What's your opening line when approaching a group during a strolling magic performance?
Let's face it, while the approach opens the door to an amazing experience for your audience, it can also be quite awkward to invade their current experience to introduce them to a new one.
The trick is to make them curious, not defensive. (It's difficult for one to feel defensiveness and curiosity at the same time.) I often do this with a very simple question: “Excuse me, can I borrow your imagination for a moment?”
It's polite, non-intrusive, inviting, and most importantly, different. (“What does he mean, ‘borrow my imagination?’”)
It's now important to follow up with something that does indeed draw in their imagination. I usually continue with, “I'd like you to imagine that I'm holding an invisible deck of cards” or “I'd like you to imagine that instead of these two rubberbands, I am holding the very handcuffs used by the great Houdini.”
So, that's my tip for today — a simple question that heightens curiosity.