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Inner circle
Chattanooga, TN
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Profile of DWRackley
Great ideas all, and encouraging to me personally.

I start with the Corinda Opener, 30 seconds or less, but I do it in such a way that’s it’s not apparent that the “show” has actually begun. The reveal is the starting gun. I do chat a bit, a couple laughs, and a quick exchange with one or two individuals. This opening is leaning towards “explaining” what it is that we’re going to accomplish tonight, with some very quick examples. Within the first ten minutes, I’ve done three small major (Bob Cassidy’s definition) effects with the whole group, introduced myself, and made them feel that they’re an integral part of the process.

Now I can take a breath and get into more detailed “experiments”. This took some time to balance, but I’m trying to establish myself as a “guide” to what MIGHT happen, an “expert” for sure, but in no way certain as to the outcome of any thing. We are co-explorers. At this point they have a vested interest in what happens next, and it’s pretty easy sailing from there. I use a lot of humor, some wordplay (who doesn’t enjoy groaning at a pun) and some “witty observations”. I stay away from formal “jokes” unless I can personalize them raconteur style. Life and people are funny enough just like they are. (Steve Allen was an early hero of mine.)

Genuinely appreciate reading other’s ideas. A real help!
...what if I could read your mind?

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David Thiel
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Inner circle
Western Canada...where all that oil is
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Getting the audience to like you is critical...maybe THE most critical thing. I start out by asking who thinks there may be something to all this talk about ESP and telepathy...and who thinks it's a load of crap. It's not a question delivered with a competitive tone -- not at all. I'm just asking for information. I acknowledge their response by saying something like "It looks like this is going to be a long night..." And they laugh.

You need to get them laughing WITH you...or relating to you as a performer as quickly as possible.

I'll suggest that, while I agree skepticism is a good thing, I'm asking them to suspend their disbelief for the next hour or so. Just keep open minds...and I go into a Major Effect a la Cassidy. Elapsed time: 30 seconds.

You become more likeable as the audience observes how you treat the volunteers. Always handle them with respect...always be interested in them (ie: ask questions and LISTEN to the answers) and always make them guests on your stage. This goes a very long way toward being likeable...and building rapport.

Share a little something about yourself as you perform: WHY are you doing a book test? HOW did you start doing this kind of work? Keep the personal stories brief but "fun." Share with them. ALWAYS compliment your volunteers and have the audience applaud for them. (It's a respect thing...because as you treat one member of the audience, so you are treating the whole audience.)

Remember that the bulk of your show is going to be the audience watching you work to come up with the "transmissions" coming from the audience member. They always KNOW if you're working...and they can relate to someone working to entertain them.

Have you done a little background check on the company you're going to be performing for? With the internet, it's very simple to find out about a company...or members of the company in advance of the show.

If you inject an element of showing off...of putting one over on the audience...of TRICKING're dead in the water. I really think that mentalism, in particular, is a very intimate SHARED journey between the performer and the audience. I'm not there to trick them...I'm there to relate to them, so that they feel comfortable relating to me. Does that make sense?

There also needs to be CONFIDENCE coming from the performer. YOU are the captain of the boat...YOU decide what effects you're going to do...YOU steer the "ship." Don't confuse 'confident' with 'cocky.' They are not the same. But one shows a crisp professionalism...and the other oozes "me power." Which would you prefer to be sitting in the audience watching?

You build a rapport by relating to an audience. Comics know this. Think about it: if a comic isn't relating to his audience, they're not going to laugh, right? It's the same thing with mentalism. The issue isn't always that you get them laughing...but you MUST get them relating to you on some level. Relating = "speaking the same life language." Hopefully, that makes sense.

Once they like you...there's very little you can't get away with.

Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.
Mike Ince
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2014 Posts

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This is a great topic and I don't have much to add. I do like the idea of telling the audience the personal information you're asking them to tell you. If I ask for the name of someone's first pet, I might tell them my first pet was a black and white dog named Tippy. If I ask for a woman's first crush, I tell her "my first crush was a brunette named Michelle with a figure like (gesturing with my hands to show a pole-shaped thin body). Perfect! At least I thought so when I was ten-year-old. My tastes HAVE changed a bit."
The secret of deception is in making the truth seem ridiculous.
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Profile of ChrisC
I do mainly close up and palmistry so this might not help but here is a list off the top of my head

-Smile and keep your energy levels high

-I introduce myself to everyone, shake there hand and memorize there names, and use them as much as possible without sounding ridiculous.

-Never interrupt, if you have lines in your script designed to generate interest and someone starts telling a story, listen to them, focus the attention on them, make them feel special and important. (If it is a larger group of people and you can tell some of the audience's attention is waning then find a way to politely stop them.

-Keep eye contact, but never with the same person for more than a few words unless the routine is focused on them (reading there mind).

-If you have a larger group and notice anyone is losing interest, look right at them and pump the energy towards them

-If you have been preforming long enough, you know the questions you get asked most frequently, come up with fun entertaining stories to answer them. These can be just as powerful, if not more than the actual magic/mentalism that we preform.

-If your at a restaurant or doing strolling, introduce yourself to all the men, then the women. This way the men know your here to entertain them, and not flirt with there significant others.

again this is more geared towards the close up performer but I hope it helped,

John C
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Eternal Order
I THINK therefore I wrote
11720 Posts

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Just be yourself. Don't force rapport. Wash their feet if you have to. It worked for Jesus.
The ULTIMATE Routine Series: rebirth soon!
George Hunter
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Inner circle
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This is a terrific thread.

It occurs to me that the 24 centuries of studies about the "ethos" of a speaker might help inform this discussion. For instance, Aristotle observed audiences silently asking questions about speakers, and the answers they inferred influenced their perception of, and response to, the speaker's message. Aristotle became sure that he had identified three constituent factors in the speaker's ethos: Intelligence, Character, and Good Will.

Ethos research has continued, and has uncovered more themes; let me mention two. One is perceived Credibility---very important in religious, political, and social movement discourse and, I am guessing, in performance mentalism. The other is Dynamism (or Energy); most audiences, today, need to be energized by the speaker/performer's presence and delivery, or attention wanes.

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Profile of KPPfeiffer
Great thread!
The first thing I'm asking myself: Am I in rapport with myself? Rapport building is not a one way street. If I am feeling down, distracted, stressed out, not centered and grounded, it is difficult to connect to people and it is difficult for people too connect with me. Audiences want to have a good time, want to connect with the performer, if s/he so allows it.
So, some exercises in grounding, centering, whatever helps to be present is the first step. I have to be in state for rapport.
Bob Fitch taught us: "You need to have a reason to go on stage." The reason is probably not the tricks in themselves. He had a client who had a series of gigs at the same place. After the 2nd show they wanted to fire her. She called Bob as a last resort and he had her imagine going out on stage and "seeing" her best friend sitting over there, her mother over there, even her pet was there. All across the audience. It made all the difference. She had a reason to step on stage and she already had rapport with those people.

A lot is written about rapport in NLP etc. The "biggest" secret is seldom shared: the trick to establishing rapport is to assume the rapport is already there!
So it maybe that rapport building is more about being then doing. And when the being is there, the outer actions follow naturally added with all the advice given so far.
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The 18
135 Posts

Profile of MagisterFreud
On 2013-11-17 00:43, DWRackley wrote:

I start with the Corinda Opener,

Is this in 13 steps? If so, where?
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Inner circle
1233 Posts

Profile of Lseeyou
Build Rapport nonsense... this crap buzz word just exist to sell you something.

Just be yourself and enjoy people around you, you know you will die don't you... so what is holding you back? Don't waste your time building a character and thinking too much... you will waste your life on being other than yourself. There's no two persons the same and people who think too much are not happier.
Enjoy your time and enjoy your life... you will miss people more then all this theories. Do the work each day and talk to them, they are not things so let the tricks for the after talk.

Logan Five
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Inner circle
Northern California
1477 Posts

Profile of Logan Five
Performing for small groups, I go out into the audience to break the wall between me and them. If they like you as a person, they'll like your act. That wall needs to be crossed, so just do it.
Self concept is destiny..
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