation sales training system that delivers both online and mobile, on-demand sales solutions. See the ad at the right for details.

Click here for fresh, smart how-to workshops and speeches or call 212-876-1875

Tell me about YOUR Metaphor Minute, a time you used a metaphor or an analogy to make your point, overcome an obstacle, close a sale, or wow an audience, and receive a signed copy of Metaphorically Selling. Simply call me at 212 876 1875 and tell me what you did or email me at

If someone emailed you this copy of The Metaphor Minute, sign up now to get your own copy.
(and be sure to "whitelist" to be insure delivery)


Check out the details &
Sign up Now
for Tomorrow’s

First Time Webinar:
 “Moneywords: Sell, Persuade & Explain Anything to Anyone”

based on my popular book “Metaphorically Selling.”

Find a solution to your biggest communication/sales challenge

 11:30  Eastern Time $79




 Find the Words to
 Persuade & Sell

 "A novel cut on sales, adding something new to the literature."



Links I Like:

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,"
©2018 Chiron Associates New York, NY 212-876-1875