A new idea for Christmas!

A very inventive event organiser friend of mine came up with a brilliant idea for a small Christmas dinner.  Imagine the scene – you have 12 or so people sitting around the table having a meal.  What can you offer that is a little different in the way of entertainment?  A singer would be too much and there may not be a lot of space for anything too energetic (think a small private room in a hotel here)

A table is set with presents for all…

Now imagine a small table full of boxed presents – small ones, big ones, all shapes and sizes all done up with a bow.  Each of the guests chooses a box and places it on the table as they start their meal.  Now in-between each course they choose which boxes to open as I am introduced…

christmas

A tale of demons a severed finger and a fortune told!

In each box is one or more items and I use the items in a box to create a spell binding mystery  for the group.  It might be a couple of books where the audience members choose some words and I guess what they are.  Or, it could be something more exotic with a book about vampires and a box made from coffin wood.  A strange tale unfolds as the props behave in a strange way to bring about a sharp intake of breath from the guests, followed by laughter.

christmas tale

A spooky story where the spectators try to find the real Jack the Ripper!

Each guest has a box to open – you could even place a small gift into each one as an extra surprise.  A truly unique style of entertainment to serve up to your guests for a Christmas dinner they will  remember for ever.

spooky christmas

An unbelievable Voodoo routine!

Please get in touch to check availability.  But hurry – Christmas dates are filling fast so don’t leave it too long!

Alex

Booking Entertainment? 5 things you should know…

Are you booking entertainment for an event?  Perhaps you are looking at the Christmas Party or some after dinner entertainment for a conference next year?  You may have a Client Networking event that you want to “spice up” or perhaps you are looking for something for your Wedding..

Regardless, next to the Venue, (and possibly the food) the entertainment is probably going to be the most talked about component of the event.  So, it can make the difference between something that is talked about and remembered for weeks and months to come or something that is instantly forgotten.  The pressure is on and you start researching what you could have that will fit the bill…

 

5 factors that may make you choose the wrong entertainment:

 

1. Price

Apart from budgetary reasons, the cost of the entertainment should never be an option.  This may sound like a strange statement, but  you may make a decision on one entertainer over another purely based on their cost. If this is the case,  then you can pretty much bet that you are going to come unstuck.

As a mindreader, I am  lucky because there are not many of us around and we all pretty much charge a similar fee (I’m not counting the magicians that do “some mindreading” – that is like booking a pub singer because he can sing Nessun Dorma and expecting him to be brilliant in your operatic recital).  Consequently, I rarely have people contact me and compare my price to another mindreader.  I must admit to being a little thrown last Christmas when I was speaking to a potential client. After I quoted my fee she said “Oh, don’t worry.  I have spoken to a magician who is cheaper than you!”  Of course you can find someone cheaper – in fact, if you look hard enough, I’m pretty sure you could find someone that will do it for free or next to nothing!  The question is – are they any good?  In my experience, the minimum fee you can expect to pay for a good magician or mindreader is £500+.  Now, of course, you can get a magician for cheaper.  But generally speaking, put a £300 magician next to a £600 magician and you can very clearly see why you are paying the difference.

2. Website

It is easy to get a good website these days relatively cheaply. This makes it is really hard to judge how good someone is purely based on it.  There was even a case a couple of years ago of a mindreader (I don’t think he works much now) who was found out when it was spotted that most of the photos on his website of him in the company of “celebrities were actually taken at Madame Tussauds!  The ones that weren’t had been photoshopped to include him in them.

3. Testimonials

Most websites are littered with them (I have quite a few on my own website). The problem is – how do you know if they are genuine or just made up by the entertainer?  One of the major problems that I have is that I get really nice feedback and testimonials from well known companies. Unfortunately, they then won’t allow their name to be used because it is politically incorrect for them to have “entertainment” at their events.  Consequently, I have to put “corporate client” instead of the company name, which is nowhere near as impressive.  But I have spoken to other entertainers who quite openly have admitted to making up the testimonials on their website.

4. Video

Whilst video can be good indication of a performer, again you have to bear in mind that those fantastic reactions that you see on film could have been staged entirely for the benefit of the camera.  Quite a few well known youtube magicians have been caught out recently using friends in their films, with the reactions being completely fake.  The other thing to bear in mind is that they may use editing and camera tricks to enhance what they do.  It is also very different filming a piece to camera with a couple of people on the street to working a busy room at a networking event.

5. Recommendations

Ok- I know this is counterintuitive (especially as 90% of my enquiries come from this source) and of course recommendations are invaluable, but I just wanted to point out a couple of things to bear in mind.

  • Does the person recommending the act have a similar taste to you?  My brother and I have very similar tastes in music, film, art and theatre and I know if he recommends something to me I am going to like it.  However, my wife and I have very different tastes (particularly in films) and what she says is brilliant may well seem really boring to me)
  •  Are they qualified to recommend someone.  Many an amateur magician gets his head turned when someone says to them “you are brilliant – the best magician I have ever seen, you should definitely be on the TV”.  The chances are that they are the ONLY magician they have ever seen so have nothing to compare them to.
  •  Have they seen them in a similar environment to the one that you are booking the entertainment for?  A close up magician may be fantastic, but are they going to be able to cope with standing on stage and performing a show to 300 people?

So – by all means check out a website, look at videos, read testimonials and listen to trusted friends and colleagues.  But by far the best way to judge is to meet the entertainer and see what they do.  I appreciate this may be difficult if the act is a high wire trapeze act, but it is very easy if it is magician or a mindreader.

I think one of the difficulties with my sort of entertainment is that very few people would think of it independently, yet, when they see it, it gets a far stronger reaction than a magician.  I am always more than happy to come to a meeting to show a potential client what I do – because invariably, when they see it – they want it!
If you can’t meet with the entertainer – at least have a chat to them on the phone as it is much easier to ask the relevant questions regarding experience, previous clients etc (it is much harder to lie on the phone than when hiding behind a computer screen.
Don’t forget – the entertainment is often a key component of an event.  Make sure you get something that will add to it and not be an embarrassment!
Have a good week.
Alex

Incredible Hi Tech Magic!

I recently saw the latest showreel from a very good friend of mine, and it was so brilliant, I thought I would do a quick blog about him..

 

Keelan Leyser is a genius when it comes to “iPad magic”!  This is a very popular form of magic nowadays whether as a walkabout performance or on the stage and Keelan is one of the best in the field.  He is also very busy!  He creates bespoke presentations using iPad magic and is much in demand all over the world. Keelan is also a really lovely chap and great to work with! We regularly meet up on the corporate circuit when clients want two performers of very different styles.

Check out his amazing showreel here:

and don’t forget to check out his website for contact details and more info :http://keelanleyser.co.uk

Have a good week

Alex

Ten ways to spot a liar! 

We all make small lies every day. A lot of the time, we lie to save other peoples feelings . “No, your bum doesn’t look too big in that dress”, or “No, really, size doesn’t matter!” But wouldn’t it be nice to know when someone is lying to you?  These tips that I will be sharing with you will give you a great basic knowledge. They will tell you what to look out for when having a conversation with anyone, whether boss at work or potential boyfriend/ girlfriend in a social occasion.

It can be very difficult to spot when someone is lying, particularly if you don’t know them very well.  The reason for this is that the best way to spot a lie is to look for inconsistencies in a persons behaviour. So,  if you don’t know the person it is very hard unless you can get a “baseline” reading.  This is why lie detectors start by asking some questions which the suspect has to tell the truth. Then,  when they lie later they have something to compare it to.  So, if you get a chance, try to calibrate a persons behaviour with small talk. Then, when you ask the difficult or challenging questions, look to see if anything changes.  Having said that, there are a few things that you can look out for.  These don’t necessarily mean a person is lying, it could be they are uncomfortable for some reason or nervous.  But it may be a flag for you to question them a little more closely..

 

The Mouth Cover

The first gesture we are going to talk about is the mouth cover.  This is a very common sign when people are lying.  If a child is telling a lie then often, they cover up their mouth so you can’t “see” them lying.  As we mature, we moderate this and cover up our mouth when we are lying in a more subtle way.  Often people may cough to cover up this gesture.  Or put their chin in their hand with their forefinger over their lips.  So, if you ask someone how old they think you look and they immediately have a fit of coughing – don’t take their answer too seriously!

 

 

The Nose Touch

Quite often, when people are lying they find themselves having to rub their nose.  Most of the time they are not aware of this so, it is a great gesture to look out for.  The reason that people rub their nose when lying is actually a physical one.  Scientists have discovered that when you lie, catecholamines are released. This causes tissue inside the nose to swell so that the human nose actually expands when you are lying.  This is known as the “Pinocchio Effect” . Athough too small to be seen by the human eye, the increased blood pressure inflates the nose and causes the nerve endings to tingle.  This means that the liar often feels the need to give the nose a brisk rub to relieve the itch.

Of course, as with all of these tips, the gestures should not be read on their own.  Just as one word on its own can have many meanings and it is not until you put it into a sentence that it makes sense.  The same goes for body language. You have to read the gestures and interpret them along with everything else you know.  For example, the itching of the nose could be because the person has hay fever!

The Eye Rub

The Eye Rub is a common gesture, particularly with men.  It is used to avoid having to look at the person they are lying to. Quite often, if it is a big lie, will be vigorous and they may look away as well.  Women, perhaps because they are wearing make-up that they don’t want to spoil, are less likely to do this gesture. But they may lightly touch under their eye when lying or look away.  Again, if you see children lying, then this is a gesture you will be familiar with.  They will look away, look at the ground, look at their hands – they do anything except look at you!  In adults it is often more subtle.  But if someone doesn’t want to look you in the eyes it could be because they are lying.

As always, be aware of other contributing factors – hay fever, dust in the air etc and look for other gestures to back up your prognosis.

The Ear Grab

The Ear Grab is a gesture which is often used if a person is experiencing anxiety.  It is a comforting gesture that probably goes back to when they were stroked by the mother as a baby. So, if someone is lying and they are feeling anxious about it then they may rub or  grab their ear lobe and tug on it.  Prince Charles is perhaps the most famous person for doing this gesture.  And whilst it is clear that he isn’t lying when doing it, he may be feeling anxiety and this is his way of comforting himself.

So, if you are interviewing someone about a job, they could be feeling nervous and start tugging on their ear lobe.  If however, the interview is going smoothly and the interviewee is sitting calmly and confidently.  Then you ask him why he left his last job and at that point he starts tugging at his ear lobe while telling you that he just wanted a change, you might want to contact his past employer to see why he really left.  Especially if he is coughing and rubbing his eyes and looking at his feet at the same time!

The Neck Scratch and Smiling

This is just a quick one, but could be useful.  The neck scratch – typically about 5 times under the ear lobe normally shows uncertainty or doubt.  So, if someone is saying that they agree with you, yet are scratching the side of their neck – the chances are that they are lying and that they either don’t agree or not sure.

It is generally assumed that people smile more when they are lying. We think of actors saying things with a fixed grin on their face and “lying through their teeth”.  However, most people when they are lying will smile less.  uUless you are used to it, lying is a stressful business!  The thing to watch out for is whether the smile is genuine or not. A genuine, spontaneous smile uses the eyes as well as the mouth.  So tension around the eyes is a good indication that the smile is not genuine whereas wrinkles in this occasion are good!

The Collar Pull

It has been discovered that lying cause a tingling sensation in the face and neck tissues.  So,  often a rub or scratch is necessary to relieve it. This may be why people use the collar pull when they are lie and suspect that they have been caught.  The stress causes sweat to appear on the neck and this also causes irritation.  So, if you suspect someone is lying and ask them to repeat the lie – often they will start to pull at their collar.  The face becomes red and it feels as if the collar, particularly in a man if he is wearing a tie, is getting tighter and tighter and they will have to pull at it to breathe.

Women are much better at lying than men!  This is true – tests have shown that women are much better at constructing complicated lies than men and much better at getting away with it. This is particularly the case if they are lying to a man.  Most men are nowhere near as intuitive as women and don’t tend to spot the lies as much.  Probably because most of the time they are staring at their breasts!  Women often go with their “gut instinct”.  Whereas men tend to rely much more on what is being said rather than the body signals that either go with it or contradict it……

Fingers in the Mouth

This is a classic comforting gesture and shows someone reverting to the time when they felt the security of a child sucking on its mothers breast or bottle.  Children often suck a thumb for comfort and as adults, quite often we will put fingers in the mouth, but just as often glasses or a pen.  This is one of the reasons why giving up smoking is so hard for some people – it is a comfort gesture.  And when do we use comfort gestures more than any other time? When we are under pressure, and lying is quite a stressful thing to do!  Consequently, we often see this sort of behaviour when someone is lying.

Again I must stress that you cannot use this in isolation – look to all the other clues.  People who lie less frequently are more likely to be spotted.  This is how the great conmen get away with the most outrageous lies.  They have practiced lying and know how to cover most of the signals that give the more honest of us away.  So, at least if you get caught lying you can say “well you caught me because I don’t lie very often and I’m not good at it!”

All in the Eyes

We said in an earlier tip that liars often look away when they are spinning their web of deceit.  Well, I need to tell you about the good liars, the practiced ones that I mentioned earlier in the post.  They do the opposite.  When they are lying they will maintain eye contact probably more than normal.  Now, tests have shown that when people lie and look straight at you, you are more likely to believe them.  So, it is even more important to look for all the other signs that they might exhibit.  As I have said many times, you look for and interpret clusters as opposed to just one gesture.  These clusters will tell you whether the person you are talking to is telling the truth.  Whether they uncomfortable and nervous or honest, open and trustworthy.

The other physical thing you can watch for is that when people are nervous and under pressure they tend to gulp more. This is more noticeable in men than women because of their adams apples.

Watch the Feet

It has been noticed that in both genders the amount of unconscious feet movement increases dramatically when someone is lying.  The positions of the feet and legs also tell us lots more about what a person is feeling. I may reveal these secrets to you at a later date if there is sufficient interest.  But for now, with regard to lying, it is enough to know that when someone starts shuffling their feet, tapping, rubbing one foot against the leg  – you know that they are doing it because they are uncomfortable. By combining this with other signals you have picked up along the way, this could help you in making a decision as to whether that person is lying or telling the truth.

Lying over the phone or email is relatively easy. But It is much harder to lie face to face to someone, especially if there isn’t a desk to hide behind.  This is why many interviewers will place the interviewee in a position so that their whole body is in view.  This makes it much easier to spot signs that they are uncomfortable when answering questions.

Blinking

On average we blink 6 – 10 times per minute.  However when lying this can increase up to 50 times per minute!  That is a huge increase.  Subconsciously this is lessening the time that the liar is looking at you. And if they can’t see you then you can’t see them lying – a sort of “ostrich with its head in the sand”!  Of course, if we have been for a run and sweat is dripping down our face, that might cause us to blink more too.  So be aware of any other reasons before you shout “Liar, Liar” at the top of your voice.  Also, we quite often see the slow blink when someone is lying so they are subconsciously closing their eyes rather than look at you whilst they are lying so something to watch out for.

 

Finally..

So watch out for covering up the mouth, scratching the nose and side of the neck. Don’t forget rubbing the eyes and tugging of the earlobes. Pulling the collar, putting pens and glasses in the mouth, staring at you, shuffling the feet and excessive blinking.  Of course if the person is doing all of these, you are probably talking to a politician!  But as I said at the top of this article, the main thing is to calibrate what the person normally does when telling the truth. Then see what changes as you are talking to them.

I hope this article has been informative and interesting.  If you would like to know more about my mind reading performances and workshops, please get in  touch.

Alex Crow

Meet one of my friends…

Sometimes a particular event is not really suitable for a mindreading act – this is particularly so if it is very noisy and you need something loud and spectacular to stun the crowds and create a real “wow”.  Now don’t get me wrong – mindreading is very strong and does, I believe, create a stronger impression than any other type of  “magic” type acts, particularly because it is more believable.  But, the crux is that the spectators have to listen and pay attention – if they do, I can pretty much guarantee that they will be blown away, and, all modesty aside, I am pretty good at getting the attention of a crowd and making them sit up and take notice.

However, there are certain situations when mindreading is not the best fit and when it is clear that it will not be possible to get the audience to pay attention and watch, then I always recommend that the client think about an illusionist.  An illusionist specialises in the big impressive tricks with loud music and girls jumping in and out of boxes and is almost guaranteed to get the most rowdy of crowds watching.  Like mindreaders, illusionists are a rare breed and there are only a few in the UK that I would recommend, but top of my list is Sean Alexander.

Sean is a great magician and a lovely chap too.  We met a few years ago whilst working on the same cruise ship and have been good friends since.  Check out his showreel below  and you will see how good he is and if you need and more information – check out his website here.

 

Have a good weekend.

Alex

Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere!

Yes, I know it sounds like the title of a song by The Who (great band by the way), but the title refers to the new way I am operating my sister site – Crowtherapy.com!

Some of you may know that I work in three main fields:

Entertainment – mindreading and weird stuff for corporate and private events

Education – training and workshops for companies

Therapy – helping people to achieve their goals, through NLP, Time Line Therapy and Hypnotherapy

This last strand is Crow Therapy.  As a qualified practitioner of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), Time Line Therapy and Hypnotherapy, I am passionate about helping people to achieve their goals – whether that be to quit smoking, lose weight, gain confidence, rid themselves of a phobia and much more.  However, one of the main challenges is trying to find a way which I can meet with my clients at a time and place suitable for us both.  I live in deepest Kent and so it is not always easy or practical for someone to come to me and with my workload, travelling long distances to hold a one hour session is not normally viable.  I have now come up with a very practical solution – all session will be conducted through the medium of Skype!  This means that we can arrange the sessions at a suitable time (I run sessions from 9am until midnight) so you can have help in achieving your goals in the safety and comfort of your own home when everyone is out during the day, or perhaps in the evening after work or when the kids are in bed.

A normal session lasts for an hour with a slightly longer initial session of 90 minutes, and all of the sessions are recorded and sent to you afterwards so you can review them and practice the techniques in the following weeks – this is especially helpful with the hypnotherapy.

I am confident that working together we can overcome any difficulties and get amazing results, but I want my clients to be happy as well, and that is why I offer a free 15 minute Skype consultation so that they get a feel of how it works before booking any sessions.

Please check out my website for more information here and please feel free to share this around to anyone you think may be interested.

Have a good week

Alex

 

Let me read your mind over the phone!

If you have seen me in action – you’ll know the sort of reaction I tend to get at events.  Gasps of astonishment, laughter and incredulous looks are commonplace when people feel the connection between us, as I reveal what they are thinking.  Well now, after months and months of trials, failures and successes, I have now developed my mind reading to the extent that I can do it over the phone!

Of course, it is not the same as in person and at this stage I am not able to connect on the same deep level as when I am in the same room.  Nevertheless, you will be able to experience the strange sensation, where often the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, as you wonder “how did he know that?”

Why not have a go?

So, why not get in touch now – you can book a 10 minute telephone mindreading session here: telephone mindreading

What do I need to have with me?

Very simple you can have three blank pieces of paper, 3 playing cards, a knife, fork and spoon or three paper/plastic cups and a mind ready to be amazed!

This  is also great if you wanted to set up a conference call with a potential client where it is not possible to set up a face to face meeting with me, where as well as explaining what I do, I can give a small demonstration over the phone.  To book a conference call you can book  here: conference call

 

 

 

The best two days of my career!

I had the great pleasure of being flown out to an exotic location this week to provide a motivational show for a premier division football team (sorry – can’t say who or where).  I am pleased to say it went very well indeed – in fact the manager said that to keep  a group of more than 40 professional footballers sitting still and focused is a normally impossible job, but I had achieved that and more!

image by Arif Gardner

So, what did I do?  Well, my motivational show is between 45-60 minutes long and has elements of my cabaret show, alongside powerful motivational messages including: fear of failure, how changing your body language can change your approach, going outside the comfort zone, the power of the unconscious mind and much more – in fact, everything in the show is a metaphor, but because the messages are hidden within the entertainment, they go straight into the unconscious mind, without effort, ensuring that valuable lessons are learnt.

I was very impressed by how polite and disciplined the players were and I had great fun devising a routine especially for the occasion where I had five players imagine they were taken a penalty and I had to work out which one scored!  Afterwards, all the players came up to thank me for the show and had loads of questions.  I was presented with a signed shirt and was invited to watch the team train the next day.  All in all a brilliant couple of days and probably one of the highlights of my career so far.

If you would like to know more about my motivational show and how it can inspire your employees (they don’t have to be footballers), please get in touch.

Have a good weekend

Alex

 

 

The Funniest Juggler you will ever come across!

Following on in my series of blogs on good friends of mine that you really ought to know about, I am pleased to introduce the maddest, funniest most brilliant juggler in the UK….

Steve Rawlings

Steve seems fairly normal when you talk to him, but once he is on stage – boy oh boy, he is absolutely mad – but extremely talented with it.  Very much admired in the juggling world, this guy really knows his “chops”, but it is his character that sets him apart from the rest.  Here is a video of his – check it out and you will see what I mean…

So if you want something really different for your next event – check out Steve – here is a link to his website: Steve Rawlings

Have a good week

Alex Crow

Eliminating Stress in the Workplace – free taster session!

Eliminating stress in the workplace should be high on the list in every company because doing so reduces sick leave, increases productivity and contributes towards a much better working environment for all.

Mindfulness is increasingly being used to accomplish this. To this end, I have put together a one hour workshop for up to 30 people, which teaches some simple Mindfulness techniques. In addition, I include some exercises designed to increase peoples awareness and communication skills using NLP. The workshop is great fun, very interactive and leaves participants with a range of useful practices. These can be used both at work and at home whenever they are feeling under pressure, or stressed.

I come to you!

I come to either your offices or venue suitable to you and can either run one workshop, three in half a day or six in a whole day.

But, I am offering you a chance to have a taster session for up to 6 people for free!  Yes, I’ll travel to your offices and run a one hour Mindfulness Workshop for up to 6 people, with absolutely no cost and no obligation!

This gives you a chance to see at first hand the benefits of my Mindfulness workshop and allows you the opportunity to assess whether it would be worthwhile extending to the wider workforce.

Please get in touch if you have any questions or wish to book in for your free taster workshop on Eliminating Stress. Please free to share with anyone you feel might be interested.

Alex