There's a big difference between mind reading & mentalism effects compared with plain old magic tricks. One of the biggest differences is that mind reading relies on the audience needing to really believe in you. With magic you can get away without giving them an explanation because at the end of the day 'it's just magic'. With mind reading and mentalism, the audience needs to buy into your special abilities, whether they are psychic or uncanny psychological manipulation.
This is why scripting your effects is more important if you are to be a convincing mentalist. The professionals you see on TV – including Derren Brown & Criss Angel - are so effective because all their tricks are scripted – word for word - like a actor's would be. They have the added advantage that every trick you see them perform on TV is usually the brain child of 3 or 4 people, sitting in a room writing out each trick and scripting it word for word for the best impact on the audience.
In my opinion, the average mentalist needn't worry about word for word presentations although they must concentrate on one aspect of presentation. All the average mentalist needs to do in order to look like a professional is have a rough enough idea of what they are going to say. You need to create some sort of story behind every trick you do in order for it to be believable.
You can add serious impact to your mind reading effects if you test out a few variations of an effect and see which one works the best. That way you can pick the best impact you received and use that same rough story or explanation from then on. By all means script your effects word for word if you wish, but I've been blowing people away for years with free-styling a rough outline of what I'm going to say and this actually keeps it interesting for me.
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Having rapport with your audience is a must. I've laid out 3 ways you can use it to enhance your mind reading performance.
What Is rapport?
Rapport is a relationship. A pleasant feeling of mutual trust, affinity and friendship established through verbal and non-verbal means.
When performing to people you don't know, whether they accept you or not is an important factor in whether to effect will do down well or not. There's nothing worse than performing to someone who doesn't like you and wants you to fail. This can bring your mind reading performance to come crashing down and leaving you with a red face.
To make your mentalism and mind reading tricks really successful you need the audience on your side. To get them on your side you need gain rapport with them. I've listed 3 great ways to gain rapport.
1)Mirroring Body Language – a great way to gain report non-verbally is by mirroring the body language of the volunteer. Mirroring is basically copying what the other person is doing with regards to how you are seated, stood, where your hands rest, whether you are cross-legged, slouched, up-right etc. Now you don't want to make this too obvious so a great way to casually mirror the other person is just with small movements that mimic their hand gestures. When they scratch their head – you scratch etc.
2)Use The Same Words – another good way to gain rapport with someone is to copy their dialect, slag or metaphors. You will find when speaking with people that they will use the same words and dialect to describe things. A great way to gain rapport is by using the same words confidently when speaking with them.
3)Match their voice – this is a more advanced strategy and it's used by copying their tone of voice and their rhythm of speech. Some people talk quietly and with a fairly fast rhythm. It's your job to copy them without being someone you're not. If you are a loud and outgoing person and you are dealing with someone who is an introvert and fairly quiet. Take your lively ways a notch down or two. This will gain rapport with them in which you can then slowly get back to being who you are and they will follow suit comfortably.
These tips merely touch the surface on gaining rapport with someone but is a good starting point for any mind reader or mentalist.