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


Metaphor Minute: Ladder or Jungle Gym?




January 28, 2010

Ladder or Jungle Gym?

What do you say to sound fascinating and unique when you are asked to introduce yourself at a quasi-business, quasi-social event? If you are Barbara Marks, graphic designer turned painter, you say, “My life to this point has been less a ladder and more a jungle-gym. Many people have linear careers, knowing exactly what direction they always wanted to pursue, but mine has had many more lateral moves, swinging from one branch to another, maybe more like a jungle, to mix metaphors.”

Interested to hear more?

We were. Barbara was a guest recently at a Boardroom dinner and she immediately garnered everyone’s attention with her metaphor. We listened with great interest as she led us through her jungle-gym career starting as an anthropology major at college to becoming a graphic designer which turned into her role as entrepreneur. An interest in painting and drawing then took her to classes at the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, which she loved so much that she ultimately gave up her business to become a full time painter. Sometime later, the idea of graduate school popped up. She thought, “Why not?” and off she went to get her MFA. Now, she is exploring the relationship between painting and poetry—and has talked herself into a poetry course at Yale.

There were eighteen of us at that dinner. Nearly everyone did the usual—forgettable--vanilla-type resume bio. Barbara’s is the only short description that still remains with me.

You network, you attend business events, you talk to seatmates on airplanes and trains. Use the power of metaphor and analogy to engage your listener to want to know more about you and to remember you. You never know where that can lead.

See you next month!.

Anne Miller
Make What You Say, Pay — With Metaphors.

Metaphors in the News...
The business press is rich in metaphors to add interest to what could be dry business and financial stories. Recent examples...

“The four bankers of the apocalypse strode into the Congressional hearing room and formed a crooked line....The bankers—Lloyd C. Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, John J, Mack of Morgan Stanley and Brian T. Moynihan of Bank of America—joined a gallery of titans who have suffered this ritual: tobacco executives, automakers and baseball’s steroids users, among other." The Wall Street Journal, 1/14/2010

“[You] sound like [you] are were selling cars with faulty brakes and then buying insurance on the driver.” Phil Angelides, Chairman, Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, speaking to Lloyd Blankfein." The New York Times, 1/14/2010.

The drier the subject, the more complex the issue, the more metaphors help hold interest and make your points.

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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. © 2009. Anne Miller. -- PERMISSION TO REPRINT -- Feel free to reprint in company newsletters or articles. Just include ©2010, Anne Miller, author, "Metaphorically Selling,"
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