As small businesses it is important that you use technology as a tool to grow your businesses, but it’s also important that you know how to communicate well.
Deviating a bit from my usual tech news, I’d like to bring to your attention a book from Anne Miller, “Metaphorically Selling: How to Use the Magic of Metaphors to Sell, Persuade, and Explain Anything to Anyone”.
In this book Anne helps the reader understand the importance of giving your audience of one or 100 metaphors or examples to help clarify and keep in your audiences memory what you have said.
Billions of dollars are left on the table and hundreds of ideas fail to get off the ground every day because of the overcommunicated society in which we live. Salespeople, Managers, Consultants, CEOs, and even the President of the U.S., are constantly challenged to pierce through this information clutter to get others to see the unique value of their services, explanations, and propositions. Metaphors solve that problem.
Excerpts from Chapter 15. Burners: Explain, Simplify, Reinforce Points
(In a previous chapter we agreed that the term metaphor would mean any comparison that conjures up a visual in your listener’s mind, including analogies.)
When Sallie Krawcheck accepted a job of CEO at Smith Barney, following a series of conflict-of-interest problems at the company, many doubted she could restore customer credibility. Krawcheck assured shareholders she was up to the task. “The public,” she explained, “is like a jilted lover. It’s going to take some time to win them back.”
Her metaphor worked on many levels. Without using the term “betrayed,” Krawcheck nonetheless articulated how Smith Barney clients felt in the wake of recent revelations. Instant forgiveness, as with an ex-lover, was not likely. Additionally, however, her jilted-lover metaphor shows that she is acknowledging the company’s responsibility as jilter, the one who ruined the relationship — surely the first step toward reconciliation. Finally, the utter frankness of her comparison leads us to believe that whatever subterfuge and evasion preceded her arrival as CEO is history. Krawcheck fully embraces the challenge of rebuilding trust.
In short, with her incisive analogy, this CEO deftly avoided a potentially labored explanation — one which might have cast further doubt on her abilities — and instantly quelled investor anxiety.