10 Tips For Successful Street Hypnosis

A recent night out with some other hypnotists.

As you begin to venture into the wonderful world of hypnosis you may wish to start testing out some techniques or inductions? You may have tried things out with your family and now you’re looking for something more challenging.

Street hypnosis is a great way of testing yourself and can be quite daunting at first however, with the tips from my experience below I’m sure you’ll be finding out what a brilliant experience the street can be.

1. Location, Location, Location!!

A great location is key to a successful street hypnosis session, choose your location wisely. If people are moving from place to place they’re probably not going to be interested in participating in hypnosis (Their loss). In my experience I’ve found the best places to find willing subjects are often where people are relaxing. Personally, I find bars or smoking areas during the evening and parks if the weather is nice during the day. If people are settled, they’re more likely to participate and enhance their evening or afternoon. It might be worth considering moving your location if there aren’t many willing subjects around.

2. Be prepared for rejection

Rejection is part of being a performer, speaking as a resident of the UK people are often wary of a stranger approaching them and trust is often an issue. To steal a phrase from the famous Bob Burns; Some will, some won’t, so what? OK, Bob uses this in the context of therapy however, some people will be interested, some won’t and at the end of the day so what? If you get rejected at one table or place, just move on and find someone else.

Remember to always be polite if someone refuses because you never know they may not refuse the next time. I also often find that once they’ve seen how much fun someone else is having they’ll be asking you to work with them.

3. If you build it, they will come

I’ve always found it helps to build an interest when out performing. If you can, take someone with you and start working with them initially. Hypnosis is an interesting spectacle and people will be interested when they see you sticking someones hand to their head or making someone forget their name.

When I’ve been out performing on the street I’ve nearly always had someone come up to me after watching me hypnotise someone else and ask; ‘Can you hypnotise me?’ Before long you’ll have them queuing up to be hypnotised.

4. Have another trick up your sleeve

It helps to have a magic trick or something similar that you’re ready to pull out and I’ve found that for me at least, magic can be a real ice breaker that sets them up to be hypnotised. It especially helps with the sceptical ones who believe that they can’t be hypnotised.

Presenting a magic trick

It can be quite funny when you demonstrate influence under the guise of mind reading or mentalism and having a couple of tricks can also aid in giving you an ‘out’ in cases where the hypnosis may not land. Be careful as magic is really addictive and I’ve found myself becoming really immersed in magic.

5. Develop your elevator speech

Some studies suggest that people make an impression of you as a person within the first 7 seconds of meeting them. Whilst I don’t believe this to be completely true it’s definitely something that’s worth considering when you’re performing street hypnosis.

Imagine if you were out enjoying an evening and some ‘random’ came up and asked whether you wanted to be hypnotised? Put yourself in the shoes of the customer and then you’ll get an idea of what to say.

Anthony Jacquin has a brilliant approach in his book ‘reality is plastic’ I’m not going to describe that approach here but, I’ll let you know that I use a variation of this approach in street settings and it nearly never fails.

6. Ask Questions

People often have misconceptions or fears about hypnosis. Much in the same way that people won’t sit in the front row of a comedy show because they’ve seen a TV show from the 80’s where the front row were picked on, it can be similar for hypnosis.

Some people believe you can get stuck in it, or that they’ll be turned into a chicken. We’ve had some really bizarre responses from people when we’ve asked them about hypnosis.

This can make or break getting a subject sometimes and it gives you the performer the opportunity to remove any fears.

7. Fake it until you make it

You’ll often hear this phrase used in performance and it’s definitely true. If you’ve never walked up to someone and hypnotised them before it can be very daunting and you may feel a lack of confidence. In the early days I found it useful to tell myself that I was the hypnotist and that I was going to hypnotise someone no matter what.

8. Something called a phenomena

All phenomena is good! Getting someone to bring their fingers together as part of a suggestion test can be just as astounding as sticking someone’s hand to the table or making them forget their name.

Don’t be disheartened if that’s all that they experience as most people will be astounded by that.

9. Be professional at all times

Remain professional as people will remember this even if you are only performing for fun. Remain polite and really fly the flag for hypnosis as you’re representing hypnosis as a whole when you’re out.

I’d strongly recommend that you consider carrying business cards with you at least when you’re out performing if not at all times. This will direct people towards your social media profiles and you may even get clients from this in either a stage or therapeutic setting.

I always wear branded clothing when out performing street hypnosis as it builds interest whilst at the same time subtly advertises your brand.

As a comedian I performed at an awfully run charity gig with poor lighting and sound however, I remained professional and did my time. A few days later I received a booking for a corporate client that was at that show and who happened to enjoy my act. Had I not remained professional I may not have had that opportunity.

10. Get together & have fun

Hypnosis can seem like a lonely road sometimes and I found this to be true when I first became interested in hypnosis in 2005. If you can get together with a group of like minded people and arrange to go out and have fun.

Remember the success of a night isn’t measured by how many people you’ve hypnotised it’s the connections you make whilst you’re out. Sometimes, it can be just as fun to run queries by your peers and it can be more relaxed than typing on a forum.

Why not arrange a group in your area?

I often run monthly meetings in London that have attracted both veterans and newbies to the world of hypnosis. If you’re London based you’re welcome to join me on a future date just check out the events on the mapping minds page on Facebook.

Jason Simmons is a hypnotist, magician and mentalist and he is the author of the forthcoming book: The Hypnosis Hand-book. Jason runs work shops teaching hypnosis and he also runs a successful hypnotherapy centre in Kent, England.