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Posted by on Aug 26, 2014 in Tricks Of The Trade | Comments Off on TRICKS OF THE TRADE













A column deicated to "life hacks" from professional magician, Jamie D. Grant of


Hiya Gang!

Here’s a tweet I sent out a little while ago:

@Jamie_D_Grant : My tip for the week: Avoid negativity at all costs. Eliminate it from your life and those that spread it. Don't let yourself get brainwashed into thinking you can't improve without it, either. Kindness can also lead to greatness.

I think of all my Tricks I have for all my Trades, I would probably say this is the number one piece of advice I could give for anyone looking to make a better life for themselves. It’s either that or, “Be nice to everybody.” It’s probably a toss up. But let’s discuss the avoidance of negativity. Because what exactly does it mean? In real life, how do we do it?

Stop talking, messaging, tweeting, facebooking, emailing, visiting, or thinking about anyone who doesn’t leave you with a good feeling. Right now. Think about that for a second. Think about the last person you interacted with. Are you thinking, “Man, that was a cool guy. I hope I can talk with him again.” Or are you thinking, “Holy smokes, that guy is a jerk.”

If it’s the second one- cease contact immediately.

But, wait! What’s that? You say you have an important point that you still need to make? Oh, you just need one more email to convince them to like you? Pull. Yourself. Together. Listen to me: no one, and I mean no one, who makes you unhappy is making your life better. Because, guess what? Your life could end at any moment! There is no such thing as a “negativity investment”. If you take people’s crap time after time, it’s not going to one day turn into solid gold. That investment doesn’t exist. You’re just going to be surrounded by crap. And die. You could be dead in crap. Is that seriously what you want? Step out, son, and let’s define it! Let’s put concrete examples into how people, sometimes without even knowing it themselves, bring you down…

Complaining: “Don’t you hate it when…”

This person is actually trying to inject hate into you. Seriously? No hate injections for me, thanks. Later!

Criticizing: “Do you know what you need to do? You need to…”

I need to leave your presence immediately.

Making “jokes” at your expense: “Hey, are you sure you should be eating that? Ha ha ha.”

Ha ha see you later.

Talking trash about others to you: “Man, I hate that guy. All he does is…”

All he does is not have to listen to all this negativity all the time.

There is a ton of other ways that people bring you down that you’re probably not even aware of it. And the thing is that they might not even know it, either. Maybe they are just trying to help. Maybe they honestly feel their critiques of the song you wrote or the art you painted is for your best interest.

It doesn’t matter.

Avoid them like the plague!

But how will you get better if no one ever tells you what you’re doing wrong? Or what you need to improve on? Here’s the thing- it can be done with kindness. And it’s the person who takes that small effort, that tiny of change in tone and language, who actually cares about you. That is the person you want o surround yourself with. Because they are cognizant of how you feel. They are making an effort to not only make you better, but to make you feel better. Take a look:

“Dude. Nah man, that beat’s okay, but you need to be rhyming way faster. You sound too slow. You sound like a drunk hippopotamus or something.”


Did you write that? That’s crazy! It sounds awesome! I wonder what it would sound like if you did it again faster, though? I love fast rhymes. What do you think?”

The small difference is the effort that was made on your behalf. And for everyone who is thinking that’s just the way some people are, or that you can’t be so sensitive if you want to make it in the world today, or you need to be able to take the heat if you want to hang in the kitchen, I say:


I’ll go across the street with my awesome friends and make my own kitchen. Who on earth ever decided that you should spend time in a kitchen you hate? How was that ever a goal? “Hey, this is probably the worst kitchen I have ever been in, in my entire life! And every single person in here is pure misery. But, man! I’m standing in it! Whooo! Holy smokes, is anyone else as hot as I am in here?!” Not for me. And people who try to force you into that kitchen, under the guise of, “You need to hear this”, or, “This is for your own good.” they are bullies, pure and simple, who want to drag you in there because they have no idea how to get out. And misery loves company. Even better if it’s against your will. Don’t ever let anyone try and tell you otherwise.

I remember one of the best pieces of advice I ever got was, “As painful as it might be, be brutally honest with yourself about your finances.” I was young and needed to hear it at the time. But I wonder how many people now, as painful as it might be, need to hear that they need to be brutally honest with their “friendships.” Are the people you’re hanging with consistently raising you up? Or are they bringing you down? Jim Rohn once said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. I absolutely think that’s true, but would also suggest that your average is also directly affected by the people you engage with online. So perhaps it’s time to make some tough choices.

Positivity, fun, and feeling good, actually, in real life, creates energy. If you have something fun to do, you want to get out of bed in the morning. If it’s something you hate, you slack. Every negative interaction you have then is taking away your energy. It is doing you harm. No matter what the person who is dishing it out is telling you. So take care of yourself, remove yourself from the situation, and get the hell out of that kitchen. Let them take care of it. We’ll go climb the mountains.

Jamie D. Grant is a writer and speaker from Vancouver, Canada. You can watch how he does over here:



Posted by on Jun 22, 2014 in Tricks Of The Trade | 1 comment






A column dedicated to “life hacks” from professional magician Jamie D. Grant of


Hiya Gang!

This column has really morphed from an idea that Prevail and I had over coffee one day into something I really enjoy. I’m viewing it almost as, “Things I Wish I Knew” instead of just “Life Hack Secrets”; and I hope it gives you some insight and knowledge, not just secrets, that you might not have yet. So today we’re going to add to your knowledge portfolio with a question…

Say you’re in line waiting to get your coffee when the older guy standing in front of you drops to the ground. Not a nice movie style I-don’t-feel-well-I-think-I-need-to-lay-down scenario, either, but a full on BOOM! He’s on the floor. What’s your game plan?

If you’re pulling out your cellphone, I hope it’s to call 9-1-1 and not start filming. I already know that’s what you’re doing, though, because that’s what someone who comes to would do. But now what? Are you able to tell the dispatcher his age? And if he’s breathing (the guy on the floor, not the dispatcher). Have you ever tried to tell if someone is breathing when you’re in the middle of a crowded space and people are screaming?

You might have heard:

Look. Listen. Feel. (at his chest, to his mouth, on his chest)

But here’s something you might not have heard before:

Telling everyone to shut the f$#k up.

Okay, so it might not sound exactly like that- but it’s the idea that you need to get across to everyone instantly. If you’ve read my work before, I’m very into “real-world” situations. So, specifically, how do you convey to the other people that you need to see if this guy is still alive?

It should probably go something like this:

“Someone call 9-1-1 please! This guy is out. You. What’s your name? Sarah? Can you call for me? And can everyone just be quiet for a second? HEY! Sorry! There’s an emergency here and we need silence! And can we turn this music off?”

That’s it. You would be shocked at how rarely someone takes charge of a situation and how effective it really is. When people panic, they need someone to take charge. And if no one does, mayhem ensues. The problem is that everyone is looking around for someone else to take on the role. Why? Well, because they’re probably terrified for any number of reasons. So you need to shake off whatever is that is going through your mind and body right now and fill that gap. The rest is fairly easy (in a sense). The dispatcher will give you instructions. The Paramedics will come. Just remember:

9-1-1 (this is where most people stop).

Get silence.

Follow instructions.

Help everyone in the room, not just the guy on the floor.


That last one is what separates the men from the boys. While most people, as soon as the paramedics arrive, are calling their friends to tell them what just happened, those who truly invested into following the guide to the good life are checking in on everyone in the room. Are people freaking out? Scared? Go talk to them and check-in. An “Are you okay?” is what will give you the knowledge you came here for.

There’s a theory amongst us paramedics:

If the building across the street explodes, there are only two kinds of people in the world:

People who are running from…


And people who are running to.


Run to,


jamie d. grant





Posted by on Apr 19, 2014 in Tricks Of The Trade | Comments Off on TRICKS OF THE TRADE #6



A column dedicated to “life hacks” from professional magician Jamie D. Grant of


Hiya Gang!

When it comes to life hacks, I think the one thing I get asked most is, “Jamie, do you have any tips for public speaking or speeches?!” You bet I do!

Here are my Top 10 pieces of advice and things to remember if you’re writing a speech or giving one!

1) People WANT you to do well. The audience is rooting for you. No one wants to listen to a terrible speech. So remember- the audience is on your side.

2) Eliminate “blue” humor. Sex jokes. I’m putting this high up on the list, not because these are in order, but just because I’ve seen this go wrong so many times. A little innuendo can work occasionally but you really need to know your audience. For the most part, the risk just isn’t worth it. Keep things clean.

3) Write it down. Not in point form. Every word. From the second someone says, “Let’s welcome Jamie D. Grant”, the next word I say, “Hello!” has been written down. Write down your entire speech- every syllable, every pause.

4) Record yourself (so easy to do with Voice Memos now) on your phone and listen back. This is going to hurt- but it needs to be done. Not only will it help you rewrite your speech, but it will also help your memory.

5) Eliminate “uh” and “um” from your life. This is another hard one and is difficult to catch. So how do we do it? Tell the person you spend the most time with to say the word “Speech” every time you say, “uh” or “um.” It’s shocking how much it’s said today.

6) Pick your outfit. I never hear about this tip, but it’s so important. If you know what you’re going to wear- and feel good doing so- it’ll help your nerves. Pick out what you’re wearing long in advance. Clean it, lay it out, and then don’t touch it. Put your speech clothes on a chair and leave them. Every time you pass by, go through what you’ll be saying.

7) Once you’ve written your speech down on paper, memorize a key line from every paragraph. Try and hook them together. Paragraph 1 might be an intro into who you are, and then Paragraph 2 might be how you met the groom. So hook a detail about yourself with a detail about the groom. Now hook a detail about the groom into something from your next paragraph. Do this all the way until the end.

8) Smile. People always like people better who smile. That’s a tip for all of life.

9) Do not apologize or give excuses. No, “I’m so nervous” or, “I’m sorry- I’ve never done this before.” Those words aren’t helping your speech. If it’s not helping your speech, don’t say it.

10) Take a moment. You’ve been asked to speak. That’s an honor- so enjoy it, don’t fear it!

Good luck! I can’t wait to hear you!


Jamie D. Grant is a writer and speaker from Vancouver, Canada.

You can watch how he does over here:


Posted by on Mar 20, 2014 in Tricks Of The Trade | Comments Off on TRICKS OF THE TRADE #5


A column dedicated to “life hacks” from professional magician Jamie D. Grant of



Hiya Gang!

I’m back from doing about a gazillion shows, writing a book, and

playing Vegas; and I’m ready to help all of you out any way I can.

It’s funny. When writing a column about how I’ve ‘hacked’ life

and have achieved super happiness there is a ton of subjects we

could talk about. So far we’ve discussed How to Work a Room,

How to Remember Things, How to Find Something You’ve Lost,

and How to Get Almost Anything You Want. But there’s one thing

that plays on a lot of people’s minds- and that I have some great

insight into…

How to get ripped.

Love it or hate it, we think about our bodies a lot. I think we can

all agree on that. It might not always be good thoughts, but the

thoughts are still there. I mean, how many times a day do we

look in the mirror? And, unless you’ve got supremo awesome

confidence, you’re probably always looking at something that

could improve. For a lot of people, it’s weight: the search for

that six-pack. It’s plagued many of us and it seems like more and

more movie stars and actors are rocking it in our faces. So how do

they do it? And, better yet, how do we do it? How do we shed the

pounds and start looking at ourselves in the mirror with a smile

instead of a stare?

Let me share with you the number one best piece of weightless

advice I’ve ever received:

Losing weight is easy.

Before we all riot, let’s stop and think about it for a second.

I know, I know, there are thousands of different books, magazines,

and people yelling at us from the television that there are secrets

that we don’t know (and must buy) and things we must do that can

only be done in twelve easy instalments. They tell us that we’re

not who we want to be because we don’t have those secrets or

contraptions. But, in the end, I’m afraid it’s not the truth. Because

losing weight is easy. Well, at least from a math standpoint it is:

Eat less. Or burn more. That’s it.

It’s probably Grade 2 math. Addition (Booooo!) and Subtraction

(Yeeeeeah!). I personally like to view my body as an actual

fireplace. There’s only two ways to have a clean fireplace (our

goal): Put less in it, or burn what’s in there faster (by making it

hotter). Addition and subtraction. That’s it.



But if the science of losing weight is Grade 2, then the execution is

mostly likely College. And despite the dropouts, the failed classes,

and those that never even attempt to go, there is a group that not

only do go, but also excel. And it’s that group that we’re going

to hack into. We’re also going to do it by talking about only two


1) Accountability

2) Consistency

There it is. Those are the two secrets of the Hollywood elite that

you never really hear about. You never hear them say, “Well, of

course I was ripped! I knew once that scene was filmed, it would

be viewable forever. For-ever! Like, until the end of time! I had to

make sure I looked good.”

The other one is just as simple: Do something every day. Every

day. Let me repeat that. Every day. I don’t mean you have to hit

the gym every day, but you must do something. Get off the couch.

Take the stairs. Just something to turn your fireplace up a little

hotter. Do more than yesterday. That’s all.

Okay, now that we know what to do, we need to make a plan.

My column will always be about real world application, so let’s

not just talk about it, let’s do it. Here it is:

Make a date in the future (3 months is a great goalpost) and start

telling everyone you can that you’re going to lose “X” amount of

weight by then. Post about it, tweet about it, and tell all of your

friends and family about it. Make sure everyone you know, knows

that you’ve made this goal for yourself. That’s the Accountability

portion. We, as people, for the most part don’t do things because

we want to (work, for example). We do them because of what

happens if we don’t (i.e. starve). In this scenario, we want to put

the fear of embarrassment and shame in our sights. And we want

the stakes to be huge. So tell everyone you know. Make it count.

Now that you’ve done that, we need to take care of number two:

Consistency. Make an “A”, “B”, and “C” plan. “A” would be

gym in the morning and a run at night. “B” would be just one of

them. “C”? “C” is doing a pushup on your lunch break. Something.

Anything. Make sure you do either “A”, “B”, or “C” every single

day. No excuses. No matter what happens, you must make time for

yourself. You deserve it. Consistency. Daily. Burn hotter or put

less in.

Bonus: The things you put in your fireplace burn at different

speeds. Pretty much anything you buy in a bag (chips, plastic

sticks, etc.) will take a long time to burn. Don’t buy things in bags.

Other things burn super fast and make for a beautiful fire, as well:

grass-fed steaks are a great example.

I think that’s about it! As soon as you finish reading this

paragraph, do a pushup. Just one. That’s one more than you did

fifteen seconds ago. Then go look at yourself in the mirror. You’re

a different person than you were fifteen seconds ago, too. Smile.

We’re all rooting for you.


Posted by on May 9, 2013 in Contributors, Highlighted Features, Tricks Of The Trade | Comments Off on TRICKS OF THE TRADE 4 – BETTER LIVING








A column dedicated to “life hacks” from professional magician
Jamie D. Grant of

Hiya Gang!

I had to take last month off to go visit the beautiful island of
Hawaii and now that I’m back, I’ve got a great life hack for you.
It’s so good; I’m actually going to title it:

How to Get Upgraded to First Class, Get the Best Table at a Restaurant, Cut Your Rental Car Cost by 70%, Get The Perfect Girl To Go Out With You, Get a Raise at Work, Score the Best Deal on A New Car, Pay Less at a Hotel the Anyone Else, and Generally Have an Easier Life.

Ask. *



* You have NO IDEA how much I wanted to end the article there.
A one-word article would have been epic!  But I feel I owe you
more so I’ll explain it in a bit of detail.  That said, there’s not much
to tell.  I’ve done all of those things, simply by asking.  That’s it.
When we were in Hawaii, I must have asked the car rental guy,
“C’mon Brian (he was wearing a nametag)!  You’re killing me,
here. What else can you do?” about ten times.  And it went from
$500 to $150.  When we fly, I always say, “A friend told me that
if we’re super nice to you, you can upgrade us. Is that true? And,
before you answer, let me tell you how beautiful you look today.”
Bam! Podlife for two.  It’s that easy.  So this short piece isn’t a cop-
out, it’s simply the truth.  No need to draw it out, I reckon.  So go
out and get it.  I’m asking you.


Posted by on Feb 18, 2013 in Contributors, Highlighted Features, Tricks Of The Trade | Comments Off on TRICKS OF THE TRADE 3 – LOOK NO FURTHER

Image borrowed: Google Images



A column dedicated to “life hacks” from professional magician Jamie D. Grant of

Hiya Gang!

Another month has come and gone!  And I reckon it’s almost time to actually show you guys a magic trick or two.  But, if we can, we’re going to leave save that for next month, as I’d love to give you one more of my “Life Hacks”.

If you read my previous two articles for Prevail, you’ll know we talked about how to approach groups of strangers and how to remember names.  These are the kinds of things that you just don’t learn in school and are things that I, as a professional entertainer, have had to learn the hard way.  Hopefully, I can save all of you some more time and trouble with something I’m calling…

The JDG Sweep.

Okay, the title might need some work but it’s something I use almost daily.  What’s it for?  Losing things.  Well, that’s the problem, actually.  I’m ALWAYS losing things.  So I designed the “JDG Sweep” to help me find whatever it is that I’ve lost.  WAIT!! Before you click away from here thinking this is the lamest article you’ve read, hear me out…

Life is short.  Period.  And one of the goals of my Tricks Of The Trade column is to help lengthen your life.  Not your actual days on Earth necessarily, but by how many days you’ll actually remember.  I want to help you build memories and experiences that will last you a lifetime; and one of those techniques to do that is to eliminate, throughout the entire day, as many things as possible that aren’t as joyous or memorable.  If you’re like me, looking for your %^@^ing house keys or cellphone one more time is on that list.

Okay, sure, putting them in the exact same place every single time when I get home makes the most sense.  But that just isn’t real life.  Sometimes I’m sprinting through the door and other times I can’t even see straight because I’ve been out for the last 24 hours.  So, bear with me, and heed this advice.  If it saves you 10 minutes a week, then that’s over 8 hours a year.  8 hours that can be filled with skydiving and parties instead of on your hand and knees under the couch.

I can sum up the JDG Sweep with one sentence:



This advice can be carried into a lot of other aspects of our lives but today we’ll keep it centered on the retrieval of precious objects (cell phones).  The problem with losing something is when we start to look for it, we revisit the same places over and over.  And over.  And over.  We go to the couch, then to the bedroom, back to the couch, over to the bathroom, back to the couch, etc.  Why?

Because we doubt ourselves.  And this mistake is one that we are hereby eliminating.  Just as we need confidence to approach groups of strangers, we need to build that confidence here at home.  So here’s the thing.  Once you look in/on/under the couch, DO NOT go back.  If you doubt how well you looked, then you need to make sure you perform better.  Check it once, thoroughly, and then trust yourself.  Walk away from there and don’t go back.

Okay, Part 2:


I’ll be honest, I’m starting to feel like Mr. Miyagi here.  We’re learning how to paint, but it’s going to help us kick ass in other areas of life.  I promise.  So this rule is another one you can carry out into the world but here, in the house, it means that you go to a corner.  Literally.  Would you have put your cell in the corner of the living room out in the open and not see it?  No.  But easy victories are needed in life.  Go to that corner.  Confirm that you didn’t throw it there in a fit of rage and forget about it, and check it off your list.  Not in that corner.  Check.  Victory.  Now take a couple of steps out and repeat.  The chair?  Nope.  Couple of steps.  Table?  Nope.   VictoryVictory.  And, remember, you’re not going back there.  Once a spot is cleared, it’s cleared.  Trust yourself.  Simply carry on until you’ve found what you’ve lost.  I guarantee that this will save you precious moments.  With the time you’ve saved, we can fit in one more base jump before we hit the party.

Wax on, wax off,



Posted by on Jan 5, 2013 in Contributors, Highlighted Features, Tricks Of The Trade | Comments Off on TRICKS OF THE TRADE 2 – NAMES, FACES, AND MACK TRUCKS ON FIRE


Photo borrowed from: Google Images

A column from professional magician Jamie D. Grant.

Hey Gang! Welcome back! I hope everyone had an awesome holiday and partied like it was 2012! I also hope you managed, after last month’s column, to break some new ground and meet some new people.

So here’s the question:

What were their names?

Can you remember the names of everyone you were introduced to or met? No? Well, don’t feel bad, because you’re in the same boat as almost the entire population! For whatever reason, memory has never been a focus in our learning and I personally think that’s crazy! As a professional entertainer, there is no better magic trick than seeing someone at a gig or party a year after I was first introduced to them and be able to rock off their name which, I should mention, is always music to their ears. So how do I do it?

There are numerous memory techniques for learning objects, lists, numbers, etc. One of the most popular methods for memorization is called the loci system. In a nutshell, you create a mental path that you walk along and remember objects that you place at specific locations along the way. When you want to remember the list, you just take your mental walk and recall all the items at those specific spots.
Another popular memory technique is the link method. The link method has you link together a list in as a bizarre an imagery as you can muster. Try, for example, to remember these five things. Read the list once, go do something for ten minutes, come back and see if you can recall it…
Light bulb
Golf Club
A Pair of size 10 Air Jordans
Front Door.
Okay, off you go! See you in ten. Try and name those things in the list, aloud, before looking at this screen again.

Alright! How’d you do? You probably got a couple, but how easy was it? Well, we’re going to make it mucho easier, right now.
If we return to the list, we’re going to link everything together with some crazy images in our mind. The wilder the better! For me, I would start with picturing myself trying to play golf with a light bulb. I picture myself holding the light bulb (upside down) and making a swing for the ball. I’m missing it terribly because the light bulb is way too short to make it to the tee. So I’ve already got 2 objects memorized: light bulb and golf club. Now I imagine that at the end of my swing, the light bulb flies out of my hands and hits a pair of Air Jordans that are flying through the air. They’re almost like birds, just flying over the golf course. When my light bulb hits them, they fall to the ground and land in the hole (which is absolutely huge) on the 10th green. It’s so miraculous that the owner of the club (Robert De Niro) runs over and gives me a toaster as a prize. For some reason, it’s dripping with maple syrup all over it. On the side of the toaster is a small front door, like from a mansion. Every time I open and close it, there are brand new hundred dollar bills inside!
Okay, take a break and come back in ten…

Let’s try it now:

What are you holding in your hands at the first tee?
What are you using it as?
What do you hit in the sky?
What size were they?
What did you win?
What’s on the side of it?

Way easier, right? If you want to remember lists and objects, the loci and link will serve you well! Look up some books from Dominic O’Brien, Sal Piacente, or Harry Lorayne. You can’t go wrong and these guys are my favorite authors on the subjects.

When it comes to names, however, I find it a bit more challenging. After all, you’re not in the comfort of your own home reading a list and trying to memorize it. You’re in the heat of battle, at a party with the pressure on. You might want to impress someone or be nervous for some reason. This is memory under fire. So the first thing I do is slow it down, right off the bat.
HOST: “Jamie, this is Emily. Emily, Jamie.”
EMILY: “Hi, Jamie.”
ME: “Stop right there. Let me look at you.” More often than not, people will begin to laugh nervously. “No seriously, I’ve just read an article on memorizing names and I really want to remember yours.” Once you say this, I promise you, you’re golden. Not only is it interesting but people really want to learn it too! You come off as an intriguing person with something to offer the group. It makes for great conversation and gets everyone talking. Exactly what you’re looking for. Also, you’ve taken the pressure off yourself to try and secretly remember everyone’s names since you’re going to do it out in the open.
Here’s what I’m supposed to do, it was Emily, right? I’m supposed to think of someone famous or someone from my past who is also named Emily. In your case, I’m going to use Emily from Grade 9. Ah, she was gorgeous. She was my first love and an amazing person. Now I’m going to picture you both doing something absolutely crazy. Can I ask what your last name is? McIntyre? Okay, I’m going to picture you and my Grade 9 crush driving a Mack truck, you know, like one of those huge semis you see in Ice Road Truckers. You’re driving about 200kph and you’re going to try and jump the Mack truck through a flaming tire, like at a circus. Mack in tire. Yeah, that should do it. Okay, your turn…”

I’ve done this for years and it works like, well, magic. The key is to not be afraid to stop and explain what you’re doing. Associate their first name with someone else you know with that same name. Now, use their last name to make a mental image of what the two of them are going to be doing. The crazier the better!
There you have it! I know that might seem too easy to be true but that’s really all there is to it. That, and practice, practice, practice. Do this with everyone you meet and you’ll get the hang of it, I promise! Happy New Year, everyone! I hope this helps you throughout your life!
Hey, remember that time when Jamie Foxx and I flew out of a genie bottle you were holding and we were Granting people wishes left, right, and center? The first thing we said was “Daaaaaaamn! It’s good to be out! Who wants what?”

Jamie D. Grant
When not remembering your name, Jamie is putting sealed decks of cards inside unaltered milk bottles:


Posted by on Dec 4, 2012 in Highlighted Features, Style & Taste, Tricks Of The Trade | Comments Off on TRICKS OF THE TRADE 1 – WORKING A ROOM

Photo Courtesy of jackmrhughes



A column from professional magician Jamie D. Grant.

Hey Gang- Jamie here! First of all, let me welcome you to and your guide to the good life. This is my first piece for this amazing project so we’re about to embark on this journey together. It’s going to be epic.

Secondly, you should know that I’m a professional magician (and artist). Try and stop your brain from jumping to images of kid’s birthdays and clowns, and instead send it to high-class parties, celebrities, and sheer awesomeness. Basically, the good life.

Lastly, let’s stop counting off and get to something useful. That’s what I’m going to try and do with my, “BAG OF TRICKS” column every month, I’ll try and teach you guys, (and girls) tricks & real-world secrets that you can use in day-to-day and night-to-night life. Let’s hit it…

So you would think as a professional magician, my forte would be card tricks. And, make no mistake; I know a thing or two about a thing or fifty-two. But that’s not exactly my specialty. Nah, if you asked me, I would say my specialty is the ability to approach groups of strangers and invade their space. If you stop and think about it, I actually get paid to walk up to strangers at functions and interrupt them. The thing is, to really earn that living, I have to make damn sure that, in the end, they’re glad I did. I need to leave them laughing, smiling, and in a better place than when I arrived. So how do I do that? Or, more importantly, how do you do that? Especially if you don’t know any card tricks? Let’s take a look…

You’re at a party at a friend’s house. It’s an apartment, you know the host, but you came by yourself because your other friends bailed. It’s already in full swing and there’s about eighty people split into groups of three or four.

Step 1) Get a drink or, better yet, find a glass as you brought your own alcohol. Having a glass in your hand helps provide a bit of distraction.

Step 2) Don’t search out the host. Odds are they greeted you at the door but, if they haven’t, don’t run and find them. You’ll catch up with them later as a back-up plan (i.e. getting them to introduce you) if you absolutely have to.

Step 3) Check out the groups. This might seem like a simple task but really look at the people around you. Down a drink from your glass and take your time. Do some look friendlier than others? Can you catch snippets of conversation that you can use? Who’s looking at whom? You need to harness you inner James Bond and, instead of standing uncomfortably, use this private moment by yourself to your advantage.

Step 4) Okay, once you’ve decided on the group that you think is going to be the most receptive, you’ve going to make your move. If you heard some of their conversation, this is going to be easy, “Sorry to interrupt, but were you guys talking about Puerto Vallarta? I’m going next month. Can you recommend the best place to stay? My name’s Jamie, by the way.” If, however, you’re breaking the group blind, you’re going to have to take a breath, put on a smile, and dive right in. Start with an apology to get them on side.“Hey, sorry to interrupt, but has anyone seen John (the host)? I don’t know a single person here and need some introductions or something. I’m Jamie. Who are all of you, though?” It’s important to appear, for lack of a more manly term, playful. If you saunter in and simply go, “Hey.” with a head nod, odds are you’ll be staring at people’s backs. People will welcome you if they feel you’re safe and can offer the group something they want. Fun. Just don’t be a clown. There’s a fine line there and you need to find it. The easiest way is to follow the formula: Apology, Question, Introduction.

Step 5) Have more questions locked and loaded. You need to become a small-talk ninja. Don’t be that guy that says, “Oh, okay.” Be the guy that says, “Really, you’ve got to tell me more about that. What exactly do you mean?” Or, “You look familiar. Have you ever been to prison? No? Where do you work? I know people hate that question but you look familiar…” The “I know you from somewhere” line is also one of the great secrets of schmoozing as it lets you blast out a ton of information about yourself extremely quickly, “Did we meet at a magic gig, by any chance? How about Crossfit, do you do that? Do you ride a Ducati?” etc.

And once you’re in a group, don’t be afraid to move on and use the information you just got to enter into others. “Sorry to interrupt, but do any of you know Ted over there? I can’t believe he actually skydives naked. Hey, we haven’t met actually, I’m Jamie.”

Study the groups first. Look for people with an easy laugh.

Smile. No one wants to get to know the serious guy.

Say your name. Give them someone to meet. And learn theirs.

Ask an open-ended question. Instead of  “Aren’t you the girl in HR?” try, “How did you get started in Human Resources?”

Have fun. And if you’re not, fake it. You’ll be amazed how you can magically transform your act into the truth.

Jamie D. Grant has fun all the time. Mostly at