There are a growing number of hypnosis conferences and conventions, both in the UK and internationally. Some are highly diverse, others more focused around a particular topic, such as pain. Often conferences are allied to a particular organisation, although a few are independent. Attending a conference can have many benefits, including meeting CPD requirements, developing new skills, gaining new knowledge and networking with your peers and profession ‘experts’. As hypnosis and particularly hypnotherapy is quite an isolated profession (you are often self-employed and work alone), it can offer a great opportunity to mix with others having similar and different experiences. A conference is likely to be an investment of your time and money. By preparing for your conference experience, you can optimise that investment. These 10 tips will help you to get the most from any hypnosis conferences that you choose to attend:
- What do you need?
Before you even consider a hypnosis conference as a way of gaining some form of professional development, assess you own professional needs. What are your strengths? Where are your limitations? What new knowledge or skills would benefit your present work? What would enable you to gain expertise or broaden how you work?
- Choose the right hypnosis conference for you
When you know what you need, look at the speakers and topics offered by a hypnosis conference and consider whether the selections will meet your needs. If, say, only one talk out of ten was of interest or use, then could you get that information any other way? Too much choice is less of a problem, as can be seen further on.
- Do your research and plan your schedule before you get there
Many hypnosis conference organisers now, at the least, promote the conference agenda on an website prior to the conference. Larger conferences tend to use mobile phone apps. These offer enhanced functionality, such as being able to read session plans, speaker profiles and flag up your chosen selections. It can be good to look at what each talk will give you. This can help you make informed selections.
- Try before you commit: Find out what ‘experts’ are really like
If you are interested in more specialised training, but have yet to commit to a trainer’s longer course, by sitting in on an hour or two at a conference, you will get a good idea of what they are like. This can help you understand whether their style suits your preferred way of learning.
- Do something different
As well as attending presentations that will directly benefit your practice, it can be good to pick something you may not usually go for. That hour’s investment of time could open up a whole new aspect to your practice. Alternatively, pick a presentation that will challenge you, or get you to expand your comfort zone. You might be surprised at how motivating this can be.
- Conference recording
Many hypnosis conferences offer an audio recording of the entire conference. Whilst you might record a speaker yourself (with their permission), the quality is unlikely to be ideal, and you would need to be there to make the recording. Professionally recorded audio will have much better quality. It also tends to delete ‘dead’ time (such as during exercises or practical work), so you only get what is useful to you as a listener. If you are not fond on taking copious notes, then investing in the conference recording can be a useful way of getting a reminder of the talks you were present for and also any others that you missed.
- Make choices wisely
For the larger hypnosis conferences, there can often be several ‘streams’ or choices at the same time throughout the day. There may be a range of workshops and talks including lectures, demonstrations, seminar/discussion groups and innovatively-designed sessions. If you find yourself with several clashes for the same time period, it can be useful to make a ‘decision criteria’. If you are going to get the conference audio, then you can know you can listen later to the ‘talking only’ style lecture presentations. Now, consider, whether any demonstrations will be understandable just from the audio, if so, then these too could be reviewed from the conference recording.
- Divide and conquer
Whether you go with a friend, or make a friend at the conference, it can be useful to have a conference ‘buddy’. Rather than both attend the same talks, deliberately go to different talks. Then meet up afterwards and share notes. This gives you a ‘two-for-one’ level of information, direct from source. Even better if you can form a small group. Then you can all share information. By sharing information, you are also reinforcing your own learning, so added benefit.
- Something to share?
Do you have something to share? Consider putting in a speaker proposal yourself. These are often sought a year in advance so contact the conference organiser in plenty of time. Do your research and explore what past speakers have talked about and how they have structured their talk. Follow that as a guide. By being a speaker at a conference, you are gaining more from your professional development experience and increasing your professional profile, both amongst your peers and to your clients.
- Use it or lose it
When you get home after the conference, take time to reflect on what you have learned and experienced. To reinforce your learning, consider writing a reflection on your experiences. You might even talk to colleagues about what you learned, or share it within a practice group or supervision session. The more that you engage with what you have learned, the more you reinforce that learning and develop greater insight and understanding. This is particularly important with practical skills. Skill fade reduces when you practice!
These are just a few tips and strategies that can help you to get the most out of your hypnosis conference adventure. Both Rory and Kate regularly present at international conferences (such as Hypnothoughts Live in Las Vegas and the UK Hypnosis Convention in London). If you’re based in the UK (or nearby) and are thinking about attending the UK Hypnosis Convention this November (2018), we have a special discount code that you can use to receive a reduced price conference ticket. The code is easy to remember, it is ‘HypnoTC’, simply use it when you sign up to get your tickets:
We hope that this blog on how to get the most out of hypnosis conferences has been helpful to you. If you have any more questions about this topic or anything else for that matter, do please get in touch, because we’re always happy to help!
– written by Dr Kate Beaven-Marks