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


Metaphor Minute: News You Can Use

The METAPHOR MINUTE Newsletter by Anne Miller

June 18, 2015

News You Can Use

What do doctors, a gold rush, and a house fan have in common?
They are all sources of metaphors used as hammers to nail points for readers found in random op-ed newspaper articles. How they are used is instructive for those of you who, like these writers, argue logically every day for your ideas, products, and services. Below are a few examples, but the larger message here is to look for similar metaphors in whatever papers, magazines, or news shows you follow.

Notice how they are used. Clip or, if online, save them, and mine them for future applications.

Pilots & Doctors
Replacing piloted aviation prone to human error with fail-safe automation is a very appealing notion until you take a closer look and realize that that is a false hope. Airline pilot and author Patrick Smith made that crystal clear mid-way through in his op-ed piece “Why Pilots Still Matter:” “The best analogy, I think, is modern medicine. Cockpit automation assists pilots in the same way that robots and other advanced medical experiments assist surgeons. It has improved their capabilities, but a plane no more flies itself than an operating room performs a hip replacement by itself.”

It will be a loooong time before I get on a plane without a live pilot.

Information & the Gold Rush
A day doesn’t go by when we are not reminded of how vulnerable our privacy is. In the case of our medical records, David J. Brailer, CEO of private equity firm Health Evolution Partners, sounds the alarm in “They’re Your Vital Signs, Not Your Medical Records.” He calls for change in how your health information is being handled currently without your control. Current health policy allows electronic records companies, hospitals, and health systems to withhold information about you. They can and do use this information to gain a competitive edge in the market. The stakes are high and there are many players in the market. Brailer concludes by saying, “The gold rush is on. Someone is going to benefit from the immeasurable wealth created from your health information and its capacity to extend and improve lives. It might as well be you.”

I don’t know about you, but I definitely want to keep my gold. Change that policy!

Wildfires & House Fans
Pictures and videos of western wildfires make for dramatic media coverage, but they have very real dire consequences for those who have to live with them each year--and they are not going away any time soon. Indeed, as firefighter and author Kyle Dickman noted in “Get Ready for Another Hot Forest Firefighter Season“, “…the federal Forest Service predicts that nearly every fire season for the foreseeable future will be as bad or worse [as last year’s fires]. That’s why we need to change how we deal with wildfires.” Dickman then goes on to advocate for a bill in Congress that would change policies to deal more effectively with these disasters. He amplifies the inadequacy of current policies with this example: “Arizona’s 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire…killed 19 elite wildland firefighters before going on to blacken 130 homes. …OSHA fined Arizona’s state government half a million dollars for recklessly risking firefighters’ lives in an attempt to save buildings that couldn’t be saved. In OSHA’s estimation, battling Yarnell Hill was akin to trying to blow back a tornado with a house fan. Brush and trees had grown right up next to the houses and the flames were 60 feet tall.”

Wow! Of course this bill needs to be passed!

Keep Your Eyes & Ears Open
Examples of metaphors and analogies in op-ed articles to drive home points are in the news every day. Notice them. Be inspired by them. Create your own high impact verbal images to similarly grab attention, create urgency and simplify complexity for the people you need to influence and persuade in your business.

Anne Miller
Make What You Say Pay — With Metaphors.

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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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