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KenTheriot

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At some point I thought I remembered someone on a thread here say something about using magic in speeches/presentations to business groups. Did I dream this? I'm really intrigued by this idea.

The reason I ask is that I've been asked to speak at a meeting of my local American Society for Quality (ASQ). They don't really care much about the topic. I spoke a couple of years ago about using video for training on the internet. 

But if I could integrate magic into a performance, I'm betting it would be a huge hit - something different and more interesting than the typical Update On ISO9001 Standards" or something.

One related area I've studied a lot about that might help tie all this together is the biases humans have when looking at charts. We jump to immediate conclusions that are almost always wrong. Ex. The numbers went up twice in 2 months, it must be "going up." But these "patterns" are almost always random fluctuations. In the quality/six-sigma world, we have tools to help separate the ACTUAL signals from the noise. But leaders rarely attend to those, relying invariably on some ridiculous gut feeling and wasting lots of money, time and emotion chasing ghosts.

All of that is related to paradigms - the innate human decision-making "rules" we use to recognize patterns and quickly react. This kind of thing is thought to be a remnant of survival instinct - we don't have time to think if we see a predator chasing us. We just run. 

In the book/video called "The Business of Paradigms" (Joel Barker), he uses a deck of cards to illustrate something fascinating. 5 or 6 cards blink one-by-one onto the screen and you write down what you thought you saw. Then the double the amount of time the card spends on screen (though it's still only like a few milliseconds). Then they slow it down one more time. Joel says "some of you are beginning to figure it out now." It's designed to trick you into relying on your paradigm of a standard deck of cards. But you guess wrong because 2 of the cards are "wrong" - a red spade and a black heart. 

Anyway, I wondered if anyone had a good way to use magic to teach similar lessons to business people. Perhaps something about attention or focus. Why illusions work, etc.

Also, I wondered about exposure. If someone were to give such a presentation and then explain how/why people were tricked, would there not be an issue of exposure, potentially?

Anyway, if anyone has some thoughts or experience on this, I'd love to get some ideas.
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Anthony Vinson

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Ken,

I was probably the one you recall mentioning the use of magic in business presentations and training. I use the technique a lot, and have for years. The key is to keep the focus on the topic rather than the magic. The magic is a tool to help drive home a point or create a discussion. Or to be clearer, you must maintain your role of trainer/presenter without crossing over into that of magician/entertainer. It's tricky! I'd be happy to talk with you if you're interested and perhaps offer a tip or two and tell you some of the effects I use. Drop me an email or PM if you are and I will give you my phone numbers.

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KenTheriot

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Thanks Anthony. PM sent.
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Goodegg

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Hi Anthony. May I join in the discussion with yourself and Ken.? It's a part of our craft I'm particularly interested in and found your advice regarding "keeping focus" to make perfect sense.
I'm the UK however, therefore my potential involvement can only be via Email I'd assume.

Regards,

Robert

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Anthony Vinson

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodegg
Hi Anthony. May I join in the discussion with yourself and Ken.? It's a part of our craft I'm particularly interested in and found your advice regarding "keeping focus" to make perfect sense.
I'm the UK however, therefore my potential involvement can only be via Email I'd assume.

Regards,

Robert



You bet. Ken and I are going to speak by phone, but if you could email me and let me know a bit about the specifics of what you are interested in I'd be happy to provide what information or advice I am able. 

And welcome to TMF, by the way!

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Wayne T

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KenTheriot
At some point I thought I remembered someone on a thread here say something about using magic in speeches/presentations to business groups. Did I dream this? I'm really intrigued by this idea.


Ken I think this thread started by Ian Crawford might be the one you remembering. 

In addition to what Anthony already touched on and I am sure that you will discuss more fully by telephone, you might want to check out the start of a Lennart Green performance where as an ice breaker/introduction he usually talks about nonsense  stats and odd mathematical paradoxes. Sounds like you already have industry related stuff that your audience can connect with and perhaps enhance with a trick.

Like any good presenter I would assume it would be most important not to let your "shtick" overtake the message you are trying to convey.

Wayne

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Anthony Vinson

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne T
Like any good presenter I would assume it would be most important not to let your "shtick" overtake the message you are trying to convey.


Yep. As I mentioned above: know your role and maintain it. If there are rules for this sort of thing, that'd be near the top. As a trainer my primary purpose is to effectively meet stated learning objectives. As a presenter my purpose is to persuade. Magic is one of many tools I use to accomplish my purpose and support my role.

I also use storytelling, movement, discussion, music, and games to attain learning objectives, but the tools are always secondary to my purpose.  

Another important rule is to know your audience. Yeah, standard advice, but frequently neglected. Unless I have prior experience with a specific audience, I spend the first several minutes breaking the ice; getting to know them, and also allowing them a chance to get to know me. This is done in a variety of ways, but mainly through dialogue and interaction. If, in the course of getting to know my audience I sense that they might be open to magic as a path to learning, I will try something simple to test my sense. 

Another "rule" might be this: any tool, magic or otherwise, must further the goal of achieving learning objectives. If it does not, then don't use it.

If others here are interested in the topic I am happy to continue the discussion here. My initial thought when offering to speak with Ken privately was that interest in the topic might be limited. Perhaps I was wrong? (See the second "rule" I suggest above! [wink]) I have been a trainer and presenter for more than 30 years, and am schooled in adult learning theory, so I do have some expertise, although I hesitate to bill myself as a maven. But certainly I am not the only trainer/presenter/speaker on the forum? Anyhow, if anyone else wants to carry this discussion forward, I am game!

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Gerald Deutsch

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Fresh Fish

 

 

I used this, my version of the classic for the Long Island Writers Guild to show “we tend to use too many a word”.

 

Needed

 

1          The poem below on the table

2          The sign FRESH FISH SOLD HERE TODAY clipped on a magazine on the table

3          A duplicate sign crumpled under the magazine

4          A black marker-pen

 

To perform

 

Begin reading the poem and as you come to the words “FRESH FISH SOLD HERE TODAY” show the magazine with the sign.

 

As words are to be eliminated, cross them out with the marker-pen with a big X.

 

 

Last night I left the Writers’ Guild

With so many thoughts my head was filled

 

We were taught – and everyone heard

That we tend to use too many a word

 

I was going to work and saw a sign on the way

      FRESH FISH SOLD HERE TODAY

I said to the store owner knowing he was wrong          

“Sir, your sign is way too long   

 

“You don’t need the word ‘sold’” I ventured to say

“Everyone knows you’re not giving them away.”

 

I shook my head with what appeared to be sorrow

“And sir ‘today”? Well, you’re not selling them tomorrow

 

“And why sir do you need this word ‘here’

“If this is not the place of sale then please tell me where

 

“And the word ‘fresh’ I won’t knock your sale

“But would you sell fish that folks would find stale?

 

“That leaves the word ‘fish” and you know darn well

They will know it’s fish – they can tell by the smell

 

So the Writers’ Guild advice was really fine

He really didn’t need the sign

 

At this point all the words are crossed out. The magazine is held in the left hand with the sign facing the audience, the crumpled sign behind the magazine in the left hand.

 

Pull the crossed out sign off the magazine with the right hand and crumple it into a ball.

 

Then simulate putting the crumpled up ball from the right hand into the left (under the magazine) by bending the magazine so the hands can meet but there is not exchange.

 

Take the magazine in the right hand (and the crumpled ball) and place it way to the right on the table. Place the ball that was in your left hand on the table to your left and keep reading. Note: Don’t make a move out of this. Never run when no one is chasing you. No one expects anything.

 

I thought the owner would be so glad

But I saw that he was really mad

 

He was just about to blow his top

Would he call his lawyer – or call a cop?

 

“Wait”, I said, “It’s not so tragic

Besides being a writer I also do magic

 

I waived my hand over the sign I’d destroyed

Open sign

And I saw the owner was no longer annoyed.

 

Note – some have told me they preferred the standard tearing and restoring of the sign to the above crossing out. However I would point out that (i) the torn and restoring can’ t work with the order of the elimination of words in the poem above and (ii) by crossing out instead of tearing the audience sees the cumulative effect as the poem is read.

 

 

 

 

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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #9 
Interesting Gerald. Thanks for that.
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