Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Delicate Balance

by Steve Cuno

In Why People Believe Weird Things, Michael Shermer describes his experience as the “guest skeptic” on a program for NBC. The other guests claimed to have experienced a close encounter of the third kind. He writes that after the taping, he and they went out for dinner and talked about...

Whoa, wait, hold on. He spends the entire session rebutting them. Then they go out to dinner together. Like, um, friends. Somehow, he had managed not to alienate (no pun intended) the claimants, even while rebutting their claims.

That, I submit, is a delicate balance worth striving to achieve.

Not that I always so strive. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes a heated turn takes me unawares. Sometimes seeking the balance is the wrong strategy. And sometimes — dare I admit? — I just plain don’t feel like working that hard.

And then there’s the fact that giving it my best in no way ensures I’ll succeed.

But then, figuring out how to do better next time begins with recognizing that what I just tried didn’t work.

Steve Cuno is the founder of the RESPONSE Agency, an evidence-based marketing firm in Salt Lake City. You can read his marketing blog by clicking here and his quasi-skeptical blog by clicking here.

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