In the TV show “House of Cards”, Frank Underwood is the picture of unflappable cool under pressure. Putting his morals aside, Frank Underwood’s verbal skills are second to none. In this post and the above video, you will learn two of his most powerful verbal secrets, secrets that helped him transform himself from white-trash beginnings into the standing White House resident.
Frank’s verbal skills are like machetes carving their way through a crop field, except in his case, he wields these two verbal machetes to chop down enemies who dare to stand in his way of more power.
As a powerful man, Frank spends his days dealing with other powerful (and dangerous) characters. In doing so, he spends a lot of his time MAKING threats and also DEALING WITH threats made by others.
In particular, Frank has a gift for handling threats that are made against him.
At 0:48 in the video, you see Frank handling a power trip by another powerful person’s assistant by coolly replying: “Proximity to power deludes some into thinking they wield it”.
At 1:05 in the video, in response to a threat from an union representative, he easily parries the union representative’s threat with a savage comeback.
And, at 1:14 in the video, he blows away Raymond Tusk’s threats by one-upping the egotistic businessman.
In the video, you will see these examples of Frank handling these threats and also the METHOD he uses to handle them.
As the consummate politician and power player, Frank is massively persuasive and influential. He has to be in order to survive and thrive. But, what is the reason he is so persuasive?
The reason is his mastery of metaphoric speaking and figurative language.
Have you ever heard of the saying “Show not tell?” When most people want to persuade others of something, they tend to make the mistake of telling.
Imagine explaining to someone how a particular dish at a restaurant tastes.
The other person can imagine the dish when you tell them how it tastes, but they’ll never really understand what you mean. But, if you just let them taste one bite of the dish, they will understand immediately.
TELLING is the former and SHOWING is the latter. SHOWING is letting them taste the dish.
When you try to persuade other people, make sure you let them “taste the dish”! And, metaphors are the way you enable other people to “taste the dish”. They are one of the primary ways we can “show, not tell”.
(I will post on the other ways we can “show, not tell” another time.)
Metaphors enable us to take a short cut into another person’s brain and bypass their natural skepticism and the barriers they put up to being persuaded.
In particular, Frank Underwood uses a specific kind of metaphor very frequently in making his persuasive appeals. And, this specific type of metaphor is one that most people intuitively understand, and so this verbal vehicle he uses is one major reason why he is so persuasive.
Find out what TYPE of metaphor Frank frequently uses and why it is so persuasive in the video!
Talking about metaphoric language, check out MASTER OF METAPHOR, my mini-course on how to master metaphoric speaking and become a “verbal god”.