The Corporate-Fx, Tradeshow Magic Group Blog

By: Scott Tokar, Corporate-Fx Magician and Founder

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Exhibitor Live 2016.

Once again Corporate-Fx founder, Scott Tokar will be teaching several classes at Exhibitor Magazine’s “Exhibitor Live” The 28th Annual Training Conference for Trade Show Exhibit and Event Managers and Marketers from February 29th - March 2nd 2016, in Las Vegas, NV.

This year Scott will facilitate the first ever “EXHIBITORLIVE Scavenger Hunt! Crowd-Sourced Success Lab” where students will experience crowd-sourced education in a two-part, peer-driven session with a hands-on lab. The class will locate, photograph and share cutting-edge exhibiting techniques by participating in a scavenger hunt on the tradeshow show floor it self. Then participants will focus on how to evaluate an exhibit and learn to recognize, observe and evaluate: Location strategies, Booth graphics, Design & layout, Staffing, Give-Aways, Traffic builders and Memorability just to name a few topics.

Also NEW for 2016, Scott will be teaching a class titled; “Stop the Traffic: Trade Show Engagement Methods that Work” From graphics and layout—to gimmicks and presentations—the goal at a trade show is to stop a prospect so they will pay attention to your brand. But attracting a receptive crowd is only half the battle. Attraction only matters if it leads to ENGAGEMENT. The course will examine professional and do-it-yourself traffic-stopping strategies that ENGAGE attendees and cause them to REMEMBER a brand long after the show is over. Leave ready to create promotions with PURPOSE. Our discussion will include: Audience quantification versus lead count, Prospect qualification, How to identify HOT leads, Action steps for visitors in the exhibit, Lead follow-through, Motivated participation in the exhibit and Promotions.

Additionally, Scott will teach his now famous “Booth Basics Boot Camp: Lessons from the Trade Show Floor”. Due to the popularity and recurring high marks, this class typically is at capacity and has SOLD-OUT in the past. The class teaches the difference between “epic fail” and “total success” on the trade show floor? From booth size, budget, location and a tightly integrated strategy and staff. Attendees will learn where to start. This is a wonderful opportunity to focus on: Booth staff training and exhibitor etiquette, Local, national and international differences in exhibiting, Sales engagement techniques that help maximize lead counts, Common errors in booth design and execution, Booth layout, traffic flow and space selection advantages, Visual and physical barriers that restrict interaction with attendees, Sponsorships and hosted events that add value to an exhibit, and how to make a booth and brand memorable (for all the right reasons).

Hope to see you in Las Vegas!

A pack a day habit. Playing cards

“How many decks of cards do you go through?” You are not the first to wonder about that.

First of all, I personally never use a “trick deck”, that would be silly for a professional magician. Cards that have a “secret something” may be good for one trick or maybe two, but a standard/regulation deck of cards allow me to perform hundreds of effects for hours of entertainment and variety.

My personal brand preference is the US Playing Card Company’s Bee back Stingers edition, or the newer Aristocrat decks of playing cards. These card are just like the Poker Sized Bee’s, Bicycles, and Hoyles you would buy at Walmart or your local drug store, but these are cut with a bit more precision at the factory, the paper stock is a bit more stiff, and the coating is more luxurious and durable. To me, after handling playing cards for eight or more hours each day I can sure feel the difference in these higher quality decks from the standard consumer brands. Sure, they cost a bit more but I can tell instantly by feel the difference between brands and qualities of cards.

Many of my magic tricks require a signed, torn or stapled card, and every time a card is destroyed it technically ruins the entire deck, but that doesn't mean I have to stop using the deck all together.

There are 52 cards in the deck, 54 if you add the two jokers, and a typical Bee or Bicycle brand deck is roughly around 1.5 cm thick. Typically the deck looks and feels too thin after a loss of 10 cards or so. It begins to feel wrong in my hands and some card players may notice the deck is a little “short” from standard…

While working a tradeshow, it is not unusual for me to perform fifteen or more shows (or business presentations) in a day. So I guess you could say I have a “pack a day” habit…

Want to know a magic secret? I recycle. Once a deck is short 10 or more cards, I separate each card by the value and suit and I reconstruct a “new” deck every so often from the left overs. However, this gives the deck a weird feel and it must be broken-in or conditioned through a repetitive shuffle sequence I usually do while watching TV in the evening after working in an exhibit.

I also use more than one deck when I work… Normally, I will have one deck that can be destroyed in performance, and one deck that has been conditioned and shuffled from a brand-new box. If I have to perform more precision sleights, shuffles and flourishes I will use this “new” deck.

So, the next time I ask you to “pick a card, any card” you will now know a bit more about the card you are about to pick… Oh, was it the three of clubs?

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Road warrior tricks from a trade show magician.

Pick a favorite - Let’s face it, business travel isn’t glamorous anymore, oh how I yearn for the days when people would get dressed-up to fly and an airplane was more like a limousine than a Greyhound Bus… Those days are long gone, but don’t give up on comfort, it still exists for those “special” customers, and your goal as a road warrior is to become “special”.

What is the BEST airline to fly for business? None of them, they all suck. Unless that is if you are an “elite” traveler. With early check-in, upgrades, and early boarding being a “Platinum” flyer gives you a taste of civility on today’s airlines.  The secret is to pick ONE airline and stick with them, sometimes this requires forgoing that convenient nonstop flight from the “other” airline to fly through a hub like Dallas, Denver or Atlanta. But, by building-up your milage and loyalty on a single airline you will achieve Gold, Platinum and Executive status quicker.

In-time, with American Airlines Advantage program you can also earn PERMANENT life-time status by reaching one million or more actual flight miles… Once you have secured your status it may be time to “challenge” another carrier. United Airlines will allow you a one-time matching of status so you can fly United to meet their status level in style. However, United now requires that you qualify in both milages AND dollars spent to reach silver, gold and premier platinum in 2016 so be careful in this endeavor.

TSA “Pre” and Global Entry - The BEST perk in traveling has to be TSA Pre-Check, it is like they have turned-back the travel clock to before 9/11/01 at the security line. With Pre there is no need to remove your shoes, jacket, or computer from your bag. You will rarely be asked to get a full-body imaging scan AND the lines for Pre are always much shorter! You can apply for TSA Pre by visiting filling out the forms, appear in person and pay $85 for processing.

The better deal is to apply for the Global Entry program - with Global Entry US Citizens can speed through US immigration and customs too by using ATM-style kiosks instead of standing in long lines for the next available agent. And, as a Global Entry participant you are automatically enrolled in TSA Pre as well! You can apply for Global Entry by visiting filling out the forms, appear in person with your US passport and pay $100 for processing.

The “right” credit card can add some status perks too. You may ask “why in the world would someone spend $300+ per year to carry a credit card”? Take a look at American Express Platinum as a road warrior you can earn back that fee by using it in the right way… The Platinum Card comes with complimentary airport lounge access to Delta Sky Clubs, and Airspace Lounges and you can enroll in Priority Pass Select program at no additional cost. PLUS you can receive up to $200 a year in statement credits when incidental fees, such as checked bags and in-flight refreshments, are charged by the airline to the Platinum Card Account. Remember that $85 or $100 fee I mentioned for TSA Pre and Global Entry? Amex Platinum will refund that as well! If you use it the American Express Platinum Card is the go-to card for road warriors.

Airline lounges are more than just a “perk” they are a life-line. When a system-wide airport delay begins to stack-up and flights are canceled (think snow storms and hurricanes) the masses will stand in line at a ticket counter to change their flights, but not me, I head right for the Admirals Club for shorter lines, and better trained staff to help me get around the SNAFU with style! Oh and I have the “perk” of free WiFi, drinks and snacks too!

Back to the credit card perks again, with the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard you have Admirals Club membership AND free checked bags even if you are not a Platinum Advantage level yet! Yes, it costs $450 per year, but the Admirals Club membership alone would cost you $400 to $500 anyhow (and with the card you will also earn milage credits too)!

Credit card perks aren’t just for airlines though, you can Upgrade to Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum Membership and get free hotel nights every year just by using the Hyatt credit card:

Two MUST have travel companions for my commute are my Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Canceling headphones ( and an almost unlimited supply of current magazines on my iPad with NextIssue ( The Bose headphones give you an escape pod like quality so you can cocoon in your seat without the din of the cabin and Next Issue gives me all the reading material I could ever want!

Lastly is my connection to my office and home through my T-Mobile connected iPhone 6. With T-Mobile I can connect my SMS and Voicemail to the in-flight GoGo WiFi Internet for FREE! That means if my office or family needs to txt me in the air I am always connected! Oh, and as a frequent international traveler T-Mobile is hands-down the BEST GSM travel phone you could ever ask for… With T-Mobile I get FREE international SMS, 3G Data for email and web, and my GSM calls back to the USA cost me only 20 cents per minute! See for details!

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How To Ruin Your Event - Guest blogger, David Deeble

How To Ruin Your Event -

There’s lots of ways to ruin an event. Let’s talk about ruining the entertainment portion, especially if you have gone with comedy.

With any type of live entertainment there is a relationship between the audience and the performer. And nowhere is this more pronounced than with comedy entertainment which, when performed at the highest level, is much more like a dialogue than a monologue. The audience might be able to chat amongst themselves and still enjoy a rock band, but not so with, say stand-up: to be successful the craft requires an audience that is totally engaged.

A professional, experienced and talented comedian knows when an audience isn’t with her and will prattle, prod and engage an audience until she knows they are focused and only then will he get to the heart of her act and the business of making them laugh.

But how, you may ask, can I make a comedy entertainer’s job as difficult as possible?

Let’s say you’re a professional event planner or someone who is otherwise responsible for planning an event for your company. You’ve done your homework and found an comedian who is accomplished, a pleasure to work with and perfectly suits your needs. Now the question is, what can you do to thwart this his remarkable talents and years of experience and make everyone in attendance uncomfortable at the same time?

Here are a few simple things you can do to ensure that the delicate, essential bond between an audience and a comedian is tenuous at best or, better yet, never established in the first place.

Schedule The Entertainer Immediately After A Break

The room is pumped. The most-popular, hardest-working guy or gal in the company has just received his well-deserved award from the CEO and the energy in the room is at its peak. Whatever you do, don’t harness the audience’s energy by immediately introducing to the stage the entertainer you’ve budgeted a sizable sum to procure. Instead, have the CEO, emcee or whoever has the floor to announce a break “of about 15 minutes”. That should be enough time for the room to deflate, the energy vanish and allow the stragglers to head back into the room and settle into their seats while chatting with their fellow fellow employees about golf plans for the following weekend.

Seat The Audience At Round Banquet Tables

For the love of God, you’re not going to ensure that all the seats in the audience are facing the stage, are you? No, no, no. When an entertainer walks on stage you want roughly half the audience facing the back of the room. That way more people will be able to tell when the line for the open bar is down to only a few people. You might also consider leaving the doors in the back of the room open, allowing those seated with their backs to the stage to “people watch” the smokers, stragglers and maybe even catch a glimpse of that woman from the coat check with the ineffable aura about her. Ideally, you want these people who face the back of the room to be completely unaware of what is going on on the stage. Think muzak.

Serve Food During The Show

When a world-class comedy entertainer and a mediocre salad go head to head, the salad wins every time. Anything requiring utensils is best – after all, people are capable of enjoying a comedian with finger food like popcorn just as they are capable of enjoying a movie. Of course, it never hurts to have hard-working servers bustling from table to table pouring water, grinding pepper and sending that steak back to the kitchen until it’s done right.

Arrange For A Large, Empty Space Between The Stage And The Front Row

Nothing is more conducive to an attentive, engaged audience like seating them as close to the stage as possible. There’s an intimacy to this seating arrangement that mimics the openness and rapport of an private conversation. This is why you want a large empty space surrounding the stage. Many venues place a small stage against the wall of a large banquet hall and surround it with a large, empty dance floor: this is the ideal way to ensure your money and reputation go to waste. Nothing sends the the audience the signal “You have nothing to do with this performance” quite like seating everyone no less than a metric mile of the edge of the stage. This way audience members can chat with each other throughout the show while feeling – wrongly – that it has no impact on the overall performance.

The above are just a few basic, feng-shui examples of how to ruin the entertainment portion of your event. The truth is, there are almost as many ways to ruin it as there are second-rate entertainers to ruin it for you.

(This story was originally published on David Deeble's own blog at: 
Special thanks to David for the permission to repost these tips)

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Is that REALLY the tradeshow housing bureau calling?

They called me again… I guess it is because I work a tradeshow just about every week of the year. But, each time I seem to receive the same misleading call on my toll-free number. It goes something like this:

“Hello, this is the housing bureau calling about your hotel reservations at the *xyz show. I see that you haven’t made any arrangements with us yet, and I want to ensure that you have the rooms you need for your booth staff.” (*xyz - replace with your next tradeshow name here).

All of the above statements are “true” I guess, but at the same time all of the statements above are dishonest, misleading and designed half-truths… Being a magician I can pick up on these techniques very easily (Example: Do you really think you ever freely select a “random” card from a magician? No.)

First is misrepresentation, maybe the name of the company that is calling really is named or DBA (doing business as) “The Housing Bureau” or something like the “Show Lodging Bureau”, but these companies ARE NOT associated with the tradeshow that they reference… In fact, these companies are no more connected to the actual tradeshow they mention than say Travelocity or Expedia is attached to the show. These are THIRD PARTY travel agents, hotel booking agencies, and boiler-room calling operations.These companies are NOT with the tradeshow they reference. They got your phone number from a third party purchased show list. And THAT is the problem.

NEVER start a business transaction that begins through dishonesty. Think about it, if the transaction STARTS with dishonesty and misrepresentation, there is a good chance that this dishonesty will continue throughout the business transaction to follow… Think credit card fraud, fly by night, etc.

When you book a hotel room, other people profit… If you book the Hilton via Expedia, BOTH Hilton and Expedia are making money off the transaction. You see, the actual lodging options directly affiliated with the show you are attending help the show itself profit (just like Expedia). But often the profit the tradeshow gets is leveraged in discounted their meeting facilities and services for the show itself. If you don’t book your room through the approved show site, the tradeshow itself will not get credit for the room booking… And, if the show can’t profit from the hotel room bookings the cost of running the convention will go up… The cost of your floor space, the meeting rooms, and related services will go up for the show NEXT YEAR and these costs will be reflected in your exhibiting and attendance fees in the future…

Often the official rates for these hotel rooms from the show site have been negotiated to compete with Expedia and Travelocity in the first place, so often the deals are virtually the same. 

Of course, there are times when the room blocks are booked to capacity via the official show site, but then use your own search engines to find the deals on your terms. In this situation I can highly recommend visiting to compare rates and availability. 
But always START with the official show lodging and then look on-line for yourself. Do NOT give these boiler-room scam artists that are calling you your business, and certainly don’t give them your credit card info. If the hotel room you booked via their boiler-room turns out to be over-sold you need to know you are dealing with a reputable business that will be there tomorrow when you call to complain…

And lastly, I hate robo calls and boiler-room cold calls! I never met the boiler-room hotel booking people in the first place, and I never initiated a relationship with them, so if I do business with them I am just encouraging more of these telemarketing calls in the future… 

When I get a call from these boiler-room “housing bureaus” I always ask if they are the official show lodging agent and how they got my number. Often they will fess-up and let you know that they are not. I ask to be removed from the call-out list and I hang up. Legally they can not call you again (See 

So, the next time you get a call from the The Housing Bureau” or “The Show Lodging Bureau” beware, the transaction consequences are probably not in your favor….

Read more about tradeshow magicians at

Slight of Hand TV commercials - Scott Tokar

A few years back Corporate-Fx founder, Scott Tokar appeared in several slight-of-hand magic TV commercials for Freeway Insurance in the Los Angeles market place.

While sifting through some DVDs we found all five commercials and posted them to YouTube.

It is wonderful to see these award-wining slights in action! See magic works wonders in any commercial, tradeshow or convention!

All commercials were produced by Morningstar Entertainment, Inc.  and the Voice over talent is by Robert Gunton.

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DuPont “magically” draws the 55,000 attendees to their tradeshow exhibit in Louisville.

Corporate-Fx has just released a new trade show magic performance video shot at the 2014 FFA convention in the DuPont exhibit.


Sometimes it is best to simply hear what the Corporate-Fx clients have to say about our tradeshow magic themselves in their own words:

“It’s really about putting the brand in-front of them, having an experience that they will remember so when they go home they will talk about the magician that they saw at the DuPont booth, and for us that is a successful show.


“I’d say it’s a great investment, it’s probably the most effective method we have used at a tradeshow to deliver our message, engage the people we want to engage in a really proactive, fun way. They leave here smiling and they have had a good experience in our booth, and that is really what is is all about.”

- Kristin Irvine, DuPont Global Branding and Communications.

55,000 Louisville convention attendees, most under 18 years old, but is magic relevant?

The 87th annual National FFA (Future Farmers of America) convention in Louisville can be a tough room to play… Think about it, today’s youth are more sophisticated, opinionated, and connected then ever before. Advertisers on Madison Avenue are constantly honing their message to the latest trends, styles, and tastes of this coveted demographic. As always it is America’s youth that sets trends…

trade show magic for DuPont at the FFA convention by Scott Tokar
PHOTO - DuPont Magic at the FFA convention in Louisville, KY

So, the question then is: Is magic “cool” enough for your 30-something tech execs at a computer tradeshow? Without a doubt, YES! Just take a look at magic and magicians in today’s pop culture: 2014 America’s Got Talent 1st place winner is a magician, and last year a magician was in the top 5, there are numerous magic TV shows currently on the air such as  the Carbanaro Effect on truTV, Wizard Wars on Syfy, Worlds Greatest Magic in syndication plus all of the reruns staring Chris Angel that play just about every week. And, the Hit Broadway show “The Illusionists” is receiving rave reviews weekly in the NY Times. Magic is still “hip” and “relevant” even though the art is thousands of years old.

tradeshow magic is timeless.
PHOTO - Hieronymus Bosch: The Conjurer, 1475-1480.

Why? Because EVERYBODY loves magic. Magic is timeless, it transcends languages and cultural barriers. It can be enjoyed by a small child and the most respected scholars.

Now what about trade shows?

Corporate-Fx custom tailors not just the story and sales message, but the style of the magic performance to seamlessly fit-in with YOUR target audience as well. This is why you can find medical doctors at the PriMed convention AND high school students at the FFA both enjoying tradeshow magic.

In the end, here is what DuPont had to say about tradeshow magic at the FFA; “It’s really about putting the brand in-front of them, having an experience that they will remember so when they go home they will talk about the magician that they saw at the DuPont booth, and for us that is a successful show". - Kristin Irvine, DuPont Global Branding and Communications.


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Making kids happy, even at the doctor's office, through Side-Fx.

Corporate-Fx is well known as the leading organization of corporate magicians in the country. But, were you aware that Corporate-Fx has a philanthropic outreach as well? It's called "Side-Fx".

The Side-Fx outreach is bringing happiness, magic and wonder to medical doctors, nurses, and healthcare providers...

Just about every parent has had the dreaded experience of dealing with a child’s apprehension and anxiety during a visit to the doctor, dentist, or hospital facility and the purpose of Side-Fx is to provide health-care professionals with tools and techniques specifically designed to divert a child’s mind from the many fears associated with a visit to the doctor.

By creating a surprise-filled, magical atmosphere patients habitual nervousness and concern are overcome by wonder, amazement, and magic!

Scott Tokar is MORE than a tradeshow magician, he is a teacher as well. Scott Tokar's Side-Fx is available from

And, thanks to the generous corporate sponsorships over the past few years from companies like Abbott Labs, Sanofi-Aventis‎, and Drexel University On-Line, Scott Tokar has been able to personally visit Children's hospitals, clinics, and medical conventions around the United States to teach his unique form of "bedside manner" and distribute nearly 30,000 copies of our text book: "Side-Fx, Clinically Relevant Tricks and Effects for the Healthcare Provider" (ISBN: 0974936502)

Scott Tokar's Side-Fx at Children's National Medical Center in Washington D.C.

This Fall, Scott Tokar had the privilege and the honor to visit several Children's Hospitals around the country, but the highlight had to be teaching at the Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Hopefully the opportunities will continue to grow in 2015, if you know of, or ARE a Children's Hospital that would like a personal visit from Scott Tokar to teach his Side-Fx seminar, please contact Scott Tokar at:, or visit for more details! 

Scott Tokar's "personal" project website.

Many of the Corporate-Fx tradeshow customers are familiar with our founder, Scott Tokar and his multi-award winning magic. But, did you know that Scott is also an accomplished photographer as well?

Scott Tokar, Corporate magician
Scott Tokar, Magician & Photographer

Scott Tokar, Photography - Portraits        Scott Tokar Photography, Weddings

ScoTTTokar Photography, Landscape        Commercial Photography by Scott Tokar

Many of Scott's fellow Magic Castle friends have graced his studio for their professional promotional photos and commercial advertising images. Plus, Scott's landscape a portrait work has been seen in magazines and book covers around the world!

You can see his hand work at his new "personal" projects website:


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