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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Tips for approaching people (11 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Signet
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If you're waiting in line or at a restaurant and want to show a stranger a trick, what do you say? I've done this a few times, but I'M trying to push myself to do it more often. Just looking for input. Thanks.
Hugo73
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Don't say nothing just look at someone do some small flourish and smyle people will watching you !


go to the places where people wait as stations, you will have a large public that does nothing just for you.

do not ask anything tries to make you interesting then people will be open to receive Smile
Signet
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It seems like lately, if I have tricks in my pocket ready to show someone, there's nobody that seems approachable. If I don't bring anything with me, then I see people I would like to do a trick for. Everyone you see is either really busy or just seems to put off that don't bother me vibe. Do you ever feel this way? I think just doing a trick without asking is not my style.
Hugo73
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Does not approach people busy, look for people who chill, these people will be much more open to receiving an illusion.

What I do often is double lift when someone is looking at me than I smile to this person and give him the top card than reveal the original card. this can help to introduce yourself or making yourself interesting by people arround you.

sorry for my poor english hope you understand.

Challenge yourself to make tricks without asking aything or even speaking.
Signet
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That idea about the double lift is a good one. I will try it. I do the coin roll in the hopes that this will get somebody to ask me about it. Sometimes I'm just sitting there rolling my coin and nobody notices. Most of the tricks I do are with coins.
TimeSwitch
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If you're kind of shy, like me, you can try the "crash-therapy" like I did.
I disguised as one of those guys that perform polls in the street, ask people their name and follow with a One Ahead.

Over time you will realise that you don't really need a pretext to approach people.
You can just walk to them and say "hey, this is really boring"... "If I could have a penny come out of nowhere every time I waste my time at a line"... Then make a coin appear. Smile
Hugo73
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Any small impromtu effect will do the job !
danaruns
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I guess I'm old. I don't understand the guerrilla magician or this whole street magic craze. Why? What's the point or the upside? It's not busking, and it's not a career, so is ambushing people for quick magic tricks a kind of hobby? I guess I don't understand the goal or the payoff. Or the appeal. What am I missing? Smile
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
Signet
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Being that I'm just starting out, this is the only chance I get to do magic. I mean, I do tricks for family and friends, but that's limited. In no time at all, they've seen everything I do. I try not to ambush strangers, which is why I usually ask first. For me, magic has nothing to do with money. When I get good enough to do a show, I will do it for free. I would like to entertain and bring joy to people. If you do an effect for a stranger and it goes well, it feels good. I think that's the goal.
55Hudson
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Getting better requires experience with a live audience.

Just be honest:

"Excuse me, I'm an amateur magician and working on something new, would you mind helping me out?"

People like to asked to help. If they say no, then just say, "okay, thanks for your time".

Not everyone enjoys magic or will be interested is seeing your magic. Don't be offended. Just move on to someone else.

Hudson
Jason Simonds
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Smile. Be friendly. Know that you are offering a gift of magic to someone. Have the courage to give your gift. Love your audience and they'll love you back.
Tap Roniart
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@Signet,
I might have a totally different take on this, as I approach people both for a living & for fun, and hopefully if I'm good enough one day, for magic. I'll not go down the path of deciding whether it is right or not, but instead answer your question.

There are basically 2 kinds of people I approach: Busy or Bored. I approach busy people in a commercial/professional way completely differently than bored, and bored are easy (and more like your example), so I'll start there. My wife used to think I "messed" with people, but she eventually saw the methods for what they are.

I essentially want to catch people off-guard. People expect something, and I give them something else. "Whew! Someone just got in line behind me. I feel a LOT better now." When you do, they are open to all kinds of possibilities. For example, if I'm in line, I will always ask the person in front of me, "Can I cut in line? My cat is late for a manicure." They can't process this fast enough, so they say, "OK". I immediately say, "You WOULD?! You are so nice! But I don't need to go in front of you, I was just making sure you were as nice as you looked." They smile, of course, and at that moment they are open to anything, no defenses.

A more subtle way to approach someone, whether in line or not, is to ask them a question. People are immediately defensive of ANY statement, but are really on the spot for a question-especially one that is obviously innocent, like, "Can you help me, please? (looking at cards) I can't figure this out at all...". People love to feel smart by demonstrating they know things-even to a stranger. Their family is probably tired of them dispensing wisdom, but there you are-a dry sponge! You start your routine with, "When I do this, then this, ..." ... "What do you think of that?".

Another way to start a dialogue that is really effective is to hand them something-anything-asking, "Can you please hold this for me?" and just push it toward them. I'm thinking like a card to hold, not a bag of groceries. Work that card into the beginning of the routine.

If I'm line-especially a long one, I'll ask those around me anything off the top, a few include:
-"Is this the complaint line?" (A: "I hope so!")
-"You think there's enough of us to just rush the counter?" (?!?!!)
-"Do you think they (nod toward someone not paying attention) would like this?" (start...)
-"You are my millionth customer! You win, this!" (start...)
-They step into the elevator, you ask, "Your floor?", 'floor XX', "Oh, sorry. This is a 'down' elevator." '???'... "Just kidding! I'll take you to your floor if you tell me what you think of this..." (start...)
-"What would your kids think of this?" (start...) <-- mention kids, and parents won't budge...
-If a woman is middle aged (whatever that is) or older, even if with someone, open with "You're probably too young to remember this..." (start...) <--- expect A, give B!
-"You look like the smartest person here. I'll bet only you would truly appreciate THIS..." (start...)

...if you say things like, "Can I show you a ____?", they will automatically say, "No!". So sometimes you don't go for the 'no', and just start (which @Hugo73 said). Asking permission like this is bound to bring sadness, as we're programmed to say "No!" by default. So why not ask questions that can't have a "No" answer?

There are sales methodologies that say "3 'Yes's to the close", which means that if you ask questions that produce a 'yes', your spectator/victim feels they are more in line with you (psychologically, a member of the herd, ...). It is very powerful. One of my favorite sayings is "People who are right generally agree with me."

"Does this [trinket] make my hips look big?"
"Is this your sister or your mother?"
"Can you stay in line for me? I have to go back to work..."

MESS WITH KIDS! I make all kinds of faces, staring right at them, and when their tugging on their parents' sleeve makes the parent turn around, I'm looking away innocently... Until they turn around! Keep at it, and the kid will start making faces at you. When the parent turns to see who they are making faces at, and I'm always looking at something on my phone, not paying attention... [If in an English speaking country, I'll say to the parent, "Excuse me, but your child is making funny faces at me!" Then make one back and have the parent tell us BOTH to stop!

If you smile, people always smile back. If you see someone without one, give them yours. It is the most disarming thing you can do.

But my go-to to get someone to pay attention is the sure-fire 'confusion' approach (act). Looking down at cards, shaking your head, saying, "I just don't GET it..." They'll always turn around & look...

Why not practice in every impromptu situation you come across until you are ready to use what works best to introduce a routine. What do you have to lose? Your approach, hook, and presentation will be relaxed, and that comes across as non-offensive and engaging.

You might make a friend, or better yet a stranger laugh.

$0.02
Tap Roniart

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Tap Roniart
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Quote:
On Oct 10, 2017, Signet wrote:
I try not to ambush strangers, which is why I usually ask first.


Don't take this the wrong way, but I think you may have had bad experiences with strangers in the past. You seem to think you are approaching strangers as a pain by default. I suggest you act as how you wish to be remembered. Will you be remembered as a quiet person who kept to themselves, or someone who brought a little light to all they met? Magicians have the largest cache of fun, and are just figuring out the best ways to share it!

People are inherently good, but assumed to be the worst. People are guarded in a strange situation, but will give til it hurts to those they see as worthy [or distressed]. But a stranger isn't actually "strange", right? They are "unknown", perhaps, but people have to really get to know me to 'appreciate' how 'strange' I really am. I mean, my 'strangeness' has depth!

So your post makes it sound like you see yourself as a pest, a nuisance, or a bother-all before you've started. As if you are building up for the apology in advance, then dealing with the surprise of acceptance later. I know that sounds weird...

If you came across as others here have suggested, _exuding_ generosity, compassion and genuineness in how you speak, act, and move, people will be open enough to your hook before you even start. Take a look at people sometime... Note which seem "off", and study why you feel that way about them. Would you give them 30 seconds of your life to listen to them? Why? Why not? Be honest with yourself. Take written notes; take pictures to study later if that is your style.

Notice someone you feel is more approachable... As yourself "Why? What is it EXACTLY that makes you feel that way?" Nail it down, really NOTICE things about people-their mannerisms, movement, eyes, body language, dress-the whole kit. Would you give them 30 seconds of your time? Why?

Which of these 2 groups do YOU think you are you in now?
Which of these 2 groups do your honest FRIENDS think you are you in now?
Which of these 2 groups do you WANT to be in?

Keep the good & bad things that you observe in mind when it comes your turn to approach someone. Practice in front of a mirror at first, but very quickly you will find a good style, as the reactions those you approach will become more positive/engaging. Results come fast, as we're social creatures.

Quote:
I think that's the goal.


That is YOUR goal, and not everyone's. People you approach will make assumptions (usually wrong/bad) about your goal (intentions) until you make your honorable intentions clear/obvious-so don't dilly-dally at getting that across! Smile

Make someone laugh, and you change their world for a day. Make someone think, though, and they can change the world forever.

:)
Tap Roniart

# PM me your effects looking for a method!
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Signet
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Thanks for all your advice. You said some things that were right on the mark. I have had bad experiences, not just with strangers, but also with people whom I thought were friends. I am the quiet guy who keeps to himself. I also want to make the world a better place in some small way. I think I can do this with magic. I have to overcome my reservations and just approach people.
Don't get me wrong I have been doing tricks for people I see now and then. I just have to increase the frequency. There's something in me that wants desperately to be a magician. You have seem to have A real understanding of psychology. I will try some of the patter you suggested.
Russo
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One thing to be careful with is once people "KEEP" asking you to "DO A TRICK" - What I've done is, ask them for a coin - do a couple slights , then put their coin in YOUR pocket- they'll ask, Where's my coin? -you then say "I don't do Magic for free", or "I do Magic to support my Family", even if your not a professional- this usually stops them. (80 year old-70 year Pro.)
Tap Roniart
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Quote:
On Oct 13, 2017, Signet wrote:
Thanks for all your advice.
[...]
I will try some of the patter you suggested.


The only magic "trick" nobody here can do is know what will feel right for you. We can throw all kinds of things at you that either worked for us or those we know, but those are really meant to show that there is an infinite amount of solutions to this issue (not a "problem"!). I'd like to think people generously offer their insights so you will think outside what you thought were the only way(s). The fact that you know there are possibilities beyond what you've tried should raise your spirits (oops!), where thinking you have no good options would be depressing (to anyone).

Your only puzzle is how to stop keeping your fantastic personality such a closely guarded secret. And the same approach will not work for all 'audiences'. But nobody can argue that when you find it, you will KNOW it. I mean it will FEEL right through & through, and you will be CERTAIN you hit the mark. After that, just get to know that part of you better!

This brings the conversation/thread nicely to the discussion of where your experimenting will "land" you. Not limited to one for all situations, but you will develop a 'persona', or person you step into during these casual exchanges, practices, and in a more formal setting. I know this because I coach sales & sales support professionals in how to not be shy, break the ice, etc.

Not the only persona these performers had, but Cardini was known as a 'surprised drunk', Fred Kaps as the 'inept magician surprised by his own routines', and there are as many other examples as their are performers. These performers spent hundreds and thousands of hours over the years perfecting their personas so that they would appear natural/believable. But these were personas they loved, that freed them from the constraints of who they were when "off". I'm trying to be a little like Abe Bongers, but I need to combine this with a technical performance that compliments the persona. That is, there are effects that just don't fit that particular persona, and those that do. Putting those together is the fun part for me!

Anyway, if you can step out of your shell, your comfort zone, the person you are at home, you will find this 'other person' has all the qualities you're looking for in yourself, and in doing so will allow you to keep them separate, so you don't become a performer at home, and you can leave the 'real' you off stage! Smile

Just another way to think about it, I guess.

All the best in your inner exploration, and I look forward to the joy you will bring the world as a result of finding the outlet/vehicle/persona you most certainly will come to love. Once you get there you will be surprised at how easy it was!
Tap Roniart

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Signet
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All the replies I got on this subject were greatly appreciated. I like the idea of stepping into VA character while performing magic. Then if you get rejected or bomb really badly, it's the character's fault. This may sound silly, but I think it may make things easier.
DaveGripenwaldt
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This is something Scotty York would do. It was a table-hopping approach but it could work in other situations.

He'd come up and show a color changing knife and say,"Did anyone drop a white pocket knife? No?" (he'd do the color change) "How about a red one...".

The gag worked even if the some spectator tried to be funny and say, "Yeah I dropped it". He'd just do the color changes and say, "Oh, too bad because this one is red".
Tap Roniart
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Quote:
On Oct 18, 2017, DaveGripenwaldt wrote:
This is something Scotty York would do.


Priceless!
Tap Roniart

# PM me your effects looking for a method!
# Please excuse any spelling or grammatical errors-especially ideas that end up being awful-as I am on cell.
# Mods: I only break site rules that the "inner circle" themselves break.
Ba Ba Booey
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If it's at an event where people are taking photos, you could offer to take a photo of them. Then you could offer to show them a trick, and they are more likely to be open to it. I'm talking about walk-around gigs, not ambushing people.
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