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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Tips on building confidence and being more personable (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Jaxon
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Kalamazoo, Mi.
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Because of my deafness I use to have a hard time meeting people. I could say that magic helped me in that area and in some ways it has. But it also gave me a way to not face the real issue. So it actually did more harm then good.

Let me explain what I mean. When ever I would be around a group of people I didn't know I'd have a hard time getting any kind of conversation going because I was always self conscious about my inability to hear them. So instead of trying I'd just pull out my magic and become the subject of conversation. When I was around people all I could think of is what trick I should show them when I should have just been myself and said hello to them. So magic became my inner cave so to speak. I'd use it to hide the real issues I was facing.

When I finally recognized this about myself I wanted to work on these issue. I wanted to be one of those people who could just talk to anyone who happens to be around them. Not to show them magic trick but to really meet people. When my confidence in myself started to improve outside my magic you can bet it had a huge effect on my magic as well. So I hope these things are helpful to some of you.


Leave the magic at home
OUCH! some of you are thinking to that one. I know it was a hard thing for my to do when it was suggested to me. I couldn't imagine going to a party or anyplace social without bringing my magic with me. But hear me out here.

I'm not suggesting to never bring your magic with you. I'm only saying to go out to a place were people are and don't bring any magic with you. Even if it's just for an hour or two. Go to a park, a bar, a mall, a party or Anyplace that you would see and possibly meet people. When you're there put yourself in a happy mood even if it's a fake one. In fact it probably will feel fake at first but do it anyway. Just walk around with the look on your face that you're in a good mood. A sleight smile on your face (Not a wide mouth smile just make your face look happy). As you walk by people make eye contact. Your goal here is to make a connection with as many people as you can. I'm not talking about a huge connection here. Just a small gesture. For example if someone makes eye contact with you broaden your smile at them. IF they smile back that's a connection. If you nod your head at someone or say hello and they return the gesture then that's another connection. Don't worry if anyone doesn't return the gesture. This isn't a contest. You're just practicing being social and every time you make a connection you'll get better at it and feel more confident about yourself. Believe it or not if you felt like you were acting at first you won't for long.

Now, when ever a situation arises where you have something positive to you can say to someone then say it. If you walk by a person who is wearing a nice suit, has a nice car or anything unusual or interesting enough to comment on. Then go ahead and say it. This is another form of beings social and it'll open many doors to actually meeting people.

You always want to feed positive so you'll receive positive in return. While doing this you accomplishing many things. For one thing you're learning that people aren't so hard to approach if you take away the worry of the magic. You don't worry about if a trick will mess up or if they'll like it. Then you'll realize that when you are performing you should do it the same way. Let them meet you, the person, then show them what you can do.

You're also making positive connections. We're not born with a lack of confidence in ourselves. We learned to loss confidence through experiences. These kinds of exercises teach you how to have confidence.

There's much much more to this of course but I just thought I'd throw those few things out there. They really did make a difference in my life and my magic.

one more thing. If you can actually pick a time to go someplace like a park or mall then that's a great way. But if you can't then just practice it when ever you find yourself in a similar situation. Hold off on the magic. Just meet people. Then pull the magic out later if it comes up. Or when you're at the grocery store or when you're at a stop sign and nob and the person in the next car. Practice the "Making small connections". You don't have to plan it. Just do it when it can be practiced (Which is quite often).

Ron Jaxon
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After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
themagiciansapprentice
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Essex, UK
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Good post.

Why not do the magic in a place where you feel comfortable, with people you can relax with? I did this for eighteen months. It built up my confidence to go into strangers' homes and parties delivering my routines.
Have wand will travel! Performing children's magic in the UK for Winter 2014 and Spring 2015.
Mutt
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Iceland
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Not entirely related, but still in a similar field.

I was introduced to the whole pick-up thing about a year ago by a friend of mine, and have found that the methods some of those guys use to pick up girls actually work wonders when performing for friends and family (I don't feel ready to do any tricks in front of others as of yet xP).

I have also gone to a lot of acting classes, mostly for my own enjoyment and to improve my stage performance (I am, after all, a semi-professional drummer). Those classes are a wonderful way of boosting confidence and I have found that my patter is a lot better - even if I'm not changing the words at all - I just have an easier time getting the audience into it.

What Jaxon is pointing out is very similar to one of the things I had to do as "homework" for an acting class, and I must say that I could not have dreamed of the results I got, as I could feel my confidence growing practically every day.

Good post, and I think a lot of those starting out should really work on stuff like this, as it might be overlooked when practicing all the tricks.
clarissa35f
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Ron I have to say that I agree with you here. It is a real confidence booster. I remember once reading that if you want to perform great magic one of the things is that it is important that the audience like you, so to be likable.

After reading this I started making a point of smiling to everyone that met my eye. Not much, just a smile at first. Then if I noticed that people were walking around lost..( very common in NYC) I started asking if I could help them get where they were going... ( not very common in NYC). While many were untrusting at first ( having heard horror stories about NYC I guess)... most of the people approached would smile back, and open up.. a conversation starts and continues, and a great opportunity just to be yourself.

I also want to echo what you said about magic as a way of avoiding interactions.

When I was younger I was painfully shy. My solution was to start buying Joke books... and relate to people through Humor. And what you said about using that as a way of avoiding interactions resonated with me. Soon they were not interacting with me anyway, and I appeared to be pretty charismatic, and friendly...forget that it was not " ME" they were friends with but the persona I was pretending to be.

Thanks for posting this really is helpful.
“Amateurs practice until they get it right.
Professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.” <Anonymous>
"There is no such thing as magic, there is no other way that could have been done" <Whit Haydn>
Robin Z
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It's interesting, I had the exact opposite as a problem.

I was fine with meeting new people, it was performing magic for people I didn't know well that I had trouble with. I was only able to perform for family or good friends.

But eventually I was able overcome this problem. I began doing little impromptu things, usually with coins or other common items to people I had just met. After some time it became natural and now I feel confident with my ability to perform for strangers.
clarissa35f
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I also went through this. I Just started taking my cards everywhere. I would practice things I could do without thought...Like Erdnase Color Changes or I would practice DL, and bury top card, make it come to the top. etc.. When I noticed someone watching with that amazed look, I would smile, and wait a Bit, then ask if they wanted to see something cool? I would do Twisting the Aces,..then The Last trick of Prof Daly.

Now adding Ron's advice I am finding myself approaching strangers with more confidence and less fear. Soon as my technical skill improves, repertoire increases, and performance improves I hope I'll be ready to perform for pay... just have to remember "Rome wasn't built in a day" and " The Thousand Mile trek, begins with the first step" and goes one step at a time.
“Amateurs practice until they get it right.
Professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.” <Anonymous>
"There is no such thing as magic, there is no other way that could have been done" <Whit Haydn>
MagicAggie
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I had the same problem. The only way to overcome the fear of performing is to do it more. And do it more for the people closet (family, friends) because they'll be the toughest critics!
themagiciansapprentice
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Essex, UK
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I've found that leaving my family/friends and doing tricks for others for a while allowed me to gain in confidence.

Yesterday I worked for a US Family. Today, I repeated my show for a European / Sri Lankan audience including members of my family. The show was the best I have ever done. A close friend had not seen a full show for seven months and was stunned at the improvement. My mentor and his wife were ecstatic. It was their second magic show/ birthday party of the day as parents and they were so happy.

I'm going to repeat the show next Saturday for the Polish National Children's Day.
Have wand will travel! Performing children's magic in the UK for Winter 2014 and Spring 2015.
GlenD
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LosAngeles, Ca
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Excellent post. I sort of started doing this without really thinking all that much about it. Like, sometimes I stop myself and put down all of the little magic props that I was planning to take with me and make a conscious decision to relate more to those I may meet as a person and not a magician.
I can see a counter-point to this also, where some may say that we should always be "on" and that we are magicians everywhere we go etc. I personally do not want to think of myself that way but it is all a matter of individual choice but still worth thinking about from time to time.

GlenD
"A miracle is something that seems impossible but happens anyway" - Griffin

"Any future where you succeed, is one where you tell the truth." - Griffin (Griffin rocks!)
themagiciansapprentice
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Essex, UK
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Yesterday I played in the pool with the kids before setting up my table. They invited me in as Uncle Rob (repeat business) and expected it. This helped to allay nerves a bit and it was 43 degrees Celsius and 70% humidity. Once the costume was on I was again The Magician's Apprentice. Afterwards I got "helped" into the pool.

Obviously, this won't happen everytime but with a small expatriate population here and most are teachers/servicemen I am pretty well known from Church, Embassy, School etc. When Im in the UK,France and USA this obviously won't be the case.

Instead repeating the show, positioning the same props on the table in the same way seem to work towards loosening nerves.
Have wand will travel! Performing children's magic in the UK for Winter 2014 and Spring 2015.
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