You’ve seen them before; stage hypnotists who hold the power to hypnotize a bunch of strangers and entertain the crowd. There are multiple shows (both TV and events) where stage hypnotists charm the audience, pick a few spectators, and use them as their hypnotic subjects.
My favorites include making the participants eat something like an onion they believe is a fruit or making them perform funny actions!
It all makes you wonder, why would someone do something like that? Are they being mind-controlled by the hypnotist? The answer is no.
Many factors come together for hypnosis to be successful.
As a stage hypnotist, you need to learn hypnosis and public speaking.
Public speaking covers many other topics, such as knowing how to read and entertain the crowd – overall, they involve a significant amount of psychology.Can you learn stage hypnosis?
Well, it all depends on how dedicated you are to the art.
Though there’s a lot of online information on stage hypnosis you can access in the comfort of your home, the theory part is the first; and very important.
Other than that, consider enrolling in hypnosis course from an expert. The same way reading about swimming isn’t the same as getting in the water and practicing, getting hypnosis practice can help you hone your skills a lot more.
Other than that, this will help you understand how the whole hypnosis concept works!
Before you’re confused about all the aspects involving stage hypnosis, let’s get down to what hypnosis is, and how you can achieve it.
Getting someone in a hypnotic trance may seem like the person is asleep. In reality, the individual is hyper-aware when they are under hypnosis.
A hypnotic trance is nothing new since we all go through different types of trances every day.
When you’re daydreaming or fantasizing, your conscious mind slips away while the subconscious comes to play. This way, you lose track of time or miss out on activities that happened while you were in that trance.
While the conscious mind processes the information relayed to our minds, the subconscious doesn’t put much thought behind the actions. For example, say you have a routine every morning that involve picking your coat, the keys, and then locking the door.
You’re so used to completing the three actions every morning that you don’t remember doing it sometimes – that is the subconscious’ work.
In hypnosis, the trance state is intended to dull your conscious mind and leave the subconscious open to suggestions.
Though the participant appears sleepy, they are focused, very aware, and dissociated from the intense thought process that the conscious mind is capable.
Once you have put an individual in a hypnotic trance, you can proceed to suggest that they perform the various actions you see in popular hypnotic shows.
However, though it seems like the individual has no control over their actions, the hypnotist cannot force them to do something that goes against their will. The subconscious still goes by the individual’s conscience.
Though hypnosis is a major part of the performance, this is still a show.
Like any other show that aims to captivate the audience, you need to learn how to entertain, and this targets marketing, setting the mood, and a lot of psychology.
Let me explain how:
In marketing, it’s all about how you sell yourself (through the fliers or direct invitation). No one wants to be hypnotized by a person who has no faith in their abilities!
You want to market yourself as a true hypnotist should – confident, and able to hypnotize anyone in the audience.
Setting the mood starts with the lighting, music, and the overall introductory tone.
The music can be energetic, and the spotlights can dance around for an exciting and captivating start; once the hypnotic session begins, the lights can be dimmed and the music a bit more ominous.
Already, the audience is captivated before you step on to the stage and are a lot more receptive to the show.
Once you take the stage, it’s time to put psychology into use.
Here, you need to know how to read the crowd and establish a rapport. You can do this by telling stories about your hypnosis experience and how you got into it; charm them with your words, smile, and let the audience have a good time.
You can also engage with them by asking questions – make them questions that involve raising the hands. It’s all about the audience. Engage the audience and have them lose their inhibitions.
Other factors to consider for stage performance:
- Multitasking. Talking in front of a crowd, you need to be fast on your feet and a quick thinker. This also includes a lot of creativity to answer any questions and respond quickly to any unplanned moments
- Confidence. Do you have trouble being the center of attraction? You’ll need to learn how to concentrate and get comfortable up there!
- Presence. It goes hand in hand with confidence. Be articulate and precise – learn how to have that undeniable stage presence
- Attention. While the eyes will be on you for a while, shift the attention occasionally to the audience and then to the volunteers. Again, it is not all about you!
How To Perform Stage Hypnosis
With all the previous pointers in mind, it’s time for the main event. You’ve already worked the crowd, and you’re ready to begin.
Make sure you’ve assured them that you wouldn’t do anything harmful and that they cannot do anything against their wishes.
A useful method that stage hypnotists use to get the best volunteers is by picking members who are eager to participate. Also, individuals who have an imaginative mind tend to be more susceptible to hypnosis.
So, you can include a couple of questions about particular fantasy shows and books, and mark the audience members who raise their hands.
If you’re new at this, it is best to start with one volunteer at a time – especially if you’re not so quick on your feet or if you haven’t mastered how to juggle different personalities at the same time.
Also, should your volunteer seem a little anxious or overly excited, get him seated comfortably, be light and friendly, and cracka few jokes until he is relaxed. Now you can begin.
Tell the participant to fix their gaze on a still or slow-moving object right in front of them (or above them if they are lying down). Speak in a gentle and soothing voice.
You could say something like, “I want you to focus on this book/pendulum/ceiling/finger in front of you and nothing else. Don’t look at me or anything else, focus on it, and try not to blink.”
Technically, the induction process has already begun by making the volunteer focus.
Now guide them into breathing rhythmically. Tell them to match their breathing with yours – breathe in slowly and deeply through the nose and out through the mouth.
While telling them that, you can also include statements like, “As you breathe out, you can feel all the stress and tension leave your body.
Your body is relaxing, and your mind is resting; focus on that feeling as you breathe.
When your subject falls into a deep and relaxed state, tell them to close their eyes and relax their head and neck. If they are seated, you can tell them to rest their head on the chest.
Continue with the relaxing suggestions and descriptions – you can add more, telling them they can feel their legs, arms, and their whole body feeling heavy and rested.
3. The Works
When you are certain your participant is in a trance, and the subconscious mind is taking the lead, it’s time to move to the main part of the show. Depending on your preferred technique, you can count to three or snap your fingers and suggest an action.
You can tell them to feel as stiff as a board or as loose as a rag doll – show the audience the effect by raising and letting go of the arm. Obviously, you have to limit your suggestions as you can go too far.
For example, describing particular places or reviving certain memories can trigger unexpected emotions. Visualize “safe” and “warm” places where they can choose an image that fits for them.
4. Waking Up
Prepare the volunteer beforehand that you’ll count or snap to wake them up.
You can say, “Now, I’m going to count from 5 down to 1, and you’ll wake up from your trance.
You’ll be completely awake, and you’ll remember everything you did.” Start counting, do it gently, and when they wake up, you can join in the cheer from the audience!
Depending on the amount of work you put into it, stage hypnosis can be rewarding or be a tough experience. Don’t be disappointed when you can’t hypnotize or get some volunteers to focus, thank them for participating, ask them to return to their seats, and try next time.
If you’d learn more about one-on-one hypnosis, check out this Conversational Hypnosis Course that can make it even much easier!