Self Confidence

INTRODUCTION

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than knowledge.”

~Charles Darwin

How many people do you know who are absolutely, positively sure of themselves, yet are about as wrong as they could possibly be? Based purely on anecdotal evidence you could come to the conclusion that morons are the most confident in themselves, yet geniuses are often the most doubtful about their abilities.

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A Brief History of Magic Consulting

Since the dawn of time, man has struggled to control the dark forces of nature and they’ve often turned to magicians for help. Magicians think about problems in novel ways, and they can often see solutions where others see impossible difficulties.

Remember, impossible is just another day at the office for a magician.

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Mentalist As Business Strategy Expert

What Gives You The Edge?

Live performance.

Every show I do is an opportunity to get real-time feedback from real-live people on what works, what doesn’t work, and what I should work on.

Shows are composed of hundreds of experiments. I play with language, timing, positioning, tone of voice, physicality, scripting, lighting, information order, and thousands of details that make the show.

Every reaction (or lack thereof) is it’s own data point, Read More

Built On Trust

Insider Secrets


No matter what round of funding you’re looking for, there’s something that’s just as important as the facts & figures of your business: the trust between you and your investors.

Medium is the Message

Digital communications are phenomenal. It allows us to connect with anyone anywhere in the world at any time. We can fire off an email at 1am from our hotel room, and then get a reply 20 minutes later from someone suffering from equal parts insomnia & “inbox-itis.”

But, easy done is easy ignored.

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Crypto Investment

ZOMG! IT’S ALL CRASHING!


Cryptocurrencies are having a rough go of it lately, and there’s a lot of fear in the market right now with articles like this springing up everywhere:

But, are they really doomed?

Only if you’re not thinking about them correctly.

Cryptocurrencies aren’t an experiment in non-fiat approaches to money. They’re an incredibly powerful dynamic that hinges on multiple disciplines like the internet, cryptography, powerhouse computing, and more. It can be a complicated subject, but here’s what’s at its heart.

Treat crypto as a trading opportunity, and you’re going to lose everything. Treat crypto as an investment opportunity, and you have everything to gain.

Take the long view. Speculators are losing their shirts as the brand new market finds its legs. Remember, people tend to vastly over-inflate a new technology’s short term capacity, and vastly underestimate its long term possibilities.

Not All About Confidence

Commentators love pointing to the “falling confidence levels” in crypto as a currency, but here’s what they’re not talking about: crypto’s cap isn’t based solely on the market’s confidence in crypto. Its value is also a function of the market’s distrust of traditional fiat.

Crypto and the decentralized approach to transactions are a direct assault on the FED’s continued efforts to deflate the dollar’s value.

Zoom Out

But, before we get bogged down in the “traditional vs. new blood” conversation about fiat vs crypto, let’s take a minute to zoom out and ask:

What is crypto good for, anyways?

Bitcoin was lauded as an ideal currency due to its distributed, trustless, cryptography-backed nature, but with transaction fees (or mining incentives if you prefer) skyrocketing, its viability as a day-to-day option for purchasing small goods has evaporated with them.

Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily.

Function of Money

In the history before money, exchanges were done directly. One thing for another; barter.

Bartering is extremely limited. What if I have something you want, but you don’t have something I want? No trade is possible, and we both lose out.

And, what if I want to move somewhere else? If all my value is stored in actual goods, I could potentially lose everything I own in one fell swoop.

That’s the two purposes of money:

  • Facilitate trade by abstracting goods & services away from what they are to a representation of what they’re worth
  • A store of value

The first money technology was receipts for rice stored in government silos. Then metal coins came along which was a significant advancement in market potential. Now, a single coin could represent massive amounts of actual goods.

Then, along comes paper money, but you have to trust the government who is in charge of printing the money to not print too much of it (otherwise its value goes down due to that pesky supply/demand thing).

Problem with paper currency, however, is its lack of privacy (try moving anything over $10,000. There’s a hell of a lot of paperwork. Why should I have to get permission from Dad to get what’s mine?), tons of fees (every time someone’s involved in a transaction, they get their cut. When completing a payment there are multiple banks, intermediaries, processing houses, etc involved), possibility of false duplicates (forgery, anybody?), and on down the list it goes.

Cryptocurrencies solve all those problems.

At the barter level I have to trust you. On the paper currency level I have to trust the government. On the crypto level I have to trust thousands of years of scientific progress and math.

So, while traditional entities like government benefit from centralized control of fiat currencies, cyptocurrencies offer a bright future & alternative to staying in a rigged game against progress and development.

Buy in for the long haul, and you’re betting on human progress.

It’s a sure thing in my eyes. But don’t just trust me; it’s smart science, too.

In Pursuit of Magic

Would You Know It When You Find It?


For me, there is very little difference between magic and art. To me, the ultimate act of magic is to create something from nothing: It’s like when the stage magician pulls the rabbit from the hat. ~Alan Moore

The rabbit was in the hat the whole time.

Not so magical, now, huh?

There’s a weird thing that happens when someone learns a magic trick, and it happens in an instant. This precise moment can teach us a lot about our businesses, relationships, and life in general.

The Situation

Imagine you’re at a magic show and something happens that really, truly, affects you. It turns your whole world upside down, and you can’t seem to let it go.

You know there’s a trick to it, but you can’t possibly imagine how that could be.

You leave the show, and you’re still thinking of it for days afterward. It’s like a fishhook in your mind that keeps digging in deeper and deeper.

Eventually you decide you’ve had enough, and you’re going to find out how it works even if it kills you.

You drive to one of the few remaining magic shops, and tell your story to the guy behind the counter.

“Yeah, I know exactly what you’re talking about,” he says. “You probably don’t actually want to know how it works. It’s kind of advanced, but if you really want it, I’m not going to say no. It’s in this 5 page pamphlet and it explains everything. That’ll be $200.”

The Decision

It’s a lot of money for a single trick, but considering how big an impact it had on you, $200 is actually kinda cheap to finally know.

“Now, once a secret’s told, the secret is sold. There’s no returning the secret, so there’s no returning your money. Got it?”

You nod and swipe your card. He hands you the pamphlet.

30 seconds later you look up from the pages and say, “It’s just mirrors?”

“It’s just mirrors.”

And then it happens. This peculiar moment. Something snaps:

“That’ll never fool anybody!”


Before you dismiss this scenario as being too far fetched, let me tell you from personal experience, it happened all. the. time.

I worked at a magic shop in Universal Studios for a little over a year. This was before Harry Potter world was built, and we enjoyed a monopoly on the magic business at the park for a glorious year and a half.

People would see a magic trick demonstrated, have their mind blown, buy the trick, and come back later saying this would never fool anybody.

All the time.

They’re fooled so badly that they’re willing to spend good money to learn how it works, so they can do it themselves, and immediately discount the method.

What In The World Is Going On?!

Methods are too simple.

I think it really boils down to that.

When we look at people our industry who have achieved so much, we feel compelled to figure out what it is that they’re doing different. We give everything to know what they know. We go to seminars. We attend workshops. We go on retreats.

And they share their secrets.

Except; there are no secrets. They’re guarding empty vaults.

We keep thinking there has to be something else because the answers are too simple. But, that’s what makes them a genius solution. The answers are so painfully obvious, people ignore them.

When you truly wrap you mind around this little truth, it’ll blow your world apart. It’s often the simplest methods that get the most results. Stop trying to make things too complicated!

In the world of magic it’s almost always string, mirrors, or sleight of hand.

In the world of business it’s almost always great customer service, providing value, and follow-up.

Stop chasing secrets and start practicing your basics, and you’ll be light years ahead of everyone who is chasing the next big secret.

Let them believe in fairytales while you work your magic.

Power of Personal Impact

“Are you from Orlando?”

This is the story of an experience I had in Lexington Kentucky when a couple remembered meeting me for 5 minutes in Orlando, FL nearly a year afterward!

Why did they remember me after such a long time? The secret lies in my area of expertise!

Why Have An MC?

Because your event is too important to leave up to chance.


How hard can it be, really?

Your events are an incredible opportunity to connect your audience with your company’s mission. The people in that room are spending their most precious resource, time, with you, and if you don’t respect that simple fact, attendance for next year’s fundraiser, awards banquet, tradeshow, or conference will plummet.

I get to MC a ton of conferences, which means I get to hear the horror stories from organizers and attendees, both.

At a recent conference I spoke with an attendee who had been at the previous year’s conference when they didn’t have an MC, a less-than-ideal venue, and poor directing. He had some real talk to share with me. He said:

“I’m kind of amazed there was this much turn out, to be honest. Last year was such a disaster, I thought people would avoid it this year.”

I’m in a unique position to hear his thoughts. He would never say that to the organizer. This leads me to the first point:

You May Never Know How Much Negative Press You’re Getting

People rarely take time out of their day to tell you how much they don’t like something.

Honesty is expensive! It can cost you friendships, contracts, and good employees. Nobody knows what being honest will truly cost them, so they will instead keep the peace, and say nice things about the event instead of sharing their real thoughts.

You might think your events are getting along just fine, but you usually don’t have a good idea where it can improve if you just rely on feedback from attendees.

“But we do follow-up surveys to get feedback!” you say, and I hear you. The problem is, few attendees know what it takes to put on a successful event! This leads me to the second point:

Attendees might know what they don’t like, but that doesn’t mean they what would make the conference better!

Think of it this way: I could talk to you for hours about what I don’t like, and at the end of the day you’d still have no clue what I do like. That’s why I wanted to put this list of simple things you can do to make sure your next event is a smash hit.

The all-important piece of the puzzle

Believe it or not, here’s one of the most important things you have to get right with your event: you have to have a great MC!

This is the person who is going to set the tone for the whole conference, and he tells the audience how they should feel about the next speaker based on how the MC treats them.

Too many clients believe anybody can MC an event, so they get “Carl from accounting” to do it because he’s funny. Unfortunately, MCing an event requires some pretty difficult skills to pull off effectively, and Carl is not a professional who spends his time honing his audience management skills. He’s good at being funny around the water cooler.

There’s a big difference between being funny there, and standing in front of 1,000 people & managing their attention effectively!

That’s why I want to share what some of those details are, so you can make the best choice in who helps your fundraiser go off without a hitch.

Be Flexible

A good MC has material they plan to do between speakers so there’s no dead air.

A great MC will be able to add or cut time depending on the situation without the audience ever knowing something is going on. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had clients come up to me 20 seconds before going on that “the computer isn’t loading PowerPoint! Can you keep things going until we have it running?!”

A great MC will be able to go out there, keep the audience engaged, and be ready to seamlessly transition into the next speaker’s introduction when they get the green light from the coordinator. This is absolutely mission-critical.

Without that ability, you have 1,000 people instantly checking their email, texting their friends, or Googling “what to do when I’m bored.”

Know Who You’re Introducing

You don’t have to know everything about the people you’re introducing, but you should know at least something, like how to pronounce their name properly!

Make it a point to chat with them a little before they’re scheduled to go on stage so you can ask them about any books they’ve written, accomplishments they’ve earned, or some kind of detail that shows their human side (do they have pets, have pride in their city, or have a stupid human trick?).

In the first 20 seconds of talking with them, you can get a feel for how buttoned up or relaxed they are. This will give you a lot of insight on how to talk about them when you’re out on stage. It’s a good idea to match the energy of the speaker you’re introducing, so the audience has a smooth transition from you to who you’re handing the (literal or figurative) mic to.

Show & Tell

My pet peeve is when a speaker or performer walks out on stage and says, “How is everybody tonight?!”

I know why they’re doing it. I do. They feel like it’s a way to make the audience feel included. Like they’re part of the whole experience.

The problem is, it’s lazy. It’s not the speaker’s job to poll the audience about their emotional state. It’s the speaker’s job to impact their emotional state for the better!

As the MC, it’s your job to to tell the audience what’s about to happen so they know what to expect, and then (even better) show them how they’re about to have a great time.

Walk out and say, “You guys are going to have a fantastic time tonight! There are some incredible speakers here who are the best at what they do, and you’re not going to see anything like this anywhere else on the planet. You’re going to be glad you decided to be here today, and by the end of it you’re going to know that’s 100% true!”

Telling the audience leaves no room for crickets. That’s what happens when you walk out and ask the audience a question: they may not answer. That’s dead air. That means they’re leaning back. That means they’re not engaged.

That means you’re failing.

So don’t give them the option to help you fail! They will follow your lead. Show & Tell them why they’re about to have a great time, and then (magically) they will have a great time. Avoid setting the dynamic where the audience is responsible for your success. They’re not professional presenters. They don’t know what it takes to look like a million bucks up there, so don’t put your reputation on the line by asking them “how they’re doing.”

Be Prepared

To introduce the speakers. That’s a given. But you also have to be prepared to:

  • Tell the audience where the restrooms are.
  • How long they have until the bar closes.
  • Handle a disaster like a fire. You absolutely must maintain order, and minimize panic. If you panic, they panic.

Can you imagine Carl keeping his cool while on stage and helping save the lives of 1,000 people who need to evacuate the room in an orderly fashion? Or will he crumble under the pressure, and cost people’s lives in the process?

You absolutely must do your prep work to ensure you can handle the situation; whatever the situation might be.

Making Introductions

Ok, it’s go-time. You’re done vamping, and it’s time to announce the next person who is about to walk out on stage. Here’s how to introduce someone.

1. Say their name last

Whatever you’re going to say about the person who is about to walk on stage, never say their name until the end. The entire time you’re outlining all the achievements, the audience will be thinking, “Who are they talking about?!” This maintains their interest, and keeps them from tuning out too early if you say their name first and they think, “I’ve never heard of them, guess I can stop paying attention.”

Instead, make their name the last thing you say, so the audience has a natural cue to know when they’re about to make their entrance.

2. Stay put

You just said the speaker’s name, and gesture towards whichever side of the stage they’re going to enter from. This directs the audience’s attention to the most interesting thing on the stage; the speaker. STAY PUT. DO NOT MOVE.

If you say the speaker’s name, and then start walking off the stage, there are 2 moving things to pay attention to. You don’t want that. You want to smoothly direct the audience’s attention to the speaker and offer absolutely zero distraction to that person.

The speaker should walk up to you, shake your hand, and then wait calmly as you walk off stage. A real pro will thank you for your lovely introduction and acknowledge your effort to fill the time it takes for you to exit the stage.

This way there’s a smooth hand-off. The audience is never confused about where they should look, or who they should pay attention to.

3. Have an Outroduction

When their talk is over, the reverse happens. They stay put, you walk out, shake their hand, and thank them for their time as they walk off the stage.

Know what you’re going to say before you walk out there! Managing the situation after their talk is just as important as setting expectations before their talk.

The Golden Rule

The secret to being an incredible MC is remembering this:

You’re the host, not the star.

That means you realize the show isn’t about how great you are. Instead, you want to act like a gracious host who is helping 1,000 new friends have a great time. This is a different skillset that making it all about you.

You’re hosting the party, and making sure your guests are taken care of. Don’t try to outshine the people who are there to speak.

Conclusion

Keep these basic rules in mind when you’re preparing for your next event, and you’ll be lightyears ahead of everybody else who “just wings it.” The better job you do at making your guests look like a million bucks, the better time the audience will have, which means a more successful conference or fundraiser for everyone.

Let me know how it goes for you!


If you’re planning a conference, fundraiser, or other event in need of an MC, let’s talk! I’d love to help make your event a smash-hit by helping it run smooth as glass. Use my contact form to let me know what you’re planning, and we can go from there!

High Impact Events

The question is, is it positive or negative impact?

Done correctly, any event you plan can help people feel appreciated, lower employee turnover, boost company buy-in, reduce liability, and foster cooperation & communication.

Done incorrectly, however, it can cost you your job.

Here’s a story a client of mine told me about an event of hers going horribly wrong. Here’s what happened:

She wanted something fun & different for the company’s end-of-year awards banquet, and she decided to book an “insult waiter” act. This is an actor or a team that dresses like the waitstaff, but intentionally spill drinks, give people the wrong meal, and all sorts of wacky mayhem.

Then, when the ceremonies start, it’s revealed that they’re actually part of act and the MC’s for the rest of the event.

The problem was, the CEO of the company didn’t know it was all an act. He couldn’t believe how rude and unprofessional the “waitstaff” was being, and he couldn’t stand how poorly they were treating his employees.

Before the gag could be announced though, the CEO decided to give the waiter a piece of his mind. He stood up in front of everyone and yelled at the actor until he was red in the face. The actor tried staying in character which only made the CEO even more angry until he was physically shaking.

It’s understandable, too! This man has given his life to this company, and as a dedicated leader, he’s not going to allow some stranger to disrespect his team.

Just imagine being in everyone’s shoes.

The actor: When do you stay in character? When do you break the show and let everyone in on it?

The CEO: You’ve just yelled at someone in front of your team. Even if it’s at a rude person, it still reflects poorly on you. Even worse when it’s revealed to a prank! You look like (and are!) the butt of a horrible joke!

The Event Planner: You made a choice that made every single person in that room incredibly uncomfortable. Not only that, this event will now live forever in the gossip mill at that company and beyond.

You’re Fired!

They all tried calming down the CEO and told him it was all a joke. Instead of laughing, the CEO fired her on the spot. Everyone was humiliated. Nobody was having a good time.

Sure, the event was unforgettable, but for all the wrong reasons!

Your Event Advisor

Not every event you’re planning will be high-stakes, but there are always pitfalls you have to avoid. That’s why I like to think of myself as an incredibly inexpensive insurance policy against those kinds of disasters.

I guarantee never to resort to political humor, risque material, edgy comedy or anything else that could reflect poorly on anyone. (And this extends off-stage, before & after the performance, too!)

Power of Connection

If you understand how valuable it is to connect with people, help them feel valued, and want to avoid the nearly infinite opportunities to botch it all, then let’s talk. I want to be your safe, dependable, and reliable choice to make your next event unforgettable. . . for all the RIGHT reasons! Sure, I might not be the cheapest act, but I can guarantee it won’t cost you your job!

Let’s Connect

To get a conversation started about how I can help, feel free to message me here, by email at office@likeamindreader.com, or by phone at 702.997.3383