Like many other professions, the mark of a truly-skilled mentalist is that they make their job look effortless. A familiarity with your trade and confidence in your skills belie the complex mechanisms that are going on inside your skull.
The only problem with this high-level, smooth execution is that it can conceal what is really going on in the process of a mentalist interacting with their audience. To help you understand what you will need to get to this point, here are five skills that mentalists use to make their job look easy:
A Desire to Learn
With close-up magic, practice makes perfect. The same is true of mentalism, but a lot more research is needed before your practices can even be effective. After all, you do not want to exhaust the good will of friends and family who volunteer as “guinea pigs” by wildly going in many different directions when you try to apply your budding skills.
Instead, read up on behavioral psychology. Pay particular attention to how emotions and thought affect the body language, facial expressions and general demeanor of your subjects. The more literature you absorb on the subject, the quicker you will be able to recognize and learn from the more nuanced real life examples.
A mentalist is a detective. In fact, Sherlock Holmes used many of the same skills a mentalist uses in order to quickly deduce things about his suspects and clients. Naturally, Sherlock is fictional, but Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ingenious writing lent us an excellent model of someone who lets nothing escape their notice.
Be like Sherlock! Try to soak in everything you possibly can about someone just based on subtle aspects like their clothing, breathing patterns, build, accent and general personality. Even something unassuming like a hat can reveal stunning revelations in the hands of a skilled observer.
Be Patient and Calm
When trying to read someone with mentalism skills, the last thing you want to do is show what you are trying to do. Letting the subject in on your thought process allows them to mislead you with targeted responses or control physical “tells.” Instead, you must keep them guessing and also encourage them to let down their guard so that their emotions are more transparent.
You cannot accomplish any of these goals if you get frustrated by wrong guesses or if you plunge headfirst into deductions too early. Always take a moment to consider what your next move will be, especially as you are first starting out. Rethinking something instead of blurting it out can save a bad reading and help it recover into a good one.
Work Well with People
A common trait among mentalists, at least ones that aren’t like Holmes, is that they “disarm” their audience and their subjects by acting friendly and candid. Part of being entertaining is having an engaging presence, even when you are simply greeting your audience.
Use your research and observation to not only work on deducing what people are thinking, but also to learn how to warm them up to you and make you more likable during performances in general.
Never Give Up on Being a Mentalist in Miami
Persistence is just as important as patience. Everyone has a rocky start, and the path to true skill is always bumpy. Keep at it, and eventually your talent will equal or surpass your ambitions.
You can take some cues from Mio if you want to learn more about being a mentalist in Miami by visiting our videos page.