Quick Check

• What do you do to make sure everyone can hear you?

• What do you do to make sure the audience hears the people who help you when you perform?

• I low could you enhance your act by making your revelations and predictions larger and easier to see?

Guideline Eight: A Likeable Persona

For a corporate audience to enjoy a performance, watching a mentalism act must be fun... an interesting and memorable experience. Audience members must leave liking the performer as a person.

While this, guideline may not apply to all forms of mentalism, the corporations that hire me to work at their events normally don't want an entertainer who is alool. offensive, or too scary. They want me to be interesting and amazing. And they also wan; mc to be friendly, approachable, and likable.

To be seen as likable, I believe an entertainer must first and foremost enjoy performing mentalism. The entertainer must also be very comfortable with his or her style of performing and the role he or she is playing on stage. The entertainer's level of enjoyment will be visible to the audience... and is often contagions. Fortunately, 1 truly love performing mentalism. And 1 enjoy making people laugh as I perform my act. When the audience sees me having fun. it gives them permission to relax and have fun as well.

A mcntalist must interact with audience members while entertaining and amazing people. This makes mentalism different from many other forms of entertainment. To be likeable, a mcntalist must understand and take advantage of this interaction.

Being see;: as likable depend-; heavily on how ike mental is. treats each audience member who helps during the act. Each person should be treated with courtcsy and respect. Comic put-downs of the people who help me just won't work when I'm doing my corporate act.

Being likable also depends upon the behavior of the people 1 select from the audience to help me. Selecting the wrong person to help can turn an enjoyable demonstration into an uncomfortable battle of wits. Many mentalists learn this lesson the hard way.

I am very careful about the helpers I sclcet to work with me during my act. This is where some of my real psychic or intuitive abilities are put to the test. 1 seek out people who appear;

cooperative, able to follow instructions, and comfortable being briefly in the spotlight.

Mw Uatism frx tn-poratcd

(They should also wear eyeglasses if being asked lo read anything.)

I scan the audience before I walk on stage to identify possible helpers. 1 continue scanning che audience as I make my introductory remarks. I'm not always right. Bui as with using any psychic ability. I've gotten better at selecting people over the years.

Success at selecting audience members begins with first knowing what to look for, and then trusting your intuition

My act involves at least 18 people from the audience, lb keep these helpers as comfortable as possible, I normally allow most of them to remain in their seats as we work together.

However, when performing before groups larger than 150 people, it may be neocssai y Umg inure people on stage so they can be seen and heard by everyone (the Guideline on Maximum Impact). In these situations, I select my helpers be-lore my act starts. As people arnve. I introduce myself lo a few people as their entertainment and ask if they would be comfortable helping me during my act. 1 emphasize, "I'm not a comcdian. And I promise it> not embarrass you. In fact, yon will have more fun helping me than just watching.'" About seventy percent of the people agree to help.

When they agree, I give them an index card with a hatic-written number. I tell them 1 will call them on stage by number, (living people numbers makes ii easier for them lo know exactly when to come up on stage. Giving each person something in writing minimizes the chances thai the number will be forgotten. More importantly, calling people on stage by number minimizes the dead time between demonstrations.

Unless it is something extremely simple, I rarely select a person randomly to help me with a demonstration. Many of my worst moments as a performer can he traced back to situations where 1 didn't carefully select the right person to help inc.

One finai observ ation: I have discovered that the clothes I wear influence what a corporate audience thinks about tnc before I sa\ a word. 1 want to appear normal and approachable (rather than dark and mysterious). 1 deliberately wear a conservative sport coal, a white or blue dress shirt, an attractive necktie, and dress slacks. This outfit works for ninety percent of my corporate events. No black shirts. No tuxedoes. For me. black shirts and tuxedoes communicate the wrong message. They just don't fit me or my style •f performing, iiut again, the." arc no absolutes.

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