Many entertainers who utilize hypnosis in their performances would agree that you would normally steer clear of any participant or volunteer who begins by saying something along the lines of:
“I’ll bet you can’t hypnotize me!”.
However, if you have the time to appease the fears of this type of person they can be interesting to work with, to say the least.
With this type of personality type, the majority of the time they’ll see themselves as the most authoritative, important and outgoing within the group. Hence, by default, they tend to have the unspoken respect of many of the other volunteers and the audience.
Something to consider though is that their statement may actually indicate a real fear within them that you (as the hypnotist) might actually be able to gain some kind of control over them and in actual fact, that they fear their own weakness.
This being the case, they may respond very well as a subject, precisely because of this fear…
Imagine the possibilities if you were seen to make even these “authoritative” individuals respond positively to your influence. You would definitely have gone a long way to establishing your abilities to everyone present, both audience and volunteers alike.
If you choose not to use a disruptive subject or prefer to get them ‘off-stage’, the next best step is to utilize this person to aid and assist you whenever possible. When you ask them to assist you, they tend to feel that what you’re saying is,
“I know I can’t fool you with this stuff, how about we both work together?”,
which appeals to their ego and personality type.
Rather than attempting to “dominate” them and giving them an outright reason to resist you and compare wits with you, talk to them like they’re an equal in this ‘experiment’, because of their objectivity and cynicism.
“Yes, you’re right, there’s no way that anyone who doesn’t want to be hypnotised (or whatever it is you are purporting to do) can ever be ‘put under’ and made to do anything which they would not normally do when ‘awake’…”,
which is in any case true, by definition.
Something else to consider is explaining to them that:
“this isn’t a battle of wills, with one side trying to outwit the other, but rather a co-operative experiment.”
By saying this you remove the challenge to them and the idea that if they do become hypnotized you have ‘beaten’ them in some way or another.
You might also mention that people like them “tend to make the best subjects of all”, when they allow themselves to be, because they won’t exaggerate whatever occurs or play up to the audience.
A good touch in this scenario is to finish off by openly admitting you can’t work with them:
“I do of course understand that this kind of thing isn’t for you, so I’ll use someone else…”
Having said and done all of this you can now leave ‘Mr Disruptive’ to mull things over for a little while, and go back working with more responsive subjects instead. The majority of the time he’ll eventually see that these volunteers are having much more fun than he is and are at the centre of fun and attention. Since he’s used to this place usually being reserved for him, by now he’ll tend to want to get involved in what’s happening.
This is where your own character traits will come into play. Give him a sincere chance to get back into the act, without any malicious intent. If you include him begrudgingly, you may still have an enemy who could try to disrupt things later on.
Instead, welcome him back gratefully, as though he can now help you take the performance to greater heights.
Some Final Thoughts
To help guard against conflicts like those mentioned above, when using any form of hypnotic suggestion it’s best to define the ideal subject to the audience as soon as possible BEFORE you invite your volunteers on stage or pick your subjects from the audience.
Don’t attempt to make it a long-winded explanation, rather stick to the basic trait that most people want to be recognized for.
“I’ve found that individuals who make the best volunteers are usually intelligent, imaginative, fun, and brave enough to allow whatever happens to happen.”
Once you’ve done this, if anyone then replies or comments with, “You can’t hypnotize me”, it’s like they’re saying that they don’t possess any of these things you have mentioned.