1) First, learn the art of magic
To perform mentalism you must have the knowledge of magic principles. First, you need to learn magic, then you will learn mental magic and in the end pure mentalism. Mentalism frequently applies tricks and techniques used in magic. You need not be an expert magician to become a professional mentalist. Knowledge of important magic principles prepares you for mentalism.
2) Learn the mentalism tricks
Buy books like Annemann’s Practical Mental Effects and Corinda’s 13 Steps to Mentalism and video lectures which teach mentalism. After you have the knowledge of magic it is easy to understand mentalism. Mentalism does not use complex sleights used in magic. Comparatively, mentalism tricks are easy to learn than magic tricks.
3) Present like a mentalist and not like a magician
The presentation is the most complex part of mentalism. Watch the performance of best mentalists in the world and see how they convince the audience about the power of their mind even if they really doing a sleight of hand. Do not present like a magician if you want to project yourself a pure mentalist.
4) Learn about mind, psychology, body language
Read books about psychology, working of the human mind, conscious and sub-conscious mind, gather knowledge of body language reading, learn about NLP. Use this knowledge and apply it in your day to day conversation with other people.
5) Learn maths tricks, memory techniques, mind tricks
Mentalist must always sound smart and the quickest way to show it is to perform mental calculations correctly and swiftly. Learn fast math tricks, learn memory techniques like peg system to remember the long list of things. Learn about a human calendar, making a magic square in few seconds.
6) Learn about cold reading
As per Wikipedia cold reading is a set of techniques used by mentalists to imply that he knows much more about the person than he actually does.Without prior knowledge, a practiced cold-reader can quickly obtain a great deal of information by analyzing the person’s body language, age, clothing or fashion, hairstyle, gender, sexual orientation, religion, race or ethnicity, level of education, the manner of speech, place of origin, etc. Try to learn as much cold reading as possible.
7) Train your mind
Develop the sharpness of your mind by solving riddles and puzzles. Learn to solve Rubik’s cube. Work on your deductive reasoning and critical thinking skills. Learn about probability and its practical application in everyday life. All of these are things that can help you increase your mind power.
8) Learn Hypnotism
If you wish to go an extra mile then learn the art of hypnotism. A mentalist with hypnosis skills is like cream on the strawberries. Hypnotism is such an impactful skill that it instantly establishes you as a professional hypnotist/mentalist. If you know hypnotism you can showcase your mentalism skills anytime anywhere with no use of props.
– Amit Kalantri (Magician & Mentalist)