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What’s your favourite Top Gun quote? How being a Top Gun fan can help you connect and spread your messages

e-Fan-gelism: Putting the FAN in evangelism – harnessing your passions to connect and spread your messages.

What’s your favourite line from Top Gun?

In my rush to create a group of e-Fan-gelists, I didn’t take the time to check the spelling and I set it up as “e-fan-geists”. I missed the “L”. When  a friend pointed out my error, I couldn’t help myself  and replied with my usual knee-jerk reaction excuse for  going too fast and not paying attention to spelling:

“I’m not happy unless I’m going Mach 2 with my hair on fire!”

Anyone heard a similar line before?  Yes, it’s from that wonderful 80s movie “Top Gun”.   

Now you may never guess it – but I am a massive FAN on Top Gun –  and so are lots of lots of other  now “respectable”  business types who enjoyed that magical movie in the 1980s.

Reporting on Roulettes

I find myself quoting from that movie all the time and I realized how often my colleagues in business and in their personal lives “quote” from that movie. They can’t help themselves. They are FANS. The movie is so ingrained in people who watched it in the 80s (and younger generations of fans of course). I can’t wait to share the magic of Top Gun with my son!

Chances are, if you identify people in your audience who were children or young adults in the 80s – chances are they are familiar with the magic of Top Gun. Top Gun has a certain cool factor with them. (I know “cool” is not a cool word now – but it still resonates with what I call “serious business people now  – who enjoyed the culture of the 80s)

I worked with a great cameraman on Today whose nickname was “Mav” for “Maverick”.

Another great Today cameraman (Scott Morelli) would respond to almost every question with: (I’m paraphrasing – but something like…)

“That’s classified. I could tell you but I’d have to kill you.”


A business colleague would comment as we walked into business networking functions:


“This is a target rich environment.”


In TV crew cars, when communicating on the two-way radio (yes a long time ago), colleagues couldn’t help themselves with lines such as:

Tower, this is Ghost Rider (or Car 9) requesting a flyby.

Sometimes a chief-of-staff who got the reference would respond with something like:

Negative, Ghost Rider (or whatever car it was), the pattern is full.

The e-Fan-gelism lesson for you:

1.  Be aware of culturally “cool” reference points you can dare to share.

2.  Dare to use them if you judge that your audience will “get the reference”

3.  Don’t overdo it. Just use one or two lines (or your adaptations) of the lines.

Showing you are a FAN of Top Gun (if you suspect you may have some other TG fans in your audience) can create a bond, a shared reference point, with you and your audience. It can evoke some good-time memories to add some positive vibes to a dry meeting or presentation.

I remember working with a group of high-powered, serious businesswomen and mentioning Duran Duran and suddenly this created a shared experience and took them to “a happy place” with happy memories. The mood lightened. The seriousness lifted and scowls turned to smiles. But, that’s another story for another post! 

Back to Top Gun: Different generations have different cultural common touch points. Back with the TV generation (with a more limited choices of media) there was a more common sharing of pop culture.  Now, with so many choices of media there is also a greater fragmentation – different tribes who neither know nor nor care about another tribe’s common cultural references.

Anyway, can you please share in the comments section below your favourite line (or your adaptation) from Top Gun and, if you like, your favourite lines from other movies you use in business or social contexts.

Gotta bug out. There’s a Mig on my tail!



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This entry was posted on May 29, 2012 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , .
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