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Qualifying Your Audience: Insights from Magician Jono Blythe

As a magician, the ability to engage with your audience is crucial to the success of your performance. However, not all audiences are created equal, and knowing how to qualify them beforehand is key. This was a lesson that I learned several years ago when I was a demonstrator for Marvin's Magic at Hamley's in London, and it was recently reinforced during a booking where I performed for a group of students at their student union.


Walking into the student union, I could immediately tell that this was not going to be the easiest audience to engage with - because there wasn't one, the whole place was empty. Once small groups started arriving, it was difficult to gauge whether or not they were interested in my performance. However, having learned the importance of qualifying my audience, I knew that I needed to adapt my approach in order to connect with them.


Qualifying your audience means taking the time to understand their interests, attitudes, and behaviors before you even start your performance. This can involve doing research beforehand, observing the audience before you begin, and even asking questions to get a better sense of who they are and what they might be interested in.


In the case of the student union, I knew that the students were primarily there to socialise and blow off steam. So, rather than trying to force them to focus on my magic tricks, I incorporated their interests into my performance. I started by doing some simple tricks, which immediately caught their attention. From there, I was able to gradually build up to more complex tricks and illusions that kept them engaged throughout the rest of the performance.


By qualifying my audience and adapting my approach accordingly, I was able to turn what could have been a lacklustre performance into a memorable experience for everyone involved. This is a lesson that applies not just to magicians, but to anyone who needs to engage with an audience, whether it's a speaker at a conference, a salesperson trying to sell a product, or a teacher trying to connect with students.


In order to qualify your audience effectively, it's important to be observant, adaptable, and empathetic. Pay attention to the cues your audience is giving you, and don't be afraid to adjust your approach if you sense that they are not responding positively. Remember that your ultimate goal is to connect with your audience and create a meaningful experience for them, and the only way to do that is to understand who they are and what they care about.


Qualifying your audience is a crucial skill for anyone who wants to engage with others effectively. As a magician, it's especially important to understand your audience's interests and attitudes in order to create a performance that will capture their attention and keep them engaged. By taking the time to observe and adapt, you can create a memorable experience that will leave a lasting impression on your audience.


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