Have you thought about getting into stage hypnotism?  What would you leave behind in order to fulfill that desire?  If you had told me when I was 18 years old that one day I would learn to hypnotize people and make a career of it, I would have laughed at you.  Well, I'm not laughing now.

In this video, I tell my story of how I came to hypnotism as a career.

Let's clarify "long demonstration" to mean any presentation you give that is longer than 30 minutes.  You might be a guest speaker at a psychology class, or presenting at a MeetUp group.  In a long demonstration, you are the invited speaker, and you will be holding the group's attention for the majority of the meeting.  The outline that follows is organized so that you will both entertain and educate your audience.

Start with a Pre-Talk

  • Show them you are knowledgeable.
    • Share some of the facts and the science behind hypnosis.
    • Tell them about what you've done in the world of hypnotism.
  • Show them you are trustworthy.
    • Talk about what you love about the work you do.
    • Use humor to deflect their fears about hypnosis.
  • Dangle the carrot.
    • Present a clear reward they would get from experiencing hypnosis today.

II.  Warm up their brains with an exercise.

  • Whole group is best.  Less pressure on individuals, yet more peer pressure to participate if everyone is involved.
    • The "magnetic fingers" suggestibility test is great for this.
    • Do not frame it as a test!
      • People fear failing tests.  Frame it as an exercise, and craft language that everybody has some level of suggestibility.
  • Use your observational skills.
    • This is not something to just go through routinely.  You are working the crowd and looking for higher suggestibility candidates.

III.  Select a working group of volunteers.

  • Use the "arms rising and falling" or the Hand Clasp method.
  • You can even use BOTH methods, if you have time.
  • If you have GREAT subjects, take advantage of it and convert the suggestibility tests into inductions, which lets you transition into your main demonstration.

IV.  Give your main demonstration.

  • This is where it really gets fun!
    • By now you should have some sense of who your best potential subjects are.
  • Induce and deepen, then demonstrate some simple hypnotic phenomena that work them through the stages of depth.
  • Finish with a Gift
    • Give your volunteers a pleasing experience to end on.  They deserve it for volunteering, and it makes you look great with the rest of the audience.

V.  Q & A

  • Take questions from the audience, help them better understand what they saw.
    • You can quickly re-induce with your best subject to demonstrate something, if an audience member asks a question that would benefit from that.
      • This also makes you look impressive, when you quickly re-induce someone, looking so casual as you do it.
  • Finish with a Call to Action
    • Make an offer to them, that they can take action on, which will connect you to them after the presentation.
    • Free consultation, free hypnosis audio download, etc.
      • This gives you a way to fully cultivate the lead, by getting an email or having a conversation in which you can close with them.


Hypnosis business advice

I was recently at a cookout at a colleague's home, and everybody there was a hypnotist.  My colleague had purposefully invited only hypnosis business owners for this particular event, as a way to build some new friendships and bring like-minded people together.  A few of the people there were newly certified hypnotists, people who had gotten their certification within the past six months.  Others, like myself, had been practicing for a decade or more. It was a nice mix of people from different backgrounds and experience levels who all wanted to do good things and create successful practices.

After we had been there for a couple of hours, I could tell that there was a feeling of familiarity, good rapport, that was in the group.  We had all been talking about the hypnosis business projects we were working on, and the folks who were newer, more recently certified, had stayed out of the conversation.  I could tell they were observing and taking mental notes.  Finally, one brave guy was willing to break the silence from that contingent.

"Can I ask you a question?" he said.

"Sure" I replied.

"It's pretty clear that several of you have been doing this for awhile and have some really good experience to draw from.  I feel like I need to take advantage of that" he explained.

"I think it's smart of you to do so" I said.  "What do you want to know?"

"Well, I got certified a year ago, and I've been trying to make a go of it, but I just can't seem to get my hypnosis business going.  I know that I'm really good at what I do, and I really want to help people, but I just can't seem to get them into my office.  What are you guys doing that's getting you so much work?  What's the secret?"

"There's no secret" said Tom, one of the more experienced guys that was there.  "It's the oldest stuff in the book.  You hustle, and you can't just focus on the hypnosis.  You have to learn how to run your business.  You have to be able to sell.  You can be the best hypnotist in the world, but if you can't get people into your office, you're going to go out of business.  What are you offering to people?"

The man who asked the initial question responded with a description of his services that was so long-winded I can't type it all here.  He got into the metaphysics of how he approaches hypnotism, and how his methods are special and different from most other hypnotists.  I could tell by the way he was talking that he was being truly sincere, that he cared deeply about helping people, but he was making a classic mistake, and since he asked, I felt an obligation to tell him about the mistake he was making.

"You just showed me why your business is failing" I said, "and I'll explain it to you, but it's going to make you feel bad at first. I need you to fight through that bad feeling and really listen to me.  Can you do that?"

"I think I can" he answered.

"Ok.  Here it is, in a nutshell:  you're all about yourself, in terms of how you talk about your work.  Tom asked you what you're offering to people, and you just spent a solid two minutes talking about what makes YOU special.  If you're talking to potential clients the way you just talked to us, you're going to lose them.

I believe everything you said.  I can tell by the way you talk that you're passionate about your work, and you really want to make a difference with people.  That's fantastic.  When you talk with people, you have to speak to them so that passion is framed around them, not around you.  They don't come to you to hear about how great you are, how much you know, or any of that stuff.  They come to you because they need help, and they want to know that you will do your very best to help them."

He dropped his head down for a brief moment and shook it slowly from side to side.  Then he looked up at me and smiled.  "You're totally right.  In trying to explain, I just talked about myself.  I didn't mean to, but I see, now, that it came off that way.  I won't make that mistake again."

As hypnotists, we're not selling hypnosis.  We're selling a solution to someone's problem.  Hypnosis just happens to be the tool we use to help the client solve the problem.  Focus on the solution.  Focus on helping the client see that you can help them solve that problem, and they will want to work with you.