I recently re-read a modern day classic on mind reading and mentalism. The book is by Paul Brook and is called The Alchemical tools. The book is essentially a must have for any mind reader or mentalist - novice and professional. Google 'Paul Brook Mind Reading' for more information.
Anyway, after reading the book again I re-read the true story about how one day he had a disagreement with one of his pupils. Being a great mind reader Paul occasionally took on people to teach his secrets to. Paul gives the impression this particular pupil was a bit of an idiot and an argument ensued.
In the argument the pupil basically claimed he was now better than Paul and knew everything he needed to know and left Paul to go out on his own. He soon returned with his tail between his legs claiming he could only get a handful of bookings and needed Paul's help. Paul took pity on the poor fellow and said he would watch him at his next gig to see if there were any problems in his performance and why people didn't seem to recommend him.
After his gig Paul said he knew the problem, he said he was throwing too many tricks at the crowd in quick succession and not giving each trick a chance to build in the mind of the audience. The pupil wasn't convinced so Paul asked him to one of his own gigs in a couple of days time.
Paul's gig was table hopping at a private function and it was split into 3 sections – before seating entertainment, after desert entertainment and a final section after the other acts had performed. Anyway, Paul said that he would perform in the first section and the pupil in the second. Then, they would ask the guests to vote on who they wanted to see on the final section. The pupil looked smug and agreed to the challenge.
They each performed their bits and a vote was taken. Every single guest voted for Paul. The pupil was stunned..
The pupil asked the individual guests why they didn't choose him. They all replied along the lines of, “It's because Paul really got into our minds and gave us all goosebumps.”
How did he do it? Well, the pupil was busy throwing 100 tricks at the guests in quick succession barely giving them time to appreciate it. Paul only performed ONE trick on each table. That trick got everyone involved and lasted 15 minutes, building up the suspense each time.
The moral of the story – I'll say it again, take your time and don't worry about learning 100 tricks, just learn 5 or 6 REALLY well and make it special. That's the difference between good mind reading and great mind reading.