you're dead on about the irony...though i'm not sure how I feel about that word ;)
I think that the preconceptions do not matter when you are performing. The product is in front of them, they judge on that.
Likewise, agree that your own earned confidence is the most important factor in every situtation.
That said, what I have in mind are social and professional situations -- situations in which you have no intention of performing, or, at least, no intention of performing without being asked -- in which it is in your interest to quickly mold the listener's perception of what you do.
On a cold call. At a trade association or chamber of commerce mixer. While sitting in a bar.
What I try to do is to shape their judgement of the quality and value of what I do before saying the word "magic." I'm interested in other people's approach.
This is the long version that I've been working on recently (i.e. this version isn't right for every situation, but every situation uses some element that is in this version):
Q: What do you do?
A: Think about an event where everything went smoothly...but the night felt ordinary and predictable...like there was something missing...
I help companies like the Hard Rock Casino, Yellow Book, Champs Sports, and USAA add a "wow" to their events.
During the [censored] hour, I use magic to break the ice, give guests something interesting to talk about, and fill the room with energy. After dinner, my interactive show ends the night with a bang."
The debate in my head, which led me to post the original question, was whether or not to say "I am a magician. I help companies like..."
or "I help companies like..." (as above)
reading John's thoughts about the power of the word magician...i'm going back towards that version...thanks for your thoughts