3 Cold Reading Techniques

cold reading

1. Use Barnum Statements

The term Barnum statement comes from the P.T Barnum expression ‘we’ve got something for everyone’. A psychologist called Bertram Forer came up with the idea of statements which could be applied to anyone.

He provided volunteers with personality evaluations and all agreed they were highly accurate, the only problem was all the evaluations said exactly the same thing. You can use Barnum statements during cold readings and be pretty much guaranteed a hit. Here are some examples:

  • You have a great need for other people to like and admire you.
  • You have a tendency to be critical of yourself.
  • You have a great deal of unused capacity which you have not turned to your advantage.
  • While you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them.
  • Disciplined and self-controlled outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure inside.
  • At times you are extroverted, affable, sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, reserved.
  • You’re an independent and creative thinker.
  • Security is one of your major goals in life.

2. Use Questions

The intelligent use of questions is vital in cold reading. If you can use questions cleverly the sitter or audience will provide the information without even realising it.

Try asking direct questions for things that are very likely to get a hit. These are things that are generally true for everyone or people within certain demographics eg. have you ever had a pet? Observe the person too eg. if they are wearing a wedding ring ask ‘are you in a relationship?’

Use indirect questions to prompt the sitter to supply further information if you are searching for a hit. eg. does that sound right?

3. Re-state Information

Try to remember the info you get from a sitter and use it later in the cold reading. This is a great technique. You might think it is easy for the sitter to spot but if you wait a while to restate info and do it cleverly you are guaranteed a hit. The sitter won’t have a clue they provided the info.

Re-stating information like all cold reading techniques takes a bit of practise but its a very useful technique, as are all these 3.

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