Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Getting Nothing In Return

When audience reaction, energy and response is not at the level you were expecting, desiring or hoping for - soldier on. It does not mean they aren't enjoying themselves. For example, at corporate retreats your audience has probably been seated all day in the same room listening to lectures, keynotes, sales reports, etc. So do your homework. Find out what is happening before you go on and try to meet them at their level of interaction, interest and energy level. Be a professional. Maintain your own good attitude and enthusiasm during the show. And don't turn on your audience. You only have a short time to make a great impression.


  1. Good points, Bill. Sometimes people are in their heads and not thinking about being alive audience. This is more likely in situations where they did not come specifically to see a magic show, such as a corporate meeting, etc. It can happen when the magic is a "surprise" and no one expected it, so they don't know how to act.

    However, that doesn't mean they didn't like the show. I have had businessmen give me NOTHING during the show, and then GUSH to the client afterwards. When that happens, even the most hardened client will tend to re-book.

    Oddly, this phenomenon seem to happen the most with audiences of financial professionals, magicians, and nine-year-old boys. Coincidence? You be the judge!

  2. This is great advice. I don't perform magic professionally much these days but I do present at meetings and often have to pitch/present to groups and teams that have already had a full day of activity (or inactivity). It really helps to know what has been going on before hand.

    Thanks Bill!

  3. In the resort, it is not unusual to have my crowd stare at me during the show and give little back.. but in some cases, it is because they have skied their asses off that day and are exhausted..then add a cocktail and big dinner to it.. and they can barely move let alone applaud. It took me awhile to understand that.

  4. Working the street you get audiences who have stopped to see what is going on and then it seems to take them a couple effects before they have relaxed and then they get into it. Applause is something they have to be nudged into as it is not the seated group of people who know what the applause cue is. This is a venue where you frequently live off of a dropped jaw or stunned silence to know you have them.

  5. I think it's important to take that a step further. What have they done recently, where have they done it (as you said, the same room?), are they fried after so many lectures or workshops? Do they need rest? and then of course, there's their demographic, white or blue collar, etc... I did one corporate about 15 years ago, when after the first 5 minutes of strange silent reaction, I asked for a "show of hands! How many people here are wiped out from attending meetings and seminars from 8 in the morning until dinner tonight, and would MUCH rather head back to their hotel rooms and crawl into bed?" 100% of the hands shot up. I did about 10 more minutes and cut it short. The booker and the audience thanked me for being understanding. Sometimes it actually is okay to NOT do the full 45 minute show. :)