During a recent airport experience, I was in line listening to the TSA agent repeating over and over what we had to do:

  • Remove everything from your pockets
  • Take out all liquids from bags
  • Etc.

He repeated the instructions and said:

Completely empty your pockets, including coins, tissues, and paper – you know like when you are doing laundry. Make them laundry ready.

Immediately I thought, “That’s a powerful metaphor!” It was clear he meant everything – and it reminded me of Anne Miller, the author of The Tall Lady with the Iceberg which is an expanded version of Metaphorically Selling – a GREAT book on how to make a point and educate people to ‘see’ what your message.

I’m please that Anne has written the following for me to share with you!

Speaking Visually: The New Language of Sales & Leadership

“If I can’t see it, I don’t understand it.” Einstein

Miller_Cover (3)We live in a time of an abundance of choices, information overload, limited attention, and unprecedented time pressure. As a survival mechanism, people are more likely to tune you out than in.  You can talk to clients across the country on your cell phone, but it is often very difficult to get your point across just talking in the same room. As you scramble for every new way to make your point and create agreement, there is one overlooked tool that you can use to win the day–-visual language.

We Are Image Junkies

Our brains are wired to respond to visuals. Compare how you react to the factual description: “President Obama and Mitt Romney had a contentious second debate” vs. a visual description reported by journalists as the debate being “like two roosters in a ring” or “Abbott and Costello for angry people.”

We notice images. We remember in images. We have emotional reactions to images.  We make decisions based on images.  We talk in images.  From early caveman drawings to today’s Pinterest, mankind has always reflected this primal reach for images to communicate. Sometimes, the images are actual pictures. Other times, they are expressed in language that is vivid and pictorial, which creates mental images for listeners.

 It’s Not What You Say. It’s What They See.

Asked to describe FINCA, the micro-finance organization where she was Executive Director, Deb B. concluded, “Think Citibank for the poor.”  (Big institution lending money to disenfranchised group communicated in one brief image.   Got it!)

When John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, described his expectations for the company, he told Fortune magazine he wanted natural foods “to become as common as four-dollar lattes.” (Aggressive expansion instantly communicated. No intermediary research analyst interpretation necessary!)

Deb and CEO Mackey figured out that the way to make a point most efficiently and most memorably was with visual language. That means metaphors, analogies, and stories (can also include cartoons and props used metaphorically).

 What is done imaginatively by poets (“All the world’s a stage”) and said casually in conversation (“That’s a train wreck waiting to happen”) now needs to be done intentionally and strategically in business to get results, whether getting a job, selling a product, simplifying complex issues, rallying a team, or even running a country.  Indeed, anyone who manages, sells, interviews, networks, blogs, or leads needs to speak visually to listeners.  Visual language not only resonates, engages, and sticks in our memories, it also plays directly into how our brains process information and make decisions.

Communicating without visual language is like attempting to drive a Ferrari without gas. No matter how attractive your ideas may be, you won’t get very far.


Anne’s newest book is available here on Amazon. It will be worth  your time and money to absorb and then use her message! Find out how two words landed a $1.2billion sale in “The Tall Lady With the Iceberg: the power of metaphor to sell, persuade, & explain anything to anyone.”  Test your own billion dollar  S.P.E, (Sell, Persuade, Explain) Power as well on her free quiz. http://bit.ly/12u47qM