Within just a few seconds of meeting magician, the average spectator will have formed a first impression of the magician and decided if they are interested in paying attention. You only get one chance at a first impression. The first impression is very hard to change.
Psychologists at Princeton University showed people video’s of politicians. They found that people were able to predict who would win an election over 70% of the time, just from viewing a microsecond of footage about the politician. Just from one first impression. In just a fraction of a second, people were able to make highly accurate predictions about another person.
As a magician, you can use magic tricks that are good openers to win the attention of your audience. However, spectators will have drawn assumptions about you before you even get them to ‘pick a card’.
Let’s look at some techniques magicians can use.
1. Communicate a magicians purpose.
From the first moment, before you perform any magic tricks, it’s important for your spectators to understand what you magicians can offer through the interaction, and the benefit to them in watching magicians doing magic tricks.
Your opening lines and/or introduction to your magic tricks needs to be perfect, defining you as a magician, competent at the magic tricks you will perform, and a positive event, rather than a threat.
2. Think about what clothes magicians should wear.
- How are you dressed?
- Do you have tattoo’s?
- Are you immaculately presented?
- What make-up, jewelry, watches and shoes are you wearing?
- Does your suit or ‘outfit’ match the style of event?
- Does your suit perfectly fit you?
- Are you well groomed?
We can often be very bad judges of our own appearance. As magicians, we can often spend more time thinking about how are magic tricks look, than how we ourselves come across. It’s a good idea to ask trusted friends what they REALLY think of the clothes you wear when you perform your magic to the public. Men often don’t realise how much their watch can say about them. For women, purses and large earrings or jewellery can also communicate a great deal to your spectators. Make sure that what you are wear when performing your magic tricks, says what you want it to say to your audience.
If you are unsure about this or feel that you need help getting it right, there are personal style consultants that will assess this for a fee. It may be worth investing in this if you intend to market yourself commercially as a professional magician.
3. Think about your body language.
Body language is one of the most important factors magicians can use to create good first impressions. Your posture, how you carry yourself, even the way you position your body when you perform your magic tricks, creates an impression. Careful routine construction and practice can allow you to ‘standardise’ your body language throughout your performance. Just being aware of your body language can be enough to radically improve it. It’s important to at least video yourself performing all your magic tricks, so you can identify and correct any body language that may be unwanted. For the seriously committed, drama class’s or having a few sessions with a theatrical director would be the ideal.
- Think about the position of your feet as you perform your magic tricks
- How you hold your shoulders.
- How you smile
- The way you shake hands
4. Project being interested and interesting.
One of the worst things that a magician can do, when he or she approaches a new group of spectators, it to appear bored or uninterested. Spectators will pick up on this very easily and will mimic the mood the magician presents.
When you are joining a new group of spectators, approach them with a genuine interest in who they are. Showing that you are happy to meet them and are enjoying their company will reflect back to you.