Hypnosis is not easily defined — it is a state of mind, not a tangible substance. Many people fear that hypnosis requires you to give up control of your mind. However, you need to understand that you will not do anything in a hypnotic trance that you would not do while in a normal waking state. When in hypnosis, you have a heightened state of suggestibility.
There are many levels of hypnotic trance. You may have experienced driving down a highway, when all of a sudden you become aware that you've missed your turn. You were driving just fine, and yet your mind was focused on something else. You were in a hypnotic trance.
A daydream is a light trance. So is reading a good book, watching a television program, or having a conversation with friends. Even words are hypnotic; they stimulate your imagination, creating a suggestible state in your mind.
Meditation and prayer are forms of trance as well. During meditation, the practitioner strives to quiet the mind, finding peace as thoughts drift away into space. Prayer sends the thoughts to a specific source, with the expectation of a positive response. Either of these techniques is a good way to enter a hypnotic trance. If you already have a habit of meditating or praying, it may be useful to you when doing the exercises in this book. If you have your own way of entering a trance, you can rely on it as well.
The deepest level of trance experience is somnambulism. In it, the subject has no conscious awareness of his actions. He can experience negative hallucinations, where things disappear before his very eyes.
Hypnosis in Advertising
Companies spend millions of dollars annually researching how to sell you their products. They study packaging, age groups, colors, tastes, smells, feelings, and marketing areas. Their goal is to create an image that you cannot resist. They want you to follow their suggestions, to enter their hypnotic trance, to purchase their products.
Most marketing companies research their potential customer base. Then they write a presentation program and train their salespeople to follow it to the letter. Salespeople are often supplied with motivational tapes for inspiration and success. The potential customer also receives literature written around the sales profile. This whole process uses hypnosis concepts, with both the salespeople and the customers.
Like the stage show hypnotist, the salesperson takes full control of his presentation. Ernie, who had a very successful career in sales, learned early on to use this method. Regardless of what he was trying to sell or the level of his customer's intelligence, Ernie would assume control by taking away the customer's ability to think critically, until he landed the sale.
There are now several television networks devoted entirely to sales. They have succeeded in creating a consistent viewer base of people who actually feel obligated to purchase items that they may never use. These watchers often relate more to the show's host than to the product; they make the purchase because their “good friend” the salesperson recommends it.