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Jono Blythe: Magician | Winning Them Over (The Guy at Smiths)

Living in London as a magician, I had the opportunity to perform at a prestigious event hosted by sports promoters at Smiths of Smithfield. The venue was filled with wealthy individuals, adorned in opulent attire, puffing on cigars, and dripping with bling. It was a day to remember, and little did I know that one encounter would highlight the importance of winning over the audience.

As I mingled through the crowd, I noticed a dapper-looking lad with short spiky hair accompanied by a stunning young lady. His overconfident demeanor was hard to miss, clearly trying to impress his companion. Intrigued, I decided to perform one of my signature tricks for this duo.

The trick involved borrowing a finger ring from the young lady, an act that required trust and cooperation. However, from the moment I took the ring in my right hand and placed it in my left, the confident lad became an eager critic.

"He's still got it in that hand," he exclaimed, pointing accusatively at my right hand. Ignoring his skepticism, I proceeded with the trick.

Holding up my left hand, I gave a subtle blow to create an air of anticipation.

"He palmed it into that hand, that's what magicians do," he asserted, still gesturing towards my right hand. It seemed he was more interested in exposing the trick rather than enjoying the performance. Undeterred, I opened my left hand, revealing it to be empty.

"See, I told you," he concluded, satisfied with his own deduction.

However, I then turned to face him and very slowly opened my right hand. No ring. The look on his face was absolutely priceless. He immediately withdrew and became silent, but was still trying to save what was left of his image.

But the trick was far from over. To bring back the vanished ring, I reached into my inside jacket pocket and pulled out my wallet. The audience's anticipation grew, but this lad, now quiet and distant, pretended to drink from an empty glass, avoiding eye contact. He wanted the trick to be over so he could salvage his image and chances with the young lady.

Opening the wallet, I unzipped the middle compartment and retrieved a small sealed envelope. To my surprise, I noticed a subtle glimmer of interest in the lad's eyes. He couldn't openly acknowledge it, of course, as his ego was at stake. His attention shifted towards the envelope, waiting for the inexplicable to unfold.

"Now, sir," I said, interrupting his preoccupied state, "If you would be so kind as to..."

Before I could finish my sentence, he impatiently snatched the envelope from me and swiftly passed it to his lady friend, urging her to open it. Sensing the opportunity for a reengagement, I intervened, asking her to hand the envelope back to me.

"I think I'd like you to open it," I said, offering the envelope to the lad once again.

Letting out an exasperated sigh, he begrudgingly took it from me and tore it open with a hint of anticipation. As he emptied the contents into his hand, the lady's ring fell into his palm. "Yeah, yeah, very good," he muttered dismissively, turning his attention back to the young lady.

One might think that this marked the end of our interaction. However, about half an hour later, as I walked past a group of guys, I felt a tug on my elbow. It was the lad from earlier. For a brief moment, I anticipated confrontation or demands for an explanation of the trick. Instead, he leaned in and whispered quietly,

"Awesome trick, buddy, well done," before returning to his friends.

This encounter left me with a sense of liberation. Getting an audience on your side, even if it's just one person, is an incredible achievement. It's not about showing them up or damaging their ego, but rather about entertaining and creating a connection. The key to winning them over is to demonstrate that your objective as a magician is to provide a captivating experience and leave them with a sense of wonder and enjoyment.

In the case of the lad at Smiths, it was crucial for me to bring him back into the performance. I wanted him to reengage and realise that the trick was not about proving him wrong or diminishing his ego. It was about showcasing the artistry of magic and inviting him to be a part of that experience.

By handing him the envelope and entrusting him with the task of opening it, I was giving him a role to play. This simple act was a subtle way of communicating that his participation mattered and that he was an integral part of the trick's resolution. It was an invitation to suspend disbelief and embrace the wonder of magic.

When he finally witnessed the reappearance of the ring, his initial skepticism transformed into awe. The look on his face was priceless as the realisation dawned upon him that he had been taken on an extraordinary journey. In that moment, his ego took a backseat, and genuine admiration for the magic took hold.

What struck me was his whispered acknowledgment later in the evening. Despite his initial reluctance to show it openly, he recognised the artistry and skill behind the trick. His quiet compliment was an acknowledgement of the connection we had established through the shared experience of magic. It was a moment of mutual respect, where he appreciated the entertainment I had provided.

This encounter taught me a valuable lesson about the importance of winning over your audience. Whether you are a magician, a performer, or simply someone trying to engage others, getting them on your side is about creating a connection, fostering a sense of involvement, and ultimately, providing an enjoyable experience.

When people feel included, valued, and entertained, they become more receptive and open to the magic you have to offer. It's not just about the tricks themselves but about the way you engage with your audience and make them feel like an essential part of the performance. That's the true artistry of entertainment.

The story of the lad at Smiths with the ring trick serves as a reminder of the significance of getting your audience on your side. By involving them, acknowledging their presence, and creating an enchanting experience, you can transcend skepticism and win over even the most skeptical observers. Remember, it's not just about the tricks; it's about the connection you forge and the memories you leave behind.

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