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David Copperfield – live at the MGM Grand Hotel Las Vegas! You might be fascinated to know what I discovered behind the curtain. I was lucky enough to assist him with one segment of his show. Of course I was sworn to secrecy and cannot reveal the magic behind that trick.
Watching a master at work inspired me to do more than just watch – to observe and learn. I can reveal to you the secrets of David Copperfield that you can apply to your business.
There is no magic
The first rule. Reality. You will not reach success – in any field because of magic. Copperfield does not claim magical powers. He proudly points out that it is illusion. Masterful illusion. The secret is in the mastery.
Illusion is more powerful than reality
You might wonder – “how does he do those amazing things?” And you might believe him to be embodied with special powers. Why? Because you see what he wants you to see – through the skills of direction, suggestion and having the right things hidden from view. How can you use these skills to create the right illusion for your customers?
You can create the right illusions when you understand and apply the power of communications.
People believe what they want
You can control what you want them to see but you cannot control what they believe. You can, however, influence what they believe and feel. If people want to believe in magic – they will. If your customers want to believe in you – they will. It is up to you to influence them to want to believe in you.
The audience is always right
Your customers are always right. Never argue with them. Demonstrate that you understand their position and respect their feelings. Then guide them in the direction you want to take them. Occasionally the audience did not react the way he expected or a volunteer was slow to follow instructions. Copperfield never pouted. Instead he acknowledged the misunderstanding and adapted.
Preparation is everything
Imagine the tremendous amount of rehearsal that goes into a David Copperfield production. Scripting, movement, positioning, lighting, team coordination, key words, timing, coaching. Now imagine the results if Copperfield stopped rehearsing. Have you and your people stopped rehearsing your marketing and sales messages? Imagine your improved results after you rehearse.
Pepare for the unexpected
Even with good preparation things happen. First – smile. Then continue to move the illusion in the direction you want. Don’t show stress or any of the negative emotions (anger, indignation, disgust). Your customers will react to any negative emotions they perceive in you.
Believe in people
Copperfield’s team moved about the stage and audience in harmony – always in the right place at the right time. They were personable, effective and efficient. The team member who volunteered me established rapport, qualified and instructed me. When it was my turn – it all happened the way he predicted.
Surround yourself with a good team. Then make them an excellent team with the right training, guidance and encouragement. Then trust their intentions and respect their abilities. Most of all – model the message and character you want them to follow.
Offer them Hope
Copperfield’s illusions work – because the audience wants to believe in the possibility of magic. Your customers buy from you because of their hopes. Your staff works with you because of their hopes. You run your business out of hope. Understand how fundamental the power of hope is. Offer possibilities. Offer opportunities. Offer hope.
Make it fun
Copperfield showed that he enjoyed his work and his customers. At one point he even spoofed his own illusion by redoing it in slow motion – revealing all the goofy things that we might have missed in real time.
You are the model for your staff and your customers. Show that you are having fun. Sure you need to be serious when required. But occasionally let the child in you show through. Be impish. Flash that spark of passion. Laugh – at yourself, with your staff, with your customers. Never laugh at them. If your staff is having fun – your customers will enjoy doing business with you more. They will want to believe in your illusions – and they will tell others about you.
Copperfield’s parents were in the audience. He acknowledged them. Then he told us how his father had wanted to be in show business – but did not pursue that dream because of his father’s (David’s grandfather) stubborn prejudice against a career in show business. David revealed an inner pain. Why? That shows that he is human like the rest of us.
Reveal a little of your inner secrets – a failure, an imperfection, an unfulfilled dream. Don’t pretend to be perfect. If you do – we will hate you. Instead be real – so those around you can see and believe that you are like them – human.
Don’t be seduced by the magic of technology
I was surprised to see, that before the show started, the stage was empty. No props or equipment to clutter up the message and distract our eyes from Copperfield. Yes, technology was used – as tools to support and enhance the illusion. The technology was never allowed to become the show. Clearly, Copperfield was the creator of the illusions.
Who or what is sending your messages to your customers? Do your customers mistake the technology as the center stage? Does the technology harm the relationship with your customers? Use the tools to support your message. And insure that you and your people are the center stage.
You don’t need a cape
Remember Mandrake the Magician? David Copperfield looked nothing like him. In fact he was rather casually dressed. Curious, I thought. Then I realized that you don’t need a cape, top hat or magic wand to create illusions. And maybe this was David’s most important message to his audience. We all are capable of creating the illusions we want. If we learn the fundamentals, focus our efforts and invest in ourselves and our people.