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


Metaphor Minute: The Metaphor That Made Mark Zuckerberg Flinch

The METAPHOR MINUTE Newsletter by Anne Miller

APRIL 13, 2018

The Metaphor That Made Mark Zuckerberg Flinch

Mark Zuckerberg was in the hot seat this week, answering questions for nearly five hours from the Senate Commerce and Judiciary Committee investigating privacy online. It was something to see! Up against all these Senators old enough to be his parents or grandparents, he held his own. He was prepped with solid answers to their questions. He was patient when he needed to be with Senators who clearly did not understand the digital world as well as they should. And he even dressed the part, trading in his usual tee shirt and jeans for a real business suit. All in all, a very strong performance that made for riveting viewing.

BUT… Did You Catch the (Metaphoric) Moment That Caught Him Off Guard?

While the CEO of Facebook appeared responsive, respectful, and reasonable in all his answers, you could tell that the Senators felt that Zuckerberg wasn’t really “getting” the degree of their concern about privacy, that he was more interested in sticking to a carefully prepared (and no doubt genuine) defense of Facebook.

The Senators’ factual questions were bouncing off him like bullets off a tank, until Senator Dick Durbin took a different approach to get Zuckerberg to really appreciate their concern. Below is the transcript of what he asked and how Zuckerberg responded. I strongly recommend you watch the short video of the exchange as well.

Sen. Dick Durbin asked Zuckerberg, "Would you be comfortable sharing with us the name of the hotel you stayed in last night?"

""Um," Zuckerberg said before a long pause. "No."

The audience and panel of senators erupted in laughter at Zuckerberg's hesitancy to answer the question.

"If you've messaged anybody this week, would you share with us the names of the people you've messaged?" Durbin asked.

"Senator, no, I would probably not choose to do that publicly here," Zuckerberg said.

"I think that might be what this is all about — your right to privacy, the limits of your right to privacy, and how much you'd give away in modern America," Durbin said.

What Durbin’s analogy was demonstrating is that just as Zuckerberg didn’t want his private information made public, online users should not have to have their information made public as well.

Few people will recall the technical questions that were asked. Many will remember the Durbin-Zuckerberg exchange and the point it made.

Most Dramatic Way to Make Your Point

Good analogies and metaphors bypass reason, (although there is a reasonable connection being made) to create instant associations and feelings in a listener to make your point.
The best ones draw from the experiences of your listener, as Senator Durbin demonstrated in the hearing.

What key points do you make in your presentations? What simple analogies--familiar to your listener--can you create to get the results you seek?

Anne Miller
Make What You Say Pay! — with Metaphors.

P.S. Click here to view the entire Congressional proceedings. I promise you, you will not be bored!

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Random Recommendation  
For another interesting metaphorical look at Facebook, check out
 “Mark Zuckerberg is No James Madison

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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. © 2018. Anne Miller. -- PERMISSION TO REPRINT -- Feel free to reprint in company newsletters or articles. Just include ©2017, Anne Miller, author, "Metaphorically Selling,"
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