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Atlanta Magician – Mentalist – Speaker Joe M. Turner | News and Comments from the Chief Impossibility Officer

Posts Tagged ‘change’

Change Management and New Shoes

Posted by Joe M. Turner | on July 24, 2012

Organizational change initiatives are complex in part because they can succeed or fail based on variables such as human psychology, business agility, economic environments, leadership skills, communication skills, technical capability, and even the occasional lucky break. Managing change is a combination of business acumen, social instinct, and leadership abilities that can’t be reduced to silly, oversimplified analogies.

Mr. Rogers: Master of the Shoe Change

Mr. Rogers: Master of the Shoe Change

On the other hand, change initiatives are a lot like getting new shoes.

  1. Eventually you’re going to need new shoes. You can’t put it off forever – even if you resole the pair you love, you already know that’s a stopgap measure. You know now that one day you’re going to need to get rid of what you’re wearing in favor of something else. If you wait until your shoes have holes in them, then you’ll have a lot less flexibility in looking for replacements.

    Do you want to be searching for new shoes because you have to have something immediately, or do you want to search for the next pair while you have the luxury of taking your time? Do you think you’ll more easily find the right fit if you search carefully, or if you search while in a state of dire need?

  2. In all likelihood, the exact make and model of the shoes you’re wearing now won’t be available when you need new ones. Even classics get changed, updated, or taken out of production. If you have convinced yourself that you can only function in one particular brand, style, or color of shoe then you may find yourself barefoot while looking for the new ones – and that may be a fool’s errand.

    Is your ability to function going to be helped or hindered by the constraints you have established for the new shoes? Are you certain that the constraints are meaningful?

  3. Even if the same shoes are available, your activities and needs may be different by the time you get the new ones. You might have a new job, suit, or fashion taste by the time you’re in the market for that new pair. Maybe you bought an extra pair when you found them. Even so, eventually your supply will run out.

    Are you willing to bet your future mobility on your hunch that neither your activities nor the environment in which you operate will change? Does that seem like a wise risk to you?

  4. You may not be able to afford custom-built shoes. Some folks can guarantee that they’ll never have to wear shoes that were mass produced. Most of the world will have to buy something off a shelf.

    Can you afford a custom solution for your new shoes? Does your budget make that a realistic option? Or will you get further, faster, by doing a careful search of more affordable options?

  5. There may be some discomfort involved. Even when new shoes fit great in the store, when they get put into action in the real world, you might get a blister at first. Eventually both the feet and the shoes adapt to each other.

    The process of change is inevitably going to bring some degree of discomfort. That doesn’t mean you discard the shoes – it means you may have to stretch them, break them in, and give them time to mold to your physical shape. Are you giving the new shoes a fair trial?

Can you think of other ways that organizational change is like getting new shoes?


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Change Aversion, Iocane Powder, and Your GPS

Posted by Joe M. Turner | on June 20, 2012

I admit it. I’m rebellious, change-driven, and a radical non-conformist… in small doses.

Some people are bomb-dropping, mountain-moving, headline-making change agents. Whether in leadership roles or executing tasks, they are ready to rock, all the way, all the time. Fundamental transformation, baby – do it now! And when we’re done, let’s change it back so we can do it again. These people may be driven by a compelling personal vision for the future. Of course, they may also be easily influenced, distracted by shiny objects, or have chronic wanderlust. Either way, they have a very high tolerance for change.

Other people have a lower tolerance for change. Where others see stubborn ruts, they see clear, proven processes. Where others feel a prickly monotony, they feel a comforting security. Fools rush in, as the old song says, and the only thing these take-it-slow folks won’t hesitate to do is to remind you of it. Everything else can wait.

The fact is that all of us demonstrate elements of both of these broad stereotypes. But equally true is the fact that we all live and work in environments where the pace of change is constantly accelerating. Being adaptive and open to change is a personal and professional life skill.

In the 1987 movie The Princess Bride, the famous “battle of wits” scene between Vizzini and the Man in Black concludes with a bit of wisdom that change averse people – meaning “all human beings” – can learn from. Here, watch the scene so you have it fresh in your mind:

The Man in Black survives the battle because he “spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder.” That’s interesting. He was prepared for a challenging situation because he had spent sometime building up his tolerance. When confronted with the danger, he could depend on being able to survive it.

Instead of dosing up on iocane powder, I’d challenge you to add something to your daily routine to help you build up your tolerance for change. It doesn’t have to be headline-making change. Just do something on a regular basis to take a different path and keep yourself accustomed to the unaccustomed.

Alternate Route Advised

Build up a tolerance for change by doing some little things differently every day.

My favorite low-stress change is the alternate route. When I’m driving somewhere for a meeting or show, or driving home, I will often take a turn just for the novelty of taking a different route. I like the opportunity to see what’s going on in the places or along the streets where I travel less often. If my GPS happens to be on, I kind of like to see it recalculating routes based on the turns I make and the one’s I don’t. I guess I enjoy that little power rush of asserting a little human dominance over technology!

Another option you might consider: order something different on the menu at the restaurants where you eat often. Sure, you already know what you like. You can always order that again sometime. Next visit, though, try something you’ve never had.

Sign with a different colored pen, park at the other end of the parking lot, sit on the other side of the room at church – whatever you do, throw a little change of pace into your life. Build up that tolerance one random turn at a time!

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Changing the Model: The Real Experience of Magic and Mentalism, part 2

Posted by Joe M. Turner | on May 3, 2012

In the last article, I described a mechanical model for interpreting the experience of magic and mentalism. I contend that the mechanical model presents a flawed picture of what is really happening.  Another model for the interpretation of the magical experience is seen in Figure 2.  This model, while similar to the first model in basic structure, has some important differences.

Figure 2 - The Experiential Model of Interpreting Magic

Figure 2 – The Experiential Model of Interpreting Magic

The concept of method has been expanded to include not just the external tools and actions of the performance, but also some the internal perceptions of both the performer and the audience.  Restricting the idea of method to only the physical action ignores two key concepts.  First, the attitude and mental state of the performer can play a key role in the ultimate experience of the audience.  Second, there are many important techniques which allow the performer to influence the perceptions of people in the audience.  While not as easy to manipulate as physical objects, the attention and therefore the perception of the audience can be directed both physically as well as through intangible means such as the construction of the script.  By this reference to the script I don’t mean the dynamics of the spoken words, which are physical events, but rather the architecture of the plot itself which can direct and manipulate attention.

The key element of this model is the refocusing of attention on which part of the overall interaction should be labeled as “magic.”  This label has been shifted from the method to a portion of the inner perceptions and experience of the audience.  This is the real stage on which magicians and mentalists perform.  The ability to make changes to the audience’s perceptions and to create experiences in their minds is precisely the work of the magician or mentalist.

The most important consequence of refocusing our interpretation of the overall magical interaction on the created experience is that it puts our attention on a real and relevant part of the communication.  Instead of focusing on gimmicks and secret moves and strange apparatus, the emphasis is on the emotions and experiences of the viewer.  Gimmicks and moves and props, whether poorly made or crafted by experts, are still only tools.  Because they may be described as fake or phony in some way, the entire interaction may be labeled as fake because the emphasis is placed, wrongly, on the tool.  The thoughts and emotional responses of the viewer, while intangible, are never considered fake by the person who thinks or feels them.

Despite being presented in a novel way, this isn’t an altogether new concept.  Magicians and mentalists have long written about their art in terms of “method” and “effect.”  In magic books, the effect is what the audience sees and experiences during a single trick or illusion.  It is often explained in a sentence or two.  The method is the set of actions that the performer must execute in order to do the trick.  While many great performers and writers have emphasized the importance of effect over method, most magicians are enamored with method because it is there where their physical skills are developed and tested.  There is no substitute for excellence in method, nor any excuse for failure in technique, but the real secret of magic – and the secret of real magic – that the greatest performers have always understood is that effect is ultimately more important.

In the end, the most useful interpretation of magic experiences is not as merely the combination of props or tools or techniques that are used in the performance.  Nor is it best seen as the pretended outcome of whichever imaginary power is on display.  Understood more constructively, magic is the resulting experience of the impossible that happens inside the mind of the audience member.  The real magic isn’t the physical disappearance of the coin or the lady or the tiger.  Magic is the intangible but nonetheless real experience of that impossibility in the mind of the spectator, no matter how that perception is achieved.

To be clear, this is not intended as a restatement of the well-worn adage that “perception is reality.”  Advertising professionals, marketing experts, and communication gurus have covered that idea and how it relates to business many times before; you probably have books on the subject in your own library.  This concept of the nature of magic as a real experience is based on the simpler and far more modest proposition that perception is a real thing.

View of a performance from the wings

Magic and mentalism are a form of theatre. Effective magical performances lead audiences to focus on messages and experiences rather than props and methods. Our craft is a tool to create the show, not the show itself.

By rethinking the essence of magic, not as a pretended supernatural reality but as the real experience of a constructed perception, most people can relate to magic as something that actually happens, even in their own lives.  Most of us have experienced something that seems beyond explanation, at least for the moment it takes to perceive the experience as astonishing or impossible.  That pen appeared in your jacket pocket; you realize later that it must have been brushed off the table into your pocket when you sat down, but at the precise moment you saw it there and didn’t know or hadn’t yet deduced how it could possibly have gotten there, the experience of magic occurred.  It is a real thing.  It is a real experience.  It is a valuable experience.  It is, in fact, an experience that people will not only remember, but one that they will pay to encounter over and over again.

Magicians do create real magic, then, not by using special supernatural skills to manipulate the physical world, but by using special theatrical skills to construct perceptions that result in the real experience of the impossible.

So, is magic real?  Maybe in the context of a tenth-century understanding of science and religion it’s not, but in a twenty-first century theatrical context?  Absolutely.  The psychological experience of magic is real, and the different aspects and implications of such experiences are worthwhile to explore.

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Changing the Model: The Real Experience of Magic and Mentalism, part 1

Posted by Joe M. Turner | on April 11, 2012

Let’s start out with the obvious. Perhaps the most glaring question for a speaker who uses magic, mentalism, or other kinds of illusions as a way to deliver messages is this: “Why on earth should I make real-world decisions based on make-believe illusions?”

That exceedingly reasonable question is the corporate-speak version of a familiar dismissal that anyone who has ever performed magic has encountered.

“It’s just a trick.”

Change the perspective

A change in perspective could drastically affect the way you perceive value in the performances of magic, mentalism, and other illusion arts.

This kind of comment is usually driven by a combination of factors, some of which are frustration, annoyance, a desire to save face, and even plain old fear of the unknown. Many people enjoy the feeling of astonishment and the sense that something impossible has just happened, but there are others who strongly dislike that sensation. When presented well, the experience of magic leaves an audience not merely without an explanation, but without even a foundation on which to imagine constructing an explanation. That feeling – sort of a “reality free fall” moment – is both disconcerting and unpleasant if it is interpreted as a threat.

Before we explore the principles we can learn from seemingly impossible experiences and apply to real-world issues, let’s rethink the fundamental premise of the modern theatrical magical experience.

The performing art of magic is a unique form of theater and should be approached as such by the performer and the audience. It has been centuries since magic has been presented as any sort of real supernatural event by mainstream performers or perceived as such by general audiences. Some charlatans, mediums, “psychic surgeons,” and other con artists have abused some of the principles and tools of the art in their scams, as has the occasional spoon-bending television personality. The vast majority of magic, however, is presented in a theatrical context. In fact, it is the theatrical performers of magic who are frequently most active in debunking the scams; Houdini himself may be the best known example of a performer who actively exposed such frauds.

So let’s set aside the negatively charged criticism that magic is fake, and let’s consider instead the more positive and useful idea that magic is fiction. Fiction can have a purpose and an application to real decisions despite the fact that the characters and events didn’t take place. Fiction can be as simple as Aesop or as intricate as Shakespeare. It can be as feathery as a fairy tale or as profound as a parable. It may have no purpose other than to entertain, or it may be so imbued with message that the author’s intent leaps from the page or the stage into the psyche of the reader or viewer.

If you ask the general public to discuss intent, message, or profundity in the arts or literature, you’ll soon no doubt be engaged in discussions of important novels, drama, film, music, poetry, and perhaps dance. Rarely is magic perceived by laymen as a legitimate vessel for communicating meaning, but that is not the public’s fault. Magicians themselves are to blame because most magic performances are presented without any intent other than to amuse themselves and to fool the audience, save perhaps a more specific additional desire to look clever while doing so. Most performers of magic never consider making intentional choices about the potential meanings of their performances. In the absence of explicit choices, though, those performers nonetheless make tacit decisions that empty their performances of meaning or purpose beyond producing a puzzling, momentary distraction.

Yet even in that most meaningless, purposeless state, I contend that magic is not “just some trick.” Even at the level of being merely an amusing entertainment, there is still something profound going on when magic is performed. Something real is happening, and grasping that will change the way you interpret illusions both as entertainment and as springboards for meaningful communication. What is happening? No less than real magic.

Magic, as I would have us think about it, is indeed a real thing. It’s a useful thing. It’s just not the thing we thought it was. To explain this, let’s contrast two models for interpreting theatrical magic experiences, both of which are based on classical interpersonal communication theory. There are certainly many more ways to analyze this or any form of theatre, but this comparison identifies a key concept that will change the way you think about the relevance of magic as a form for relevant, real-world communication.

In Figure 1 we see a representation of a traditional model for interpreting theatrical magical experiences, within which category I include most visual magic, mentalism, and some optical illusions.

Figure 1 - The Mechanical Model of Interpreting Magic

Figure 1 - The Mechanical Model of Interpreting Magic

In this model, the intended message begins within the mind of the communicator, or in this case the mind of the performer. It proceeds outward through the set of filters that every communicator has. These can be biases, moods, thoughts, or any other internal factors. The action or performance then happens in the space between the performer and the audience. It then enters the audience member’s filters where it is further molded by each individual’s perceptions, and ultimately it results in some received message, or experience, in the receiver’s mind. (For the sake of this discussion, we’ll ignore the presence of noise or distractions in the environment, though they are a legitimate concern for all communicators, not just performers.)

Most people, including many if not most magicians, interpret the term “magic” as describing the various physical actions that the performer takes in the space between the performer and the audience. Magic, in this model, is essentially considered a synonym for the collection of techniques and props and secret tools. Whether executed skillfully or not, the interpretation is that the “magic” is the sum of the actions, or simply “the method.” Notice also that in this case the magic and method are considered to be entirely external in relation to the performer and the audience. When magic is perceived in this way, the performer and the audience may seem interchangeable if not completely irrelevant – any performer, and any audience, connected though a given method, would have the same magic experience.

That is obviously not the case, but because method is so often the focus, an audience’s unpleasant experience in a performance of magic or mentalism is often brushed off as a shortcoming of the art rather than considered more deeply as having roots in the both the skill of the performer as well as the audience’s conditioning and habits regarding how to interpret the experience. (It should be noted that the truly skilled performer either purposely or instinctively pushes audiences to reduce their attention on method and to focus more on the experience; more on this later.)

Performers, too, are often prone to dismiss poor magic or mentalism performances as functions of external factors rather than to examine their own contributions to the experience. Ego plays a part in this, of course, but many are completely blind to the fact that their own emphasis on the method as the magic is undermining their ability to create an amazing experience for their audience.

In this model, then, the concept of magic is physically mechanical and psychologically external to the performer and audience. Because it is perceived as only a word for “how it’s done,” the emphasis is placed completely on the processes and paraphernalia. This emphasis is heightened by the fact that those tools are generally guarded as secret knowledge, and human nature is tempted by nothing so much as forbidden fruit. With all this energy and attention focused on the least meaningful aspects of the communication experience, it is little wonder that so much of magic and other illusion arts is perceived as fake, phony, and trivial.

Next time we’ll explore a different way of looking at things!

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The Path of At Least Some Resistance, Please

Posted by Joe M. Turner | on June 14, 2011

The Path of Least Resistance

The path of least resistance probably isn't the quickest or most efficient route to your intended destination.

One of the familiar idioms in our language has to do with “finding the path of least resistance.” We use this phrase to describe the flow of currents – water, electricity, even people. It is sometimes applied to discussions about process and workflow design, and is occasionally even used to describe personality traits in people, as in “He’s the type that seeks the path of least resistance.” Even good-hearted, well-meaning friends, seeing us facing hard times, sometimes say “Why fight it? Take the path of least resistance!”

That kind of advice certainly sounds reasonable on the face, doesn’t it? The path of least resistance sounds like an easy choice, and none of us is likely to be interested in making life harder for ourselves, particularly when economic, professional, and personal crises may be creating plenty of stress already. Why not ease up and take the path of least resistance?

One good reason not to do it is that the path of least resistance isn’t really a path at all. It’s not a path, a road, a highway… it’s not even a trail. It has no target, no metrics, no direction, and no destination. The result of the path of least resistance is not to get anywhere or do anything – it’s just to find the easiest way to move somewhere else other than where you started. Worst of all, once you are on a path of minimal resistance, it seems to take even more effort to get focused again!

Resistance isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In human muscles, resistance builds strength. In “project muscles,” resistance helps to ensure that forward motion is done purposefully and in ways that can be explained and defended. A certain degree of pushback is useful and can help keep audiences focused on the goal and the core reasons for achieving it.

Falling Toward Whatever?

It's almost impossible to hit a target with a card or paper dropped edge-first, but it's almost trivial to do it if you drop the card face first. You have to push against something in order to steer!

You can illustrate this for yourself. On a sheet of printer or copier paper, draw a large circle. Place the paper on the floor. Stand beside it and hold a business card over the target with your finger and thumb, positioned with a short, thin edge pointing straight down toward the target. You should be holding the card at about waist height. Drop the card over the target. Instead of hitting the target, the card will almost certainly flutter away and land nowhere near the target. It will often land without even touching the piece of paper!

Try again with another card, but this time hold the card parallel to the ground, so that the card drops toward the target flat side first. Drop the card so that the printed side is aimed at the target. In this position, it will fall more or less straight downward.

This is an unintuitive result. It would seem that in the edge-first position, the card would move more swiftly and slice through the air toward the target with little or no resistance. However, in that position it is most vulnerable to being knocked off course and it eventually tumbles out of control. When dropped in the face-first position, the steady air resistance actually allows the trajectory to be more accurately controlled.

Apply this demonstration during your next team meeting or presentation by considering the following: Resistance to change in an organization is normal. It’s human nature. But are there certain types of resistance which are actually beneficial to reaching the ultimate goal? Without some resistance, a trajectory can be influenced by chaotic factors and spin out of control. With too much resistance, the target is never reached. How can you evaluate the kinds of resistance your team is facing and harness it to allow you to progress more effectively and accurately toward your goal?

I’ve mentioned Martin Gardner in this column before. He was an amazing writer and thinker. He died just over a year ago, and when he crossed my mind recently I decided to give him another reverential nod in my blog. This “falling cards” demonstration appeared in his book Smart Science Tricks in 2004.

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Your Hidden Skills

Posted by Joe M. Turner | on April 11, 2011

I recently had the opportunity to perform a skill I didn’t even know I had until a few months ago.

I was at home after a conference where my presentation had included a performance of a staggering mathematical demonstration using an array of numbers which combine in a series of surprising ways.  I use this impressive demonstration of memory and lightning calculation to illustrate and emphasize a few key points depending on which keynote I’m delivering, and it is always a topic of conversation among the attendees afterwards.

Anyway, I had returned to  Atlanta and was playing the piano – one of my favorite ways to relax.  The piece I was playing that day was Robert Schumann‘s Romance in F#, Opus 28 No. 2, to which I was introduced by my college piano professor Dr. Geraldine Collins.  (Incidentally, I owe Dr. Collins much love and gratitude for using this piece to help me learn to appreciate the subtleties of tone and dynamics at the piano.)  The Romance in F# is a wonderful piece of music, and as I played it my mind drifted back to the recent speaking engagement.  I discovered that afternoon that I could perform the required calculations to present the mathematical demonstration… while simultaneously playing the Schumann.

“This,” I thought, “is the nugget of something special.”

Atlanta Magician and Mentalist Joe M. Turner performs his "Schumann Square" in Nashville.

Atlanta Magician and Mentalist Joe M. Turner performs his "Schumann Square" in Nashville.

Last week I had the opportunity to put this in front of an audience for the first time, while performing on a magic cabaret show at a Nashville theater.  While I’m still working on the overall staging, I can tell already that this could become a signature piece.  (If you’re in the Nashville area, you’ll get another chance to see this unusual performance piece on May 3; keep an eye on my Facebook page for details.)

One reason I have always liked my number grid presentation (even sans piano!) is that I often use it to talk about combining our skills and resources in different ways to achieve our goals.  When we face change or challenge, we may have to call upon multiple skills and experiences to reach our desired goal.  It may mean a team has to change to combine skills and talents differently, but it can also mean that an individual has to combine his or her own capabilities in ways they’ve never imagined.

Even though I don’t know you, I am convinced that you have amazing skills and capabilities that you don’t even know about.  They lie hidden in each of us, buried beneath layers of negative self-talk and false preconceptions about the nature of creativity.  Why am I so certain?  Because nobody else on earth has the specific combination of skills, experiences, and observations that you have.  Every person is, in the most meaningful senses, a “diverse” individual.  Even people who share common experiences perceive those occurrences as individuals and bring their own interpretations to what they have seen and heard.

Because nobody has precisely the same skill-set and experience-set that you have, nobody can replicate the combinations that you can produce.

When is the last time you tried combining two seemingly unrelated skills?  Did you have an interest as a teenager that you could try combining with what you do now?  How does your hobby inform your professional life, and vice versa?

Experiment with combining your interests and skills in unexpected ways.  You may discover the nugget of something special, too!

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Re: Vital Eyes

Posted by Joe M. Turner | on February 11, 2011

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else.”
— Charles Dickens

Last week I traveled to Delaware to perform at the Dickens Parlour Theatre, a 50-seat venue in the small town of Millville. The theater is the brainchild of Rich Bloch, a brilliant man and performer who I’m proud to call a friend. I performed in the first incarnation of this venue in Atlantic City a few years ago, but the new venue is truly amazing.

Joe M. Turner | Dickens Parlour Theatre

Joe M. Turner performing with two volunteers at the Dickens Parlour Theatre.

The theatre is built in what used to be an old work shed with a raised platform in the back. It has been transformed into an elegant Victorian parlour, with 50 theater seats in elevated rows facing the stage. There is plenty of wing space, a nice backstage area, and excellent lighting and sound capabilities.  It is a delightful, intimate space that is perfect for the performance of magic and mentalism, as the famous writer and amateur conjuror Charles Dickens himself used to do for his friends.

So charming is this wondrous venue that it has attracted some truly excellent performers.  I am honored to have trod the same boards that have recently featured Bloch himself as well as Harry Anderson (of Night Court fame), Bob Sheets (a master comedy magician – more about him later), and many other skilled magicians and mentalists.  Outside the world of magic, the theater has also hosted excellent musical acts and recently featured the off-Broadway hit Zero Hour, written by and starring Jim Brochu, who garnered Helen Hayes and Drama Desk awards for his amazing portrayal of Zero Mostel.

This little theatre, a “hidden gem” according to many writers, was a dilapidated work shed that became the site of truly magical experiences for audiences because Rich Bloch saw beyond what it was to what it could be… and set about realizing that vision and revitalizing that property.  As was recently reported in a cover story in MAGIC Magazine, this is only the beginning – the theatre is soon expanding to include a close-up magic performance gallery and a cafe’ in another building on the property.

“This is a world of action, and not for moping and droning in.”
— Charles Dickens

Dickens Parlour Theatre logoOn Friday night, Bob Sheets came to see my show.  Bob is a skilled close-up magician and comic stand-up magician.  He is also very knowledgeable about the art of theatrical performance; he is a longtime student of famed Broadway performer Bob Fitch, whom I’ve also been privileged to know and get occasional coaching from.  (I remember seeing Fitch as Rooster Hannigan in Annie back in the original Broadway run!)

After my performance, Bob Sheets hung around until the crowd was gone and then joined me onstage.  He shook my hand, congratulated me on the show, and then gave me perhaps the most valuable gift a performer can receive:  honest, constructive feedback from a credible, helpful critic.  Bob saw my performance, complimented me on the things I did well, and helped me see places where I could improve what I was doing.  Some concepts were simple and easy to execute instantly; others will require more work.  But I trusted him to be honest and constructive, and I really appreciated his candid opinions on what I was doing well and what could be improved.

To be clear – Bob emphasized that the show was good, I was good, and I would never have to worry about doing a “bad” show for an audience.  He also complimented the construction of the show and my writing, which he considered excellent.  The question he posed was – how can it get better?  How can every moment get better?  How can everything the audience sees get better?  How can what I say be presented more effectively?  As a performer and communicator, these are crucial elements for me.

Of course, beyond the “knowing” comes the “doing.”  As Dickens said, it is a world of action.

Because Bob was willing to be honest with me, and because I was willing to listen to Bob and take action, he was able to help me work on my performance in much the same way that Rich works on the theater itself.  Bit by bit, day by day, show by show.  Take away what detracts.  Add what is needed to give more impact or a better experience.  Never settle.  And before you know it, you’ve converted a work shed into a theater, or a good performance into a great one.

It takes an outside perspective to evaluate the reality of a performance.  Outside eyes are vital to the performer’s ability to improve; it is nearly impossible to do sufficiently honest self-assessment.

If you want to revitalize what you do, get some “vital eyes” looking at you.  Where are you getting an honest, credible outside perspective on your work?

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Turner Keynotes at Leadership Conference

Posted by Joe M. Turner | on May 13, 2009

In late April, Dee Dee Myers and I were keynote speakers at a leadership conference in Atlanta (produced by Wind Enterprises).  I opened the conference by making Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker appear onstage to welcome the guests, then I gave my talk on The Magic of Change — a change management primer using illusions to illustrate key points.  You can read a report on the conference here, but I thought I’d share a neat photo and a story.

This photo of me and Dee Dee Myers was taken after her keynote at lunch.
JMT with Dee Dee Myers

As we started to take this photo, I suggested with a grin, “I think I should stand on your right.” She joked back, “Yes, you probably don’t want to get to my left.”

I’ll post more pics when I get them.

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