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Strangely enough, I’ve always thought that training sessions and changemakers have a deep connection to magic, but not in the way you might think.

When I was little, I used to love watching magic shows on TV, but I had a favorite. You know Breaking the Magician’s Code – where the rogue magician Val Valentino would show the world the hidden secrets behind the most famous magic tricks.  

But it wasn’t just the illusions, it was the way he explained everything that would captivate me. Because the entire time, he would go into detail talking about exactly how he created the illusions. 

And that garnered him a lot of hate from other magicians who didn’t want their secrets revealed. But for me, it was a captivating experience. It was entertaining, educational, and really piqued my interest in showing others the tricks I learned. 

So looking back, I realize that good trainers are a lot like that magician. They don’t just show their own magic, they teach the tricks of their trade, they entertain, and – most importantly – they show you how to unlock your own magic. 

As leaders, we shouldn’t be like those gate-keeping illusionists (like David Blaine), but rather as wizarding educators (think: Dumbledore). Because our goal is to leave the audience amazed – but also inspired and ready for action. 

The Magical Qualities of Good Training

So let’s keep going with that fun metaphor. Because I truly believe that training can produce magic. 

And here are the 3 most important magical qualities of a good training program

It unlocks power 

Ultimately, magic is a source of power. The power to levitate, to create, to transform. 

All of which sounds a lot like our goals as trainers. We want to raise up the people around us, create opportunities for our community, and transform the world into a better place. 

So while a magician has the power to do some of these things on their own – a magical guide will raise a community of others dedicated to the arts. 

And that’s exactly what we’ll be doing. We’re teaching others to use this magical power for good. 

It captivates 

In many ways, one of the most notable characteristics of magic is its ability to astound and engage. People love to watch magic shows or films or books because the things these wizards do is unbelievable. 

We’re watching them change our perception of reality in real time. 

Which is exactly what training sessions should be like. You should captivate your audience by giving an experience that engages them. And your learners should get that sense of – wow, we really can change the world around us. 

It’s captivating, motivating, and inspiring. 

It keeps plenty of tricks up its sleeves!  

Magic is more than a simple flick of a wrist. Those performers on stage use a combination of lights, hand placement, psychology, and eccentricity to leave their audience amazed. 

And the magicians in your favorite fantasy novel are constantly using different relics and secrets to achieve their goals. 

Training is the same. The effectiveness of your training doesn’t come from just one source, but rather a combination of fields. 

Just like a stage magician will use a variety of tricks, mirrors, and boxes to maximize the illusions, a great leader will use:

  • Adult education
  • Andragogy
  • Instructional design
  • Critical pedagogy
  • Field-specific topics
  • Educational Philosophy
  • Marketing

They’ll use all of these different magical resources to create an outstanding experience for their learners.

Use your magic for good

The metaphor here is a bit fantastical – but it rings true.  

Just as my favorite TV magician was able to inspire and provide the proper tools to a generation of viewers, we can do the same things. 

Changemakers and leaders can take inspiration from why magic is so captivating and use it to equip their community with the right tools. Give them the power to be self-sufficient and use a magic of their own. 

So maybe the next time you plan a training session – you can add a magical spark to it.

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Riahl O’Malley and Indira Garmendia, co-founders