Warm reading using verbal feedback

From the above we can see that the essence of cold reading is the use by the reader of nonverbal feedback from the client to help him decide between a number of already-known alternative routes for the conversation. While cold reading requires the client unwittingly to deliberate between implicit choices produced by the reader, in what might be termed 'closed questioning' (e.g. "do you have children?"), in warm reading the emphasis is on the client to provide answers to 'open questions' to which the reader need not know the range of possible answers (e.g. "what are your children's names?"). The process of warm reading is less constrained than that for cold reading (as for example was outlined in Figure 5), in that it need not follow such a fixed path of information gathering. Rather, warm reading is opportunistic, with the reader remaining alert to any personal details given up by the sitter at any time during the session from when she enters the room to when she leaves it.

Some of this information will be freely volunteered by the client if the reader has successfully developed a rapport with her, through mirroring her body language, appearing friendly and sincere, and expressing a wish to help with her problems. The client can be encouraged to speak - or to continue speaking - by reproducing the backchannel behaviours typically adopted by the listener in conventional conversational dyadsx. Martin (1990) emphasises the importance of being able to listen, and to use listening body language:

Nodding occasionally, in the sense of acknowledgement is a must. A slight sideways tilt of the head is also a listening signal you must learn to use ... Leaning slightly forward is standard; so is slowly ('thoughtfully') stroking the chin, almost as if you had a beard... This one action - attentive listening - is powerful magick [sic] by itself. For one thing, it is so rare for people to listen intently to them, that they want to talk on and on. It is a perfect way to get them to tell you their problem, and their tentative solution. (p. 78)

More 'aggressively', the reader can simply refrain from speaking. Earle (1990b) notes that "People abhor a silence the way Nature abhors a vacuum. The client will often fill the silence with material you can feed back later."

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