How to Meet a Stranger - Part 1


Elite Member
Aug 31, 2007
Hi again.

Have you ever met someone and the interaction was awkward? Well hopefully this can help.


(added below for those who are not allowed access to the blogs area)

Part 2 thread:
How to Meet a Stranger - Part 1: Earn the Right

I will be honest with you. I'm a youth Pastor.

I know that may shut some of you off to anything I have to day, dismissing it as irrelevant, however, what I am about to talk about will hopefully stir some thoughts for you.

In my ministry I meet new people every week. New people at church on Sunday, new people on Wednesday Nights, and new people on Friday nights. This is not including the new people I meet in everyday life situations just like everybody else.

Truth be told, I always found it difficult to meet new people. What do you talk about? How do I avoid that awkward conversation? Well, I’m going to share a few things I’ve learned and that help me. I don’t lay claim to these ideas. Some of them come from others who have shared with me, and I’m sure much has been written about the subject.

But here are three things that might make it easier for you:

1. You must earn the right.
2. People love to talk about themselves.
3. How a Desk, Ice cream, and Skis can help you meet a stranger.

You Must Earn the Right.

I used to tour with a traveling dinner theatre across western Canada. Every night we were billeted out to different homes for a quick word with our hosts, and then a short sleep before we met the next morning to hit the road again.

One of these hosts shared with me a very valuable piece of information. He said “Justin, you have to earn the right to preach the gospel.” As a young Christian at the time, these words were profound to me. I loved to share my faith to anyone with ears. This man (also a Christian) shared those words with me which helped me to stop thinking about myself first, and really consider the thoughts of others.

Now the gospel is offensive to some, so it makes sense to apply this advice to sharing the gospel, but how does this apply to myself for my magic?

I’m glad you asked.

I believe this advice applies to any relation that you have. If you want to have an honest, legitimate conversation about anything beyond a superficial level, then you must earn the right first.

Imagine your audience. Why should they spend time with you? Why should they care about what you are doing?
This is the point of having a flashy opener in a routine. To grab attention and show that you are a legitimate performer. This helps to earn you the right to continue your show. But there should be more.

It has been said that “you only get one chance to make a good first impression.” As a performer, doing walk around, busking, or stage magic, this is so important to consider.
How do you present yourself to the person you are meeting? Are you loosing respect from that person in the way that you present yourself? I remember sitting with my girlfriend (now my wife) in the university mall, and a kid dressed in torn jeans and a t shirt, came up to us with a beat up tattered deck in his hands and asked to show us a card trick. He did a transposition trick, then asked us for some money so he could buy lunch.
Even as a magician, it was a strange experience. Having a random person approach me and awkwardly go into a trick.

Another adage I’ve heard before is “People do not care about how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Awww, isn’t that sweet. But in reality, if you are just another sales pitch or canned performer, people don’t want to make time for you. But when you convey to your audience that you recognize that they are people. It comes down to performing for people, not at people. When you start your show or approach a table, make sure you show some authenticity and care for people. Get to know names, and remember them. Ask them about their evening etc. All of these things will help to convey to your audience that you see them as people, not just your meal ticket.

As a performer, do you struggle with trying to earn the right to share your craft? How do you bear the ice, and show them you care about them?

Read Part 2
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