Anne Miller — Words Matter Make What You Say Pay!
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Words Matter – Make What You Say Pay!


Metaphor Minute: Meet the Cyber-Metaphorians

The METAPHOR MINUTE Newsletter by Anne Miller

February 18, 2015

Meet the "Cyber-Metaphorians"

I’ve discovered the most brilliant site to share with you: The Analogies Project.

Begun by Bruce Hallas, an English advisor on cybersecurity training and awareness programs, TAP uses analogies to help spread a message to people across the whole of society on the importance of an unsexy and often complex topic—the critical issues surrounding information security.

Information security may not be on your Top 10 list of concerns, but you will be amazed at how entertaining, engaging, and important this topic becomes in the skillful hands of the clever TAP analogists you meet on his site, or, as I call them, “Cyber-Metaphorians.”

As of this writing, there are 135 stories from 11 countries and 77 contributors on the site, some outside the cyber industry from film, law, and comedy. (Because the contributors come from different countries, some of the analogies may be longer than you might use in the U.S., but all are wonderful examples of how, with a little thought, analogies and metaphors can be two of the most powerful tools you have to engage listeners on any topic, shape thinking, and get results.)

Below are the beginnings of two stories from the site with links to the complete entries.

How Can Playing Poker Teach Us to Make Better Security Decisions?
By Leron Zinatullin

Good poker players are known to perform well under pressure. They play their cards based on rigorous probability analysis and impact assessment. Sounds very much like the sort of skills a security professional might benefit from when managing information security risks.

Photo Credit: Cian T Murphy Photography (also on Facebook) via Compfight cc

What can security professionals learn from a game of cards? (Emphasis mine) It turns out, quite a bit. Skilled poker players are very good at making educated guesses about opponents’ cards and predicting their next moves. Security professionals are also required to be on the forefront of emerging threats and discovered vulnerabilities to see what the attackers’ next move might be. Read more

Cleavage and Clouds
By Sarah Clark

One thing up front: This is not, in case you were hoping, an attempt at adult InfoSec fiction.

Rather, it should resonate with anyone using, or planning to use cloud solutions and anyone who’s seen or heard of a celebrity being caught unawares by paparazzi. If you’ve ever registered the latter, you probably thought one of the following;

Photo Credit: jeffbalke via Compfight cc

“Serves them right for behaving like a moron” or
“Poor sod, that’s their career over”

On the other hand, you might have spotted the story, but not summoned the energy to care. That’s almost certainly because a red hot PR machine sprang into action to spin it just right then make it disappear.

If you have an example in mind, keep it there while reading on.

When deciding what to wear on a night out, if a woman has any social awareness, she will want it to be appropriate for the occasion.

Sometimes, with some groups, it will be ok to wear that shorter skirt. Sometimes it may even be ok to give the girls a bit of an airing, but the bits in between are strictly reserved for a very limited audience.

Make the wrong choice and you lose control over your image in the eyes of those present and if cameras are around, you may lose control of your image all together. It is hard to build a reputation, but even harder to rebuild one if you mistakenly expose yourself in the wrong circumstances.

The same is true for your cloud usage choices. What do you want to expose in the cloud? Not all cloud environments, like not all crowds, are equal. (Emphasis mine)
Read more

On the Same Page

Like The Metaphor Minute (which is I why I love TAP) the stories on TAP are from readers who create analogies between what people already know, or find interesting (such as politics, art, history, theatre, sport, science, music and everyday life experiences), and the points they want to drive home about information security.

What analogies and metaphors can you use to create interest in whatever you communicate to get the results you want?

“I can think of nothing that an audience won’t understand. The only problem is to interest them; once they are interested, they can understand anything in the world!” Orson Welles, (1915-1985)


Anne Miller
Make What You Say Pay — With Metaphors.

P.S. For more information on Bruce Hallas and his services, visit See how Bruce even used an analogy to name his website!

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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. © 2015. Anne Miller. -- PERMISSION TO REPRINT -- Feel free to reprint in company newsletters or articles. Just include ©2015, Anne Miller, author, "Metaphorically Selling,"
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