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Interview with Tom Coverly

Tom Coverly, also known as “The Illusionist”, is a professional comedian and motivational entertainer. He has performed for millions around the world and is a sought-after speaker for schools for his anti-bullying talks but has also had great success in the corporate world.

How did you begin your speaking career?
Over a decade ago, I asked a friend to think of an out of the box idea that I could do to reach people on a broad scale. He came up with the idea of mixing my public speaking with my hobby of making people laugh and entertaining with magic tricks. I told him it was a crazy idea and I came up with a million excuses to why it would not work. He encouraged me to create a website and to start with my connections of a handful of friends around the country. To give credit where credit is due, I strongly believe God open up the doors for me to speak/perform in 38 states the very first year. Ten years later, I have spoken to nearly 3 million people.


What do you feel is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
The biggest challenge is on the performance side of what I do. I have performed on gym floors to America’s biggest stages. I have learned to be flexible and that though there are certain expectations I have to create a professional show or event, that I am there to ultimately serve the client. I have learned early on to be a servant from the moment I walk into the door, to the time I leave.


What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?
One of the goals I have is to write a book on the biography of my life.


Who and what inspires you the most?
On the magician side of things, a magician by the name of Michael Finney. On the speaker side, a man by the name of Bob Lenz inspires me. These two men have taught me so much by their lives on and off stage.


How are your keynotes unique?
Most people are visual learners and love to laugh. My comedy and magic is a huge part of my presentations. I have learned from the moment you walk on stage, people have you evaluated within the first 10 second whether or not they will listen to you. Starting off my show with audience participation, laughter and a magic trick or two that entertains has certainly set me a part from thousands of other speakers. Most importantly, I speak from the heart and choose to be raw, real & transparent and have noticed that people love authenticity.


Do you have a favorite experience from your speaking career?
My favorite performance experience would be Warner Brothers hiring me to entertain the entire cast of the Batman vs Superman Movie. My favorite speaking experience would have to be one that was in the midst of a communities heartache and pain. It is not my favorite because of their pain, but because of the results of the hope that I had the privilege to share with this hurting community. This small town experience 6 suicides in less than 6 months, including a father who shot himself with the same gun his teenage son shot himself with just two weeks prior. I will never forget this older couple who hugged and sobbed on my arm after my presentation and after composing themselves, began to thank me for coming to share a message of hope and sharing my comedy and illusion show and allowing their community to heal through laugher. This couple was the mother and father that lost their son and grandson within two weeks of each other. A memory of thankfulness, I will never forget.

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