Picture-Bites: Your Presentation Message on Steroids


Article by Anne Miller

“It’s the economy, stupid.” “Just do it!” “Ideas worth spreading.”  We all know these as sound bites that capture a strategy (Clinton’s election slogan), a brand (Nike), a movement (the TED talks). In an age of information overload, sound bites are the stuff of marketing. They are short, catchy, and memorable


What are “Picture-Bites?”

Picture-bites are particular kinds of sound bites. They are visual by definition and in an age of too much information and too many similar sounding services and products, they are the stuff of 21st century selling.  They turn dull to dazzling and put your presentation message on steroids.


No one should lead, sell, or influence others without a command of picture-bites: images created with words, commonly known as metaphors and analogies.


Why Picture-Bites Work

We humans are wired to respond instantly to images more than we are to information, no matter how logically presented.  Just look at how people love their online videos, Facebook pictures, and Pinterest.   Not only are metaphors (and analogies) instantly grasped, they are also highly evocative and memorable and they move others to action quickly.  Think of the recent brouhaha around the “fiscal cliff” metaphor.


Information is important to logically support a decision, but if you want to persuade, sell, or create change with your presentation message, you need that visual component. Here are two quick examples of salespeople who used Picture-Bites to help their prospects “see” the value of their recommendations.


  • This complacent buyer was sure he didn’t need to advertise. He believed his reputation was sufficient to bring in business. That was true until his advertising sales woman reminded him that “Proctor & Gamble didn’t sell soap by keeping it in the closet.” He chuckled, paused, then said, ‘That is so true.’ And he agreed to advertise.


  • Understanding different investment approaches can be confusing for people who are not in the market.  One wealth manager explains  risk/reward differences between investing in a diversified group of funds over the long term vs. picking stocks opportunistically over that same time period as the difference between winding up eating caviar or catnip in your old age. No prospective investor has a problem understanding that.


When you satisfy the right brain, which loves images , it is much easier to persuade the left, which responds to logic.


7 Signs You Need a Picture-Bite

Picture-Bites include metaphors, analogies, stories, cartoons, props – anything that visually communicates your point. Use Picture-Bites to:


1. Clear up confusion for a client.

2. Gain support for your ideas.

3. Neutralize a tough objection.

4. Simplify technically complex services.

5. Close a wavering client.

6. Wow a crowd

7. Distinguish your firm from the competition.


Metaphor is the invaluable tool of the junior rep, the sales rain-maker, and the CEO. Selling without metaphors is like trying to drive a Ferrari without gas. Like the Ferrari, you and your service will look good, but, in both cases, you won’t get very far.




Anne Miller, Presentation & Sales Specialist, New York City,

@annemillerny , author “The Tall Lady With the Iceberg: the power of metaphors to sell, persuade & explain anything to anyone”

c. 2013 Anne Miller