Nothing Up My Sleeve

While doing a little due diligence for gifts this past Christmas, I stumbled upon a DVD collection that found its way onto my gift list; not only to give away but for me as well.

I will no doubt date myself here but if you are old enough to remember ‘The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show’ then you know what great TV is all about. I loved the Rocky & Bullwinkle Show! You not only watched the adventures of Moose and Squirrel but also of Boris and Natasha, Dudley Do-Right, Peabody & Sherman and of course, Fractured Fairy Tales.

One of my favorite parts of the show was when Bullwinkle would ask Rocky if he wanted to see him pull a rabbit out of his hat. He would proclaim that he had ‘Nothing Up My Sleeve’ and then proceed to pull out the head of a lion, rhino or bear…anything but a rabbit. That was comedy gold!

I have written about my passion for magic (illusions) and how in my earlier years, learning how to figure out the solution of a ‘trick’ has proven to help me immensely in business. When faced with a challenge, it has often been helpful for me to re-think a solution that may not be as obvious or, a large part of the time, more complicated.

Most people, when trying to figure out an illusion tend to over-think the solution. Most magic tricks are very, very simple.

Every magician has a favorite trick. I prefer doing card tricks with a deck you give me, one that is a regular standard playing deck. There are many wonderful illusions done with cards that are the result of an altered deck or ‘trick deck’. Wanna have some fun? Treat yourself to a marked deck from your local magic shop and you can be blowing minds in no time.

Card tricks with a standard deck typically require much more patience, practice and dexterity.

When it comes to making a presentation you are, in some sense, putting on a show and you need to make sure you are putting forth your best. This is not the time for sleight of hand or misdirection but direct and open honesty.

Through the years I have come up with one very simple point that, I believe, has proven to be the most effective item in my arsenal. I have used it no matter which company I am representing because it has never failed to be true and it has never failed to have an impact. It is definitely a ‘Nothing up my sleeve’ offering.

I am happy to share this technique but only with those who ask. (First three people who ask, I will share.) Just like any good card trick, one reason it is effective is that most people do not know how it is done.

In the mean time, review your arsenal of presentation techniques, have someone else review them for you as they may see things you don’t but should.

Building new business is much more involved than just saying, “Abracadabra!”


Bobby Darnell is the founder and Principal of Construction Market Consultants, Inc. An Atlanta based management consulting group specializing in business development, sales, marketing and profitability as well as executive placement for the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry.

Bobby can be reached at bobbydarnell [at] cmconl.com


About the Author

Bobby Darnell is the founder and Principal of Construction Market Consultants, Inc., An Atlanta based management consulting group specializing in CRM, Business Development, Sales, Marketing as well as Executive Placement and Recruiting for the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry.

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