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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » You are getting sleepy...very sleepy... » » Pre-talk/pretest question(s) (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

seadog93
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Hi everyone,

While away from work and shows for the birth of my son I've started putting together a hypnosis show. I wanted to get a few opinions:

-how long should/ can a pre-talk be?
I've written one out, it seems pretty good to me addresses myths of hypnosis, gives examples, assures the audience etc.; it also doesn't seem all that long to me, but it's quite a bit longer than the sample talks in the Encyclopedia of stage hypnotism.
Do think of a pre-talk in terms of a few sentences, a few paragraphs, under 5 minutes, under 10 minutes? Something else?

-I really like pre-tests. I like them in general and I love the idea of using them with the whole audience in the same way I like to involve the whole audience as much as I can durin mentalism shows, but all of the shows I'm reading about seem to only use one or maybe two to help select audience members for induction.
Would it very unusual to theme the first part of a show around pretests with the whole audience?
If it would, is it EVER done?
Either way, does this seem like a bad idea to you?

Thanks so much. I REALLY appreciate any help, thoughts or opinions offered.
-CK
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Seadog=C-Dawg=C.ou.rtn.ey Kol.b
dmkraig
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Without reading your pre-talk it would be difficult to say. For example, in your description you don't say whether you tell everyone how much fun they're going to have and how exciting it's going to be to watch, and even more so, to participate. I usually tell people that if they are some of those who are chosen to participate they will be given a special gift at the end of the show, and at the end of the show I say, "And now, for those who have been on the stage, I have this special gift..." and give positive suggestions.

The items you mention are important in your stage pre-talk, but getting the audience excited about the show and eager to participate, is also a vital part. What you're describing sounds more like a pre-talk for hypnotherapy.

Remember, the people already know it's about hypnosis. I think the pre-talk needs to "juice them" even more. You talk about giving "examples." I don't know what you mean by that. To me, that sounds like it will slow down the flow of the show.

I would suggest (others may differ), that you should have someone introduce you (or have a recorded introduction) that presents you as an authority on hypnosis. Don't lie, but do build yourself up. When you come on stage you are, as Anthony has written, THE HYPNOTIST. What you say is going to be accepted as fact. If your examples (as indicated by the order you give) are proofs that the myths of hypnosis are false, you can generally omit them. Your word as an authority should be enough. We generally don't ask our doctors for proofs that the drugs he prescribes will help us, we just accept it because he's the authority. The same is true when you come out on stage.

There is an exception to this. In some situations a lecture about hypnosis is described as a "stage show" and you could use the proofs as part of the lecture.

Pretests after the pre-talk can be very valuable for more than just involving the entire audience. Take note of who responds most strongly and most quickly. When making the call to the stage, be sure to invite them up.
mindpunisher
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A pre talk isn't a talk about hypnosis. Its a talk that you do before you do the induction. The job of a pre talk is to lay down the rules of what they need to do in order for you to do the show. Remove fear and start the process. It is an induction to the induction really. Where you take them from where they are when you walk on stage to being ready for the suggestion tests/inductions.


Its used to get the audience working with you.

I personally don't like over long pre talks...... And avoid any kind of "educating" about hypnosis its not necessary and most people are there for a good time not a lecture.
TonyB2009
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Sound advice from MP.

My pre-talk is brief. Sometimes I do up to a half hour of comedy, mentalism or side-show stunts before I begin the hypnosis, if that is the sort of show that has been booked. But once we are on to the hypnosis, about ten sentences covers the pre-talk. I don't need to educate people on hypnosis; that is not the purpose of the show, or in any real way helpful. My introduction and my poster have already sold me as an expert, so they are in my hands, and I don't need to justify my skills.

I emphasize that it will be fun; be safe; works for just about everyone; works best on those who can use their imagination and concentration well; they need to co-operate and follow instructions on stage. Each point is delivered with a gag, so that they don't feel they are being lectured.
mindpunisher
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You also want to make it clear who you want and who you don't want on stage...

any one with psychological, emotional or physical problems, taking any medication pregnant etc.. no one under 18 (in the UK)

I also outline what is going to happen before I do the hand clasp break it down into a number of steps.

I still think the hand clasp is by far the best test to start with and the only one you will ever need for most shows. Although there are two ways to do it depending upon circumstances. its the best visually and easiest to select volunteers in my opinion.

I don't bother with lots of tests. I don't think they are necessary in a typical show situation. Maybe in other contexts though where the agenda is different. Just my opinion
seadog93
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Thanks so much you guys,
I'm shortening it and adding more focus on the fun of participating (which I did include, but maybe not enough proportionally).

...10 sentences! I need some work.
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Seadog=C-Dawg=C.ou.rtn.ey Kol.b
mindpunisher
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Your pre talk has to also assert you as being in control and not to be messed with. Depending on the type of venue this is where you must handle hecklers and stop them dead. you must demonstrate this if it happens during this period.
Mindpro
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Hold on there seadog93. It seems like you are being talked into something without fully understanding all sides or the bigger picture.

I agree with the above post by Mindpuisher.

A pre-talk should be purposeful and cover several things at the same time. It is the audience's first impression of you, your personality, style and credibility. Don't assume that your audience knows what they should about hypnosis, they don't.

I wouldn't get hung up on "how long" it is but rather what it is and how it's delivered. My pre-talk is often 7 - 10 minutes long, but it's filled with the information I want them to know, safety and liability disclaimers, I establish control and make it clear "don't come up here to mess with me if your aren't serious", and I am positioning myself as a credible specialist... all while being funny. To many if you ask them, they would think this is a comedy segment or routine. They don't even realize it is a "pre-talk".

So many hypnotists aren't entertaining, humorous or funny. They rely on the hypnosis and the routines for this. They are just the host of the festivities. I believe this is wrong. Yes, the show should be about the volunteer subjects and a good hypnosis entertainer should know and be able to step aside and let them be the stars of the show, but in reality this is only after the hypnotist themself has been established.

Most hypnotists themselves are not entertaining. I look at the "pre-talk" as my feature position to establish myself the way I want my persona to be seen, while combining the information I need to achieve. Therefore to me the pre-talk is my most important part of the show. It's my segment of the show. When done properly you gain a respect, control and credibility that is of great benefit to you throughout the rest of the show.

I look at it like a good late night talk show host. I loved Johnny Carson. He was much like a good hypnotist entertainer in that each night it was his first 7 minutes in his monologue where he established himself. Who he is, his comedy, likeability, trust, and friendly, funny, non-intimidating, quick-thinking on his feet, lovable nice guy persona. It was about him, and his monologue is what he became famous for. Then during the rest of the show he stepped aside and featured the guests in the spotlight yet he interjected more of his humor, personality and control throughout, all making the guests shine, while still being involved and in control the entire show. Very much like a good stage hypnosis entertainer.

Since most hypnosis shows are comedy hypnosis (it's such a natural format) I think the comedy should be established upfront. I suggest you use this pre-talk to establish you - you as the entertainer, you as the grand Master of Ceremonies, you as the credible and trustworthy persona and you as the skilled hypnotist. Most books, DVDs and training focus on the elements that should be in a pre-talk, but not the most beneficial and proper way to deliver a pre-talk.

Most hypnotists seem to take a pride in having a small, short or minimum pre-talk, as if this is better. It's not necessarily. Hypnosis needs to be entertaining, and the entertainment should start with the moment you walk on stage (your entrance) and the first words out of your mouth. Most minimize this as to them it the the boring technicalities they must "get out of the way in order to get to the good stuff". Not true. The entertainment starts the moment you walk on stage. The pretalk can be as long as you need it to be AS LONG AS IT'S ENTERTAINING. When most pre-talks are boring, it's because the entertainer is boring. If it's entertaining to the audience it will not be boring. In my show the fun begins with the pre-talk.

A good hypnosis entertainer should be entertaining without the need for hypnosis. If you are not you are no better than the magician that is only as good as his tricks. Take away the tricks and what do you have? The same for a many hypnotists, take away the hypnosis routines, and what's left - either a hypnotic operator or an entertainer. You must decide.
mindpunisher
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It goes without saying it should be entertaining but unless you are going to give away the one liners and jokes you took years to put into your pre-talk then you can't teach it. You are either an entertaining person or you aren't. If you need someone to point this out to you then you probably aren't.

And my threatre show is entertaining before I even walk on. I have 7 mins of video music and lighting changes

I understand what you mean Mindpro about hypnotists who just do "routines". But its what you do with those routines and how you elicit and build the reactions of those on stage that makes the difference. To me its a lot more important than trying to be a comedian. Two hypnotists doing the same routine can get totally different results. just like two people singing the same song can have totally different responses from the audience.

The measure of a show is if the seats are full and people are happy to pay.
Mindpro
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Quite true.
seadog93
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This is very helpful stuff to me, and I really thank you.

While I have not yet tried stage hypnosis, I definitely understand that how long something takes is far less important than how the audience feels and reacts during that time. Perhaps I'll keep te bulk of my original talk for now, but tighten it up a bit and make sure it's fun (well, to the extent that I can before actually doing it).

I know tha in the clinical hypnosis community (if such a thing exists, ...I operate on the periphery at most) there are a lot of opinions regarding pretalks; from the one end of not doing them at all to the other end with Gerald Kein's 38 minute videotaped talk. It seems like (please correct me if I'm wrong) there may be similarly differing opinions for the stage. What do you all think?

I definitely wouldn't want to take too long, and I refused to use te phrase "bypassing the critical factor" or "establishing acceptable suggestion) at any point; but I've had so many conversations with people who don't have any idea what hypnosis is (hole insisting that they do) that it seems like a very (very!) brief education would be helpful. I've generally found that in my mentalism shows the parts where I take just a minute or two to explain the history or theory of a belief or practice tend to be very well received and appreciated.
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Seadog=C-Dawg=C.ou.rtn.ey Kol.b
mindpunisher
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The critical thing about a pre-talk is to get your audience ready for the induction see above. that's CRITICAL.... anything else is just opinion. The purpopse of a show is to entertain an audience that's another layer. The firs step is to get the mechanics right until you don't have to think about it too much. The next step is to refine and make everything as polished effective as possible. entertaining funny spellbinding etc it takes time.

If you are doing a show for entertainment personally I would leave out ALL explanations of what hypnosis is seriously that's not why people are there. At least the venues I have done. Its really boring for most. Ive tested this with large theatre shows and small clubs. Even a few sentences describing what hypnosis is you can see it in their faces. History sand theory??????? its up to you we have told you.
seadog93
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Get the mechanics right and then polish and refine.
That makes a lot of sense.

I understand not defining or explaining hypnosis, what I wonder about is addressing myths. The stuff that I have read and seen generally addressing the fears of getting stuck in trance, being controlled and being embarrassed. It seems to me (on a theoretical level only of course, whih is why I appreciate your feedback) that if people are thinking any of these things then they either won't go on stage or won't go into trance.

Do these, getting excited about having fun on stage and a suggestability test constitute the essentials for you?
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Seadog=C-Dawg=C.ou.rtn.ey Kol.b
dmkraig
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I agree with MP. When doing a show my correcting false beliefs is one sentence: You're not going to do anything against your will or reveal secretes because it's just safe and fun.

However, the words aren't the only thing that's important. Your tone and inflection can raise an unimportant sentence to major important and vice versa. I deliver the statement above as a "throw away." It's not important. Don't worry about it. The only reason I'm saying it is because one of you might actually be worried. Let's get on to the fun.
mindpunisher
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Yes that needs to be addressed... it comes under removing fears....All you need to do is say something like "there are a lot myths around about hypnosis found in the press and in movies....but in actual fact hypnosis is a completely safe and natural phenomena that just happen's when the atmosphere is right and can do you no harm whatsoever.....however there are certain people I don't want up here on stage tonight.....( insert here you should know this) I put it in a previous post

You want assure that no one will be made to remove any clothing or do anything embarrassing if it is a tame audience and you are doing a clean show. etc etc etc
TonyB2009
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Quote:
On 2013-10-30 10:45, Mindpro wrote:
I am positioning myself as a credible specialist... all while being funny. To many if you ask them, they would think this is a comedy segment or routine. They don't even realize it is a "pre-talk".

Brilliantly put. In fact that whole post is full of good information.

While my pre-talk consists of about ten sentences, they are embedded in what appears to be a comic warm-up. It is good to see real information being shared here at last.
mindpunisher
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I don't think anyone realizes its a pre-talk they don't know nothing about hypnosis. Everything you do should be at least embedded within comedy...my pre talk goes on for about 10 mins....

The venue posters and the fact that you have filled a room with an audience has already established your credibility...
Mindpro
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Quote:
On 2013-10-30 18:50, TonyB2009 wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-10-30 10:45, Mindpro wrote:
I am positioning myself as a credible specialist... all while being funny. To many if you ask them, they would think this is a comedy segment or routine. They don't even realize it is a "pre-talk".

Brilliantly put. In fact that whole post is full of good information.

While my pre-talk consists of about ten sentences, they are embedded in what appears to be a comic warm-up. It is good to see real information being shared here at last.


It's because stage hypnosis is finally being discussed here at last again like it used to be. I agree.
thementalcoach
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I have different types of "pre-talks" depending on the venue. In my hypnosis practice, it's more lengthy (since I do go into that bypassing critical faculty stuff).

But in my Sacramento Hypnosis Meetup group and with presentations to businesses, I focus on our natural ability to tap into our imagination to bring out our potential, while always being safe and in control of what we do or say. Then I do the demos with volunteers - arms stuck in place, losing phone numbers and names, feet glued to floor, and all that amazing fun stuff we can do with our imaginations.
David Kenward - The Mental Coach
I help people let go of what is holding them back; and do their best when it counts. Guaranteed results, even if choking or in a slump.
Interests - Magic, Mentalism, Hypnosis and the Bizarre
Sacramento, California
http://thementalcoach.com
seadog93
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Hey guys,

I'm sorry I didn't post this earlier, but this has been incredibly helpful to me.

Thank you all! Smile
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Seadog=C-Dawg=C.ou.rtn.ey Kol.b
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