Magic and Mentalism. For the past few months I’ve been teaching my son new Jedi Mind Tricks.
Creative minds in the field of magic and mentalism are constantly coming up with better ways to fool the senses.
Persuasion and Magic: Jedi Mind Tricks
When everything is boiled down to the basics in magic, you have just a few principles that makes Sylvia Browne and James van Pragh so effective in front of an audience. They are the same things that makes David Copperfield and Lance Burton appear to be able to make things vanish and reappear before your very eyes.
One principle is that of Misdirection.
For example – I perform one card “trick” (it’s an illusion) where a selected card disappears from the deck and appears underneath a plate, surrounded by strangers and no friends to help.
I’m not a sleight of hand expert.
I simply practiced the elements of this effect over and over, hundreds of times. The entire success or failure of the illusion rests in a one second moment where everyone’s eyes must be away from the plate.
Someday I’m sure I’ll be found out on this illusion (it truly is magical to have not only mind reading but telekinesis going down all at the same time!). I’m just not that good.
Misdirection is the critical factor in many magic “tricks” and “illusions.”
The ability to know how their human brain will react and respond to your instructions….every time…or close enough to every time that you’ll never be seen as anything other than astonishing.
There are a few other factors in magic that can be drawn upon to make something appear from nowhere.
Concealment comes into play in many illusions and magic tricks.
The better one can conceal, the more astonishing the illusion.
Like these elements that give you the pieces to create and design a magic trick, you can also use generalizations about how people will react in certain environments, given certain stimulii.
Magic IS Persuasion.
Persuasion can be magical.
In both magic and persuading others, you *must* know what people will do in specific scenarios and be able to predict those behaviors or actions.
You have to be operating at a high level of certainty as an expert persuader and as a magician. (I’ll spare the argument they are one and the same…they are close enough.) I know very few people who are extremely persuasive who do not have a strong interest in magic.
I know of no one in magic who doesn’t have a scientific mind…the ability to predict outcomes given a certain set of controlled variables…and do it almost flawlessly…and the ability to reverse engineer RESULTS and BEHAVIORS and ACTIONS back into causes for the effects….for THAT is what a magician is.
The psychic does this as well. They simply are disingenuous about the story they present.
What lies at the core of success for persuaders and magicians?
Research is at the core of success for all magicians and all those who persuade.
Those who have the best information inevitably become the better magicians.
Those who understand what the audience will look at, look for and pay attention to will become masters.
Those who create their illusions in a way that creates a natural flow of occurences so the audience always feels that everything that is happening…is happening naturally…they are the masters…here the audience suspends criticism and lowers their defenses. They now want to be a part of the experience.
And so it is with the master persuader.
A natural flow of occurences however demands that the performer and the master persuader work within the construct of how his audience thinks and feels. He has to know what they will look at and think and why. Only then can he create magic.
Successful Persuasion is Magic and Magic starts with understanding your audience.
It’s absolutely necessary that the Master assume nothing and set aside all instincts and intuitions.
Like the magician, if the salesperson or manager, “goes with their gut,” they will fail.
Intuitively we know that as parents we have the most influence in how our children will “turn out.” Yes?
And obviously a happy employee is a good and productive employee. Yes?
Certainly if customers are satisfied more with the company than the employees of the same company, you’re going to make more money…right?
Obviously it requires 367 people in a room before you can GUARANTEE that two people will have the same birthday. But how many people does it take in the same room before there is a 50/50 chance that some two people will have a birthday in common in the room. 183?
And when you place two quarters heads up, side by side, touching each other so that Washington is looking straight left on both coins…now you rotate one coin while it remains in contact with the other quarter. You rotate 180 degrees. (Going from 9:00 to 3:00.) Washington is now head down (so to speak) and facing your right on one coin and facing left on the unmoved coin. Right?
The answer is of course that gut instinct is not very helpful. In fact, people who follow their gut turn out to be the failures of life.
It doesn’t require 183 people in a room for there to be a 50/50 chance of two people having the same birthday. How many does it require? 23.
That’s it. Mentalists and magicians are all aware of this and when they find themselves in a room of 40 people the odds are overwhelming that two of the 40 will share the same birthday…thus able to create the illusion of coincidence, synchronicity…when it’s nothing of the sort.
People are very predictable because they do think with their gut…which is why they are 50 pounds overweight and as long as people espouse, “go with your gut,” or “go with your instincts,” they will easily be fooled, manipulated and make for a great audience for magic.
The two quarters? It would seem just logical that if you carefully rotate the coin 180 degrees all the while touching the other coin, without slipping, that the rotated coin would now be upside down.
But no, intuition is dead wrong again.
Both coins are once again heads up facing left. The rotating coin is actually head down when it’s in the 12 o’ clock position (rotated from the 9′ o clock position.
As parents you have a very modest input into your children’s destiny. Not including genetics, the most significant factor is their friends. Then their school teachers…oh, and then there is you finishing dead last.
If your customers are happier with your company more than your employees are, you’re probably losing money or not making what you could be.
Ah, and happy employees are better and more productive employees? Nope. On average the opposite is true.
Common sense and instinct might be great for some things…but it is pretty useless for thinking. People “think” in “rules of thumb.” They make wild assumptions that in the moment “feel right” based on their gut and little else.
Understanding how people think, and what they will think is crucial to being a master persuader.
If you ignore how people truly process information, how they behave, what they think in various settings and circumstances, and go with your gut, you don’t stand a chance at effective persuasion.
You must know how people think and what they feel. Everything else rises or falls on this first hidden principle.
Next week, we’ll look at more hidden principles of persuasion.
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- Transformational Persuasion Techniques
- 8 Techniques to Build Persuasive Messages
- Advertising That Works
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- Power of Perception
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- Influencing Decisions
- The Three Powerful Emotions in Influence
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- Proven Most Effective Techniques in Selling
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- Covert Selling: Jump on the Hottest Trend in Advertising
- The Person of Influence
- They Don’t Know What They Know
- Marketing Your Face
- You Can Be the Next I-pod
- Persuasion with False Memory
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