What is the most important characteristic you look for in a hypnotist or subject?
Since this is a question that is essentially two questions in one, I am supplying two answers.
What is the most important characteristic you look for in a hypnotist?
There are a lot of characteristics I look for (or, more properly, desire) in a hypnotist that I want to work with. Experience, quality, education certainly are very important, as is imagination and the ability to perform the inductions and suggestions to a high degree of quality and clarity. (I have seen quite a lot of hypnotists so I have seen the best and therefore am quite picky at times. ) Plus, I must confess to preferring a certain level of attractiveness of any female hypnotist. Not demanding, mind you, but it is something ingrained that is ingrained in me as a male and probably in most every male, I feel. (I expect the same would be true of anyone, as in wishing any hypnotist of their preferred gender to be attractive.)
But the most important characteristic is trust. I need to trust them. That essentially means I have to know them and (for most purposes) to consider them to be good friends. Fortunately, there are a fair number of people that fit into that category.
What is the most important characteristic you look for in a subject?
It is largely the same as what I look for in a hypnotist. Intelligence and imagination are keys to being a good subject, as is the ability to accept suggestions and follow instructions are what make for excellent subjects.
But again, as above, the most important thing is their trust in myself as a hypnotist. (Whether I have that kind of trust in my own abilities is quite another question.) This is something that was stressed in all of my training: the first and most important thing is to gain the trust of the subject and never, ever betray it.