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Perception and the Business of Magic

Perception and the Business of Magic

Meeting planners today need presenters who are compelling enough to keep attendees looking up at the stage rather than down at their digital devices. When I am on stage, I want every person engaged, so I get them to experience the everyday in a new way—via the interactive world of magic.

Specifically, I get them to explore the visual and psychological worlds of perception. And I show them how these apply to the daily world of business and interpersonal communication.

Perception is a topic that is integral to all businesses. Therefore, I have been able to present to audiences in industries from technology, to healthcare, to education, and others. During my presentations, I use verbal and visual examples to demonstrate how perception can lead to biases and assumptions. For example:

I ask a group to name out colors and words via a classical psychological experiment that causes them to stumble at this basic task when they least expect it. In participating, the audience sees how easily their brains can get tripped up.

I demonstrate “change blindness,” a psychological phenomenon that occurs when a change in a visual stimulus goes unnoticed by the observer, to explain perception. As I am speaking, my shirt or my tie may change color without anyone noticing! We explore how this can occur in our work lives.

I use many hands-on exercises: 10- to 60-second activities that involve multiple areas of the brain and get the group physically engaged. A simple exercise of interlacing one’s fingers becomes a beautiful metaphor that makes a powerful impact.

Why magic?
Our core message is that perception plays a major role in how we live and interact with other people. Knowing how our brains perceive can help us assess how people view us, our businesses, or our products. Whether in business or in our personal lives, understanding perception can elevate the way we live.

About the author: “Magic is at the core of our humanity,” says Kostya Kimlat, co-founder of ThinkMagic Inc. and CEO of Event Magic International LLC, who has been performing sleight-of-hand art since the age of 13. Kimlat’s philosophy encompasses his performance as a magician and keynote speaker as well as his deftness as a businessman. Find more information at


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