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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » How to approach people at a bar or restaurant (19 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Memory-Jah
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Mülheim an der Ruhr / Germany
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Hi folks. Can you give some advice on how you approach the guests? Do you simply introduce yourself and ask if they are interested in seeing some magic? Or do Ou tell them that you are working here so they don't feel surprised by an apparent stranger? Whats your way here as the first impressision is key.


Markus
"Dropping your pants while you set off flash paper may allow your pass to go undetected, but it's still not invisible." - Count Elmsley
kumpletoo
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101 Posts

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One way is to have a name tag that states your name and magician as a title. I personally wear one. It really helps.

This way it tells your potential spectators that you are a magician when they see and read your name tag.

Also, here's a really good youtube video on the topic, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zz0pUZ8Q-Y.

Good Luck!
LeoH
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Jamie D. Grant has a wonderful book titled "The Approach" that addresses this same issue.
Gerald Deutsch
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“Did you ever see a quarter like this?” I ask as I show a group of people talking a quarter held by its edges between my left thumb and first finger.

“Look how weird—” –and the quarter becomes two, then three and then four.

If they want more I will do a “Coins Across” in a woman’s hand and then if they want more I will do one card trick.

And then I stop.
Greg_Magic
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When I worked as a restaurant magician I would wait until a table had ordered their food and are waiting on it to prepared. That is when they need to be entertained. For my approach I would just introduce myself, "Hi my name is Greg. I'm the entertainment for the evening. Let me show you something really cool." Then I would go right into my sponge ball routine for my opener. You don't really give them a chance to say no. But if after my sponge ball opener if I didn't get a good reaction then I would thank them and move on. I hope this helps. Good luck!
Dannydoyle
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Eternal Order
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Why not give them a chance to say no?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Yellowcustard
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New Zealand
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Jamie D. Grant book is a great option and strongly recommend it.

But I will give a rel life example that works for me. I walk up to a table with open friendly body magic. As the table notice me approach 'i say hello my name is Al, I met the owner of this place a few weeks ago and show him something, and he invited me here to show you' At this point I pass out the purse frame I use for my sponge ball or coin routine. As I ask them what it is and pass it around I work on pulling the table together, nothing to heavy but just giving people a chance to relies something going on.

It first bit and the first routine that I gauge how its going to go. A muilty phase routine that gives you chances to pause and chat and cut short if need be.

This approach could be done with a USB stick from Flash, ring for ring and rope. I do believe the object need to be familaure in one way buy slightly unusual. If its a coin its good to have a story behide it. The old English pennies I use I have a personal story behide.

This is not perfect and I don't do lots of this type of work but when I do it works for me.
Enjoy your magic,

and let others enjoy it as well!
george1953
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Mallorca (Spain)
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I normally just do something visual and they will say '' what was that'' and you can start, that way they have made the first move.
By failing to prepare, we are preparing to fail.
Greg_Magic
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Dannydoyle - A friend of mine in Nashville taught that to me about not giving them a chance to say no. I didn't really understand what he meant until I was doing it myself. I guess it's more like I don't wait for them to answer the question before I go into my routine. I have been told no thank you plenty of times. In those instances I simply thank them and move to the next table.
Dannydoyle
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Yea I am not at all a fan of this approach. But if it works then cool.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Greg_Magic
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What is your approach like Danny?
Dannydoyle
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I work after the meal by request. Takes away all those issues.

Not every place can be worked this way. But the idea of pushing your way in without asking or giving a choice seems quite rude to me. I would hate it if I was a patron. Also in places I work it would probably end up getting me fired. I don't do family restaurants and kids nights so the approach and theory might be way different.

As I said if it works for you cool.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Greg_Magic
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That may be Danny. I was hired for their kids night at the restaurant that I worked at. If it was more of an upscale restaurant it probably would not have worked as well.
Dannydoyle
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Like I said if it is working no need to change it.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
RobertlewisIR
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Colorado
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There are probably as many approaches as there are magicians.

On the topic of not letting people say no, there's a really good argument to make that they're not qualified to answer, because their perceptions of magicians might be skewed by "Uncle George with his card tricks," and that they have no frame of reference for what we are going to do. I think that argument is absolutely valid. HOWEVER, I also agree with Danny, and for three BIG reasons. First, in my personal philosophy, I find it rude if someone interrupts what I'm doing at the dinner table. If a waiter or manager stops by to see if I have everything I need, no big deal, but if someone comes and starts talking at me, I'm put off. And I don't want to be the guy to do that. Second, even though people may never have seen my magic and might have a wrong idea about it, they need that opportunity to say no, because if I force it when they really don't want it, they won't be receptive to it anyway. And most importantly, I never know why people are dining out. Yeah, I can usually get a sense of whether they're in the mood for fun or not, but if I interrupt a business meeting or make a guy nervous on a date, or otherwise inject myself into a situation in which I'm not welcome, I leave people with a bad experience (which is bad personally) and lose bookings (which is bad professionally).

For me, I see two acceptable approaches. First is to politely approach as a member of the staff and offer them a show, free of charge, and if they say no, thank them and move on. The other is to set things up so that the wait staff sell the magic show and the magician performs only by request. I'm happy with either of those.

And if they do say no, very frequently they'll see someone at the next table have a great time and change their minds. By that time, they're ready for it, and it won't be an uphill battle to get them on board with the magic. And if not, well, that's probably not the table I'd want to work anyway.
~Bob



----------



Last night, I dreamed I ate the world's largest marshmallow. When I woke up, the pillow was gone.
pepka
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Uh, I'm the one on the right.
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It's very important that they know you work there, and are doing your job. That will make it much easier. Either by a lobby board, table tent, mention from the hostess etc. One place I work is very small and I'm there every week, so I'm very visible and everyone knows. My other place is a college bar that I do once a month and my name is on the board when you enter. Other than that, it just helps to be confident, well groomed and well mannered.

"Hello, welcome everyone. My name is Pepka and I'm the entertainment this evening....." That works for me. Please, no more "Did you drop a black knife?" Or setting off flash paper or wallet.
Motley Mage
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Pepka, what about, "Excuse me, did you drop this flaming knife I found in my wallet?"
tctahoe
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Lakeland Fl.
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I like to give them a chance to say yes. I did restaurant magic almost exclusively for years, my approach...

I walk to the table and said, "hello, I am here to entertain you whether you want to be or not." smile, slight pause and "I am the house magician, I will be here all night, if you would like to a little something just give me a wave or ask your server and I will be happy to come on over..."

Nine out of ten times they would ask to see something right there and then.
Michael Baker
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Near a river in the Midwest
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Like many of the veterans in this game, I have used many approaches over the years, settled on one or two, but I am still very aware that the approach depends not only on who you are, but where you are.

Defining yourself is not as easy a task as it might seem. What you believe you are projecting, and what the audience perceives are often two different things. I like to hang onto the hope that with age comes wisdom, in spite of the fact that youthful exuberance fades at the same time. Smile As such, the approach one might use while in his early twenties would hardly be appropriate when one is say, not.

Where one is, does not only apply to the type of venue, or the caliber of clientele, but also to your own position in that place. In many cases, the magician might be an unexpected (although hopefully pleasant) surprise. In other places he may be well-established. The notion that a place has a magician is already an "in" to a table, even if that table has never seen you before. It doesn't necessarily mean that you are guaranteed acceptance at that table, but your initial contact with that table is less harsh and intrusive by nature.

If you are already well-established at a particular venue, it's not a bad idea to work with them in regard to branding and promoting you. This can range from table tents to lobby posters to wait staff being the liaison, and in fact, your initial approach and point of contact.

If you are a pleasant person, and generally enjoyable to be around, then most tables will be receptive to you, even had you not been doing magic at all...assuming you appear to be working with the venue and not some random person!

Just to get this out of the way... there are many, many reasons why a table may not want you there. These can range anywhere from deep personal discussions, to business dealings, to religious beliefs, to the insecurity that it may cost them more than they know they can or want to spend. (Hopefully, it's not because you come off as a creep!) Accept any of these denials with a smile and move on.

In my opinion, one of the best ways to make that initial contact is having it happen while you are working another table. There are always brief moments when people are reacting, while someone is signing a card, etc. when your eyes can quickly float and catch someone watching you from afar. Sometimes, just a quick smile to those people acknowledges that you see them watching. If they are not going to be receptive to you approaching them, then you will probably get that signal. But, you can also quickly read if curiosity is working on them. If people see other people having a great time, and notice that you seem to be the center of it all, they will usually be cool when you walk toward them later.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Theodore Lawton
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Motley, is it okay if I use your opener?

Some great advice and conversation in this thread.
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