This second edition of the author’s 2004 book Metaphorically Selling features an appendix of 25 new stories—38 pages—that illustrates how salespeople can effectively use metaphors.
Drawing on the author’s personal experiences, this book focuses on effective business communication, particularly when selling products or attempting to secure corporate accounts. Metaphors, Miller writes, can give mundane explanations a shot of adrenaline and help make abstract ideas comprehensible. However, when overused or misapplied, they often fall on deaf ears. In the first section, Miller explains what a metaphor is and when to use it; in others, she describes how to determine the factors that make metaphors relevant and how to use them for impact. Another section focuses on how to acquire a “metaphor inventory.” Miller’s succinct summaries and exercises reinforce and test the reader’s understanding of the material covered; at times, the format is reminiscent of 1980s self-help books. She effectively uses an abundance of examples throughout. For instance, when she discusses left-brain/right-brain theory, she portrays analytical thought processes as a character called Joe, and visual/intuitive processes as Robin, and uses them to clarify her points. In one chapter, she explains how to take abstractions and relate them to things known, a comparative technique often used to prevent listeners from falling asleep in lecture halls (“That savings is the equivalent of what it would take to build a shopping center for you in the Caribbean.”). Another chapter focuses on effectively using visual images to describe abstract concepts and invisible products.
Although written for a business audience, this book will interest parents, teachers, healthcare workers, writers and others aiming to better communicate complicated concepts.