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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Street Magic » » Approaching People with a hinderance (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Magnum
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Washington D.C.
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I know that this subject has been brought up before, but I have an additional challenge with approaching people. For some reason, people aren't too keen on a black guy walking up on them saying "can I show you something?" In restaurants, I don't have a problem. But I want to walk the streets and do stuff and I need to figure out an approach that wont scare people.
unilogo
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Las Vegas , NV
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I am a mexican guy whos looks have been compared to that of criss angel.
Surely it doesn't get any harder than that to approach someone.(In a "scary" type of way)

What you need my friend is a better line. I have realized that if you dress nice and talk in a very sophisticated way people will definetly listen to you. It is simple psychology. We build our own thoughts on a person in the first couple seconds we see them, if we look somewhat like someone that may cause trouble they will not want anything to do with you. It's sad prejudice really but we can't help it.

"Can I show you something."No offence , but many people have been approached by a minority race like your's or mine offering to sell some illegal thing.It is TRUE. Thing is we all know however not all people are like that, including the audience so you MUST portray yourself as a GOOD and APPROACHABLE person.

Are you willing to "sell out" I kinda do. I have a Black long sleeve expensive shirt,some jeans and some casual shoes. Still making me look like who I am but really showing myself as more than a dead beat person. The more you look "average" the easier it will be to approach someone.

IMAGE. That is the key word. IMAGE is 95 percent of what will make you approachable.

Now about the line.

My personal line doesn't start until I auctually engage in a conversation. The steps I take are as follow.

1. I approach people who a)seem bored b)are wating c)hanging out with some friends d)who plainly don't look like they are in a hurry to go anywhere.
2. I give em a compliment. The way they take it gives me a good idea of who I am dealing with.
3. I ask them if they would like to experience some art.(this usually get's them thinking, what in the world is he talking about.)99.9 percent of the time they say yes.
4. I do my first effect. Usually visual and fast, just for warm up. They will auctually just freeze and ask you to do something else.

Then you can take it from there.

Experiment and try to make a line that fits who you are. Make sure it is not scary either. "Wanna see something" again from a minority does not spell good future.Even take a direct approach,"wanna see some street magic."(usually they think Blaine or Angel and say YEAH).

Just work on the line and dressing. It will work wonders.

Best of luck.

Have a great day and take care.Smile
chrisrkline
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Little Rock
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Keep in mind this is one of the hardest ways to get people to watch magic. Despite hints otherwise on this forum, I suspect that most "street magicians" of this type have a great deal of trouble getting people to watch, especially when they approach people and ask if they want to see something. Race may have little to do with it.

Unilogo says it well. It is no sin to "sell out." But since you mention restaurant work, you probably know that. But even if you are dressed nice, this is still a very hard way to do magic. One advantage a busker has is that they are setting up a clear show. People can stop to watch or not; it is their decision. You do not approach people except with your voice so that potential spectators feel less pressure. You could compromise and set up a show, maybe with a tip jar or a small fold up table, and do a small show. It could be effects you would normally do in strolling magic, but it would be more clearly a show. That might seem less threatening and more professional to people walking by.

It is a matter of psychology. When you have a set show, even outside, people will feel that they can walk in the door, so to speak, to watch the show, or they can pass on by--they are in control. When you approach people, it can feel that you are forcing them to walk inside, which is more threatening.
Chris
JoeJoe
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Don't fall for the race card trap - Blaine is half black, Chris Angel looks really scarey. I'm white and it's hard for me to approach people also, because I am a "stranger". That is the key word - people are taught from childhood don't talk to strangers. What Blaine and Angel both have in common ... they are nice. Be nice. Be polite.

As for "can I show you something?" ... I can see that line not working, people almost always want to say "no" to any question a stranger asks them. You need to trap them: "excuse me, you don't mind if I show you something do you?". They'll say no, "I didn't think you'd mind, this is really kewl - check this out". Wow them within five seconds.

JoeJoe
Watch the Pilot Episode of my new TV Show:As Seen on TV: The JoeJoe Magic Show
Learn JoeJoe's secrets at Magic Joint dot com
chrisrkline
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Little Rock
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Um, Blaine and Angel may be nice, but they also have a camera crew with them.
Chris
JoeJoe
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So what? Do you not see the way Chris approaches people? I notice the way he walks past them, reading them, scoping them out ... looking for just the right one - "hi, I'm Chris, whats your name?". If you don't see the professionalism in him you need to rewatch ... he didn't learn how to do all that just for the camera, he's been doing it since he was a kid. I wish I had his charm, he makes it look easy.

Has it really gotten to the point where even approaching someone has become a camera trick???

JoeJoe
Watch the Pilot Episode of my new TV Show:As Seen on TV: The JoeJoe Magic Show
Learn JoeJoe's secrets at Magic Joint dot com
Magnum
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Washington D.C.
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Trust me when I tell you, a black guy walking around alone in Charleston,SC...regardless of how nice I am dressed (and I make a point to dress nice to water down any intimidation factor) is a scary thing to have approach you for seemingly no reason. Please don't fool yourself into thinking race isn't a factor, because I assure you it is.
DanielTyler
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I think, when we have trouble with a skill, we come up with secret excuses for not making it happen. Too old, too young, black, white, whatever... you convince yourself that whatever this reason is, is going to prevent you from success with the skill. It's called creative avoidance.

And of course, the more you affirm this secret excuse, the more you're going to let it build up in your mind as a barricade. Race, age, gender, etc. sure, they may play a part in your first impression. But people make about thirty different opinions about someone in the first thirty seconds of meeting them. based on over fifty subtle Impression Factors.

Your "secret excuse" may be an Impression Factor, but don't you fool YOURSELF into thinking it's everything. This particular area of knowledge has been a focus for me over the past year or so, I've written a book on it, and I've worked directly with lots of magicians who have convinced themselves that "I can't approach because X."

My advice to you, don't think, don't analyze, just DO. Go out and get twenty approaches under your belt in the next week. This is a game of practice. And whether your black, white, old, young, male, or female - all it takes to be successful approaching strangers in public is the right mindset, the right skills, all rolled into practice.

Trust me. Just do it.
- Daniel Tyler

www.tylermagic.com
chrisrkline
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Little Rock
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Joe, don't get me wrong, you can learn good people skills watching those two performers on TV. My point is though that there are many young people basing their decisions on how to perform street magic by watching two magicians who have probably never done street magic, without cameras much in their lives. You can learn to be nice by watching most good magicians. We are talking here about street skills that may not translate from these TV specials to the real world.

Magnum, you are right, and I did not mean to underplay that factor. I now live in the south and there are many who would walk the other way if they saw you. That is sad and a great wrong. But for what it is worth, many people have trouble with street magic no matter what their color. But you do have it harder.
Chris
Magnum
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I respect your opinion Mr. Tyler, however I have to disagree. I have no issue with approaching people, and I never stated that. I have found that people are initially afraid to talk to me when I do. I don't speak in a forceful way, and I don't dress like I would hold any ill-intent toward them. You can call it a "secret excuse" if you like, but until you offer to do a magic trick for people and have them clutch their purse, your expertise will be flawed to me.
DaveB
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One of my first jobs was selling electronics at a major chain here in Toronto. For those in the US, it was a large store that was something like Circuit City or Best Buy, just so you know what I'm talking about. Anyways we had 30-35 salesmen working the floor on commision, so needless to say it was dog eat dog. We would be under pressure to talk to a customer.. before another salesman could.. and first impressions and what you say were key to whether or not you sold to them.

One thing I learned very quick was never to greet a person with "Can I help you?" or something simular. If you give a stranger a choice between answering yes or no, they will most likely choose no.. especially if they are a little nervous. Instead of "Can I show you something?" I would try something that would not draw a yes or no answer. For example: "Hello, if you had a choice what would you rather see.. a card trick or coin trick?" Of course this is just an example and you would use your own words, but as you can see this question is not seeking a yes or no answer, but instead asking what trick they would like to see.

Anyways, back to my story about the store I worked at and to make a long story short. Out of over 30+ salesmen, who was the best? The white guy? The chinese, indian or italian guys? Nope.

The top guy used to sell twice as much as the next closest guy in sales. His name was Phillip and he was a black guy from Grenada. He had a very thick accent, and was a big man that sort of looked like a younger BB King. Why was he the best salesman? Was he a fast talker? No. Did he know the product very well? No. Did he wear expensive clothes? No. Was he pushy, or scare people into buying from him? Again no.

He did very well because of his personality and the customers liked him. That's it. He had what we used to call a "Club Monoco" smile, and the way he would greet customers and speak to them was what made him by far the top salesman. People trusted him, and once you have that trust everything else is easy.

Just thought I would share this with you. Keep at it and don't give up.
JoeJoe
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I live about 100 miles from Charleston SC, when my father spent 3 months in the hospital I pretty much lived there and have nothing but fond memories. Charleston has a lot of nice people living there, white and black alike.

I am all too familar with what it's like here in South Carolina ... but I still don't think the problem is race. You need to learn the people skills required to be good at talking to strangers, when someone approaches you on the street your first thought is "they want something". You might think they want to pitch you a timeshare or ask you to take a survey ... you might think they want to hit you up for spare change (white people do that too) ... you might think he wants you to jump start his car, for which you have no time for ... people are always leary of strangers, they have been programmed to be since they were children - "don't talk to strangers", that's is one of the first things children are taught.

Dave is talking about what is known as the "either or" clause in sales terms, you never ask a yes or no question. If you ask a yes or no question, the answer is always no. A good book on sales techniques would benefit many magicians.

As for Blaine and Chris Angel, both of them were street magicians without cameras before they were street magicians with cameras. I've been filming my pitches at Barefoot Landing this summer, and can honestly say the camera doesn't make a whole bunch of beans of a difference. Some people are attracted to it, while others arn't. In fact, in one of Blaine's specials he disgusied himself and still had problems pulling people in - a camera is not an instant audience. Blaine left in clips of people walking away from him, even with the cameras - no magicians gets 100% of the people to stop and watch.

You can actually learn a lot from watching them ... for example, it's rare that they ever start off by asking someone if they want to see a trick. Blaine will just say "hey, come here - look at this" ... Chris will walk up and say "hi, I'm Chris - what's your name?". These are not camera tricks, these are techniques they spent years learning.

JoeJoe
Watch the Pilot Episode of my new TV Show:As Seen on TV: The JoeJoe Magic Show
Learn JoeJoe's secrets at Magic Joint dot com
JoeJoe
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Magnum,

Wanted to invite you to see a video clip of me drawing an edge ... I'm using a sword that I made, in one scene you see a guy walk past me - I wish the camera caught his face, he looked like he was going to spit in my eye. But I didn't let him stop me, I kept going till I had my crowd.

I'm not trying to say racism doesn't exist, I'm saying you can't let it hold you back - do your thing. Not everyone is Charleston is a racist - I'm sure the vast majority of people on the street are no more afraid of you than they would be me in the same setting. After all, I am a "stranger" also - and we all know we are not supposed to talk to strangers.



Your on the right track, looking for a new technique. What works in a restaurant doesn't work on the street. People are sitting down, they are waiting on their food, they are bored. You could offer to recite the Gettysburg Address and get "yes".

The street is different, everyone looks at you as a "stranger" (there's that word again, it's an important word). Notice how I introduced myself to the one guy? Now I'm not a "stranger"! Incidentally, he turned into a crowd also (the video is deceptive in that it looks like I spend the whole night trying to get a crowd, when I really had several crowds that night).

So just do your thing ... don't ask them, they might say no - I'm doing something before they even come along in this video. It's only after I've alreaady shown then something that I ask them if they want to see a magic trick, I am pre-qualifying my edge. If they didn't like what they've already seen, then they won't make a good edge and I'd rather let them walk anyway.

http://www.joejoeonline.com/blog/media/J......Body.wmv

JoeJoe
Watch the Pilot Episode of my new TV Show:As Seen on TV: The JoeJoe Magic Show
Learn JoeJoe's secrets at Magic Joint dot com
steve j
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Long Island, New York
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I'm not sure if this helps, but I perform in restaurants and in that situation and I am sure in many others "can I show you something" causes a lot of thoughts to cross ones mind, many of which are irrelevent to what you intended. I usually perform for people whom I have something in common with and strike up a conversation and drop the fact that I'm a magician, after this I almost always get "well do you have something to show"...after a little of this people will see you performing and become more keen to see what you can do. This is just something that I have learned and I hope that it can help you.
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