Rapport is the single most important factor in hypnotizing people effectively.
Rapport can be defined as a feeling of connection, trust or simply a feeling that you are being understood. In a hypnotic setting, generating rapport is paramount. For most people, to allow someone to hypnotize them is an experience that requires some trust. Fortunately, there is an easy way to generate feelings of rapport.
One way to generate rapport is by matching physiology. What I mean by matching physiology is simply doing what they do. Sit like they sit, breathe like they breathe, move like they move, and talk like they talk. People find comfort in similarities. The more similar you can make yourself to them physically, the more rapport you are likely to generate. Most of the time people are not conscious of the way they sit, breathe or the tone of their voice. It’s unconscious communication and the more of it you can match the stronger your rapport will be.
Hypnosis and rapport are about communication with the unconscious mind. When you show a person’s unconscious mind that you understand it – the unconscious responds very favorably. One of the ways to communicate this message of understanding to the unconscious is to communicate outside of your client or subject’s conscious awareness. A good example of something that goes on outside of a person’s awareness is breathing. You breathe all day long but for the most part you’re not conscious of it. You don’t think about your breathing.
So if you send a message to the unconscious that you’re paying attention to this unconscious process (breathing), the unconscious mind begins to listen closely and feel as if you are its friend.
Gesturing, other body movements and tonality are typically unconscious and are also important in generating rapport. If a person comes to you with a desire to stop smoking, and smoking helps them to relax, you need to be able to create a post hypnotic suggestion which will help them relax without the cigarette. The more you say the word “relax” just the way they said it to you, the more powerful the suggestion will be. If their eyes are open, you can use the gesturing and other body movements to unconsciously communicate to them that you understood exactly what they meant. If they point to their heart when they mention the word courage, point to your heart when you speak about that same thing.
Yes, you can also generate rapport with your language and tonality. If your client is describing a feeling, and describes it as “yucky,” when you mention that feeling back to them make sure you use the phrase “yucky” with the same tone of voice and inflection.
Here’s one powerful way to utilize this “out-of-awareness” unconscious communication. Though it’s a very simple technique many experienced hypnotherapists and stage performers are unaware of it. During the induction or after your subject has entered trance, synchronize your words with your subjects exhale – speak when your subject is breathing out, remain silent when they’re breathing in. You can tell when most people are breathing by watching the rise and fall of their shoulders. Match their breathing with your words, even if you have to break a sentence in the middle do so. It’s very hypnotic. You can match any unconscious pattern -breathing is probably the most common.
If you’d like to generate a feeling of connection with anyone in any situation (not just with hypnosis), your chances are far better when you’re matching their posture, gesturing and language. Practice using these techniques when you’re in a restaurant or chatting with someone at work or school.
For more on rapport see Practical Guide to Rapport and Advanced Rapport.
That’s it for this Hypnosis Tip