While I often teach how to perform mental feats, especially over in the Mental Gym, it's also important to get an idea of how professionals present them.
In the past, you've seen how performers including Maths Busking and Dr. Arthur Benjamin. Today's post features some other professional performers of mental feats.
First, we have Anton Zellman, who has made a good long living as a trade show performers, using his mind to entertain and educate prospective clients.
Because it's one of my favorite mental challenges, check out his Day For Any Date video. Watch it once just to see the performance, then watch it again to pick up on the finer details. For example, note that he only gives dates in two recent years (1990 and 1991 in the video). I have no doubt he could handle many more years, but this limitation makes the feat current, quicker to do, and easier to verify using only the 2 calendars hanging behind him.
Also, notice that he teaches how to do the effect. He's not performing a magic trick, and he's not trying give the impression that he's superior to you. He's simply showing that the boundaries of the human mind are much bigger than we may think. The multiplication table analogy is a wonderful tool to get the idea across of how something that seems hard can quickly become much easier with practice.
Among Anton Zellman's other videos are ones on remembering names and memorizing lists. There are also other videos on Zellman's own website. Watch these, keeping in mind that he's working in an environment where you often have only seconds to attract and keep the attention of attendees. If you don't engage it, that's a potential lost sale.
Scott Flansburg, also known as the Human Calculator, performs amazing mathematical feats for business meeting, schools, and, fortunately for us, the occasional TV appearance. Here's his appearance on a Discovery Channel program called More Than Human:
A few of the feats you see on there can be learned right here on Grey Matters, including the long division feat and the cube root feat.
Again, the attitude here is important. Just like with Anton Zellman, he's sharing, not showing off. Indeed, the most recent tweet (well, retweet) from Scott Flansburg at this writing says:
RT @haleymillsap: Work for a cause, not for applause. Live life 2 express, not 2 impress. Don't strive 2 make your presence noticed, mak ...— Scott Flansburg (@HumanCalculator) September 13, 2012
Now, in the video clip above, there is a large show-off component, because that's the nature of the show. Even in that clip, however, there's footage of him showing kids how they can do impressive feats on their own, such as adding a large column of 2-digit numbers in their head.
You can get a better idea of Scott Flansburg's performances in the video section of his site, as well as his YouTube channel.
Even if you don't do any of the specific feats shown in any of these videos, take the time to look through and enjoy them. Also, step back and examine just how the audience is brought into the performance and engaged. Often, the tips you discover in this way can help boost the performance of a wide variety of feats.