June 14, 2012
Twist The Kaleidoscope
Ever notice how every once in a while a client can be a bit, shall we say,
One participant in a “Got Metaphor?” seminar of mine shared two effective ways
of dealing with demands from these people. Linda works for a tech company and
had a client, Richard, who wanted to get a quality product from her firm in an
impossibly short amount of time. He suggested her firm add more staff to get the
product out the door faster.
Linda explained that that wouldn’t change anything. Richard ignored her comment
and insisted that adding more staff was the solution. Exasperated, Linda finally
said, “Listen, Richard, you can’t give three different women three months each
and get a baby. Some things require more time and process stages to develop
effectively. This is one of those things.” Richard had nothing to say after
On another occasion, this same client also wanted a test right away, but did not
want to discuss specifications and requirements for the test. Realizing by now
that logical arguments didn’t do the trick with Richard, Linda once more tapped
into the world of metaphor. Linda got Richard to cooperate this time by pointing
out, “If you tell a builder to build you a house and provide no further details
you will not end up with a house that you are pleased with or that meets your
needs. You may get a house, but you will likely have spent a great deal of money
and not be happy with the final product. That is why we need to discuss the
details on this project before doing your test.” Richard thought for a moment
and then agreed to provide the necessary information.
Shake Up Their Thinking
For whatever reasons, clients, colleagues, even friends from time to time make
ridiculous demands on us. When logical responses fail, give their mental
kaleidoscopes a metaphorical twist. As the little glass pieces of your metaphor
fall into a fresh pattern in their minds, the new way of looking at the
situation will generally work to everyone’s benefit..
Make what you say pay — with metaphors.
Improvisation to Engage:
"Visual language is a person’s strongest communication tool,
because human beings are wired for images and images instantly engage. If you
want to deepen your presentation impact, a more advanced way to engage people is
to improvise a situation with them. I do this all the time in seminars and
speeches and it is a very effective technique. Here is Linda’s story of how she
used this technique years ago in her teaching days.
“I was going to be teaching McCarthyism and the audience was a ninth grade
history class. I announced that before we got into our lesson we had some
unfortunate business to take care of. I selected five students randomly and
announced that we had been informed they cheated on their last test and that
this was becoming such a problem they would fail the current six weeks. After
letting them react, I added that since this was such a problem that if they
informed about other cheaters, they would just fail the one test and not the
entire six week grading period. After, some asked for how many names I needed
and others stated that this was insane, I launched into the lesson and had 100%
participation because this “ancient” event was made personal to each student.”
For information on how you can use this improv technique to get 100%
involvement in your business settings, email or call me: 212 876 1875
Need Help With Your Presentation?
Call today and turn your information that tells into a story
Personal Presentation Client:
"I sing your praises every
opportunity I get. I look forward to continuing our work together"
Jane Newton, Wealth Manager, Regent Atlantic Capital LLC
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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 ©2011, Anne Miller, author, "Metaphorically Selling," email@example.com |