This article is kindly lent to me by Mark Tyrrell from Uncommon Knowledge – one of the companies I am partnered with.
I mentioned in 7 Public Speaking Survival Tips how there is a similarity between delivering a good speech and hypnosis.
On this page we’re going to delve more deeply into several ways you can hypnotize your audience to make your talks and presentations even more powerful…
The first thing any good hypnosis trainer will tell you is that to be an effective hypnotist – and I would say an effective communicator – you need to be confident. That way you inspire confidence in your listeners so that they can relax and become immersed in what you are presenting.
And becoming immersed is one of the definitions of hypnosis.
The thing is that when you speak with confidence you hold the audience in the palm of your hand. They will enter trance naturally, hanging onto every word you say.
But before I tell you how to do this let me clear up a misconception…
Hypnotize your audience naturally
When I talk about hypnotizing your audience, please forget the clichés of watch swinging, cluck-like-a-chicken merchants. I’m talking about the hypnosis of everyday life.
We all enter trance every day and listening to a good public speaker or storyteller is just one of the many ways we drift into a daydream-like state.
So, first things first…
For you to deliver a great speech or give an awesome presentation you need to inspire confidence in your listeners. And in order to do this you need to be free of anxiety.
It’s no good standing there quaking in your boots!
Once you are feeling more relaxed and confident, then – and only then – are you able to properly use the following methods that will actually hypnotize your audience.
This is where public speaking becomes an art form…
6 Hypnotic techniques to enrapture your listeners
1. Help your audience leave the room
When you hypnotize someone you get them to “leave the room” as they “travel” along with your narrative within their mind.
You achieve this by focusing their attention so intently that your words start to have a real effect on their experience – both conscious and unconscious.
A skilled hypnotherapist can help you change the workings of your immune system or blood flow with their words. Think what effect you could have on an audience you are looking to influence.
So let’s look a bit closer at why I talk about “hypnosis” when describing the effect a great presenter has…
2. Hypnosis and the art of presenting
- Narrowed Focus
Any presenter will agree that you want to be compelling enough to focus your audience on what you are saying.
You want them disassociated from their environment and concerns so that they ‘travel’ with you to other times, places and possibilities. And you want them to adopt, at least for a while, new ways of seeing reality.
Hypnosis in therapy is so powerful because it helps people learn new ways of responding to life so that low confidence, phobias or addictions no longer trip them up.
When you present powerfully you focus your listeners’ attention so narrowly – like a laser beam – that the nature of their learning becomes unconscious rather than merely conscious. It sinks it at a deeper level. This kind of learning feels a lot more profound for people.
But there are different kinds of audience trances…
3. Avoid the boredom trance
If you are uninspiring then your audience may certainly psychologically “leave the room” not by following your ideas but as an attempt to escape your talk.
They might start to imagine what they’ll do later, what they’ll cook for dinner, or their upcoming social arrangements. They are disassociated but not in the way we want them to be.
Luckily, there are specific techniques to compel your audiences in just the right way. All great speakers seem to know how to use these instinctively.
4. Understand crowd hypnosis
The greatest public presenters will captivate whole audiences with their words and gestures. They’ll use expectation, emotive language, story-telling and “future pacing” which means they’ll implant ideas for their listeners to act upon in future.
And when a group of people become engaged in an activity, it’s harder to resist it yourself. Look at this mass hypnosis in America.
This is pure hypnosis.
Hypnotic speakers don’t just give the facts; they will give their listeners an experience that will change the way they feel, think or behave.
5. The poetry of presenting
Hypnotic presenting appeals to the part of the mind that the greatest pieces of poetry or music do. In fact, truly world beating public talks have a real rhythm to them.
The best speeches, like the best hypnotic inductions, have this rhythm which serves to draw you in and make you forget anything other than the speech.
For a great example of this listen to Sir Winston Churchill on YouTube.
He uses repetition, emotive words, he paints a picture of a positive future beyond current hard times but he doesn’t lie to his listeners by pretending things are going to be easy. He connects what is important to his listeners by evoking strong images.
And like the language of storytelling or even epic myths he talks about avoiding an oncoming “Dark age” by fierce, proud, brave and collective struggle.
In some of Churchill’s speeches his language is almost confusing which is a favourite hypnotic technique too as it “ties up the conscious mind” and appeals more directly to the unconscious which absorbs it often before the conscious mind has untangled it.
“Never was so much owed by so many to so few,” he says when talking about the heavily outnumbered RAF men and women who fought the famous Battle of Britain. We know what he means without following the logical thread of the statement.
6. Captivate your audience’s attention
If you want to be more hypnotic to captivate the attention of your audience then you might like to put these following steps into action (which are expanded on in the new 10 steps to powerful public speaking course)
- Pepper your speech with words that appeal to feelings.
Words that people have to “go inwards” to connect their personal meaning with are called nominalisations and they are hypnotic. These are words like: “Powerful, beautiful, love, wisdom, strength”…and so on. We have to go inwards to access our personal associations to them. So, make sure these kinds of words fit with what you are saying and when they do they will produce more of a response than mere “concrete” type words.
- Paint pictures in your listeners’ minds by overlapping their senses.
When we hypnotize someone we are seeking to give them a dream-like experience. And of course we dream in pictures, but also sounds, sensations, tastes, and emotions. If you are telling a story in your speech about something that happened to you tell them what you saw, felt, heard, tasted and so forth. This makes it so much more evocative. “I went to the shops and saw a fight” doesn’t draw you in as much as: “I was heaving a heavy shopping bag through the town when I heard a sickening scream. I turned and saw two huge guys trying to mug an old lady who karate kicked them to kingdom come – you could almost smell their fear…!” Be descriptive. Which reminds me…
- Tell stories. Even if you are delivering a speech about molecular biology there are stories to be told. Tell them engrossingly.
- Use your voice to fascinate. Sometimes speed up and sometimes slow…down…a…bit. Not all the time, or else you will annoy. But really think about the importance and relevance of your words. When it’s a point you feel is important, slow down a bit and occasionally you can even talk the calm, slow delivery of a real hypnotist.
- Use surprise. We go into hypnotic trance when we relax but also when we are startled, surprised or even shocked. Great speakers use humour because it can be hypnotic. Humour surprises you; a punch line has a “punch” because it causes surprise. Hypnotists (especially of the stage show variety) will often use “shock “to fast track subjects into hypnotic trance. So, be a little surprising here and there to keep your audience focused, then refocused. This technique when presenting is startlingly powerful.
In the end, it’s all about the emotion
Perhaps we can summarize successful public speaking in one word: emotion.
Study the effect communication has on you, those sounds we call “words.” What effect did Churchill’s speech have on you?
Words, delivered in the right way, can make you angry, weep, be prepared to go into battle and change your life infinitely for the better.
The thing is that words don’t have to be “just words.” Hypnotise your audience to help them feel something real when you speak.
It will be the emotion you generate in your listeners that will be the lasting impression, the thing they leave with and the thing that wants them coming back for more!