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

METAPHOR MINUTE ARCHIVE

Metaphor Minute: Tigger Or Eyeore

 

CONTACT:
amiller@annemiller.com

 

December 16, 2010

Tigger or Eyeore?

Match.com might be wise to ask people to describe themselves metaphorically to ensure better match-ups faster.

When I was General Manager of a leading communications firm in NYC, I interviewed a candidate for a sales position who I initially liked, but who I then realized would be absolutely wrong for the job. In the course of conversation, he mentioned he loved theater. Since I share that passion, I spontaneously asked him, “If he were to describe himself as a dramatic genre, which would he be?” Without missing a beat, he said, “Tragedy.” When asked why he chose tragedy, he explained, “Tragedy captures the essential existential nature of man. Like King Lear, for example, tragedy reminds us that we cannot control our destiny, that we are no better than footballs being kicked around carelessly in life by the fates.”

And I was looking for a gung-ho, upbeat sales person to crack new accounts. Needless to say, whatever the merits of his view on tragedy, this otherwise attractive candidate did not get the job.

A metaphor saved me from a hiring error and, inadvertently, saved this candidate from what would most likely have been failure on the job as well.

Get the Fit Right
Both sides of the hiring process know how to prepare and read resumes; how to ask probing questions; how to research each other; and how to sell the benefits of their company or their experience. That said, getting the intangibles right, getting the cultural fit and energy right is another matter.

Metaphor can solve that problem.

As an Employer
John Osborn, CEO of BBDO, the global advertising agency, was recently interviewed in “Selling Power” magazine. When asked about the type of people the agency hires, he said he looks for people who are “radiators” not “drains,” “hand-raisers, not finger-pointers.” Team players, collaborators, sharers, forces for positivism and support—all distilled in succinct visual phrases.

Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSN, Inc., which includes the Home Shopping Network, interviewed in a “New York Times” ‘Corner Office’ column said, she only hires “Tiggers.” She needs energy-givers. “You don’t hire Eeyores.” Cheerful, outgoing, confident people vs. sad and gloomy downers--all captured by metaphorical references to the Pooh children’s story.

As a Candidate
Everyone puts their best foot forward in an interview. Everyone’s resume shouts experience and accomplishment. Everyone’s reference letters glow with praise for the subject of the letter. So, how does a candidate separate him/herself from competent competition to nail the job?

In one case, asked by an interviewer why he should be hired to sell that firm’s professional services, he got the job by replying, “I‘m just like Rocky. You knock me over and I come right back for more.” Determination, persistence and energy--everything a sales manager wants in a new hire, expressed metaphorically. No wonder he got the job.

Meet Your Match (or Mate) Metaphorically
Getting agreement from management on the apt metaphor for a job description will save employers time in finding the right candidate for a job. If you are a candidate, a strong metaphor to describe your value will get you remembered in an interviewer’s mind. A match in metaphors translates into a good match for both sides.

See you in the New Year

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. © 2009. Anne Miller. -- PERMISSION TO REPRINT -- Feel free to reprint in company newsletters or articles. Just include ©2010, Anne Miller, author, "Metaphorically Selling," amiller@annemiller.com

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