A Year of Stories: “Professional Courtesy”

A Year of Stories with Brian Miller - Professional Courtesy

Posted by on July 17, 2016

A professional magician showed up at an event that was open to the public. He knew I was performing close-up magic that evening and asked to see a trick. I am always honored when another magician wants to see me work, so I was happy to oblige.

I launched into one of my favorite and most powerful pieces of coin magic. What happened next was mind blowing for all the wrong reasons. He reached over and physically adjusted my hand in the middle of the trick.

“This is the proper position,” he stated.

David Tennant The Doctor stunned reaction gif

I was stunned.

He could have waited until the end of my evening, or sent me a message later offering a suggestion, if he believed that my technique needed work. (And I’m sure that it did!)

Even if I would have been put off by the unsolicited advice, that would have been a more respectful way of going about it.

But to physically adjust my hand position in the middle of a paid, professional performance? It was inappropriate in every way.

I stared at him and, with nothing else to say, stopped performing on the spot.

The lesson?

Most importantly: avoid offering unsolicited advice. I don’t know anybody who appreciates that. This is especially true if you do not have an established personal relationship with the person.

If you still feel compelled to offer feedback, be very careful to choose the correct time, place, and tone.

How something is said is so much more important than what is said.

Until next time,


Share your own experiences in the comments section below, and don’t forget to sign up to get a new story every Sunday!

Brian Miller

Brian Miller

Brian Miller is a Connecticut youth motivational speaker who travels the country sharing his message and magic with high school and college students . His TEDx talk "How to Magically Connect with Anyone" is one of the most popular in history.
Brian Miller

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