The MAGIC formula:
It applies to:
Turns at Tables
I have been working as a close-up magician for the last 25 years. I have entertained at thousands of events – hundreds of tables at weddings, corporate parties and significant birthdays.
At the same time, in the other half of my life, I have led and been a member of several teams. Recently, I have been interviewing many other team leaders about their experiences and challenges. Many thanks if you are one of them!
I have observed that many of the challenges facing a close-up magician approaching a table of guests are very similar to those facing team leaders. I have also realised that the MAGIC formula may be applied in both situations.
A Typical Table
Let’s take a typical wedding table. This is not an actual table that I have entertained, but the characters are based on many people that I have met. The only thing they have in common is that they have been invited to the wedding because they know, work with, or are related to one or both of the happy couple.
There is a silverback male. Let’s call him Tarquin. He is holding forth, showing off to his slightly entitled daughter Taramasalata. Next to them is Clint, a competitive analyst, wanting to point out how all my tricks are done. He’s the uncle of the over-enthusiastic 10-year-old Matilda, who is dying to show me a card trick of her own.
On Matilda’s right is her joker dad Jake, then her bored teenage brother Ben, who is glued to his phone and would rather be anywhere else in the world. Finally, we have Tina, Matilda and Ben’s timid mother, who doesn’t really like magic and has to endure sitting next to the silverback Tarquin.
When I arrive at the table, I have only a short time to connect with the whole table, work out the personality types present, and try and get them all working as a single audience. I need, if possible, to get them aligned, to pull together as one.
Also, I want to change their emotional state, get them to feel differently, have a good time, and feel more positive about being on the table together. My aim is to Move them, Attune to them, Give to them, Inspire them and Connect with them. That is the real MAGIC that will be going on.
Some of the personality types are pushing my buttons. Inside, I want to compete with them, to win. I have to reign that in. I need to remind myself that I am there to entertain and serve. So I have to repress my competitive instincts.
Teams and Tables
It’s not uncommon to get a similar mix of people on a team that you might be leading. You may not get them all at once, but, for example, I am sure you can recognise the person who thinks they should be leading instead of you, or the person who wants to go into intricate detail about something in particular, or the one who just wants to make jokes all the time. You get the idea.
Over the next few weeks, I will go through these different characters and ponder how a magician deals with them and how that might provide insights for team leaders attempting to deal with similar personalities and situations.
A team is like a wedding table, and a wedding table is like a team. The only real difference is the timescale and depth of interaction. A magician has to do it in about 10 minutes and only scratches the surface. You will probably have several months, but will have the opportunity to go deeper.
Time to unleash your inner magician?
I would like to interview even more team leaders to gain insight into the challenges they face. This is so that I can design an effective resource for use by team leaders in many different situations. I am talking to leaders of both permanent and temporary teams.
The research involves a 15 minute Zoom call. Thank you to those who have already done it – much appreciated!
Please pass this on to any team leaders that you know.
If you are a team leader and would like to help, please book in here: