Put Them In Their Place

I can’t explain how the Hadron Collider works, but, put me in the place of a decent physics education for a couple of years, and I probably could.

I couldn’t tell you how schizophrenia feels, but, put me in the role of a psychiatric worker for a while, and I’ll probably be able to tell you.

Put me inside my wife’s head for a few days and….no.  I still won’t have a clue… 🙂

We’ve all been in the wrong place to receive a message, email or presentation. The lecture at Uni that went over our heads, the party bore that can’t seem to spot that, after 43 yawns, I may not be riveted by his story of his Gran’s hemorrhoids or the magician that doesn’t notice that you are on a first date and don’t really want to see a coin trick.

Often, the trouble is not that the material isn’t relevant, understandable or worthwhile; it’s that our focus is on the material, instead of the audience. Switching our focus makes an immediate impact.

Everything has a clear, easy to understand explanation. Clarity is defined by your audience: they have to be in the right place. As a magician, I can present the same card trick as a hard core poker skill, a way of earning matches at Whist, or even a way of cheating your primary school friends at Snap!  I only know which one it will be by looking at my audience.

The place my audience is in dictates my whole presentation. Clothing, speech, eye contact, language, mannerisms and humour are just tools we use to put, or move, the audience into the right place.

Of course, tomorrow, we’ll have to look at them again to see if they’re in a different place than they were yesterday, and adapt accordingly.

It’s not about moving your audience to the “right” place, it’s about making whatever place they happen to be in, the “right” one.

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