This is one technique that will increase 50% the quality of your performance.
I wouldn’t call this technique a secret because it is not. Good performers and the really outstanding ones have been using this technique by instinct. It’s all there in plain sight and available for free for everyone to use.
Not everyone, though, uses it. Beginning magicians in the Philippines may not know it even exists. More advance performers aspiring to improve their acts may suspect its presence, but they don’t have the perceptiveness to recognize it.
Unless one blabber-mouth like me serves it in a golden platter, years must first pass before an average magician in the Philippines will discover it, learn it and reap its benefits.
I know this for a fact. It took me years before I got wind of this technique. Several more years passed before I was able to get it down pat. And quite some more time elapsed before I adopted it with the same enthusiasm of missionaries preaching the Gospel.
Most magicians in the Philippines probably had gone through the same learning experience as I had. It’s a pity really that magic performers have first to go the roundabout route before he stumbles upon it, learns it, and adds it to his performing arsenal.
A pity because the technique is easy to learn. It’s even easier to apply. Yet the rewards that awaits its fervent practitioner are plenty.
Laughter, applause and ovation are just few of the handsome returns of its application. Once in a while I ran into spectators who bowed their heads before me, people who threw their hands in the air in salutation, and the gullible who asked me to start a religion. If I were born in 200 BC with this technique and a thumb tip, I’m sure my name would have been written in hieroglyphics on some cave walls, a legend from ancient times.
What is this technique?
Eye contact. The art of looking spectators in the eye. The powerful tactic of holding their gaze while talking and performing.
People want to have a personal involvement in your performance. The easiest way to involve them is to look at them. Make contact with them by locking your gaze with theirs. Hold their interest with the expressions of your eyes.
Yes, your eyes talk. They speak volumes about you, your personality and your thoughts through a language that is beyond your mouth’s ability to utter. Use your eyes to communicate with your spectators and audience, and your performance will enjoy a marked increase in quality.
Your eyes not only offer an extra bridge of communication with the audience, they also help accomplish the following:
- Build audience rapport faster than glib talk and sparkling patter.
- Help direct attention to the focal point of the performance. Do you want people to watch closely before you execute the snap change? Pause and look at the card. Since according to psychologists people follow the performer’s eyes, your spectators will look at the card and see the magic rather than miss it by way of a brief lapse of attention.
- Bring their attention away from the dirty work. Others call it misdirection. Whatever it is called, the proper control of the direction of the performer’s gaze helps ensure the successful execution of a sleight-of-hand or a secret move.
Ah, you guessed it. Looking at people’s eyes during a performance is easier said than done.
Many things occupy a magician’s mind while entertaining people. He has a patter to deliver, a sleight to secretly execute, angle to cover, flow of action to remember, and a dozen other concerns. Remembering to look people in the eye when one is not used to doing it simply cannot be done by just reading about it.
So next time you practice a routine, include in your practice the deliberate looking at spectators’ eyes. According to his own account, Michael Ammar learned eye contact by cutting out the eyes of pictures of beautiful models from magazines and pasting them on the walls.
I acquired the technique by practicing my routine before Teddy Bears. I practiced false shuffles, double lifts, false cuts, and whole routines while looking into the Teddy Bears’ eyes. Since my children have dozens of Teddy Bears in the house, using them is one of the most cost effective but efficient ways to hone my eye-contact skills.