I remember going to see an acquaintance who worked at a bar doing magic. We weren’t fast friends but I had known him for years. He had been involved in magic for the entire time. I saw him at lectures and conventions. He visited my old shop regularly. He bought books and videos. All empirical data suggested a man who could deliver the goods.
Until I saw him work.
That data point changed all assumptions.
One of the first things everyone learns in magic is to stand in front of a mirror when practicing. We study our moves, our angles, our stance, we even practice our scripts – it’s all about us.
Do this long enough and you can get trapped there.
That’s what happened to the magician behind the bar. He had an audience in front of him but he was still performing for his mirror. He wasn’t bad really – he just wasn’t present. Or more accurately, it was as if his audience wasn’t present.
I often say that my magic changed immensely the day I moved my head approximately four inches. The day I stopped looking at my hands and looked up at my audience. The mirror can condition us to focus only on OUR actions. It can teach us a lot - but it can’t teach us how to engage with our audience. You’ll need to make a conscious decision to do that. It’s as easy as looking up and realizing there are people in front of you. Ask yourself how would you behave if there wasn’t a magic trick between you and those people. How would you speak and respond? The more you bring that person to your magic, the more connection you will make.