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Hypnosis and Public Speaking: Audience Buy-In

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“In a moment I am going to count from 1 to 3. When I say the number “3″ you are going to open your eyes. The moment I say the number “3″ and you open your eyes you are going to dance like a chicken every time you hear the phrase ‘Oh Cluck!’…ONE, TWO, THREE!!!”

The subject opens their eyes and to the amazement of the audience, the subject dances like a chicken at every prompt. Magic? Nope…just the power of suggestion and the power of “Yes.”

Undeniable Truths and Linking

The above example is missing a very important segment of the performance. At the beginning of a stage hypnosis performance, the hypnotist is very specific in the set up. They demystify the “magic” aspects and explain that hypnosis is simply a learning process and only a moron can’t learn how to breathe and relax. They guarantee that the participants on stage will have more fun during the performance than the audience.  

Almost everyone can agree that “only a moron can’t learn to breathe and relax.” This is an undeniable truth. We can get on board immediately.  By then saying that “hypnosis is simply learning to relax” our mind believes the following to be true:  Hypnosis is simple, fun, easy and if I can’t be hypnotized, I might be a moron.  This is the first suggestion of the hypnotist, and now the audience is primed and the hypnotist can find the best subjects.

The Power of Yes

Hypnotists know something that every public speaker should know: Small “Yeses” Lead to Larger “Yeses.”  Before the hypnotist asks the subject to dance like a chicken, they ask a series of other questions or requests to get the subject into a “Yes” state of mind.  It begins with asking subjects to take the stage.  Those who say “Yes” just made their first agreement.  The hypnotist goes on to make a number of moves that are easy to agree with in any social situation.  “Please sit here.”  “What is your name?” “Take a deep breath.”  “Close your eyes.”  Once the subject has agreed to come up on a stage, receives reaffirming applause and says “yes” to each request, they are far more likely to say “yes” to the more difficult requests.

Objects in motion tend to stay in motion, and thoughts are the same. Thoughts that flow in the direction of “no” tend to continue to want to say “no.” Thoughts that flow in the direction of “yes” tend to continue to want to say “yes.” Hypnotists know this. Sales people should know this. Public speakers rarely do. You can completely shift audience perspective with the opening of a presentation by taking advantage of undeniable truths, links and the power of yes!

Stay tuned for post with more specific examples of how I use these techniques in my own presentations, and how it can work for you!

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About Tommy Galan

Tommy Galan is a professional speaker and performer with 20 years of stage and presentation experience. He is also an accomplished New York trial attorney. In 2010, he retired from the practice of law to perform and teach public speaking, communication skills, and other improv related skills through The Peoples Improv Theater in New York City. As the current Director of Corporate Programming of the PIT, Tommy has trained CEOs, executives, marketing departments and sales teams with clients including Google, Martha Stewart Omnimedia, AMC Networks, Avrett Free Ginsberg, Medallion Retail, MAC Cosmetics, Yahoo, JPMorgan, Credit Suisse, Benchmark Hospitality, Microsoft, Rabobank, New York University, Columbia University, Yelp, Cushman & Wakefield, Hofstra Law School, The American Bar Association, and Baruch College. Using the principles of improvisation, Tommy creates a safe and comfortable environment to build his client’s confidence. He believes that we are all performers, and whether we are presenting for a thousand-seat audience, or one-on-one in a conversation, we can all benefit from the foundational basics and techniques of accomplished performers. Tommy and his wife Nicole are also the founders of "NY Fertility and Pregnancy Concierge" and "Baby Proofing Daddy" where they consult on pregnancy issues and child safety.

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