As a writer, one of my goals for this year was to use more stories and real-life examples in articles. The challenging part was coming up with a story or example that tied in with the rest of the article. One of the pros at this is Michael Katz of Blue Penguin Development and I’ve been studying his weekly newsletter to learn from him.
We hand out candy on Halloween. Sounds boring with no chance of becoming a story in an article? Michael did it. The funny thing was this Halloween was the first time I didn’t have to do the running-to-the-door-and-grabbing-the-candy-bowl on the way business. My 11-year-old son shocked us when he said he was too old for trick or treating. This guy loves candy more than his older sister who was trick or treating with her teen friends long pass age 11.
Not only that, but my seven-year-old had the flu, so my husband was home to help, too. Between them covering the door, I had the whole Halloween night off for the first time since we moved in our house.
I grew up in a neighborhood where most kids were the same ages as my 10 years older siblings, so few kids came to our door. Our neighborhood made my childhood neighborhood look like country living (Fort Worth) as the doorbell rang too many times to count. During the early years, I loved standing by the door ready to open it to see what surprises appeared on the other side of the door. Creative costumes, creepy costumes and teens faking it costumes.
In the past few years, my enthusiasm dropped. The doorbell’s constant interruption left me with little I could do between ringings except for reading magazines. When you do something long enough, it turns into a bore that all the costumes — good and bad — blur.
That happens to business professionals, too. They call, they present, they meet. They can do everything right and fail to capture interest from the party on the other side of the phone call, table or desk. Like answering the door on Halloween and losing interest in the costumes, they have heard and seen it all before.
Author of Metaphorically Selling Anne Miller shares over 50 stories using metaphors, stories and examples to shake resistance and close deals in Make What You Say Pay! The diverse examples in the book cover speeches, greeting cards, elevator speeches, new concepts and more. The book has a simple layout: the story followed by Miller’s short commentary on the story and why the metaphor worked.
Not only does the short, fast read offer examples from different situations, but also uses a variety of metaphors. So no expecting a book filled with the oft-used sports metaphors. Because of the diversity of situations and metaphors, most people can benefit from the book. A developer can get ideas on how to explain technical concepts. A small business can get ideas on how to thank clients for their business. A finance employee can get ideas on how to convert lifeless numbers into meaningful ones.
Miller sorts chapters by topic to simplify finding the right stories that fit your situation. Need to grab attention? Convince them to get on board? Stand out from the crowd? Miller includes all of these and more.
The only slight weakness is the commentary. First, all of it is in italics. Italics aren’t meant for paragraphs. Its job is to highlight short points, book titles and the like. Some feels forced, like you have to include commentary, but the story says it all and any commentary would be just repetition. The commentaries are one or two paragraphs, so they don’t take up much space. The value is in the stories. In fact, I wish there were more stories and examples. Miller invites readers to submit their stories and she plans to publish them as long as they keep coming.
Make What You Say Pay! belongs in the professional’s reference library. Almost every business professional can punch up business with a story or metaphor. Miller’s book will help find that metaphor so you’re not stuck using the needle in a haystack analogy again.
Title: Make What You Say Pay! The Language That Opens Minds, Closes Deals & Wows Crowds
Author: Anne Miller
Date: July 2010
Cover Price: USD: $14.95 Amazon: $13.45
FTC disclosure: Reviewer received copy from publisher, which had no influence on the review.