Subtle Suggestion and Reading Non-verbal Cues

Becoming an effective hypnotist and/or an effective influencer is all about building effective skills – skills for leading people and skills for reading people.

This video was filmed impromptu at a meeting of my private Hypnosis and Influential Communication Mentoring Group, by one of the group members.  The camera work is bad, but I decided to share it here nonetheless because it is a good demonstration of both leading and reading, and how the two can come together and support each other.


I start out with the aim of leading the ‘subject’ (who shall be known henceforth as ‘Rob’) towards a particular card, and I get close but not quite on (I was aiming for the 5 not the 6). However, because I am monitoring non-verbal information throughout the process, I am able to alter my target to match before we reach the end of the process, and so end up getting my ‘hit’.

As you watch the video, see if you can see where I’m leading and what I’m reading!

P.S. I want to give ‘proper recognition’ to UK Mentalist Derren Brown, from whom I learned (indirectly – I don’t know Derren personally) to do this.

And If you are interested in learning some of the skills and secrets of Mentalism, please do check out this forthcoming ‘playshop’: Hypno-Tricks and Mentalism


For the sake of completeness – whilst this piece is predominantly based in influencing decisions and reading non-verbal cues – I need to add that there is also the use of behavioural response to ‘frame’ a moment in here. This is a different ‘logical level’ of influence from simply steering choices – it is the level of influence of influencing meaning.

And just to re-iterate – this is ABSOLUTELY NOT a magic trick – it is all communication (leading and reading) and psychology based. I have not tipped the workings explicitly here, simply because I learned it from the world of mentalism, which has particular etiquettes around revealing ‘secrets’ publicly.

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About The Author

James Tripp

Hypnotist and Transformative Facilitator. Creator of Hypnosis Without Trance.


  • Mark

    May 28, 2012

    Just curious James did you read Naked Mentalism 3?

  • admin

    May 29, 2012

    Hi Mark

    No… Is it worth a read?


  • Laura

    May 29, 2012

    Nicely done. Of course, had he ‘given’ you the six of diamonds first, you would have stopped there instead of letting him give you the other end card, leaving himself with the middle six of diamonds.

    • admin

      May 29, 2012

      As if I would do such a thing Laura! ;-P 😀

      (I guess I should have added ‘verbal cues’ to the ‘non-verbal cues’. And using behavioural responses as framing tools.)


  • Mark

    May 29, 2012

    Well ,James its hard to say is it worth it or not? It’s all about statistics and psychological subtleties his first book NM1 turn out to be practical for me specially his ideas on book teast ( any book, any page no force ,no peaks )
    His third book I found OK his statistics on playing cards are really interesting ( thats why I did refer to this book in first place)

    All the very best,


  • Nice magicians force. Let me see this is what at least 300 years old?

    Nothing at all to do with leading but a nice trick all the same.

    • Raymond

      May 29, 2012

      Jonathan, it’s not completely a magician’s choice only the last phase is, if it were James would not have had to change the card midway through.

      The premise is following instructions. When you ask someone to deal cards in a red and black pile the first card they deal is a red card, you simply see which packet the pick up (after all you know what is red and black) — this could be a magician’s choice (equivoque) if you want but the great thing about this is that you can truly and freely change your mind as you genuinely do this without dirty equivoque (the first stages) there’s no-one who minds. It’s a marvel that you already know what suite they are holding (not really when you know the psychology).

      Same with hearts and diamonds the first pile dealt is the hearts. We simply follow instructions so strictly.

      The last piece is equivogue but even that you can stack the odds in your favor by saying. So this is the: three, FIVE, seven, so three FIVE seven, am I right, of course I am. Pick one: “point to the five” in a less than obvious way. The odds are they take that out.

      • admin

        May 29, 2012

        You are quite correct Ray 😀

        Unfortunately, as always, Mr. Chase is unable to see beyond his own stunted view.

        The only extra-bit is the gentle steering in a particular direction (which doesn’t quite ‘hit’), but it is the information that you are highlighting that I am relying upon.

        All the very best


  • jerome

    May 29, 2012

    hello James,
    i’m also a mentalist and use HWT to embelish and give a “real touch” to my demonstrations. I’m far from being the hypnotist that you are but i start to have a good background in ” real time mentalist ” Would you like some tips for your routine ( and some references ). And i’d love to share ideas on combining HWT and mentalism ( of course not in the public blog ^^ )

    thank you
    ( i’m still not english so please forgive my mistakes 🙂 )

    • alain

      May 31, 2012

      Cher Jérôme, viens discuter de ces raffinements sur le forum privé www street tiret hypnosis point fr.
      A nice demo of conditioning someone in order to link an idea to a physical place/action.

  • Oh right, apologies James. If you’d have just done it more simply however it would have hit. Still more magic trick than anything else, in my myopic and stunted view. 😉

    • admin

      May 29, 2012

      Of course Jon.

      But the aim was to demonstrate a particular principle to the folks in my mentoring group rather than ‘get a hit’.

      The point was about leading people and paying attention to non-verbal feedback – this was a fun way to demo that, which it does (even if it does finish with equivoque – which is an interesting in itself, as it illustrates how framing affects perception).

      I think your right though, it is a magic trick. Just like ‘inducing’ ‘name amnesia’ or sticking someones hand to their head is a magic trick. But there is, of course, a difference between ‘sleight of hand’ and ‘sleight of mind’.

  • Yup. There’s a difference between sleight of mind and sleight of mouth as well.

    The difference between magic trick and altered reality is however far from slight. And a whale of a difference between hallucination and and a trick.

  • Jonathan chase

    June 2, 2012

    Oh right. My apologies James, guess i didnt reeally pay attention. Maybe it was using cards that threw me, on second look I can see I was totaly wrong.

    • admin

      June 3, 2012

      Thank you for taking the time to take a second look with an open mind Jon.

      All the very best


    • admin

      June 11, 2012

      No worries Jon. Glad the you took the time to look again with an open mind. And thank you for taking the time to post.

      All the very best


  • Very interesting piece. I often wonder whether I should try and use something that comes across as a trick to demonstrate hypnosis with people. the idea of doing something showy appeals but I think in some ways you need to then explain what you have done to show how we follow things that we are told.
    enjoyed the video

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