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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Most important personality characteristics performing mentalism (12 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of Mindipulator
All well said.

I feel sincerity, confidence without cockiness, empathy and appreciation for your volunteers and a desire to entertain will engage and gain trust.

A smidgen of eccentricity helps too.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to all.

Mr. Woolery
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Dale! 50 posts! Welcome to the club! Someone should be by shortly to show you the secret handshake. Smile

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Profile of mindmagic
Be yourself.

Some years ago, on a cruise, I got talking to a well-known comedy magician who was about to try out a mental act for the first time. His comedy persona is deliberately OTT, including a wig, but he performed his mental spot as himself. Someone sitting with me said "What a nice man" ... and I was able to confirm that.

Max Hazy
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Answering the question: Engaging.

That's the most important characteristic a mentalist should have.

Think about it. Everything a mentalist do requires some kind of connection with the participants. When he tries to influence them or interpret them, etc. How will the mentalist be able to convince people that he can do this or that, if he isn't able to connect with people? Even the anti-social types will need to be good at engaging when they do what they do (an archetype that comes to mind is Sherlock Holmes). So to me, be engaging is clearly the most important characteristic a mentalist should have. In fact, that's the biggest difference between a magician and a mentalist. A magician usually can perform for himself while practicing... a mentalist usually can't.

If you need connection to do what you do, you need to be good at connecting with people. The more the better. If you can connect with people, then you will get them on your side... and once they're on your side, everything you do will be 10 times better and stronger when they talk about you. So to me the answer to this question is clear: Engaging. The 2 main characteristics that enhance the potential of engagement to me are Charisma and Showmanship, regardless of how serious or funny you are. The rest will be personal to each of us, but you have to have some kind of magnetism to people, that's the key imo.

Max Hazy
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Al Straker
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I think the number one requirement to work with other people in any occupation is love and I mean a real love for others that transcends all other considerations and drives a genuinely connected exploration of your time together that really counts in both of your lives as a great experience.

From a performance point of view a mentalist will benefit from characteristics that build interest in 'the special ability' being show such as eccentricity, mysteriousness, lightness of being, elegance, intelligence, and charm but I feel any of these play best as a natural extension of your own genuine personality. Sure a good actor can fake it for a while but the true master performer entertains using the best traits natural to their 'self' and discovers how to expose and extend their own natural 'self' in performance.
Al Straker
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Music & Mentalism Specialty Act 'Completely Mental'

(Old clip, show has changed quite a bit since then!)

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Rafael The Master Hypnotist
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Be Able to Lift only One Eyebrow

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You must sell your soul to Satan himself in order to do mentalism the right way, that is the only way.

All jokes aside, to be successful IMHO and I'm sure others will agree to this... Be an authentic person.
THere is a positive correlation between how people see you and how you believe in what you are doing. Science calls this the placebo effect.
Show that you are an intellectual person with a passion for learning.
learn to listen.
Figure out what you are all about and stick with it, don't be a shotgun mentalist who reads minds, predicts the future, does problem solving equations and bends metal, keep what you are doing consistent and congruent, 3 abilities should be your max but we prefer that you keep it to less than two.

Separate yourself from the magic crowd - I'll explain why in a second... Okay second is up. Many magicians are not that socially skilled, many rely on magic as a crutch. You however, as a mentalist know how to connect with people. Sharing a meaningful moment with people should be your top priority above and beyond your ability.

The book that should be on your reading list is "How To Win Friends And Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. I'll even throw in some of the founding fathers of the self-help genre, Napoleon Hill and John C. Maxwell.
"You may think that i only talk of things from the past, you know, history, well magic is history"

-Guy Jarrett

"Curiosity isn't a sin Harry, but it should be exorcised with great caution."

-Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
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A few keywords springs to mind when reading the OP question:


At the same time, whatever you want to be seen as by your audience, you should strive to see those characteristics IN your audience members. Some performers don't realise that being genuinely 'interested' in your audience is half the battle so to speak. You can't fake it... it must come from you as a person.
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Profile of Mindpro
So much of it you can't fake, such as sincerity, interest, humbleness, experience and oh yeah, talent.

For most, seeing a mentalist is a rare, special and exciting thing. We as entertainers must first and foremost remember this at all times and live up to or exceed this expectation.
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This brings to mind the classic George Burns quote. "Sincerity. If you can fake that you've got it made."

Seriously though. The book mentioned by a couple posters "How to win friends and influence people" by Dale Carnegie is one of the greatest books about communication ever written. It should get an award as the horniest title in the history of forever. I strongly recommend it to anybody in any walk of life.
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