As a kid, I was really into magic.
What inspired me to get into magic was the idea that, at some point, I could learn real sorcery. I’m talking wizardry, black magic, casting spells, etc.
I started by learning a few card tricks.
I worked on my sleight of hand. I even had one of those fake thumbs for hiding the red handkerchief that I would magically pull from out of nowhere.
I begged to go to the magic store, and I devoured magic videos. My parents even took me to see David Copperfield live.
I was captivated.
Behind the curtain
Sadly, the more I went to magic stores and the more tricks that I learned, the more reality came crashing down and I was forced to realize that magic was not something supernatural. I started to understand the building blocks of magic and once I knew how something worked, I couldn’t unsee it. The magic was gone and I could only see it for what it was.
It was a closely guarded series of steps, performed perfectly, to create the illusion of something unexplainable.
Just Like Magic
I do this thing at networking events, where when someone introduces themselves and tells me what they do, I repeat back to them what I just heard, but I go a step further by pitching their business back to them, on the spot, in an even more engaging and compelling way. 98/100 times, people appear dazzled at what I just did…like it’s a magic trick.
I do this thing when I’m coaching people, where I create space for them to feel safe to share what they’re really struggling with. I listen to what they say, validate their experiences, and look for opportunities to bring out the best in them. Over time, people have remarked that it seems as though I magically just know the right thing to say.
I do this thing when I’m on a sales call, where I’m able to perfectly describe a prospect’s problem in great detail from the challenges that prompted our conversation to the emotions they’re experiencing. I understand their goals, timeline and budget. Then, as if by magic, I’m able to recommend a solution that is a perfect fit for everything they’re looking for. Sometimes, I’ve done this trick so well that the energy of the conversation changes to where instead of me selling the prospect on working together, I find myself hearing their pitch on why I should take them on as a client.
A Magician Never Reveals Their Secret
…except today. I didn’t tell you about the “magical” things I can do because I want to impress you, or make you believe it’s magic. Quite the contrary. I don’t want you to be impressed by it, I want to bring you behind the curtain and show you how magic tricks work. Once you do, you’ll see that almost everything is within reach.
Magic is the combination of technique, practice, and pageantry/showmanship. That’s it.
Whether it’s a card trick or the saw-the-lady-in-half trick, it’s a technique that you need to practice and the showmanship bewilders people’s attention to magnify the effect. Magic is a story we buy into that something unexplainable is happening. Yet, all magic is explainable, because all magic is simply the product of technique, practice, and pageantry.
When I pitch people’s businesses back to them, I’m using a framework, like ABC or Storybrand or The Idea Introduction Pattern from Pitch Anything. It’s like a madlib in my head and yet to the person who has never heard these techniques, it’s a magical spur of the moment performance.
When I create a feeling of safety, and find things to acknowledge in people, I’m using the techniques I learned in How to Win Friends and Influence People, The Code of Trust, and from Chris Voss’ Masterclass on negotiation. Over time, I’ve created habits that make these ways of communicating second nature.
When I crush it on a sales call, I’m pulling from things I’ve learned about pitching and sales from Oren Klaff’s books Pitch Anything and Flip the Script, and I’m incorporating aspects I’ve learned from Business Made Simple. I’ll ask them for all of the answers to the problem and then say it back to them with a price around what they’d asked for.
The bottom line is that none of it is magic…it just feels like it is.
Why we use magic
This could all sound like deception. It could be taken as manipulation. But a magic trick is a gift to your audience. It’s a chance to create a sense of wonder and amazement…you do it for them, not for yourself.
The magic you want to practice, is making something worthwhile and useful look effortless and natural.
If you want to be magical…
Find the techniques you want to master, and then practice them until it becomes instinct. One day, someone will look at you as if you just did something magical.
Just like overnight success takes 10 years, a good magic trick takes time to perfect.