With Toronto’s annual magic convention, The Browser’s Bash, right around the corner, Jonah sits down for episode 157 to give you ten tips on maximizing your magic convention experience.

Ten Things to Remember for Magic Conventions

1. Relationships Over Advice

Whether the convention is one day or three, you will probably have the opportunity to interact with multiple magicians during your time there. While you may be getting good advice from one person, you may be missing out on the chance to develop meaningful relationships with other magicians.

2. Do Your Research

Before you attend the convention, you will want to conduct research on the performers and lecturers–they’ve been asked to headline the convention for a reason, after all. If you decided to skip a lecture or performance because you don’t know who they are, then you may miss out on valuable information.

3. Seek First to Understand, and Then to be Understood

Taken from Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, you should try to understand who the other person is before you try to help yourself. By having someone show you something, you can get a sense of who they are and then decide if they can help you improve yourself.

4. What are you working on?

Don’t ask “What can I help you with?” because it doesn’t signal that you’re paying attention to what they’re doing. Similarly, “Show me something” may result in them showing you a gag trick or something that doesn’t show who they are as a performer. By asking “What are you working on?” or “What are you currently playing with?”, you get the best sense of who they are as it’s the effect that is currently occupying their time.

5. How to Give Advice

First of all, you should only give advice if you’re asked. You can offer to give them advice, but launching in to a criticism of their work will only come across as a hostile rather than helpful or supportive.

When you are giving advice, give them a compliment sandwich. Say something nice, give the negative and how they may go about fixing it, and then say something nice again so you finish on a positive.

6. Tricks to Bring

When preparing for a convention, magicians often prepare for magic conventions by bringing a technically challenging, deceptive trick that doesn’t necessarily show who they are. Instead of that, Jonah recommends bringing:

  1. A trick that he wants help with
  2. A trick he is confident in fully performing
  3. A magician fooler

7. How to Ask for Help and How to Ask for Advice

When you’re at the convention, you want people to know that you want their advice. So, ask them. But, tell them why you want their advice so that they know why they are super valuable to you. If they’re really good at a certain type of trick that relates to what you’re working on, then let them know that’s why you’re seeking out their advice.

8. Little Wins

Because the goal of the convention is to make relationships, you want to leave each person you meet with some sort of little win. Whether this be giving them the advice they need, directing them to a book that will help them improve, or connecting them with a person who may have the solution they need, you can leave them with a little win that will have them remembering you helped make them stronger.

9. Bathroom & Food

There may be a moment where you find yourself talking to someone that you just don’t want to be talking to. Or perhaps you want to move on to the next person but you find yourself trapped in conversation. Either way, if you need to slip away, tell them you need to use the washroom or grab a bite to eat. Just remember to grab a piece of contact info.

10. The Followup

After the convention, you need to follow up with the people you met if you want to keep those connections. Did you promise someone you’d send them relevant information? Send the information! Did somebody give you some valuable information at the convention? Thank them! By reaching out, you can show you’re a valuable resource which will help cement the relationship as most people don’t followup nowadays.

Questions for the Conventions

  1. Who has impressed you so far at this convention? 
  2. What are you trying to get out of this convention?
  3. Now that you’ve seen what I do, who do you think I should meet?
  4. If we were to meet a year from now, and you were celebrating something in magic, what would you be celebrating?

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