TRICKS OF THE TRADE 1 – WORKING A ROOM
Photo Courtesy of jackmrhughes
TRICKS OF THE TRADE
A column from professional magician Jamie D. Grant.
Hey Gang- Jamie here! First of all, let me welcome you to PrevailPrevail.com 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…
THE SET UP:
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.”
THINGS TO REMEMBER:
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 www.SendWonder.com