Assemble an Arsenal of Magic Words and Phrases
C H A P T E R
Assemble an Arsenal of
Magic Words and Phrases
Because the way to win is to grab, hold, and convince
It’s Power-Upper Time
Because you want to “ caffeinate” your argument
You’ll need a basic black dress that will always get
you out of a what-to-wear jam. Jazz it up with a
glittery necklace, glitzy shoes, and a gold belt, and
you’re off and ready for the party.
—A Fashion Editor’s Advice for Young Women Heading
Off for Their First Year of College
How can you power up a phrase, a sentence, or a paragraph to make it
so seductive and so powerful that it reaches, grabs, holds, and convinces?
How can you power up words to slam-dunk a point?
How can you power up your portable points to make them more
intriguing, memorable, and easily understood?
Call upon words and phrases to zoom your argument
from flabby and ho-hum dull to captivating and compelling.
In this chapter you’ll discover how the pros present things
not as they are, but as they want them to be perceived.
HOW TO WIN ANY ARGUMENT
It’s easy. Abandon the anemic, the rote, the stilted, and the stuffy. Power-
uppers “jazz up” your basic plain-wrap argument.
Power-Upper #1: Craft analogies.
The companies that succeed will be the ones that
make their ideas real…that employ great metaphors
and analogies to define their businesses and tell
—Scott McNealy, Cofounder of Sun Microsystems
Ideas become explosive when you call upon the awesome power of
Microsoft monopolized the Internet-browser market by bundling its
browser with its Windows operating system—a market in which it already
had a monopoly. With that allegation, the Department of Justice demanded
that Microsoft bundle two browsers, its own and Netscape’s, or none at all.
Bill Gates’s powerful analogy compared the demand to “requiring Coke to
ship two cans of Pepsi with every six-pack.”
It’s not a beautiful city and the traffic is terrible. The air is thick with
humidity and mosquitoes. But then Houston is a city built on a swamp. A
local marketing firm launched an online campaign seeking ways to promote
Houston without resorting to catchphrases that really didn’t say much. A
sampling of some that were used and then soon abandoned: “Houston Proud.”
“Houston’s Hot.” “Space City. A Space of Infinite Possibilities.”
A local seemed to have said it all with an analogy that captured national
attention: “If Houston were a dog, she’d be a mutt with three legs, one bad
eye, fleas the size of CornNuts, and buckteeth. Despite all that, she’d be the
best dog you’d ever know.”
Many feel that the U.S. military response to the World Trade Center
attack should have been limited to the capture of Osama bin Laden and
his henchmen. A White House official used a stand-up-and-take-notice
analogy to argue why that wasn’t a real alternative to war: “You don’t get
rid of a mosquito problem by swatting mosquitoes. You get rid of it by
draining the swamp.”
“Hot analogies” are used to rouse and stir emotions. Those who favored
the United States going to war in Iraq likened Saddam Hussein to Adolph
Hitler. Those opposed warned that we were getting into “another Vietnam.”