Lessons from Media’s Mincemeat of
now, everyone knows the Obamacare roll-out has been a disaster, but what’s
interesting from The Metaphor Minute’s point of view is not the
politics but how many different metaphorical worlds the media sourced to
describe the concept of its failure. That diversity of vivid descriptions is
instructive for all of us whose success depends on selling, influencing, or
persuading others. These examples show that you have many sources for your
metaphors and analogies and are limited only by your imagination. Here are a few
Obamacare is starting to resemble a patient bleeding from self-inflicted
Wall Street Journal)
ObamaCare is Taking on Water: It’s not just a buggy website, it’s a disaster
of Titanic proportions.
There’s an astronaut joke that an astronaut is a guy sitting on top of a
rocket assembled by the lowest bidders. Obamacare is a bit like the astronaut on
top of the rocket. As I understand it, some of these were no-bid contracts, like
CGI. So I think some of the problem is the Obama administration never brought in
heavyweight IT people to oversee this.”
Weather & Torture (The
Christian Science Monitor)
Controversy over the Affordable Care Act continues to rain on President
Obama’s personal parade … or drip, drip, drip like political water torture
Boxing (The Las
Obamacare wallops Nevadans
Now the president looks like Professor Harold Hill, the flim-flam artist
from "The Music Man" who promised River City a boys’ band with no intention of
ever delivering. That may seem overly harsh -- no one suggests Obama wanted his
marquis domestic program to stumble.
More Than One Way to Make Your Point
There isn’t only one perfect metaphor available for a given situation. As you
see from the examples above, whatever point you are trying to make can likely
lend itself to high impact comparisons from a number of worlds. Experiment with
a few, before deciding which works best for the particular point you want to
make. Your final choice will depend on your audience and what will resonate most
with them and the tone appropriate to the situation. Running through several
possible metaphors and analogies will likely make you more original, more
effective and more successful in getting your desired outcome.
Begin now to work that metaphor muscle. What additional metaphors or analogies
can you create that describe the concept of failure from the following worlds:
trains, science, theater, toys, education, cooking, zoos, the Olympics, cars,
the ocean, the Internet?
Make What You Say Pay — With Metaphors.
P.S. Bloomberg Businessweek’s
iPod President Crashed took issue with the
President himself not really understanding his original plan
which was expressed metaphorically as to become an “iPod
government.” “It sounded good…but the iPod was a disruptive
innovation... It destroyed companies that made manufactured
parts… for CD players… accelerated a change… that put music
stores across the country out of business.”
The article goes on to explain that creating a true iPod
government would require being equally disruptive, radically
overhauling systems, and creating all kinds of internal
resistance among other changes. Sadly, Obama seems not to have
understood this or, if he did, not to have been willing or able
to really turn the government into an iPod institution.
The Metaphor Minute takeaway? Whenever you select a metaphor, be
sure you understand its implication before you use it.
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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.
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