Hello fellow mentalists,
I noticed an interesting phenomenon that further reinforced the idea of "Think effect first" as commonly said by Richard Osterlind. For a long time I have done a center tear routine in which I asked the subject to just think of any word. Of course I got good reactions, but I have varied my routine as I became more and more comfortable with the mechanics. I decided it would be more interesting if I talked a little bit about the outbreak of WWI and all of the convoluted alliances therein, how a tiny bullet, a piece of metal could set in place such a wave of disaster and destruction. I then proceeded to have them think of any nation involved in that conflict, and actually have gotten much better reactions. The lesson is that even though to me as a mentalist thinking of something from more possible choices is more impressive, if you think of effect first, limiting their choices can paradoxically make the effect better, especially if your patter is interesting and gets them intellectually invested in the effect. I am constantly working on seeing my effects from the spectators point of view.
For good routines on the center tear, consult Banachek's Psi Series, and Corinda's 13 Steps to Mentalism.
I am, therefore...