CR and cold calling 1 accessing the prospect

A lot of business-to-business selling starts with a salesman telephoning companies to see if they're in the market for whatever he's selling. Some call this 'telesales', some call it 'cold calling', and some call it 'hell on Earth'. So how can cold reading techniques help in this situation To see how, let us briefly reconsider what's happening in the context of a typical psychic reading. Specifically, let's focus on the main goal of whoever is giving the reading. We can summarise the psychic...

The Cultural Trend

This is closely allied to the two preceding elements - the Stat Fact and the Trivia Stat. It is simply based on observing prevailing social and cultural trends, and extrapolating from them. A good knowledge of current trends can help the psychic to make accurate statements about the subject's life now - her character, attitudes, pastimes and pre-occupations. Educated guesses about how these trends will develop can help the psychic formulate predictions for the subject's near future (in addition...

Greener Grass

The Greener Grass element is based on the fact that we all retain some fascination with the options in life that we did not take. You could say they form their own sub-set of the Jacques Statements referred to above. There are many examples of these fundamental life choices. People who have always lived in congested, urban areas often yearn for what they see as the peace and freedom of a more rustic way of life. Conversely, those who have spent all their years in the countryside may long for,...

Elements about facts and events

These elements chiefly concern facts (such as names and numbers) which mean something to the client, and events in the client's distant or recent past. Elements which deal with future events are dealt with separately (see 'Mainly about the future' later). A Fuzzy Fact is an apparently factual statement which is formulated so that (a) it is quite likely to be accepted (b) it leaves plenty of scope to be developed into something more specific. Let us consider some common examples. Here is a...

Elements about the future

Psychics are well-known for their ability to peer into the future on behalf of their clients, and few psychic readings would be complete without at least a little glimpse into tomorrow and beyond. This is a very important aspect of cold reading, and one which is so easy it is laughable (except to believers). I have already clarified the fact that this book is about cold reading, and not magic tricks. Let me stress this point one more time, since I have often come across confusion on the issue....

CR and the illusion of knowledge

So far, we have seen a few possible parallels between the psychic context and the sales context. It is fair to say these are quite limited in scope. We have yet to see how cold reading techniques could make a significant difference to our salesman's daily activity. I believe there is one area where can cold reading techniques can make a huge difference helping the salesman to appear more well-informed than he really is. Let me explain what I mean. This is not the place for a lengthy...

Afterword

I always enjoy taking part in TV shows, but I recall this occasion as being especially happy and enjoyable. I would like to place on record my thanks to all concerned. The production team did an excellent job of organising the whole experiment, and they enforced all the conditions very strictly. I was naturally very pleased to hear that my reading was considered to be 99.9 and 95 accurate It was also most intriguing to hear the more sceptical of the two clients suggest I had proved that...

Cold reading and selling

In one way or another, I have been involved in selling for over twenty years. For many moons I earned a living writing and producing sales and marketing material for numerous different companies, ranging from small 'two men and a dog' outfits to large multi-nationals. My clients spanned most industry sectors -from heavy engineering to lingerie, Pharmaceuticals to banking, information technology to shoes. Just to add further variety, these assignments covered many different media - print, audio,...

The Greatest Scam In History

They are found throughout the world. And they defy explanation. They are psychic readings, and everyone has either had one or knows someone who has. People find these readings astonishing, and with good reason, since they are often intriguing and incredible. Let me describe what happens. You go to see a psychic - someone to whom you are a complete stranger. The psychic, usually female, describes your personality with pin-point accuracy. She identifies events...

The Psychic Credit

Psychic Credits are character statements which credit the client with some form of psychic or intuitive gift, or at the very least a receptivity to others who possess such gifts. This may be seen as a very specific application of Fine Flattery. It is a very common element, found in all sorts of readings. As with the Fine Flattery element, it is not good enough to simply praise the client and hope she likes it. Hey You're psychic too is not the recommended approach. Here is an example of the...

Cultivating feedback

In theory, a psychic reading could consist of the psychic doing all the talking and the client doing all the listening. Cold reading can work under these circumstances, and indeed postal readings cannot work any other way. However, the cold reading process clearly works best if the client provides plenty of responses, feedback and information. For this reason, the psychic does whatever she can to make sure the reading becomes an interactive dialogue. In this respect, some clients need less...

Mnemonics

Some psychics facilitate the cold reading process by using simple tried-and-tested memory systems. I myself have used a mnemonic system which gave me one or two key words for every card in a tarot pack. These key words had nothing to do with the actual meanings the cards are supposed to have. They just provided me with prompts for something to say, ensuring that I never ran out of material for the reading. Using set methods like this can turn up some very surprising hits. A very talented cold...

Elements about extracting information

The following elements are all concerned with obtaining information from the client, and then putting it to good use. In essence, they involve obtaining information by the simple expedient of asking for it. This sounds very blatant, but the psychic can disguise this process extremely well if she has to. So well, in fact, that the client may feel she never provided the psychic with any information at all. I will begin with the simplest and most transparent approach. In the case of the Direct...

Shrewd observation

Some sceptics suggest that psychics rely on shrewd observation of the client to derive clues about character, career and interests. I feel this notion may owe a great deal to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. In these justly famous tales, the flamboyant detective sometimes demonstrates his ability to deduce many specific details about a person purely by shrewd observation. This technique is indeed one factor in cold reading. Most cold readers have their own favourite tale of...

Can anyone learn cold reading

This is a common question, and the answer is the same for cold reading as for anything else. Almost anyone can try their hand at it, but there will always be some who have more natural aptitude than others. Good cold reading tends to require the gift of the gab, modest acting ability, lack of nerves, and a touch of 'stage presence'. If a person has these qualities, he or she can probably learn to be a good cold-reader. Charm and charisma obviously help, but I seem to have done okay despite a...

CR and building rapport

We have already seen that cold reading techniques can help to establish rapport. In any conversation, if the other person feels that you understand them, and that there is plenty of room for agreement, they gain a sense of convergence and bonding. In other words, good rapport. If the other person feels that you do not understand them, and every conversational thread seems to fragment into disagreement, they gain no sense of convergence and bonding, and are unlikely to enjoy the encounter....

Principal phases

Given that readings vary according to personal style, and are generally improvised rather than scripted, there is no one way to 'put it all together' and fashion a psychic reading. However, the majority of normal one-on-one readings can be said to proceed I will describe each one, and add some notes from my own experience of giving readings. To begin with, the psychic employs whichever 'Set Up' techniques are appropriate to the psychic's style, the client, and the context of the reading (see...

CR and staging the sales meeting

When we looked at The Set Up for psychic readings, we dealt with subjects such as 'Meeting and Greeting', 'Encouraging cooperative interpretation' and 'Establishing psychic credentials'. At the risk of stating the obvious, many of these techniques apply equally well to the context of a sales meeting, or indeed many other kinds of meetings. The techniques just need to be adapted slightly. Here's our new context summary Context The start of an initial sales meeting. Perception goal to be...

Note 6 Sherlock Strategy Guessing Game answers

In the 'Sherlock Strategy' section I described some clues which a cold reader might exploit using the 'Sherlock Strategy'. Here are some possible interpretations. Feel free to disagree 1. Client plays the violin or viola, and has done for some time. Years of holding the violin against the neck can result in a very distinctive patch of discolouration on the neck. Violinists may also have distinctive groove marks along the pads of their left fingertips caused by the violin strings. Note that...

Section 4 Blocking techniques

It can be used to deliver any kind of psychic reading. What is more, it seems to work on virtually any client, no matter how intelligent or sceptical they are. In fact, cold reading is so effective that there is literally only one way in which it can fail. If the client knows how cold reading works, and knows how to block it, then the cold reader is beaten. By reading this far, you have learned how cold reading works. Armed with this information, you can...

The Stat Fact

Stat Facts are statements based on statistics and demographic data. There is a wealth of such information available, from libraries, specialist publications, commercial databases and the internet. Some of the more headline-friendly data even makes it to the national press and becomes popular knowledge (or popular misconception). This kind of information can play its part in the cold reading process. For example, imagine that the psychic is giving readings in a region where, statistically, most...

Body language

Some people suggest that psychics base their readings on the so-called 'body language' of the client. In case you have been spared exposure to this 'science', body language is a popular term for the study of non-verbal communication, such as stance, facial expression, mannerisms and gestures. Body language may play a part in cold reading, as we will see later, but it usually plays only a minor role. It plainly cannot help with remote readings (e.g. readings by phone or by post). Moreover, the...

The Seasonal Touch

The Seasonal Touch is a very simple element. The psychic merely offers statements based on the time of year or other seasonal factors. These obviously vary according to the country, culture and society in which the psychic is giving the reading. For example, I live in England where the Spring months are typically associated with 'Spring cleaning' and embarking on major new DIY tasks around the home. January and July are the commonest months for major sales in the shops, which many women will...

Cold reading and criminal interrogation

I receive a lot of correspondence about cold reading from all over the world, and most of it is very interesting. On more than one occasion, police officers and other law enforcement officials have written to me about the possible application of cold reading techniques to the interrogation of suspects in criminal cases. I find this an intriguing idea, and during a visit to New York I had the privilege of discussing it further with Peter Kougasian, Assistant DA for the County of New York (and a...

CR and interrogation

So far I have cited some standard criminal interrogation techniques, as described by Inbaue, Reid & Buckley (IRB), which echo some aspects of psychic cold reading practice. I now want to suggest some other ways - not yet standard - in which cold reading techniques might be applied to criminal interrogation. Specifically, ways in which the interrogator can seem to know more than he really does, which just might help his interrogation. These are hypothetical possibilities only, and some may...

Fine Flattery

Fine Flattery statements are designed to flatter the client in a subtle way likely to win agreement. Usually, the formula involves the client being compared to people in general or most of those around you, and being declared a slight but significant improvement over them. Consider this bad example You are wonderfully honest This is certainly flattering, and it may even be true, but it is a very poor piece of cold reading. The first problem is that it looks and sounds like pure flattery,...

Cold Reading and romance

Having looked at the psychic context and the sales context, we can now look at cold reading techniques as they might apply in a romantic context. This section is not intended as a contribution to the ever-growing, ever-amusing 'seduction secrets' industry. There are already countless books, websites and manuals devoted to 'sure-fire' seduction techniques, so I doubt there's anything left to add. Instead, this relatively brief section is intended to explore parallels between factors that help a...

Thanks and acknowledgements

I wish to offer my sincerest thanks to the following people, all of whom contributed to this book whether they realise it or not. James Randi wrote several books which changed my life, and has proved a good friend over many years. Martin Gardner wrote the 'Mathematical Games' columns that opened the doors to many lasting treasures. Mike Hutchinson is a very valued friend who has done countless favours for me over the years, as well as performing many important introductions. Lewis Jones taught...

The reading

Here is the Virgo version of the reading. The second was identical, but with the word 'Virgo changed to 'Taurus' throughout. Sign of Virgo with Saturn rising Principal planets First house Venus, Neptune. Fifth house Mars. Sixth house Pluto. Venus in Aquarius. Neptune and Mars in Pisces. Pluto in Sagittarius. The Virgo female is feminine, warm and loving, no stranger to strong passions and deep feelings. She is not as easily hurt as some, like her frailer friends Pisces or Gemini for example,...

Psychic baiting

Psychic baiting is a great new fun way to pass your leisure hours. My hope is that it will become a popular new pastime all over the world. In essence, psychic baiting is the only sure way to demonstrate that someone giving readings is using cold reading, not genuine psychic ability. It involves going for a reading and allowing the psychic - which I stress means 'cold reader' in this case - to get snared by her own methods. Warning It is obviously inadvisable to try psychic baiting if you feel...

Stupid credulous and gullible

There are those who suggest that anyone who consults a psychic, or believes in psychic readings, must be stupid, credulous or gullible. This is quite plainly at odds with the facts. There are countless clients who, by any criteria, are highly intelligent and perceptive people. If you have a good grasp of how cold reading works, and how to block it, then it cannot be used on you. Otherwise, it can. It makes no difference how smart, highly-qualified or intellectually brilliant you may be. None of...

The Lucky Guess

The Lucky Guess element is exactly that - a pure guess which lacks any of the subtlety of the Good Chance Guess explained above. The psychic simply offers a name, set of initials, date or place and sees if the client accepts it. If it is a hit, it seems miraculous and will be sure to impress the client. What is more, it can be used afterwards to give sceptics a thump, since it is apparently inexplicable. If it is not a hit, the psychic can easily move on to something else see 'The Win-Win Game'...

Elements about character

This first group of elements are chiefly concerned with the client's personality and character. The Rainbow Ruse is a statement which credits the client with both a personality trait and its opposite. Here is an example You can be a very considerate person, very quick to provide for others, but there are times, if you are honest, when you recognise a selfish streak in yourself. In this case, the client is being told that she is both selfless and selfish. There are countless variations along...