Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Performance Tips

I fellow magician was asked to show some magic to the incoming President of the Board of Trustees at his organization. In anticipation for this meeting, he struggled with a few things: he gets nervous and visibly shakes; and he did not know exactly what to show this gentleman at the time of their future meeting.

Man, with all this build up to the big meeting/performance with the Board President, I can see how the nerves can set in. Knowing he gets the shakes, then anticipating this moment where all eyes will be on him can seem scary. The scariest part, in my opinion, is the contrived setting...as in, "I'd like to introduce you both; now show us some magic!"

I suggested a few things that I really think would help. Don't look at this as a "performance." Look at as an introduction and conversation. Ask more about him when you meet. To make things less contrived, have a deck of cards handy on a nearby table...as if it's just laying around. Look for a natural transition in the conversation...and continue conversing. Ask an open question (one that cannot be answered with just a yes or no). This keeps the focus shared, and not all lasers on your hands. Don't look at it as instantly switching into performance mode. Pick up the cards and try to make a reference to something he said earlier. In the end, the "effect" is not about Aces or your hands, it's about HIM. This alone helps alleviate the shakes. Take the opportunity to prepare an effect that utilizes his name in some way, but be sure to present it in an "off the cuff" fashion.

A business mentor of mine once said: "Acknowledge and embrace your butterflies. Just get them to fly in formation."