How to Master a Presentation Through Mind-Reading
The keynote speaker and Business Mentalist Norman Alexander, teaches sales staff, advisers and managers how to use their mental capabilities in presentations and negotiations. In our interview he talks about useful tips and his “mind hacking” method.
Birthe Klementowski: You are a German keynote speaker, author and Business Mentalist. What exactly do you do as a Business Mentalist?
Norman Alexander: In general, a mentalist is someone who masters certain techniques to decode and guide other people’s thoughts. A mentalist can be clearly distinguished from visionaries and fortune tellers, who all believe they have extrasensory powers. The mentalist, in contrast, uses his people skills, intuition and capacity for empathy to “hack” into the mind of his counterpart. I have discovered that some of the techniques can be usefully applied to the business context – for example to build up a relationship of trust between yourself and a business partner or for finding out, what exactly the other negotiating party wants to achieve. This is why I give lectures in companies and trade associations and also offer workshops.
Birthe Klementowski: You have formerly appeared as a stage magician. How come you decided to use your skills to become a keynote speaker on business topics?
Norman Alexander: In my youth I appeared as a magician for many years. There I learnt how to inspire an audience and dramaturgically organize a show. I use this knowledge to hold a speech that motivates my listeners. During my stage years, I started interesting myself in mentalism through my grandmother – she had the ability to quickly discover what other people felt or worried about. She didn’t use any tricks – she simply had a well-developed intuition and knowledge of human nature. During my studies in economy, I discovered that many of my mentalist skills could be used in a business context. And since I never wanted to end up with a desk job, I started holding speeches on reading minds.
Birthe Klementowski:I think most people would like to be able to read minds. How can a person learn mentalists’ skills?
Norman Alexander: In today’s fast-paced world, most people are very much involved with themselves and do not focus on the things that happen around them. When, for example, someone presents his/her business concept when negotiating with partners, he/she rarely takes into account the rationale behind a decision of his/her counterpart. If we start being more interested in what the other person has to say, we will start to understand what we have to do to get him where we want him to be.
Birthe Klementowski: How do you manage to combine your magic tricks, rhetorical skills and intuition for a business speech?
Norman Alexander: In general, I don’t use my magic tricks when holding a keynote speech. I grant you it would be entertaining, but my business audience mostly aspires to learn skills and not be dazzled by tricks. However, I do present some examples of “mind hacking” on my listeners – but this I do mainly to give a visual of my mind hacking method.
Birthe Klementowski: You said that you developed your mind hacking strategy during your studies in economy. What exactly does this strategy entail?
Norman Alexander: Mind hacking is the ability to decrypt thoughts by using a combination of mentalists’ know-how and psychological knowledge. First you build up a relationship of trust with your counterpart and then you focus very intently on him, his motives and his needs.
Birthe Klementowski: What benefits does a person have in business when applying your mind hacking method?
Norman Alexander: Mind hacking opens the perception to details that normally get ignored. With the knowledge of mind hacking, you can further your people skills and intuition. In contrast to many other popular communication- and negotiation methods, this strategy really helps to know more about your counterparts’ thoughts and motivations. If you share your counterparts’ world of thought by verbalizing it, you show him that you are genuinely interested in him and his problems. This makes it easier for you to win his confidence. And confidence is what you need in a business negotiation! No matter how well-informed you are on the subject matter, if there is no confidence, there won’t be a business agreement.
Birthe Klementowski: How can you use mind hacking methods when presenting with PowerPoint?
Norman Alexander: To inspire your audience during a PowerPoint presentation, it is important to “pick up” the listener and acknowledge his situation and expectations. Several of my mind hacking methods can be quite useful here. Let me give you one example: before your presentation, think of the three most important thoughts that people might have during your presentation. Now verbalize these thoughts in your presentation and thus anticipate possible questions or insecurities.
Photos: Norman Alexander