When people think of hypnosis and magic, they usually think of a hypnotist on stage with a group of college kids clucking like chickens or dancing like Michael Jackson. That may be very entertaining but that is not the topic of this blog. This blog is to talk about the use of psychology in magic shows to do things like get the audience ready to pay attention and cheer, and control misbehaving children or chatty parents that can mess up a performance.
Now I must admit, I am probably the luckiest magician on earth because my uncle, Surinder Gill just happens to be a Hypnotist and a Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). He has taught me many techniques that have helped me improve my performances.
One of the biggest issues I had early on was confidence. What if I mess up a trick? What if someone figures out how I did a trick? What if people laugh at me? I have learned that these fears are natural and they are the reason why almost everyone is scared to talk in front of a crowd. I was able to get past these fears with my uncle’s help. For example, he taught me to imagine each show in my mind, before I perform. This really keeps me from getting nervous during my show and keeps me focused. Whether I have a cold, or I have a test at school the following day, I can forget everything else and just give it my all, every time.
Something else that I used to struggle with was managing the audience. How do I get the children to all sit quietly on the floor for 40 minutes? What if the crowd doesn’t clap and cheer? What if nobody comes forward when I need a volunteer? These things don’t stress me out anymore, because I have ways to deal with them all.
For example, one thing my uncle taught me is to get the crowd “warmed up” at the beginning of the show by getting them to cheer out loud a couple of times. This sets the tone, and helps the audience understand that it is part of the show for them to participate enthusiastically. I will repeat it a couple of times during my show if I feel the energy going down. Sometimes people are too shy to act goofy and to laugh out loud and to volunteer for a trick. But if I get them cheering and participating right from the start, people just tend to go with it.
Have you ever wondered why at rock concerts, the singer always says “let’s hear you make some noise?” and encourages the audience to cheer as loud as they can? They do this to set the tone so the audience will cheer enthusiastically for the rest of the concert.
I have also learned that using certain words at certain times to make the audience “see” something is also very important in magic. Since a magician never reveals their tricks, I won’t say too much about this. Let’s just say that when a magician uses a command like “look at my hand and see that the ball has vanished,” you should probably be looking somewhere else!
I’d like to finish by saying thank you to my uncle for helping me learn all these cool things. He does a lot more than just help child magicians with their shows. He has been successful in helping lots of people with things like weight loss, smoking, and anxiety. You can look him up at http://surindersgill.com.