A few years ago I was doing a magic show. It was for a bunch of hedge fund managers. It was a lovely venue in central London and I had to do 60 minutes of close up magic and a 30 minute stage show.
While doing the close up stuff I'm working out who I want on stage, who is compliant, who is imaginitive, who has a hig fluid intelligence etc etc and I met a gentleman who said quite a typical statement.
“That hypnosis will never work on me”
So I proceeded to stick him to the floor. Made his hand stick to his head. And made him give me his birthdate, his mother's maiden name, the name of his first pet oh and his favourite and most personal 4 digit number............
I then asked him if he could imagine himself forgetting that any of this had ever happened, because, well, hypnosis would never work on him anyway!
He completely forgot and his colleagues were stunned.
None of them told him what happened..........
Later on the stage show started and just as I had hoped the same guy was starting to heckle me. I looked straight at him and said “well I tell you what, if I can read your mind and tell you some very important information about yourself would that prove that I can do the impossible?”
He accepted and came onstage
While onstage I asked him some nonsense questions, some of my friends would call them DFA questions (I'm pretty sure it means Does Flip All??) I turned a flipchart away from the audience and wrote on it all of the information that I had gained earlier.
Birthdate. Mothers maiden name First pet
He was suitably shocked and the audience were loving it, a few winks at his colleagues that witnessed what happened earlier made them happy too.
But the absolute killer was when I wrote his 4 digit pin number on a small piece of paper, I told the audience that it wouldn't be fair to show everyone this number and just showed it to him.
The reaction was priceless.
I think he shouted something like “HOW DO YOU KNOW MY PIN?!?!?!”
I then told him never to heckle a mind reader, and to change his PIN straight away.
This was a fun story, but actually it's quite telling.
People think that you have to be susceptible to an idea to be influenced, but I had ripped apart a man who shouted at me that it couldn't happen. Twice.
The first stage of protecting yourself (and your staff) is understanding how vulnerable we are to attack. I work with military and security services to help get even the toughest minds to be prepared for an unsuspecting attack.
But this can go a long way in the business world too. Could your competitors use similar skills to be gaining secrets about your operations?