I have been asked many times about the difference between hypnosis and meditation. There are definitely some similarities. Both encourage a state of mindfulness. Both are broadly considered helpful in achieving one's goals. Both look pretty similar from the outside. So what's the difference?
Hypnosis differs from meditation primarily in focus.
Meditation is often open-ended, meaning there is rarely a specific goal or objective when meditating. The quietness of the mind, the relaxation, and the free-flowing of consciousness IS the goal. That state of being is what meditation is trying to reach. This is very helpful on achieving a connection with others spiritually, finding answers to issues of a existential nature, and general quality of life improvements.
Hypnosis generally involves a specific objective. There's usually a reason to practice hypnosis for a measurable result.
For example, meditating on a specific image will often allow the practitioner to go from the very specific- a petal on the flower- to the universal- petals are part of the flower, the flower is part of the universe, I am a part of the universe, therefore I am part of the flower petal. There is often a sense of revelation or discovery as the bigger picture comes into focus.
Hypnosis often works this process differently. For example, the intent may be "My communication skills improve every day and I can tell because the feeling of connection between me and my clients comes easier and goes deeper every time I see them."
I guess the main difference is suggestion based. Hypnosis is suggestion based for a specific end where meditation is mostly opening up in a general sense to see what comes.