Author Archive

Business Events are different than regular events.  If you are in charge of planning one and are feeling overwhelmed by details like venue, catering, housing and transportation, and you are stressed out with where to begin; this week’s blog will help you plan an event that is outside the scope of a simple business lunch or afternoon office gathering. Planning events that include coordination of outside vendors, including food, location, entertainment and transportation require careful planning and ongoing management from the event’s conception to paying of the last invoice. The task can be complex and time consuming for everyone involved if proper planning is not initiated.

Don’t Get Overwhelmed.  The very first thing that you need to remember is not to get overwhelmed with the details. If the affair in question seems to be getting larger and larger and more complicated in scope than originally intended, slow down and back up.

Think back to the original scope of the business event planning and try to get back to basics. It can be a challenging task to plan a business function, but with an initial detailed task list, it can make keeping on track much easier in the sort and the long run.

The first thing you have to determine is what budget has been allocated for the event.  Once you know that determine the scope to be included in the meeting. Third, determine what personnel will be assigned to facilitate this event’s success. As everyone already knows, there is a big difference between planning an office gathering and planning a large conference with participants coming from all over the world. Don’t let yourself get trapped in a situation where you can’t succeed.

Each business event is unique, but there are many tasks that an experienced event planner already has on his or her check list of things to do. We all know that the bigger the event is, the more complex the meeting, and the more components there are that need to be finalized. In addition, some of these tasks will be dependent on others. For example, negotiating hotel room rates depends on venue selection. You certainly would not book rooms in Chicago for a great rate if the event location changes later to St. Louis. You should always strive to book hotel rooms close to your meeting’s location so venue selection becomes critical.

You should immediately develop a team and assign planning tasks to the members, making them responsible for event planning, management and execution of the project? In order to make an event successful, assigned personnel with proper project management and a carefully developed timeline is a must. One question to ask:  Do the event team members have adequate time to accomplish their usual company tasks in addition to the event tasks?

Business event planning can be difficult if care isn’t initially taken.  There are five major pitfalls to avoid during your business event planning task. You will not only need to be concerned with all of the major details about your upcoming corporate or business affair, but be sure and take detailed notes on any problems that you run across so that you’ll be able to deal with them more effectively in planning your next business meeting.

You will need to have your priorities documented on paper, items such as the overall theme of the corporate or business function, decorations, food, catering (type of menu, as well as costs per person involved), various supplies, and of course, the overall budget that you have to work with.

Depending on the scope of your business event planning and the affair itself, you may need an assistant to aid you.  Don’t be shy about delegating less important tasks to an assistant or even multiple assistants for more mundane tasks that you need not be bothered with, such as general “fetching”, picking up supplies, tables, chairs, decorations and etc… at the various suppliers. This will leave the most important details of the gathering to you, as it should be.

Screen Your Caterer.  The next pitfall in setting up a successful function is the food. More than likely, your business event planning will make use of a catering company. If this step of your event isn’t executed properly, you could have a disaster on your hands. Unfortunately, you are depending upon an outside company for this task. But you can easily screen the catering company that you have chosen.

Do this by asking for at least three references from clients that have had similar sized functions to yours, not only ask for references, but contact the references. Ask about timeliness of the caterer, were they on schedule?, were they professional?, did they provide the required amount of food for the affair?, was the food of high quality and taste? Did they come in on budget?

Insist on signed contracts.  Be sure and get a signed contract whenever you are contracting out services to outside companies. This will ensure that you will be able to create a budget and not go over that budget. When you have a contract, there are usually no surprises. That’s what contracts are for. Be sure and set the dates and times when the services will be needed with a firm price for services rendered.

Be certain to set up an operating budget in advance of even beginning your business event planning. Generally speaking, you will have some idea what your company has allocated for this function. Maybe even an exact figure, if they’ve allocated $7,000 for your company event, start budgeting for a $6,000 function. Trust me when I tell you, it will always cost more than you think. This way, you are giving yourself a bit of a buffer. Planning for the $6,000 event, more than likely, you will easily meet the desired goal of $7,000 or less.

Don’t relax too soon. Many times business event planning you will schedule and plan the affair months in advance and think that everything is under control. Taking it easy up until the day or so before the event. Invariably, one of your outside contractors will not be able to deliver and you’ll be left scrambling to replace them hours before the event. Be sure an make contact with all of your vendors at least a week before your big get together and make sure everybody is on the same page.  Business Event Planning Doesn’t Have To Be Hard.  Keep these five possible pitfalls in mind when business event planning and things will go much smoother than you could imagine.

The procurement of a professional event planning company can be indispensable.  Such an organization can provide years of expertise and leadership on producing successful events. In addition, they have expert event planners that bring specific ideas, “how to” lists, project management skills, even the tools and controls to make certain that things take place correctly. Often their outside knowledge can save the company money through use of their connections, negotiation skills for room rates, transportation and catering. Their experience frees you from the drudgery of organizing the event and best of all they report directly to you. After all, they are the ones putting their reputations on the line which is completely dependent on the success of your event!  Their reviews, future promotions and business depend on it.

The responsibility of event planning for your company’s function can be as simple as ordering lunch or as complex as creating a convention with an international guest list. Each event depends on having the right resources dedicated to it, as well as, the proper management and supervision of the project to ensure everything goes as planned. As the scope of the event becomes more involved, the event components may change from your company’s internal resources to hiring an outside, expert conference and meeting management firm. Consider the complexity of your upcoming event and plan accordingly.

This week I want to touch on temper.  Not yours necessarily, but more that of the people that will hire you.  Now, I don’t want you to become temperamental.  That’s different.  Much of your success as a magician will depend on your understanding of other people. You have to sell yourself and your wares, and you cannot do it successfully unless you know people. There are magicians who have beautiful shows and do not know how to sell themselves.  Before you can present your performance, you’ll have to sell it!  That’s as true for me as it is for you.  You may have to see a number of individuals to get an engagement — it may be a booking agent, a manager, a high school superintendent, a minister, or a doctor. You must gain the confidence of the people you see and make them feel that you are a master, a new attraction, better than anyone else they have seen.

The important thing for you to do here is create the right impression and get people to like you. Too many sales have been spoiled, not because of the goods, but because the buyer took a personal dislike to the salesman. The great basis of successful salesmanship is in understanding the likes and dislikes of those with whom you are dealing. When you understand these things, you can paint just the kind of a picture for the buyer which will give such a strong promise of satisfying his wants that your sale is assured.

Everyone has something to sell. Everybody is a salesperson, in some sense of the word, whether he or she is marketing commodities, skilled service, or ideas; whether he or she is selling his or her personality to a sweetheart, family, friends, or business associates. And just as everyone is interested in selling something, so everyone is equally interested in buying what he or she needs. And when a person is buying, he or she is attracted most strongly to those things which he or she likes and which he or she believes will meet his or her needs.  Likes and dislikes can be accounted for, definitely and scientifically. They are part of each individual character and are openly displayed in their body language and manner.  Here they can be read, not by guesswork, but with scientific accuracy. The unsuccessful salesperson does not know these things and so he fails.  There’s a great book you should read on this.  Even though it was written about a hundred years ago, it still applies today. It’s Scientific Advertising, by Claude Hopkins

As an Alexandrite, I want your success to be assured so I am going to give you some insight into analyzing people.  These are the same techniques I use when I meet people whom I want to hire me for a show.  I am going to give you a quick and dependable working knowledge of people so that you will know what picture to paint, what buttons to push, and what packages to offer in order to attract favorable attention with different people, arouse interest, awaken desire, inspire confidence, and effect the sale of yourself and your magic.  As many of you know I’m a huge Tony Robbins fan, and many of these techniques can be found in one of my favorite audio programs called Mastering Influence.

Generally speaking, there are three big classifications of people. Each class is as different as night and day in its likes and dislikes. People in each class may differ somewhat from each other, but in their basic desires they are similar. Behind these three divisions of people is a scientific reason, the result of heredity and environment.  There are three things necessary for the construction of man or woman, without which he or she  could not exist. They are Vitality, Will, and Mentality. They are sometimes called the Triangle of Life. Each has a definite purpose and each plays its own part in man’s life, and the loss of any one would cause disease, death, and dissolution.

We speak of Vitality, Will, and Mentality as the Three Temperaments. A knowledge of these Temperaments, their location and development, their relative proportion to each other form the basis in analyzing peoples’ characteristics. These show the foundation on which man’s tendencies are built.  Each individual possesses all three of the temperaments, but there is a difference in proportion and relative development of each one. For rapid analysis, the predominating temperament is determined — that is, the one which has the greatest development — and is used as a basis.  Let’s discuss the three temperaments separately so that you will understand them individually.

The Vital temperament controls the vital organs, the blood supply, and nutrition. The vital processes of life depend on it — warmth of the body, digestion, assimilation, absorption, and secretion. It gives people hunger and makes them distinguish the requirements of their body through their senses of feeling, smelling, tasting, seeing, and hearing. It is essential to reproduction and growth. Herein lies the great chemical laboratory of the body. It also gives the power of relaxation and sleep, creating in person the desire to seek comfort and to accumulate plenty of material things. Vitality is magnetic. It makes people sociable, agreeable, and lovable. In combination with the other temperaments, it fires them to action.  Quantity of development is typical of this temperament.

The Will temperament controls the muscles, ligaments, bones, and glands. Upon this Temperament depend the power of contraction and tension and the density of the body structure –the hardness and compactness of the muscles, ligaments, and bones. It holds the minute structures together and blends them into one, giving the body power to stand erect, power of mobility, equilibrium, and resistance. It has the power of locomotion, protection, and defense. It has a cooling power and acts as a balance to the warmth of the Vital temperament. It gives repelling power and makes a person reserved, conservative, skeptical, and cautious. The Will temperament, because of its tension and concentration powers, builds structures that are muscular, ligament us, or bony. Solid development is typical here.

The Mental temperament controls the nervous system and brain. It is the result of experience of mind and body, and it is the basis of the power of comprehension. It arranges, harmonizes, and refines the influences of structure and chemistry of the body. It enables every cell in the body to work in an intelligent manner, peculiar to itself. It enables the brain to grow brain cells — the liver, kidneys, stomach, and heart cells to carry on their respective work and duties. Wisdom, knowledge, consciousness, recognition, and interpretation are dependent on this temperament.  The Mental temperament builds a face triangular in shape, due to lessened development in the Vital and Will areas.  Quality of development is typical of this Temperament.

So from a study of these three temperaments, we can readily see a great difference in people. Some have great vitality –blood-making and relaxing power — but have poor resistance and are not keen in creative mentality. Others have powerful strength, love to work hard, have solid bones and muscles — but have poor assimilative powers, are over-tensed, and have but moderate mentality. Others may be mentally bright, quick to think for themselves and invent improvements — but have poor vitality and resistance to support their mentality.

No temperament is strong in and of itself.  It must be supported by the other two.  What good is a keen mind without blood to feed it and muscle and bone power to support it? What good is force without intelligence and creative energy behind it? And what good is the finest building material without something to build it into and without intelligence to direct the building? A perfect development of all three temperaments makes a balanced person, and that’s what progressive people of today are striving to make of themselves. The average person, however, is unbalanced temperamentally. That gives rise to the somewhat intolerant likes and dislikes which we find in people. Each sees through his own individuality. The vital temperament sees through the eyes of vitality; the will temperament sees through will; and the mental temperament sees through mentality.

Therefore, when you sell your show to vitality, will, or mentality, you must talk the language which each will understand. When you have finished this discussion, you will have an understanding of the way in which to appeal to each class.  I hope you will make a real study of the fire started in this blog.  Use this material in understanding yourself and other people better so you can arrive at the success for which you are working.

Event planning can cover several areas.  One of the biggest, that does the most good, is charity or fundraising events. Helping people in need raise funds for a specific cause tied to an event can be a very powerful way to elicit change. Many people are interested in participating in such activities. Planning for a charity event is not all that different from planning any other event.  It’s still a gathering we’re talking about, right?  Except here you have to make all the arrangements while adhering to a very strict budget, all while trying to collect maximum charity.  Harder than you thought, eh?

To add to this, event planners arranging a charity event have to deal with several commercial issues which cannot be ignored, or else the event can collapse. To avoid such mishaps, keep the following points in mind to let your event go smoothly. Read the rest of this entry »

Some Alexandrites have asked me if I’ve seen the magicians of India.  By this they mean the street magicians of places like Bangalor, Calcutta and Mumbai. Nowadays with the advent of the internet it’s quite easy to look behind the scenes of a conjurer, but videos of Indian street magicians charming snakes and eating broken glass are rare.

In order for us to arrive at a clear understanding of magicians and their works, we must begin at the beginning, or in other words, go back, almost to the primeval man. Space will not allow us to take up the early history of magic, or its supernatural features or tendencies with which it teemed in the dark ages; the scope of the present blog is the practical part of magic and its exponents, as applied to the furnishing of harmless and pleasing entertainments.

Although I’ve never personally been to India, a neighborhood kid named Joe had a very nice mother named Maria.  Maria was the first to tell me of them in a trip she took to India.  She would tell me about the “feats of the streets” that she witnessed while traveling there because she knew I did magic.  You can see how thoroughly these street magi were by reading ancient Persian manuscripts like Acamadesic Conjoresh.  Though I’ve not read this text, people have told me the things it describes like Emporer Jepang and the miracles he supposedly performed.  Legend has it that he would raise on the spot ten mulberry trees from a corresponding number of seeds. He had people place mulberry seeds in the ground in different places and in a few moments a mulberry tree began to spring from the earth, and every tree had leaves, branches and fruit!  Trees of all kinds were produced in the same manner, and they all bore their fruit, which the emperor declared to be very good. Before the trees were removed there appeared among their branches birds of marvelous beauty in their color, form, and in their songs. Finally it was noticed that the leaves of the trees took on the last tints of autumn, and gradually, as they had appeared, the trees sunk away from the spot where the conjurer had created them. Read the rest of this entry »

Corporate events are a showcase for your products and services. You will expect thousands of current as well as prospective customers and clients to show up. For a corporate event to be a success, you need it to be well-planned, well-organized, and well-executed. Can you manage? Or do you need the services of a professional Corporate Event Manager? Whether the corporate event is for business or socializing, whether it’s large or small, formal or informal; regardless of the objective, it should be well-planned with the help of professional and experienced corporate event managers.

With your company hosting the corporate event, you would have decided whether to plan the event yourself or to hire the services of professional a Corporate Event Manager. Of course, you may feel that most of you have planned some event or other; a meeting with your business associates, a get-together with friends and family.  Organizing a corporate event would be the same. A corporate event is not similar to organizing get-togethers and meetings. The role of corporate is not small and any mistake on this front could cost you dearly.  There are many advantages to hiring Corporate Event Managers. They bring a number of assets, skills, services, and economical advantages to the table.

Whatever the objective of your corporate event, it requires some added value. Here are some of the ways Corporate Event Managers can bring out the best in your event: Read the rest of this entry »

I received an email from Alexandrite Arthur Jameson asking about The Multiplying Bottles Trick.  He wanted to know if I thought it was a good trick for him to perform in his stage show.  Since he took the time to write me and ask about it, I thought I’d include my response and a darn good routine for all of you peruse.  If you’re not familiar with the trick you can view it here.  The Multiplying Bottles, I am told, is credited to Arthur P. Felsman, a well-known Chicago Magic Dealer of the early part of the century.  It laid dormant then until the 1940’s when it was revived by Percy Abbott.  I first witnessed the effect presented by Paul Daniels on a video. The production of nine bottles from the two tubes seemed like a novel trick.  I made mental note that here was an item for future consideration. The price of the set kept many from buying so I knew that once I had my own I would have few competitors.  My dear friend Peter Pit did a great Multiplying Bottles routine.  You can see all of his magic on a DVD called Memoirs.

A few years later, Bert Pratt asked what he could build me in return for a favor, and I suggested a table for Multiplying Bottles and soon a wonderful table some five feet long, 18 inches wide, and 30 inches high, with padded upholstery like an expensive brand with a black felt top was ready for use. Not to bore you with details of the development of the routine, but let me outline the scene as it would be presented: Read the rest of this entry »

In June 1967, the groundbreaking Monterey International Pop Music Festival literally destroyed traditional notions of major event programming when The Who, after playing “My Generation,” demolished their equipment, followed by Jimi Hendrix, who torched his guitar before smashing it to pieces.

In the decades since, California has disrupted another arena innovation. From San Diego’s flourishing start-up scene to Silicon Valley, home to game-changers like Apple, Facebook and Google and seat of global venture capitalism, the state continues to deconstruct and reinvent the corporate landscape. Employed throughout this entrepreneurial ecosystem are Gen Yers – the 20 to 35-year-olds who are also altering the agenda for meetings and events.

Joseph Adams, 26, is the archetypal Gen Y go-getter. Originally from Ohio, the self-described Bay Area “marketing hacker” (his adaptation of “growth hacker”; a person skilled at using technology and analytics to test the market-worthiness of new ideas and products) reveals how the Gen Y ecosystem works. Read the rest of this entry »

Some call it the greatest scam in history.  Have you ever gone to a Psychic or had your palm read?  Throughout history, throughout the world, they defy explanation. They are psychic readings.  Everyone has either had one or knows someone who has. People find these readings astonishing, and with good reason, since they are often intriguing and incredible.

Here’s how it usually goes down.  You go to see a psychic – someone to whom you are a complete stranger. The psychic, usually female, describes your personality with pin-point accuracy. She identifies events in your past and present. Her reading may include the names of people you know, and specific facts about your personal life, career, and plans for the future. She refers to your innermost thoughts and problems, and provides wisdom and guidance which seems to make sense. She may also offer glimpses into the future which have an uncanny way of coming true.

I last went to a Psychic in March of 2005.  She said my Mom had a lot of expectations, which isn’t really true. She also said that I wasn’t specific enough about my goals, or finishing things which may be true. She said there would be an issue with my right knee.  Instead it was with my left bicep.  She also said Vegas would be a hit for me, and cruise ships wouldn’t be.  The opposite is true.  She said, I’d be doing magic well into my 60’s, which is kind of obvious, isn’t it?  Also she mentioned I’d be buying and selling real estate and through a tall guy with red hair, I meet a guy who golfs, who has a great idea and will mentor me financially.  I’m still waiting for that to happen!  Basically it didn’t work for me, nor did the 6 times before that I tried it. Read the rest of this entry »

Technology can mean the difference between a business that just survives and one that truly thrives.  With this fun new economy we’ve all become a part of a significantly reduced workforce, so a number of companies are turning to technology-based solutions to manage and execute corporate events.  However, finding the right solution isn’t as easy as it sounds.  A variety of apps and online tools are available free of cost.  Select the perfect event planning software for your organization to enjoy the event that you have the responsibility to put on.

Take a look around you.  The trends of today seem to validate the designs, styles and colors from past years.  It’s almost a confirmation of how much we love the beauty of event planning and the process of identifying all that inspires our romantic and creative style.  While trends in color, fashion, fabrics and themes continue to reinvent themselves, there is one trend that continues to evolve and seldom repeats.  Technology.

Business operations evolve with new technology, opportunities and lessons learned. With the explosion of mobile apps we can set up and run a web video conference, and manage our clients, projects and payroll.  Our businesses need to keep up with technology or be left behind. A business today is expected to be on LinkedIn, have Facebook fans, broadcast a YouTube channel, provide a useful app, and have an active Instagram or Twitter account that updates, entertains and informs followers multiple times a day.  Additionally, a business needs to stay informed as much as it informs others so it has to Digg for information and hope to StumbleUpon something interesting enough to tell followers on Reddit while creating buzz and likes for its brand. Read the rest of this entry »

Sometimes when I perform my shows, I encounter a disturbing element in my audience that has become a personal pet peeve of mine.  I mean it really gets to me.  Coughers.  The people who, at moments of silence in my show, cough incessantly.  I wonder, are they all sick?  It happens at corporate shows, cruise ships and even at loud trade shows.  I’m going to drop my guard in this blog and be very vulnerable with you.  Is that okay?  This is not a soap box for me to stand on and preach, but rather to admit some weaknesses and relate.  I may be over analyzing here, but it has caused me to examine the importance of knowing my audience. As no two audiences are the same, it is almost impossible for an actor or a magician to access the peculiar nature of the people in those seats, until he has been in front of them for at least a few minutes.

Nevertheless, there are signposts which must be realized.  Children, for example are more “knowing” than most adults, except for the very little ones. They have unadulterated minds and look for simple explanations, which are generally the right ones.  This was really brought home to me a few years ago, I performed the same tricks on consecutive evenings in front of a scientific society and for the juniors of a church.  The members of the former were easy prey.  I would listen to them after the show and it was fascinating to hear.  They attributed my effects to psychology, mirrors, reflected light and all sorts of apparatus.  However at the church the youngsters were alarmingly to the point.  I mean they would shout out such things as, ‘Turn your hand over’ and ‘what about the bit of thread’ and ‘let’s see the other side of the lid’.  As much as this disturbed me on an ego level, how right they were!  Hence the need with children to be unsuspicious and absolutely resolute in every move you make.  On no account – whether acting, playing or doing a trick – should there be any playing down to children.  Treat them as adults.  I think they can appreciate a Shakespearian play, if it is well acted and presented; and similarly they will not be inattentive or ‘see through a trick’ if it is done with the right amount of finesse. Read the rest of this entry »

Sign up for Master List
Join the Alexandrites, my exclusive group of magicians, and receive weekly magic tricks, tips for improving your magic performances, and more!
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!
Upcoming shows