Sleight of Hand


Everyone who has seen a magic show knows that what’s onstage is an illusion. This is why rabbits can be pulled from empty hats and assistants can be sawed in half. What the audience perceives and what actually happens are two different things; in these situations, perception becomes reality.

This concept is extremely important in business, as the ability to influence perception can lead to all sorts of benefits—just think of the impact on a first impression or a company’s public image. Enter Kostya Kimlat, a professional magician and speaker who is helping groups understand the importance of perception in their daily lives through the art of magic and sleight of hand.

“I’m not here to tell audiences how to do their job,” Kimlat says. “I merely show the principles of perception and let them decide how to use them to solve their problems.”

Kimlat began his journey 17 years ago, when he fell in love with the craft and began traveling around the world performing magic for audiences large and small. The meetings industry in particular took a liking to Kimlat, and event organizers began to invite him to talk about his experiences and approaches. Kimlat’s friend and mentor John Bowman eventually approached him about starting a business focused on connecting magic with the meetings industry, and ThinkMagic was born.

Kimlat now tours the country, educating groups on how perception works and how to influence it to produce a desired effect. A session typically begins with a few tricks, followed by a breakdown of how people perceive them. By highlighting factors such as point of view and body language, Kimlat helps audiences understand how they perceive and are being perceived.

For the past nine years, groups have been eagerly incorporating and applying Kimlat’s message. In January 2012, he spoke in front of 150  general managers from Melting Pot Restaurants. When he addressed the same group again, he was pulled aside by one of the mangers and told that his previous talk helped that manager’s restaurant jump from 40th to fourth in the company’s customer service rankings. With results such as this, it’s easy to say that Kimlat has the “magic” touch.

“Magic can be intelligent, educational and not just for kids,” Kimlat says. “When people realize how much thought goes into what they see, they have a better appreciation of the craft and can apply the same approach to their business.”