Do you want to read learner minds? Follow these simple principles and your learners will be impressed. ‘You may not get ten-dollar tips,’ says Lenn Millbower, ‘but you will have the satisfaction of boasting, “I read minds”’.
by Lenn Millbower
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lenn Millbower, BM, MA, the Learnertainment® Trainer is an expert in the use of show business techniques to enhance learning. His five-star, Oscar worthy, show-biz based Learnertainment® key notes, seminars and workshops fuse learning and entertainment to create interventions that are creative, meaningful, and fun. For more information visit http://www.offbeattraining.com/ Or email him on lennmillbower@offbeattraining.
‘I read minds,’ the street magician teased. The pedestrian rushing by, intrigued, pretended to ignore the statement. ‘I can read yours,’ he challenged.
She stopped and dared him to prove it. The magician produced a deck of cards. He ruffled them. She picked a card. He told her what card she had picked.
At attention now, she asked him to prove his claim a second time. ‘Anyone can get lucky once,’ she explained.
‘It’s not luck, its mind reading,’ he proclaimed. He next asked her to think of a number, odd, not one with two identical digits, from 1-50. She chose and he told her the number she had selected. Impressed now, she asked for another demonstration.
He, knowing she was being won over, asked her to tell him the name of a close friend. She did so. He then opened a sealed envelope and revealed a slip of paper with that person’s name on it.
Astounded now, she placed a ten dollar bill in his hands. ‘How did you do that?’ she asked.
‘Simple,’ he shrugged. ‘I read minds.’
Media mind reading Movies, TV shows and books read minds too. Many of these works feature totally implausible situations that audiences are asked to accept at face value. To help the viewers/readers make the necessary leaps of faith, the filmmaker, TV producer and book writer all answer the question at the precise moment, or shortly before, the question occurs to the viewer/reader. Even the most ridiculous situation is in this way accepted as entire reasonable.
The recent movie Breach, starring Laura Linney and Chris Cooper, offers an example. It tells the story of the FBI’s capture of spy Robert Hannsen. In the film, US Attorney General (AG) John Ashcroft is shown announcing the capture. It’s real footage from an actual press conference. In the footage, the Attorney General thanked everyone involved in the capture except the hero of the movie. The skeptical moviegoer would likely wonder why the movie hero wasn’t mentioned. In a neat trick of Hollywood question answering, the Laura Linney character turns to the hero and grunts, ‘He thanked everyone except the person most responsible.’ The line implies political grandstanding and comes off as fully credible.
This causal aside actually gets the filmmakers out of a hole. They wanted to use the real footage of the AG’s press conference but could not place their hero in that scene posthumously. By throwing off the comment on screen, the Linney character offers a rationalisation for the omission. It neatly answers the question at the precise moment it was likely to occur to the audience. The effect is one of mind reading. It is done so effectively, that most members of the audience never knew their minds were read.