Let’s conduct a thought experiment about training topics.
Here’s a list of 30 popular corporate training topics.
I want to test your training competency.
Let’s choose a topic completely at random. To do this, grab a piece of paper and a pencil and follow these instructions:
Write down your year of birth.
Example: John was born on November 6, 1963. So, he writes down 1963.
Reverse the digits in this number and write the resulting four-digit number.
Example: John reverses 1963 and writes 3691.
Find the difference between the two numbers by subtracting the smaller number from the bigger one.
Example: John subtracts 1963 from 3691 and gets 1628.
Add the digits in the answer.
Example: John adds the four digits (1+6+2+8) and gets 17
Look up the training topic listed at this number.
Example: John finds Presentation Skills as the topic at number 12.
If you followed the instructions, you should have ended up with a one- or two-digit number and looked up the corresponding training topic in the list.
Please think about this training topic. Visualize details of this topic.
Reading Your Mind
Let me try to read your mind. The topic you selected is definitely not the one that John, in our example, selected. No, it is definitely not presentation skills.
Your topic seems to be more complex. It is associated with chaos, anxiety, and resistance. It is a process that makes people worry about what will happen to them. People miss the safety and security of status quo. They are skeptical and resistive.
Peering into your mind, I see you working as a team facilitator, reassuring the group. You explain to them that the only constant thing in the organization is change. You make the team members feel that change is good. You do this by pointing out the benefits of planned change and explaining how this type of change does not have to disrupt people’s lives. Inspired by your message, the team is ready to embrace the change.
I don’t know exactly what topic you chose, but these vibrations and images seem to go with your topic.
Your topic is change.
Did I read your mind correctly? Are you impressed by my telepathic skills?
The Secret Revealed
If you followed the instructions about writing your year of birth and doing the calculations, you would have ended up with a 9 or 18 (unless you are more than 90-years or less than 10-years old). If you check the list, the topic at 9 and 18 are synonymous. They both deal with change.
In case you are wondering how John, the guy in my example, ended up with a 12, he made an error in his subtraction. (In other words, I cheated.)
Using Magic for a Review
I use this piece of magic to conduct an amusing review at the end of my training sessions. I begin by distributing 30 key topics related to my training goal. For example, after a session on leadership, I give a handout with a list of 30 characteristics of effective leaders. I make sure that the Items 9 and 18 are synonymous (such as courage and fearlessness). I use the same instructions as printed above. My participants visualize themselves as fearless and brave leaders. They are amazed and amused when I demonstrate my ability to read their minds.
Try this activity at your next training session or presentation.