Paula's HypnosisGurus Hotline Question of the Day:
Performing Smaller Stage Hypnosis Shows - Bars, Restaurants and Clubs, Oh My!
I hear questions all the time from stage hypnotists about performing smaller shows - meaning for maybe 30-60 people - and in less organized venues - meaning bars or clubs, rather than a comedy club or other standard entertainment venu.
Worries about these situations range from, "With such a small audience to draw from, will I get enough participants up on stage, and will enough of them be hypnotized to have a good show?" - to "What do I do if most everyone is too drunk or rowdy?" - to "What if I only have 30-45 minutes for the show?"
Not to worry - you CAN do it - you just have to be prepared.
Smaller venues are not harder - they are just different - and so the hypnotist needs to be flexible. And confident.
Being flexible means having the ability to adapt the pre-talk for a specific audience, having more than one 'convincer' and having more than one induction, or the ability to alter the induction as necessary.
If the group is on the rowdy side, the hypnotist must portray the physical presense to command respect and gain and maintain their attention. I don't mean be a jerk about it, but show that you're in charge and ready to deliver their entertainment, so they should hush up and let the fun begin. (Confidence)
If the entire group is truly too drunk - THEN the hypnotist can decline to perform, due to legitimate 'safety' concerns. Otherwise, the show should go on.
With a smaller group, especially at a bar or club, the hypnotist should take the opportunity to mingle some before the show - intruduce yourself, joke around, build excitement and encouragement, make friends. The pre-talk of the pre-talk.
(And, you might even meet one or two that would be good candidates for a Speed Trance instant induction demonstration, to kick off the show with a huge WOW and make a believer out of everyone, before the full cattle call.)
Then, especially if they are a bit rowdy, I would always do two or three convincer demonstrations (not just one) - to get them into the flow of following directions, to show them that you are nice and into creating fun, and this is easy to do, and to build expectancy.
And, start off with something fun and silly, like the "L & Circle / Cheek-Chin" test and the "Foot & 6" test, rather than the intense hand clasp. These lighten the mood and get them working harder to be compliant and succeed. If you then follow these with a hand clasp or finger clasp test, or the arm roll test, you'll probably get a far greater response, especially with this type of audience.
When collecting volunteers in a bar setting, have the confidence to pick and choose. Reject those who appear too drunk, make eye contact and select those who seem interested but a little shy. Sure you can ask for them to rush the stage, but you can also hand point and pick if you think you might get better participants that way.
If you continually assess your volunteers as you go along with the induction, you can make adjustments to your suggestions (more direct, or more indirect), when you feel you need more compliance or response. Don't be afraid to speak directly to one or three or even each of the participants individually in the middle of the induction, to help insure that they all go out deeply enough.
Without induction - THERE IS NOW SHOW - so take all the time you need, and make all the impromptu adjustments you have to - so they go out.
If you only have 30 or 45 minutes, you must be on your game. Shorten your induction - don't skimp, but use more directive (do this now) language, rather than more indirect drifting, dreaming and floating. If you can put one person out in less than 10 seconds, you should be able to craft an induction to put 5-10 people out in 5 minutes or so.
And, it doesn't matter if you only have 5 to 10 people on stage, if you put them all out. You CAN do a show with only 5 people.
Then, on with the skits! Keep them short, and do several hypnotic phenomena demonstrations, rather than several long-running 'dance like J-Lo' skits. Phenomena demonstrations like amnesia or positive or negative hallucinations are quick and amazing, providing the important WOW impact in a short amount of time.
Never automatically assume you should turn down a gig opportunity just because it's not 'what you're used to doing.' If you're going to be a true professional, you need to be flexible and confident enough to handle most anything that comes your way, especially when you're first getting started. Turning down that one 40-person audience show could mean blowing the chance for a year long contract - you just never know.
You CAN do a show for 50, 25, or even 5 people. You CAN do a 45, 30 or even 5 minute show.
You just have to be willing to adapt and make it happen. That's how you get paid, and your name in lights!
We wish you the best of luck in defining your personal stage hypnosis show style! And if we can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
~ Paula Saxon Nongard