When you became a hypnotist or hypnotherapist you probably wanted to work with people to help them make positive changes in their lives. Whether one-to-one sessions, or perhaps even working with groups and corporate clients, you will likely have a range of advertising and marketing strategies to bring you to the attention of prospective clients, such as being listed on a range of professional directories and even a great website with some superb, informative articles. These can be thought of as ‘passive’ forms of marketing and allow you to anticipate client needs and be thoughtful in terms of how you phrase your information.
Passive marketing is popular and does get results, but what if you want to reach even more clients? Perhaps those that haven’t found you via any of your passive routes, or you want to become more targeted to your own town/local area? A great way to do this is to become more visible, and one of the best ways of doing this is to let people meet you! Who would you prefer to visit, someone who you can only guess what they are like from looking at their website, or someone who you have already met or heard, and perhaps even chatted with? We are naturally more likely to book an appointment with someone we have met. By giving hypnosis presentations and demonstrations, particularly in your local community or target area, you are both meeting lots of people, as well as boosting your professional profile and giving the perception that you are an expert. Just talking about hypnosis is a good way of establishing your level of knowledge and expertise, but giving a demonstration of some type as well, will have even greater impact and offer a valuable opportunity to showcase your skills and sell your services.
There are many opportunities to give hypnosis presentations within your community. Clubs and associations are always looking for new speakers and this gives you access to markets you may not reach any other way. For example, if you give a talk to a local football club, the club members may not ever have thought about using hypnosis to enhance their performance on the pitch, so they wouldn’t have gone looking for hypnotherapy. But now they will…
As well as doing formal presentations and talks, there may be other times and circumstances where you might wish to give a quick presentation and impromptu hypnosis demonstration, such as online during a webinar, or during a Zoom/Skype meeting, at social meetings or even whilst walking around your local town/city! Understanding how to talk about hypnosis and present engaging hypnosis demonstrations will optimise focus on you and your message, and will enable you to make a greater and more memorable impact on those people that you meet!
3 stages of a great hypnosis presentation
Which hypnotist or hypnotherapist is likely to give a stronger performance, the one who says, “Oh, I will just wing it”, or the one who prepares in advance? A popular saying, “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”, certainly seems to be true here, because although being a great therapist is a good starting point, there is so much more that is involved to give a fabulous hypnosis presentation. There are three stages to giving an awesome presentation; effective preparation, strong performance, and excellent post-performance follow up.
Thorough preparation will help you bring together the diverse elements of your ‘presenter self’ and your skills that will then help you deliver highly effective presentations, stimulating interest in your hypnosis skills and making you memorable to potential clients. Often focus is placed on the preparation and performance stages, yet the third stage is just as important. Your influence does not stop the moment you stop speaking at the end of your presentation. So, it is important to have strategies and systems in place in order that you can capture and optimise the interest your presentation has raised. By developing the knowledge and skills to give great hypnosis presentations and fantastic hypnosis demonstrations, not only will you increase your professional profile, you will gain insight into your own depth of knowledge, because sometimes we only know what we know, when we are asked a question that we must answer.
As well as direct professional development, there will also be transferable and personal benefits. For example, by developing increased confidence to talk in public settings, this can be applied to other social and professional situations. Any work that takes someone to the edge of their comfort zone can result in growth, and, they can even start to enjoy the experience!
Learning to present hypnotically
Hypnosis and hypnotherapy practitioner training often won’t teach presentation skills. Partly because the focus is on being able to do the hypnosis work itself, and partly because not all hypnotists and hypnotherapists will want to use this powerful form of business promotion. So how can you learn to give fantastic hypnosis presentations? Well, you can read any number of books on ‘general’ presentation skills (there are thousands), but whilst useful, they won’t be specific to hypnosis presentations, and won’t explain how to effectively demonstrate hypnosis to an audience. This lack of available resources led me to develop a comprehensive book on the topic of hypnosis demonstrations and presentations, specifically designed to teach hypnotists and hypnotherapists how to present and how to give fantastic live hypnosis demonstrations!
The book is entitled ‘Powerful Hypnosis Presentations‘, and it takes you through the three stages mentioned above (preparation, performance, post-performance) in great detail, with focus on key areas for professional engagement and development. It does this, following the ‘Hypnodemo® approach’, and breaking the entire presentation process down into 9 chapters:
The ‘Habits and qualities of a great presenter’ chapter helps you understand the influences of your personality and emotions.
The ‘Your experience and knowledge’ chapter explores what you can bring to a presentation. No one else has your unique blend of knowledge and experience. These individual qualities, attributes and life experiences will add depth and richness to your presentations.
The ‘Preparing your presentation’ chapter takes you through useful information about giving talks (such as opportunities and markets), through to presentation proposals and planning everything about your presentation in advance.
The ‘Never don’t rehearse’ chapter helps you understand that whilst awesome content is essential, there is a critical need to practice in order to deliver your best performance. This really does help you fine-tune your content and presentation style, and ensures that when you come to the actual talk, you will be fluent and confident.
The ‘Outstanding communication skills’ chapter explores how superb communication is more than just saying the words you have prepared. Even if you have incredible natural presentation skills, how you use your voice, your persuasive language and your non-verbal communication are all key influencers in the engagement of your audience and the potential success of your presentation.
The ‘Demonstration time’ chapter helps you prepare for what is often considered an essential element of any hypnosis presentation, an actual demonstration of hypnosis! Why is it essential? Well, just as with a hypnotherapy session where a client will have built up an expectation of being hypnotised, for any talk with ‘hypnosis’ as the topic, the audience will have an expectation for seeing or even experiencing hypnosis too! Although many people simply won’t know what to expect, they will expect ‘something’ to happen. For a presenter, there are different things to consider when choosing to demonstrate with an individual or group/whole audience, as well as what techniques and approaches are good to demonstrate and why some approaches are less desirable for demo purposes!
The ‘Experience of audience’ chapter explores how an audience may engage with and participate in your presentation, and talks about group dynamics and size, the potential impact of individual personalities within a group, as well as being able to understand how to respect any cultural influences during your presentations.
The ‘Making it memorable’ chapter helps you made a good first and last impression, as well as understanding that every impression will have a cumulative effect on the audience’s perception of you. Not just of your content, but of the entire experience, including the venue and how you make use of the space. This section is super important, as it is all about how you will be remembered by your potential clients!
Finally, the ‘Optimising, upselling and self-promotion’ chapter helps you get the most from your presentation. Some of this is by adding value to your presentation (such as free giveaways or discount offers for attendees). It is also useful to have a strategy for how to deal with enquiries, whether from potential clients, speaker requests or even the press. In addition, this section teaches you how to generate and sell products, as well as selling your services during and after your presentation, whether that is hypnotherapy sessions or packages, books, MP3s or anything else that is relevant.
As well as all of that, and to support the Hypnodemo process, there is a large supplement chapter which gives detailed scripts and protocols for a number of useful suggestibility tests, inductions and deepeners that are great for use in any hypnosis presentations and demonstrations, whether in person, online or even on film!
To get you started…
Before you decide to order a copy of the book on Amazon, here are two really useful extracts from the first chapter of the book, ‘Habits and qualities of a great presenter’. The ‘personal audit’ section below will help you consider what personal attributes may influence your presentation. The second extract is an activity that can be used to help you move away from past negative presentation memories (such as forgetting what to say), so that they no longer have an unhelpful impact on your future presentations. Enjoy!
Extract 1: Personal audit
Before you even start to prepare your presentation, just for a moment think about your personal presenter style. Questions you might ask yourself include: How do I describe my personality? What am I most passionate about? What am I good at (generally)? What aspect of my hypnosis expertise best shows my personality? What am I most excited talking about (preferred topics)? Who do I really want to be talking to in my presentation?
It is far easier to create and deliver presentations which are congruent and authentic with who you really are, than to attempt to present something you are not quite comfortable with. Look at the two scenarios below to see the difference.
#1 – Michael is so high energy he rarely stands still. He gives a dynamic talk about motivation to a group of body-builders at his local gym. He gets them fired up and engaged and in a positive mindset ready to take their training to the next level.
#2 – Michael is so high energy he rarely stands still. He gives a talk on relaxation to his local new mothers group. They find his fast-pace difficult to relax to and are left feeling unsure whether hypnosis will help them.
As well as the broader aspects of your personality, it is also useful to become aware of your body language, tone of voice, verbal style of communication and behaviour when communicating with other people, and the effect these things have on your presentation, whether intentional or unintentional. Also, whether you are shy, reserved, friendly, warm, confident or outgoing. If you don’t already know, you can find out. A great way is to use personal observation, asking someone else to observe you, even videoing yourself in a range of situations. Or, better still, employ all of these methods to get the most comprehensive information and insight. The more information you have about yourself, the more you can develop really effective, congruent and authentic presentations.
If you get to define, create and deliver your own choice of presentation then you can more easily design them to suit yourself. However, you may already be giving presentations and demonstrations that are required for a set purpose. You can still consider whether your personality is congruent with your current presentation style and then identify what aspects of the presentation you could change to best suit you and what aspects of yourself may need to be adapted to meet the requirements of the presentation. For example, if you are quiet, softly spoken and shy and are required to give a high energy presentation, you will need to work at it. How your style and personality relate to the context of a presentation may also be a factor for consideration. Will a ‘grungy rock chick’ personal style come across well to a group of clinical consultants? Although we all can change our appearance to suit our environment (dress up or dress down as needed), changing our outward personality can take a little more work.
Your personality influences your behaviour and so will shine through all aspects of your presentation. Unless you have exceptional acting skills, there will be some ‘leakage’ if you are trying to be someone or something that isn’t really true to who you are. This is because the conscious mind can only focus on so much at any one time. If you are acting a role other than the real ‘you’, then, when you are fully absorbed in what you are saying and doing, there is little conscious power available to maintain your act. Instead of attempting to act well, you can learn how to develop confidence and the necessary skills, so no acting is required! That means that all your energy and focus can be used to give a great presentation.
Before you focus on what you want to be like and how you want to be perceived, it can be helpful to have a starting point of where you are now. Consider (honestly!) all the different parts of your personal style and how it may contribute to your presenter style:
Are you loud? Vibrant? Quiet? Calm? Outgoing? Shy? Reserved? Quirky? Humorous? Serious? Or joyful?
How do you look? Are you plain or alternative? Classic? Casual? Cords and loafers? Suited and booted? Or designer?
Presenter vocal style:
Are you softly spoken? Loud? Booming? Slow and measured? A fast talker? Hesitant? High pitched? Monotone? Energetic? Or dramatic?
Are you more passive, aggressive, or assertive in your presenter behaviour? Maybe you’re not sure? It can be useful to explore different presenter styles to get a clearer idea of whether you are more passive, aggressive or assertive and you may find that you have attributes of more than one style.
Extract 2: The changing feelings fast technique
We use our memories, our perceptions of our memories and our emotions relating to those, to influence how we feel about experiences. This technique enables you to create a dissociation from an unhelpful past memory.
Recall a past presentation that did not go as well as it could have. Remember it in full detail, stepping into that experience, seeing what you saw, hearing what you heard, feeling the emotions and sensations that you experienced at the time. Also, remember any self-talk that you may have engaged in. Scale the level of disturbance (how bothered you are by the memory) from 0 (it’s fine) to 10 (it’s awful).
Now, imagine stepping out of the experience and imagine watching it as an observer, imagine the scene moving further and further away, colours fading, detail becoming less distinct. Notice when it is at the right distance for there to be less disturbance (you can rescale it here).
Now imagine the scene start to spin and watch it spin it off into space.
Now rescale it and notice the improvement.
You will be able to use this activity for many different applications where you wish to move away from past unhelpful influences. This is activity is just one of many different activities in the book, each designed to help you further develop your knowledge and build skills.
By understanding what is needed to develop all aspects of your presentation, from initial concept through to gaining insight and learning afterwards you will gain confidence and increase your professional profile as an expert. My new book, Powerful Hypnosis Presentations: The Hypnodemo® Approach, is available now on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats, worldwide. Check it out:
We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog on how to grow your business with hypnosis presentations & demonstrations, and if you have any more questions about this topic, or anything else for that matter, do please get in touch, because we’re always happy to help!
– written by Dr Kate Beaven-Marks