About a week ago, I was at Jeff McBride’s home and we started talking about communication, when he asked me to write an article about ten ways to get your message across. Enjoy!
Give them what they want
The audience you are delivering to wants to be told what they want to hear. If you make them sit too long, you have lost them. It is better to leave them wanting more. As far as content is concerned, in sales, people will only buy what they want to buy deep down inside. You just have to find that hidden need and fulfill it. Maybe that topic can be discussed in another article.
Too many shows and presentations are bursting at the seams with what they boast to do. Numerous comic magicians are completely funny the whole time, offering no drama or other type of theatrical byplay. What happens with this? The presentation becomes stale. You ever eat so much of your favorite type of food, for so many days in a row, that you end up hating it? The great comedies on television all have contrast. There is a lesson interlaced with the laughs. All of the great shows here in Vegas also are combinations: amazing and comedy (Absinthe) or dramatic and funny (Jersey Boys). Mac King is funny and at the same time, nostalgic of growing up. Life isn’t made of just one thing so you shouldn’t be either.
Give them options
Everybody learns in different ways. Some people are visual learners and some are auditory learners. The US Navy did a study with three groups and found out that people who are told something (group one) comprehend that information as well as people who read the same thing (group two). The third group that comprehended more was the group that read and heard the material simultaneously. Maybe this is an argument for being entertaining and followable when you speak, because then when they watch what you are doing they will get so much more out of it.
Give it sincerely
Pearl Jam, who is synonymous with rock star as far as bands go, said that they never “phoned in” a show. Everytime you perform for someone or even talk to them, you are auditioning for them and you need to give it your all. If you are in the moment, then you will be paying attention for new bits or mistakes that might be gems at later performances. This also applies for listening to people, for they gave the time and energy to talk to you, and you should do more than hear them, you should listen. This is something I need to work on myself…
Give them you
People tell me all the time that they saw a magician and then they explain what he or she did. When I ask them what the magician’s name was they say they don’t remember. Don’t let your magic be bigger than you. Enough said.
Give them yourself
Don’t do routines that you know are other’s. If it is an independent invention that is one thing. Stealing is another. People have put their heart and soul into the building process that goes into these routines. That’s why they look good when they do them and not as much when they are replicated onstage. If you give the audience a genuine creation that is yours, like a dog smells fear, audiences will smell the genuineness.
Give them a break
I always structure my shows where there are not too many routines in a row where I need a person to come onstage. The audience grows weary and becomes indifferent to the indifferent person onstage again and again and… Amazing Johnathan has the same person onstage for each routine that he does in his show.
The audience almost finds this volunteer to be a friend of theirs and definitely a representative of theirs and that goes to…
…Give them a validation
You are a wonder worker. You need the audience to know this. I used to perform a book test and I would write the words on a sheet of paper. One time there were three girls (beauty contestants in a pageant) who stood behind me when I wrote the words down. This was not planned but gave the audience validation in two different ways. One, the three girls behind me worked as a committee to ensure that I was not doing anything fishy (people suspect everything) and two, when the person names off the word, their facial expressions, when they see the written down word before the rest of the audience, act as a catalyst for excitement.
Give them something believable
If you are trying to sell a vacuum don’t tell them that it will suck up the dust bunnies. People know that dust bunnies are impervious to any kind of suction and that is why there is a outbreak of them in the Midwest. The tornados kill everything but dust bunnies. In the same way, people don’t believe that you have real powers. They want to believe it but they just don’t. As soon as you come down to their level and tell them the truth about that, then they will believe you about everything else you tell them. So the “EZ VAC 2637-a” won’t get the dust bunnies but the monster under the bed? You bet.
Give them something that they care about
Make your message about them (do your homework here) or something they can relate to (their industry). Even if this means changing a story that happened to a friend of yours to one that happened to you, then, if they can connect with that, the message will sink in better. Making them part of the story can be unforgettable.