Category: magicians

Jan 31 2014

Do You Think Like A Magician?

Think like a magician

Magicians are expected to perform the impossible. If you are a business owner, it’s probably no different for you. It just means we are expected to solve some type of problem for our customers. Every business is about problem solving. You constantly come up with solutions for your customers, employees, your vendors, your advertisers.

Let’s take a look at the process a magician uses to develop creative solutions and how you can do the same. It can be broken down into two simple steps.

The Effect

In any magic book that teaches tricks, the first section of the instruction talks about the effect. What does the spectator see? What do they experience? What is the desired outcome? For example, the Vanishing Coin Trick effect might read: “Magician borrows a coin. With his right hand he slowly and deliberately places the coin in the left hand which closes around the coin. He shows his right hand empty, blows on his left hand, slowly opening it to show the coin has vanished. Both hands are shown empty. The audience goes crazy.” 🙂

In this example, there is no question what the audience experiences. The objective is clearly defined. Anyone who saw the trick can easily describe it to someone else. In traditional business, this is not always the case. Business owners do not always spend the time necessary to clearly define their objective. Have you ever watched a TV commercial and wondered what in the world it was supposed to be about? Was it clear what the product does? Were you asked to take some action? If your customer is confused, you lose the sale.

The Method

Once you know the desired effect, the method is defined. A solution must be developed. Magicians usually don’t care how they get there as long as they create the desired effect. They fool you by forcing you to make certain assumptions. In the coin trick, the audience assumes the coin really was placed in the left hand when in fact, it was not. Since the performer understands how the audience thinks, he can create a moment of astonishment (the effect).

In business it is important to understand your customer’s assumptions. What is true today may not be valid next week. Blue widgets may be your best seller today. What if next week they really want a red widget? It’s important to challenge assumptions on an ongoing basis. You do this by asking questions, probing, surveying, watching trends, etc. When you understand the assumptions you can start creating solutions.

Business owners can save a lot of energy and avoid ‘busy-work’ by clearly defining what they offer and create solutions that their customers really want.

Do you think like a magician?