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


Metaphor Minute: Think Like Einstein

The METAPHOR MINUTE Newsletter by Anne Miller

April 17, 2013

Who's the Killer?

What’s your favorite forensic crime show? Body of Proof? NCIS? Would you naturally combine forensic crime with a job description on an interview?

No? Why not? This woman did.

Nina is an unemployed senior level Wall Street risk analyst, one among many out of work because of the economy. I met her at a financial executive industry meeting where she was looking for ideas to help differentiate herself on job interviews.

Initially, when I asked her what she did, she essentially gave me a rundown of her resume, which, of course, sounded like every other financial executive’s list of responsibilities and accomplishments.

Then, I asked her two questions: What made her unique? And how would people in her previous jobs describe her?

She thought for a moment and replied, “Intuition. I am able to look at data and intuitively get insights from it that others either don’t see or don’t see right away.”

“Great,” I said. “Now, let’s create a way for an interviewer to see your value.”

Universal Challenge

Let me pause the story here to say that Nina’s problem is the problem everyone in business faces: In a sea of similar sounding choices, how do you get a client, investor, or employer to see the unique value you offer? This model will help you.

  1. Determine what is unique about you, your service, or your company.

  2. Let your mind randomly bounce around looking for conceptual similarities among worlds outside your particular domain (sports, medicine, the arts, science, history, tools, nature, transportation, kids, crime, war, etc.)

  3. Select the best comparison for your metaphor or analogy to suit the situation.

From Finance to Forensics

After much discussion and discarded comparisons, Nina decided that when a potential employer would ask her some version of why she should be hired or what made her unique, she would reply, “Think of your favorite TV crime show.” (pause) ”You know how the medical examiner, based on experience and intuition, always finds less than obvious information that ultimately leads to the arrest of the murderer? Well, I am like that examiner. Anyone can look at information, but I also have a track record for finding things that others miss. For example,… (tell a story)… And (relate back to employer’s situation) I will do that here for you, particularly as your company is …”

Now Nina is not just another risk analyst.

In Your World

Where do clients, employees, or other groups get stuck on the value you provide? How can you get them to shift the way they see you through a totally different lens?

Loosen up your metaphorical thinking Watch this video from the brilliant Tina Seelig, Executive Director, Stanford Technology Ventures Program at Stanford University

Make What You Say Pay — With Metaphors.
Anne Miller

Follow the Zeitgeist
Fast Company magazine features an article this month called “The Visual Shift” about the “image-obsessed times” in which we live and leads off with this comment from Joe Stewart, Partner and Global Creative Director, Huge : “The ability to instantly communicate through imagery now seems to transcend everything for businesses—for content creators, for e-commerce companies, for mass brands .”

There’s a reason this is happening and it is as old as cave man days. We are wired to process visuals quickly and respond to them emotionally. The Internet just makes this easier and faster to do. If you are not also leveraging imagery found in metaphors and analogies to communicate your ideas, do not be surprised when what you say misses its mark.

Transform Your Sales Results
Buy My Book
The Tall Lady With the Iceberg: the power of metaphors to sell, persuade, & explain anything to anyone.

“Filled with fresh thinking, this book should be a "must read" for all salespeople and business leaders who want to take their communication skills to the next level.”
-Jill Konrath, Author, SNAP Selling.

*Chosen Top Sales Book of the Month for April by Top Sales World*

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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 The Tall Lady or Make What You Say Pay!. Simply call me at 212 876 1875 and tell me what you did or email me at

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Links I Like:

Great Resources:

"The best arguments
dazzle with metaphor"

Gerry Spence,
Media Commentator & Lawyer

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The Original “Metaphorically Selling” that spawned a movement, now with 25 New Stories.  Available in print and as ebook Click here

Special Offer: Buy 50 copies and get a free seminar. Call 212-876-1875 or email
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7 Signs You Need A Metaphor (Visual Language)

  1. Your listener is not paying attention
  2. Your listener is stuck on an objection
  3. Your listener is confused
  4. Your listener sees no difference between you and your competition
  5. You want to drive home a point vividly and memorably
  6. You have to wiggle out of a difficult situation
  7. You want to wow or motivate a larger audience

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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. © 2013. Anne Miller. -- PERMISSION TO REPRINT -- Feel free to reprint in company newsletters or articles. Just include ©2013, Anne Miller, author, "Metaphorically Selling,"
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