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


Metaphor Minute: So, Again, How Do You Do What You Do?

The METAPHOR MINUTE Newsletter by Anne Miller

AUGUST 15, 2018

So, Again, How Do You Do What You Do?

Doctor, lawyer, money manager, roof repairer, landscaper. We all have some idea of what those titles mean, but when it comes to actually making a decision about which professional in any field to use, as consumers before signing a contract, we want more specifics about exactly what and how they do what they do.
Family therapist Jacqueline Hudak knows that. In a recent WSJ article, look how she uses very common metaphors (analogies) to help prospects understand her approach, the need for her approach, and who benefits from that approach.

Like a System...

She explains that a family is like a system. What one person does affects everyone else in that system. She notes, “People like things being the same, so when change is introduced, sometimes the system, the family, can’t tolerate it. Examples of changes are births, deaths, marriage, illness, etc.

The Dance Within The System...

Okay, so we understand what she says on a purely factual level, but maybe we don’t really get it. To ensure that we do, she continues, “Think of a family system as a bunch of people dancing together in a particular way. They have been doing this a long time, perhaps generations, before they ever got to my office. I have to learn the dance steps of each family member. Then I coach them on new steps.

The Effect of an individual in the System

When asked if a single person can benefit from her therapy, she not only answers in the affirmative, but she also helps us see how that is valid as well, because even one person’s change can affect the whole system. “Think of the mobile that hangs over a crib. When you touch one piece, it moves the entire mobile. Such is the case with a family system. Even happy events—going off to college, the birth of a child—can throw a system into a state of disequilibrium. And one person going to therapy and making changes in their role in the family is going to impact that system and effect change.”

Metaphors Make Sales Easier

You needn’t be a family therapist to think like Jacqueline Hudak, but thinking like Jacqueline illustrates three things:

  • Metaphors (analogies) simplify complex topics for buyers
  • Metaphors can be drawn from simple comparisons (systems, dancing, crib mobiles)
  • Metaphor is the language of common ground. When we understand another person and are understood by them, we tend to feel more connected to each other and want to work with them.

What metaphors (or analogies) can you use to help people quickly grasp what you do, how you do it, and what the benefit is to them?

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

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Random Recommendation

Ever wonder where sports metaphors like the ones below come from and why so many of them pepper our everyday language?

  • Hat in the ring
  • Throw in the towel
  • Out of left field

Find out where these and others come from in this entertaining New York Times article.


Get Your Metaphor Juices Flowing!
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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, Agile Selling.

Metaphors Make Presentations Memorable!
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"The best arguments
dazzle with metaphor"

Gerry Spence,
Media Commentator & Lawyer

The Original “Metaphorically Selling” that spawned a movement, now with 25 New Stories.  Available in print, ebook & (new) audiobook formats.
Click here

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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Metaphor Minute Archives

Pain In The Neck

The Metaphor That Made Mark Zuckerberg Flinch

Think "Themes"


Links I like

Great Resources:

 "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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