Have you ever lost control of a group in a table hopping situation? Or maybe you were not satisfied of your audience reactions. What could have happened?
Why is it that some magicians can easily win a group over while other struggle?
With some reflection, it appeared to me that you have to be accepted in the group before anything. THEN you need to take control in the first 5 minutes. This reminded me of a subject I studied: seduction.
Seduction techniques to turn strangers into friends
When I was 21 and reading a lot of self-improvement books, I discovered the pick-up artist movement via a speaker called David De Angelo. The results they were describing in this community were so intriguing to me that I start looking into it, especially into “Mystery’s” work, a former stage magician now crazy/genius pick up artist who became famous through a system he built. And as taboo and wrong as using techniques to pick up girls sounded, I discovered that the system was actually very thoughtful and developed to meet women I always dreamt of and was not very different from what was required to do table hopping; you have a very short time to enter a group of random people and get them to like you.
That involved the SAME set of skills a strolling magician has to use; to understand human psychology, prepare his approach and improvise on his participant’s reactions on the basis of prepared routines.
So, I tried to introduce those principles in my table hopping adventures and here are the two most important elements that have helped me improve control and connection: “Kino escalation” combined with “alpha-male management”.
What is an Alpha-(fe)male?
In the original theory, there is often an alfa-male in the group , a tougher/smarter guy (in his head at least), standing in your way and managing him/her is essential. I take the example of a male because it’s more often the case but it can be a woman.
This is usually the person who starts talking before everyone. This special someone at your table or in your show speaking louder than the others, and that everyone mirrors. That’s the very same person who made the joke when you entered, who was imitated by his buddy and who claimed that he knew how your trick was done.
Note on the terminology: This category of people are often referred to as hecklers but it might be more interesting for you to use “Alfa-(fe)male” to remind yourself of the origin of his behavior. Heckler conveys bad things, but remember he can be a very nice person, just very insecure and craving for attention. We’ll call him/her the alfa-(fe)male.
What is Kino escalation?
It’s a concept developed in the pick up artist community to bond faster with a woman by touching her progressively. By studying acting I learned that it also works to show your high status by touching someone who is considered high status; here the group leader (the alpha-(fe)male). This, in turn, helps make friends with him/her.
The aim is to set a progressive way of touching people to connect with them or to convey your status of superiority. More than that, when the others see you touching someone, it conveys an image of complicity, friendship or higher status. So you convey a direct and an indirect effect.
Goal 1: BONDING
In a general manner, having physical contact with someone, if done at the appropriate moment, will increase your bonding. It’s evolutionary psychology. It’s primitive. Think of any relation you ever had and how your touching story changed. You’d kiss your girlfriend, but not the day you met her. You’d come close to your friends physically but not the first day.
But it is possible to learn to accelerate this touching escalation and get to a very close physical relationship in a few minutes. It will replicate a close relationship by the person being touched (if he accepts to be touched, he accepts this relationship) and by the rest of the group (they will see you touching him, thinking you are in very good term with the leader).
Note: You can use bonding with anyone: male, female, kids or older people, as long they are the key person of the group.
Goal 2: ESTABLISH YOUR HIGH STATUS
The other effect of touching is the status shift you will experience in regards with the others. Touching the leader as if he is your pal, skyrocket your status to the sky. Imagine a stranger, his arm around Obama’s neck, him laughing. What do you instantly feel? He must be a damn powerful guy! And this is just an example of course but understand that if you arrive in a group and within 2 minutes you’re high fiving or holding the leader’s shoulder, and within 3 minutes successfully asking him to be quiet, people will unconsciously accept you as a the co-leader and perhaps as the leader himself.
Alpha-(fe)male management: identify, give attention, and take leadership.
Let’s get concrete: you see a group, what do you do?
Here is the basic pattern I often use:
Identify the leader/ the alpha- (fe)male of the group.
How? When you enter the group and introduce yourself, observe and look for the one who is speaking louder or/and asking questions or/and making decisions or/and is higher in the hierarchy. Usually they say something first, and people agree with them. You might even see that before entering the group. When a trick is finished or a question is asked, people look at this person quickly, expecting that they will answer the question or react in some way. When he/she does, the majority of the rest of the group mirror them.
NOTE:At this stage, if it’s a woman, act as if you were charmed by her and remain as low status as you can so she thinks she’s got the control and that you respect her (you might as well respect her for real by the way). Alfa-females are generally very sensitive to respect and being listened to.
If you are the same sex as the leader, consider this original pick-up artist ROUTINE as an example of what can be done: the pick up artist enters in a group of people he never met and tells the alfa-male he saw him on TV. His insists (“I’m SURE I saw you, I love your work man! Come on don’t be so modest”) and the guy is flattered on something he never did, even if he knows the artist is clearly mistaken, and accepts you in the group (at least in his attitude) and you can move on to the next step.
Give him/her a bit of attention and show you are not a threat, especially at the beginning. Don’t give too much attention but sometimes a sentence, a laugh at their joke or even a friendly look can convey this: “I saw you, I know you are the leader and I respect that but I come in peace”. Combine that with touching them (see in the next paragraph how exactly).
Note on praising: I will never say it enough: be careful not to give too much attention to the leader during those 5-10 minutes. Some alfa-(fe)males are CRAVING for it and they will suck everything you give them like black holes. Start like that so they get their “shot” of attention. Then go on the next move:
Take the leadership when the alfa(fe)male -implicitly- accepts you in the group. Now that they have identified you as the entertainer (and hopefully a nice guy/girl) and not some hey-look-at-me-I’m-going-to-get-all-the-attention-and-hit-on-your-wife threat, you’re ready to take control using Kino escalation and going on with whatever you want to show them without asking for permission.
Kino-escalation: how and when should I touch them?
The main problem is that people don’t like to be touched DIRECTLY. Touching them in an intimate manner too soon will be a complete catastrophy. They will notice, tell you to stop out loud (“I don’t know you that well”) and YOUR status will fall like a distracted kid’s ice cream.
But here is a fact: people accept being touched in the right context and gradually.
That is why we talk about escalation. You can’t put your arm around a person neck as your first contact, you will be seen as creepy, needy or even scary. But after a few minutes, it’s possible.
Another important point: if you use eye contact while touching, people might feel uncomfortable. But if you don’t and you touch them the same way, they will think you did it unconsciously (whatever the reason could be).
2) THE BEST MOMENTS TO DO IT
TOUCH PEOPLE WHEN THEY LAUGH
When people laugh, they relax (like Tamariz, T.Wonder and all grand masters teach, that’s when you usually do the secret move). When they are relaxed and you are both laughing, it gives a normal sociological frame, acceptable for touching. Think of this: if you both laugh, suddenly you’re laughing TOGETHER and it’s ok to touch someone you are laughing with.
If you can create a big laugh you can literally attempt anything!
In the following picture from a show I did this year, I laugh as if I made a mistake and I was very embarrassed (his 20 dollars bill just vanished in a flame). I don’t know this guy by the way.
3) An example of ESCALATION
When you arrive and the leader/ alfa-(fe)male says something, give a quick touch with the back of the hand on the upper arm, looking away (at the rest of the group for example). It could be while laughing at his joke or just saying “wait look at this”.
It’s important here not the look them in the eyes and to use the BACK of the hand.
Here are examples with the shoulder:
Lay your finger or the palm of your hand on the upper arm or shoulder WHILE focusing attention to something.
Example 1: do it while saying: “and this is something I don’t often do”
Example 2: do it while saying: “I reassure you it’s not going to be disgusting or scary”.
Example 3: Do it while explaining something to the group
Do whatever you want that is higher than putting your hand flat on his shoulder and NOW you can make eye contact.
Here are additional ideas: you can play as if you were going to box with him or her, you can shake his hand with impact looking him the eyes, give him a hug, anything that you feel is right in the moment.
THE MOST IMPORTANT
The most important thing is to feel the energy and know where you want to get to. Depending on what you want, on the type of person the leader is, and on what is being said or done, you’ll feel the right way to touch. How? By experiencing. But regardless, always escalate gradually and experiment.
Note on experiencing: It’s very important you do not get discouraged when trying. It happened to me that a guy stopped laughing, looked at my hand, back at me and said in front of everyone: “put you hand away I’m not gay”. That was VERY embarrassing. But I cannot blame the method, I blame myself for not having sensed the energy. I touched too intimately too quickly. But I learned from it and now just look at the following pictures, they are the result of experience and testing.
Other examples of ways to create a laugh or excuses to touch the person
Below I said: “I’ll give you an explanation [quickly looking at her then at the floor], even if you haven’t asked for it [looking at the audience]”. The result? A big laugh and a sense of complicity and control.
Note that his hand is GRABBING the arm. It’s another level of intimacy and shows a mastery in the art of touching. How does he do it? EXPERIENCE.
In this video, see if you can count how many times he touches the guy and at which moments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bUfOSvtrPw
#1. You arrive at a table and some tough guy says “whoooo the magician is coming, hide your wallets! Mouhaha”. Ok he is the leader (identified) -that was easy. Laugh to his joke –even if it isn’t funny (attention and praise with a shot of attention), giving him at the same time a quick tap on the upper arm without looking at him. You can add something like: “it depends if you have money, otherwise I’m not interested”. Laugh and touch a bit, especially if you could not touch at first contact. “Ok, take a card (handling the deck to someone else) and no more jokes about a wallet all right?” (take back leadership). Now that the leader has accepted you and let you take the leadership, if he talks again, include him but you don’t have to praise him or overcompensate anymore. You are the leader.
#2. You arrive in a group and someone is already talking to the rest of the group (pre-identified). “Hi excuse me for interrupting, I’m the magician tonight, if you are not in the middle of something let me show you something”. The same “someone” replies: “it depends, are you good? I usually easily guess the tricks” (identified) and laughs, instantly mirrored by the others (identified for sure). Laugh as well adding: “I’ll try to be careful because you DO have eagle eyes…[small laugh] doesn’t this guy look sharp, seriously? (looking at the others while touching the leader with the back of my hand) Haha. What’s you’re name by the way? (Praise and attention ). … oh nice, that’s from Greece? … ok, I’m Butzi”. I look at someone else: and you, what’s your name? … here pick a card. (take back leadership). If you want to touch a bit more you could even add: “put your signature on it” and say to the leader’s ear (touching his triceps to get closer) in a loud whisper so everyone can hear: “that’s the moment I copy his signature to use it against him later”, as a false confidence. When they laugh or even smile to reward my effort for trying to be funny I can touch the guy who signed the card saying: “don’t worry I’m a miracle worker not a thief”.
HAVE FUN EXPERIMENTING!!
If you want to train that you can do it in everyday situations; with friends, family or people you just met. When they are laughing at something you said, see how far you can go, literally grab them if you can!