We sat with our eyes glued to the TV as we watched the MythBusters debunk how the shark in the movie Jaws was killed at the end of the movie. They came to the conclusion that the gun would have never penetrated the canister and killed the shark. Oh, but it looked so good in the movie!
MythBusters has grown in popularity as the continue to find new ways to test “theories,” “urban legends” or just funny moments like could you really blow up multiple golf holes like in the movie Caddy Shack? They also do historical reviews such as their one on taking Da Vinci’s blueprints and using only materials and tools from that time, creating the object and testing if it would have worked or not.
MythBusters worked on several levels because of these factors:
1. Your brain is naturally defensive. It is why we thrive on negative news more than positive news. We are constantly thrilled to see if something can be “debunked.”
2. Plays with curiosity. They take things that are theories and establishes them as fact or fiction. Haven’t you ever wondered if an elevator was falling and you jumped in the air right before it crashed would you be okay? (The answer is no. You would be a flattened pancake). What about all those Hollywood stunts- would falling off a building and landing on an awning save you?
3. Has fun. The people on the show have fun while they do these wacky experiments. This fun plays through in their banter and dialogue.
So how can you use MythBusters to be more strategic when you speak?
1. First and foremost just watching the show will give you some fun new openings to use when you speak.
2. As you watch an episode decid ahead of time whether you think the myth will be true and false and WRITE DOWN why you think that.
3. Once the results come in look for patterns in your thinking that can be flaws. Did you buy in to something being possible because you forgot to look at what was probable? Did you miss some critical factor and if so, which one did you discount? This will start to help you to quiet your mind so you listen better and so you weigh information to know what to throw out and what to pay attention to.
4. Look at how much skepticism keeps you from “hearing or seeing” all the information. Skepticism can be healthy but too much can kill your ability to listen and think without judgement.
Take Action: Watch MythBusters this week and see if you can utilize their episode in your next meeting or presentation.
For example, imagine you are presenting a new product your company is launching that is unproven in the market. You could say, “500 years ago Leonardo Da Vinci created an underwater breathing apparatus. It was designed way before anyone ever created an actual underwater breathing apparatus. So MythBusters took his diagram and tested it to see if, using the materials from that time, would the breathing apparatus work? It did! So why wasn’t it created before? Because it was so far out there at the time no one believed it could work. Today we are about to launch our new product and become the next Da Vinci of creating something never done before.”