The magician is the same. The audiences are different.

It was a hot sunny Saturday morning outside of the historical mansion I was performing at. I was chatting with one of the organizers of the event when an announcement came from the podium located at the front door. A US senator would be addressing the crowd in a minute and we were to congregate near the front.

Following a glowing introduction, the pinstripe clad silverback approached the microphone. He spoke charismatically about the history and culture related to our venue. He was funny, knowledgeable and charming, as only a politician could be. Mr. Senator spoke for about 10 minutes and wrapped it up to a round of applause. The event was now in full swing.

I went about my normal business of mingling into a small group with a deck of cards in hand. After a few minutes, there was a burst of laughter and gasps. I glanced over the shoulder of women who had helped me with the trick and noticed the senator and his aide wandering our way. As I finished the trick I was in the middle of, I casually handed our senator a dinner fork and asked him to hold it for a minute. There was a subtle, but very noticeable shift in the dynamics of the audience. I had just asked a senior ranking US Senator to hold a fork, and he politely obliged.

He and I bantered for a moment about the quality of the fork and the fact that it was made in China as a few more curious guests gathered around us. I asked him to hold out his hand and proceeded to elegantly mangle the fork which he had inspected and signed. His aide shot a photo of us and he moved on his way to mingle with others attending the event.

A few minutes later, I was between groups and saw our senator showing off the fork to one of the organizers of the event as he pointed my direction.

My client was happy that she had booked me.

Magician’s TakeAway ::

Sometime we get the interesting opportunity to perform for interesting people. Jump on it. Don’t shy away from those chances. The Senator was genuinely interested in what I was doing with the group. He was a good sport and played along with me, and in the end walked away talking about the magic.

The dynamics of the group shift frequently as different types of people join in. Sometimes you get the stunned silent type, other times you have the loud mouth chatterbox. Here, the senator was the alpha-male of the entire event. How do you respect his position and yet control his actions so you can accomplish the magic? It’s a tricky balance.

In the end, he was as astonished by the magic as anyone else, and he went on to discuss my work with others in attendance. That’s free advertising! It makes the magician’s job so much easier to have people talking about you.