How to present a magic trick

One of the common things you might hear from magicians about performing a great magic trick is the need not just for great technique, but also for great presentation.

First, what do we mean by presentation when it comes to magic tricks? We not only want to impress the audience with technique, but also to leave them amazed and entertained. How can we do it?

Below, I’m going to share with you 7 tips on presenting a magic trick!

1. Master the technique for the trick or prop 

Before we can even begin to think about flourishes or added elements of our performance, we must first master the technique of the trick until it becomes second nature. 

How to do a magic trick

Once we do that, it will free up our brains to add on some creative elements to our performance. Some tricks or techniques are more difficult to master – particularly in close-up magic, like magic tricks with cards, coins, sponge balls and cups. With others, the technique or manual manipulation might be easier, especially if they have an automatic mechanism or can be operated electronically. Either way, technique must be mastered first since a mistake or an exposure of the secret during the performance will wreck everything else. 

2. Be a storyteller

Great technique is crucial, but technique alone can be boring. 

How to do a magic trick
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Once technique is mastered, start thinking of creative ways to present the trick to the audience. The best magicians performing and presenting a magic trick are storytellers. A story can help you bring the trick to the next level – from great to amazing! Also, storytelling can help you add your signature to that specific magic trick. 

3. Build expectation

You can build the audience’s expectations by explaining at the outset what they are about to see – the more outrageous or unbelievable, the better.

How to do a magic trick
Build expectation - Magic tricks

Example: “I have a deck of cards in my hands, and I am going to read the mind of someone today. So I would like to ask someone to pick a card…. Please, take one and show it to everyone!” (For instance, one audience member shuffles the deck and hands it back to you, and then another audience member takes a Seven of Diamonds, but you don’t see it.) 

4. Maintain the audience’s attention

Develop the trick by adding some meaning to it. Here you may insert your storytelling abilities. 

How to do a magic trick
How to present a magic trick

Modulate your voice – raising it to capture the audience’s attention. You are about to impart important information! They are all ears. Move your head back and forth, making eye contact with audience members. This also can serve to distract the audience from whatever manipulation you might be doing to the trick or deck of cards with your hands.
Example: “Since I was a little boy, I had a love of cards. So I started studying this amazing world of magic with cards. As I grew older, I discovered that I had such a deep and magical connection with the cards that if just one card was missing from the deck, I could figure out which one it was.” 

5. Remind the audience what just took place in order to build expectations even higher

How to do a magic trick
How to present a magic trick

Example: “Remember, you just mixed the deck of cards. The other person took one card without me seeing it. So it is impossible for me to know what the card is. But as I told you before, I have a mystical connection with the deck of cards.” 

6. Slow down the rhythm – lower expectations

Lower the audience’s expectations and reactions in order to set them up for the grand finale. 

How to do a magic trick
How to present a magic trick

For instance, pretend to make a mistake or to struggle on the delivery on the original expectation that you had set up.
Example: “I can sense the card that you took and that the one that is missing is a…. Five… no, Seveeen… no, I apologize, this has never happened to me before. I can’t sense the card very clearly. It is a Four of Spades? No? It is not?” 

7. Grand finale

Finish with a grand finale that lifts reactions to the highest level yet – revealing that you were in control the whole time, but with a twist. 

How to do a magic trick
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You zigged when the audience zagged. For instance, once they show you the card – the Seven of Diamonds – the audience will think that you messed up. Expectations will have dropped very low. This is where you amaze them with the reveal – the big effect! Example: “You are right! And as I mentioned, my connection with the cards is so powerful, that I can predict which one will go missing.” Here you pick up an envelope that was sitting on your magic table in view the entire time. You open the envelope and show them a piece of paper that reads – “The only card missing in this deck is the Seven of Diamonds!” 

I believe these points are the most important ones for developing any magic trick or routine. Always practice the techniques, the story and a great, unexpected finale to entertain and amaze your audience!

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