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


Metaphor Minute: Down By The Seashore




August 17, 2011

Down By The Seashore

How do you creatively take a topic that is pretty dry and un-sexy and make it fresh and interesting? That was Lynda Decker's dilemma when she was asked to design the annual report for natural gas provider New Jersey Resources. The gas company prides itself on being environmentally friendly, but "Green" and "Greening" have been so overdone it would be hard to come up with something different. Also, natural gas doesn't initially lend itself to something you really want to read about. Putting on her metaphor wizard's cap, Lynda solved the problem.

"We decided to play off New Jersey's well known shoreline and created a beautiful teal blue brochure that metaphorically illustrated the message New Jersey Resources wanted to communicate. The combination of message with creative imagery really delighted our client."

When I saw what Lynda did, I knew I wanted to share her work with you. Let her ideas inspire you in your presentations.

Get Their Attention

Lynda captured the reader's interest immediately right on the cover. Above a picture of a little girl with a pail and shovel walking along the beach is the title of the annual report: Conserve to Preserve: The Wave of the Future. (Theme set)

Opening line: "Like the perpetual motion of the ocean tides that stretch along the coastal communities of our service territory, change is constant. It happens every moment of every day. Sometimes it happens in waves. Other times change happens in ripples, so slowly and incrementally that it is hardly noticed at all. How we rise to the challenges created by change separates the great from the good and the truly accomplished from the merely acceptable. It's what makes an effective company an enduring one that will stand the test of time." It flows into, "Fiscal 2008 was a year of immense change and daunting challenges for our country..." (Theme continued)

Maintain Interest

The photo spreads throughout the rest of the report were all used metaphorically to reinforce the content in each section:

Title: Preserving Our Future. Image: A boy building a big sandcastle.

Title: Leading the Way. Image: Footsteps walking along the water's edge.

Title: Growing Our Business. Image: The picture atop this article.

Title: Delivering Reliability. Image: A dad tossing and catching his son in the air on the beach.

Title: Meeting New Challenges. Image: A person in a small bright yellow boat riding a huge beautiful blue wave.

Title: Achieving Results. Image: A fisherman with a huge catch.

Close With the Right Tone

No title, just the closing page. Image: A lighthouse with a bright beacon showing the way.

A not so interesting industry made beautiful and appealing with a message that engages throughout because of the complementary imagery.

Next Step

Think how you bring your presentations alive and make them memorable with imagery, as Lynda did, to get the results you want with your clients.

Make what you say pay - with metaphors.

Anne Miller

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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 ©2011, Anne Miller, author, "Metaphorically Selling,"

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