Magic, like most things, can be easy or difficult, Occasionally, it’s tempting to go for the easy, watered down trick, than it is to put the effort and dedication in to practice the stronger, but more technically challenging, effect simply thinking that the audience won’t notice the difference.
So, rather than use a direct, but difficult, sleight to achieve a trick, a magician may use a mathematical principle, which, although slightly confusing, still gets the job done.
But does it?
Dai Vernon, considered by most to be “The Professor” of modern close up magic, once said that “a great magic trick should be able to be explained in one or two sentences”.
“He put a coin in his hand…and it vanished!”
“He sawed a woman in half, and then restored her!”
“Well, he got a playing card and put it back, then he asked me my ages, and counted down that many cards. He then asked me to spell my middle name, and I did that. I took these cards and counted down to the number I first thought of and looked at that card. It wasn’t mind, but I took the value of the card and…”
You get the idea.
The first two sound magical, the last one like an overly complex mathematical procedure.
The concept should be clear and direct, regardless of whether the actual technique is.
This is the key to strong, powerful and memorable magic. And, as a professional magician, I want everything I do to be strong, powerful and memorable.
Why would you want to water something like that down?
If you’re giving a presentation at work, sure, it my take longer to formulate and include graphs and supporting evidence, but, if it helps the audience more easily understand your point, it’s worth going the extra mile.
If you’re a programmer, sure you could create a basic interface that gets the job done, even if it needs a manual the size of a house. Or, you could spend the extra time making it more user friendly and natural.
The Plain English Campaign strive for crystal clear communication; the elimination of lingo and jargon: negative insertions that only strive to muddy the message. Negative insertions are the overly decorated magic boxes and weird magic props of the world, only serving to distract you from what’s really going on. If you’re bored, you can use their Goobledygook generator for examples of the kind of nonsense they campaign against.
Jargon serves a purpose for the sender, not the receiver.
In an earlier post, I talked about the importance of recognising the position of your audience and delivering accordingly. Always start with your audience and work from there.
You know WHO they are, you know WHERE they are, and you know WHAT you want them to hear. Don’t compromise the quality of your communication for reasons of time or effort.