Have you ever needed to convince a resistant audience to open their minds to seeing a situation in a new way? If so, you’ll be interested in hearing how this presenter used a small prop to disarm and intrigue her audience.
She began by telling them how when she was a small child growing up in San Francisco, her father brought home a toy from Chinatown, a woven tube six inches long and about as big around as an index finger.
After showing her audience the toy, she passed several of them around the room, asking for volunteers to take a tube and put a finger into each end. Then she challenged the volunteers to draw their fingers out of the tubes. Everyone watched as they struggled; the more they pulled, which seemed the logical thing to do, the tighter the little tubes would grip.
After a few moments went by, she asked them to stop and look carefully at the tubes on their fingers. When they did, they were able to see that pulling outward was not logical at all, but illogical. They needed to press inward so the fibers would relax; then they could draw their fingers out.
She pointed out that just like the tube, old ideas and attitudes can have a grip on us and keep us acting in ways that are unproductive. In order to loosen that grip, we must be willing to stop, listen, and open ourselves to new ways of seeing a situation.