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

Posts Tagged ‘keynote’

Three Recommendations from Kettering Sales and Marketing Group

Posted by Joe M. Turner | on March 14, 2012

Keynote Speaker | Motivational Speaker Joe M. Turner - Mentalist, Magician
Yesterday I spoke to the Sales and Marketing SIG (special interest group) of the Kettering Executive Network.

My topic was Five Kinds of Amazing, which is the working title of the book I’m working on now. You’ll be seeing excerpts from the book on this blog over the rest of the year, so stay tuned!

Here’s some feedback from three people who saw yesterday’s presentation.

Kelly Bevan’s Testimonial

Joan Boneburg’s Testimonial

David Jensen’s Testimonial

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Media Hit: Top Business Consultant to Speak at Chamber Banquet

Posted by Joe M. Turner | on January 30, 2012

Here’s a nice media hit from a couple of weeks ago; it was promoting my appearance at the Dyersburg/Dyer County Chamber of Commerce that happened last weekend. Somehow I missed it when it came out, but here it is.

Thank you, Dyersburg, for a great evening! I am looking forward to visiting again and seeing the results of the great opportunities you have on the horizon for your city, county, and region.

From Dyersburg State Gazette

Top business consultant to speak at Chamber banquet

Joe M. Turner | Speaker - Entertainer - Consultant

Joe M. Turner

Sunday, January 15, 2012
Special to the State Gazette

Sometimes achieving success in challenging circumstances doesn’t just seem difficult – it can seem downright impossible. Remember, though: things aren’t always what they seem! On Saturday, Jan. 28, “Chief Impossibility Officer” Joe M. Turner brings a special presentation designed to inspire us to rethink the impossible in the coming year.

Turner was a manager in the global change management consulting practice at Accenture, and later a vice president of associate development in the Business Practices Integration division of Bank of America. Those years of experience in training, business communication, human performance development and change management initiatives at numerous Fortune 100 clients give Turner credibility and insight into the challenges that individuals, teams, and organizations face as they encounter changing environments.

Full article:

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Evaluating the Quality of Unique Services

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

One built-in characteristic of delivering a unique service is that most people have never experienced what you do. Unlike more familiar services – lawn care, office cleaning, computer repair, legal representation, etc. – most people haven’t got a meaningful point of reference from which to evaluate the services of a mentalist, magician, or a professional keynote speaker. This often puts them at a disadvantage when trying to select an appropriate, high-quality provider.

More Data Points Needed

Most people don't have enough "data points" to evaluate providers of unique services in relation to others in their industries.

Consider magic and mentalism. Most people have never experienced a live performance in these unusual theatrical genres. Among those who have, most have only seen it within the context of a children’s party or a Las Vegas show – rarely anything in between. If a person sees one performer one time, that single experience often colors their opinion of the entire art form, for better or for worse.

Most people have plenty of experience listening to, say, bands or singers. Music surrounds us in our everyday experience. If someone hires a singer and they give a bad performance, the next time the question comes up then most people will say, “That singer was bad – let’s get a different singer.” This is because they have enough experiences with music to know that the one experience they had was of poor quality, but that better experiences are certainly out there to be had.

That’s not the case with mentalism or magic. In those cases, people who have a bad experience often conclude not that the performer was merely sub-par, but that the entire art form is largely of similarly poor quality. Because most people don’t have everyday experiences with these arts, many clients react not with “I didn’t care for that performer,” but rather with “I don’t like magic – let’s do something else.”

Likewise, most people probably will not see more than a dozen professional speakers in a lifetime. Meeting planners and convention committees deal with professional speakers and entertainers regularly, but most people have never had to consider what might make one a better fit than another for a given audience.

Because there are so few points of reference, it can be difficult to establish a scale for evaluating quality. Here are six tips you may find useful.

  1. Ask for specifics about experience. People who claim they are perfect for “all occasions” probably aren’t. Your budget will bring a better return when you discuss the specific event with the provider, ask about their specific experience in that environment, and follow-up on the references they give. When the performer or speaker takes a bow, how will you feel if they thank you by name for hiring them?

  2. Consider awards and credits with a grain of salt. The words “award winning” are suspect. If an award intrigues you then ask about it, but so many awards are available and offered to performers in so many circumstances that it’s almost impossible to find a performer who can’t claim to be “award winning” in some way.

  3. Check for online reviews. Do a Google search on the person’s name and look for reviews. Look beyond performers’ web sites themselves; check their LinkedIn and Google profiles. Check other sites like Kudzu, Meetup, and Yelp. Fifteen minutes of internet research can save your event as well as your reputation.

  4. Analyze the promo video. Do they provide footage of performances in front of a variety of audiences in a range of venues, or is their entire promo kit built around a studio shoot and a set of photos from one event? Check their YouTube videos, but consider whether it was shot at home, in a studio, or in front of real clients.

  5. Don’t fall in love with a low quote. The performance you’ll get from the undercutters is only going to result in a poor experience for your audience and a blot on your reputation. I’ve written before about the high price of cheap entertainment, and it’s worth remembering that even when budgets are tight, quality counts above all. It’s better to stretch on the entertainment budget than to have beautiful lighting and decorations around a performer or speaker you wish your audience would someday forget.

  6. Be honest and ask for a referral. When you find the speaker or performer who’s right for your group, work with them about what you really can and cannot afford. Most of us are willing to make mutual concessions in the course of good faith negotiations. If the numbers just won’t work, ask that person for recommendations of other quality performers who might meet your budget constraints; then trust their advice. Remember – the experienced performer knows how their unique service has fit into a variety of events and venues, and they also know the quality of other artists and speakers in the marketplace.

I have always found that it only enhanced my own reputation and client relationships to help clients find suitable alternatives when I’m out of range or unavailable. I hope these tips help you navigate the sometimes-confusing process of evaluating unique services.

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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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Why Unreal Experiences Can Create Real Results

Posted by Joe M. Turner | on January 23, 2011

I hope your new year has started off with as much energy as mine has! January is filled with trips to San Antonio, TX; Natchez, MS; Tampa, FL; and of course many wonderful opportunities right here in Atlanta.

Now that we’re well into the new year, we’ve reached the point where most of the resolutions have already been broken. Old habits, processes, and prejudices die hard.

That’s certainly not to say that change doesn’t have a timeline; it certainly does. But effective change happens on meaningful timelines, not arbitrary ones. People do not achieve a new paradigm in their thinking simply because the date has rolled over on the calendar any more than they would because the mileage rolled over on the odometer.

The Burning Platform Model

Are you awaiting rescue from a burning platform?

One familiar concept in change management circles is the “burning platform” model. This model presents the motivation to change as existing in tension with situation’s inertia using the imagery of a person standing on a platform in the ocean. If the platform catches fire, the person will start by holding out hope of either the fire going out or otherwise being rescued before ever considering the saving action of jumping into the water – because the long jump and cold water seem rather uncomfortable and frightening. Ultimately, the person only jumps when the fear of jumping is outweighed by the pain of staying on the burning platform. Thus, many organizational or even personal changes can be modeled to a degree by asking, “What’s the burning platform?”

As with all models, hordes of consulting professionals have made good livings by extending and over-extending the metaphors. One reason the model may fail, for example, is if the people on the platform are genuinely unaware that the platform is actually on fire at all. Perhaps their prior experiences do not include fire, or perhaps they’ve only seen flames on candles and cakes, never on a large structure. To them, the fire isn’t an issue – it may not even seem real. The real situation is, in their eyes, an unreal experience. They are destined for change whether they wish it or not; however, if they do not develop a new way of looking at things, they will experience painful and disorderly change that could have been avoided. The flawed perception created by those preconceptions is one example of an unreal situation that will have real consequences.

Here’s the other side of the coin. If the preconceptions within the mind represent an unreal experience with real consequences of a negative nature, can we use other types of unreal experiences to create real positive changes in perception and action? My experiences as a corporate magician and mentalist – as well as the results my clients have experienced at trade shows and conferences around the world – say that we can.

Although what we call the experience of “magic” is created through the use of theatrical illusion techniques, that experience has a real psychological and emotional effect. Unusual, impossible experiences can force people to attend to information that they would otherwise have ignored. The real result is that the message penetrates the armor of indifference and prejudice, sticking to the memories of people who weren’t even planning to pay attention.

Creating an unusual, fun experience, while delivering meaningful information in a way that sticks… this is the essence of the “Rethink the Impossible” keynote, as well as much of the customized sales and trade show presentation “magic” that I do. Getting people to look at their situations in a different way – helping them to to identify burning platforms and innovative solutions – this is the power of a presentation that interrupts not just the patterns people are used to seeing in their professions, but also the patterns that they are used to experiencing in their daily lives. Magic, when given a meaning, is an unforgettable learning tool.

This year, let’s leverage the impact of impossible visual and psychological experiences to get the right messages across to your target audiences!

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Atlanta Magician and Mentalist Joe M. Turner on Atlanta Live | April 2010

Posted by Joe M. Turner | on June 4, 2010

Atlanta corporate magician and keynote speaker Joe M. Turner appeared on WATC-57’s Atlanta Live on April 9, 2010. This is the second segment of the appearance and includes two routines performed on a stage in the studio: some classic rope magic, plus a baseball-themed cup and ball routine interacting with host Tonya Lee.

Corporate magician, mentalist and keynote speaker Joe M. Turner is your event’s “Chief Impossibility Officer.” Follow him online!


(c) 2010 WATC-57 and – Unreal Entertainment and Keynotes
Shared with permission.

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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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