Is It the Reaction You Want?

Is It the Reaction You Want?

Calling someone a nasty word gets a reaction. But is it the reaction you want?

And the same question could be asked of your magic.

Something may ‘work’ but does it work to get you the reaction you want.

Sponge balls work, sponge rabbits ‘work’ - but do you want to be known as the sponge rabbit guy?

Let me explain…

“Hey - it’s MAGIC MAN”

When I was in high school, I did magic all the time.

In my later high school years I became popular, not for being cool, or funny - but because I could do magic. I was often stopped on my way to classes to show people a trick.

I got invited to house parties and would always hear “diid you bring cards with you?” after walking through the door.

I realised then, that I was probably invited only because I knew magic - and maybe not for any other reason.

People would find it hard to remember my name (Geraint is a hard name), so instead they defaulted to…

  • “Hey, it’s magic man.”
  • “Hey magic man, show my girlfriend a trick.”
  • “Hey, where do I know you from? Oh yeah, you’re the magic guy, with the cards.”

Some people relish this title - but I personally didn’t want my ‘entire’ identity to be defined by the fact that knew a few good magic tricks.

So I pulled back and stopped ‘leading’ with magic first… and it worked.


Magic is so unique, so special - that it’s impossible to not be known for a trick that you performed for someone.

So that trick, whatever you choose, will be defining in their mind.

If you do a coin trick, you’re the magic coin guy.

If you have a paddle and catch 3 flies from the air on it - you’ll be known as the magic fly person that they met in the bar.

So what you choose to perform is very important and worth deep consideration.


If you want to be known as a comedy magician, then a banana routine with a magic reveal is a great opener.

But if you want to be considered ‘deep’ & ‘artistic’ then producing ‘wife vanishing powder’ won’t fit your intentions.

This week’s thought-exercise for you, is to choose which kind of reaction you want to evoke in people.

Then take a look at the material you currently perform & consider whether this works towards or against your overall goal.

If you’re a brooding, propless mentalist, it doesn’t make sense for the third trick you show someone to be ‘linking rings’ - it will get a good reaction - but it probably isn’t the reaction you want.

The same can be said for a close-up magician. After 3 card tricks, it doesn’t make sense to go to your car to get some spirit slates & contact the dead.


Perform a normal double turnover and show them the 3 of spades, turn it back over so that the top card is now an indifferent card.

  1. You place it in their hand, wave over the card & ask them to turn it over. That’s a magic reveal evoking magic reactions.

  2. You place it in their hand, talk about attention, misdirection & the hands being quicker than the eye. That’s a skill-based WTF reaction to them not ‘catching’ you as you switched it.

  3. You place it in their hand & talk about controlling someone’s mind, or hypnotically being able to suggest that they’re looking at a completely different card when it’s not. They saw you hand them the 3 of spades - but now when they turn it over, they’re hypnotised, they’ll swear it’s not the 3. That creates a mentalism-style reaction.

Of course that waffle is just to demonstrate that you can cultivate different reactions from methods you already know - based on how you present the trick. 

... And how you present the trick, is how you present yourself. 


Found that interesting? Leave a comment below and let us know if you want more of this kind of content. 

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Jager Steel

Jager Steel

Certainly, I find this content engaging and would appreciate its continuation.

Bernice K.Comer

Bernice K.Comer

Enjoyed your advise. I have been working with kids to learn magic tricks to perform a magic show. They have been working hard on it all this week.
Tomorrow they get to do it at their magic show. I am looking forward to the event.

Enrique Preciado

Enrique Preciado

Love these articles, definitely motivates me to revisit some old effects that I wrote off.

Larry Powers

Larry Powers

Although I’ve been in magic for over 6 decades, I find these essays inspiring. Thank you for taking the time to write them and share your thoughts and opinions.



Same thing happened to me in high school. I felt that many people wanted to be friendly with me only because I did magic. I didn’t want that to happen in college so in college I didn’t let on that I knew magic. And I didn’t do magic for many years until my son had a birthday party and I dug out the tricks and entertained his friends at his birthday party. Then I had the pleasure of watching him develop an interest in magic!

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