7 Things About Magic That You Should Have Learned In Business School – #7

#7 – It’s not really misdirection – it’s direction.

Telling an audience where not to look is never as effective as giving them something meaningful to focus on.
Telling an audience where not to look is never as effective as giving them something meaningful to focus on.
It’s often been said that “magic is simply misdirection.” One important lesson of magic that high-achieving performers learn is that the term “misdirection” is a misnomer. Yes, it’s sometimes important for the overall illusion to ensure that audience doesn’t see something happen. Having them look away is “misdirection,” but you could “misdirect” someone by any number of clumsy means that would not enhance the experience. Saying “Hey, look, is that your dad?” might get someone to look away for a moment and miss a move, but any illusion would be immediately spoiled by suspicion of the manipulation.

Instead of “misdirection” of attention, the real secret is “direction.” The late, great Tommy Wonder was one of the magicians who voiced this idea most strongly. To artfully misdirect means that you purposely direct attention to something else that is just as interesting and important. Skillful misdirection requires the performer to consider what should be interesting to the spectator at every moment and to create a script and blocking to put that story at the forefront of the audience’s attention. With the narrative clearly identified and illuminated both visually and verbally, the method can now be poured into the background shadows.

If you want your audience to be amazed with your business story and your overall business effect, make sure that you are giving them something meaningful to which they can pay attention, especially during the times that you need to execute actions that hinder or clutter your narrative.

What about you?

Can you think of a time when a brand awkwardly attempted a “look over here” moment? How did you feel when they tried to dodge the issue at hand? What is your “look over here” story? Let me hear from you in the comments!


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