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I always believe that magic is beautiful to watch, but it is more amazing if the magic happens in the hands of audience members.
Bringing people on the stage can pose several annoying challenges, though. People behave differently, sometimes way off the script and plot of the trick. To handle them so that they don’t ruin the show requires tact and excellent people management skills.
Making people behave according to my planned presentation is not the most annoying thing that can happen in the show. At least not in my experience. Forgetting the names of audience members who participate in my show is the one that bothers me more.
For example, I bring two ladies on stage to tie me up. Both their names start with the same letter, say, “M”. One is called Melinda and the other Melody.
Believe it or not, as soon as they finish telling me their names, I can’t tell who is Melinda and who is Melody.
Over the years, I have used memory techniques to remember people’s name. I’m aware that what bugs me is not really a memory problem. It is the difficulty of matching faces with the names.
Fortunately, forced by needs, I have come up with three simple ways to remember people’s names and matching faces to the names. Most memory systems teach these steps before they train students on mnemonics. These simple techniques address most memory requirements of live shows without any more going into the more advanced strategies.
Help yourself to these techniques…
- First, ask the person’s name. It might have not occurred to you that the reason you don’t remember a person’s name is that, in the heat of the performance, you FORGOT to ask his name.
- Second, listen to the person’s name when he/she tells it to you. If you’re too preoccupied with shading your thumb tip or defending your angle (or stealing glances at her cleavage), you may not hear her tell you she’s Megan Fox. In which case, there’s nothing really to recall when it’s time to call her by her name.
- Third, repeat the person’s name several times during your performance. Say, “Okay, Gewürztraminer, take a card and remember it. Now, ladies and gentlemen, notice that while Gewürztraminer is looking at the card, I’m turning my head away so I can’t see Gewürztraminer’s card. Are you done, Gewürztraminer? Okay, put the card back in the deck and shuffle the deck. Folks, let’s give Gewürztraminer a big round of applause…” Or something like that…But of course, you get my point.
If you want to pursue a serious study on memory improvement, here’s a link that you may find useful: The Mega Memory.