Conjuring presentation magic for Halloween


Let the magic flow into your public speaking

by Peter Watts

Halloween. Time for stories, and for magic.

Let’s talk of magic, and illusion. This Halloween, as little witches and wizards bearing bags begging candy come up to your door, reflect on the thought that every time we take to the stage as presenters, we too join a world of magic and illusion.

As a presenters we perform magic not with objects, but ideas and information. Take a look at this list of some of the standard categories under which stage magicians file their acts:

  • Production: Making something that wasn’t there before, become suddenly apparent and obvious to all
  • Transformation: Transmuting one thing into another
  • Restoration: Reducing something to it’s atoms, and then restoring it to exactly as it was before
  • Teleportation: Something moves mysteriously from one location to another
  • Escape: From a seemingly inescapable position, the magician succeeds
  • Prediction: What is in the audience’s mind is mysteriously understood.

The categories of magic describe perfectly what presenters do with the base metal of information. Think of your next presentation. Will you be seeking to perform a production conjuring understanding where none existed, or a transformation, turning hesitancy to excitement, or maybe a prediction, where through the magical power of research and planning you demonstrate to an audience how much you understand them; that you know just what is in their minds at this moment.

You are a magician.

This Halloween, as our minds turn to magic, give a thought to some of the great magicians and illusionists. Either the living such as Lyn Dillies, past greats such as Harry Houdini, or even the mythical such as Merlin or Dumbledore. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from them as a presenter?”

Tennessee Williams spoke for audiences worldwide in “A Streetcar Named Desire” when he wrote the words:

“I don’t want realism. I want magic!”

May your Halloween be magical, and your public speaking spellbinding.

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