How to Use Social Cold Reading

In Conversation by Cal-Hark1 Comment

Cold Reading For Rapport


Have you ever been to a psychic reading?

They seem to reveal things about you that shouldn’t be possible. Extracting information from your very soul while painting a perfect picture of who you are. How is this possible?

Welcome to the Barnum Effect. The psychological phenomenon that plays on our innate desire to feel special. Barnum statements are readings that appear to be specifically tailored to an individual, but in fact, apply to almost everyone. I’ll go over some examples

“You know, I get the feeling that although you’re very open, there’s a lot you still hold back for fear of being judged”

“From talking to you here it seems as though although you do work really hard, you feel there’s a lot of untapped potential inside you”

“You seem like the type to do your own thing, not too concerned about what everyone else is doing”

These statements apply to almost everyone you’ll ever meet. If delivered confidently, however, it’s easy to make someone believe that you have truly seen into their soul and know exactly who they are. One of the greatest human desires is to be understood. Use this tool to quickly build rapport and develop a rapid connection. No need to overuse this. Once or twice is enough. Any more could get a bit creepy for them.

Feel free to use the examples above or even try and come up with your own. I’ve made an entire article on The Barnum Effect so be sure to check it out.

Side Note:

If your conversation partner is well versed in psychology, they may know what you’re up to. The remedy for this is simple. Just laugh it off and say you heard about it today and thought you’d see if it worked, whoever you’re talking to will likely have done the same at one point. Then proceed to ask them questions about the human mind etc. Easy.


Cold Reading For Questions


Another way to use cold reading is for making questioning assumptions. When you’re asking a lot of questions, it can start to feel a bit like an interview. Cold reading can be a great way to break up the conversation and stand out while you do so. Simply make a statement you think might be true, then see what they say. The best part is it doesn’t matter if you’re right. If not they’ll simply correct you and think nothing of it, allowing you to question deeper about whatever it is you just tried to guess. Let’s go over some examples:

“Let me guess, you studied psychology?”

(They will then either agree or go on to talk about what they did actually study. This one’s great because it puts a nice twist on a question people are probably sick of answering, and then becomes fun for them to try and guess things about you too)

“You look like either a doctor or a paramedic I can’t decide”

(This one comes with a built-in compliment, however this should not be used if you already know what they do…for obvious reasons)


Emotional Priming


Cold reading can also be used to prime emotions and actions in others. Why ask them how they are, when you can simply decide for them? Okay, that might be pushing it a little, but the technique is powerful nonetheless.

Simply telling someone “You look like you’re in a good mood” with a warm hearty smile can often be enough to actually put them in a better mood. By priming: Good Mood, they’ll subconsciously search for reasons why what you’re saying is true.

The only time this should not be used is when they are clearly in distress. Walking up to your distraught friend and joyfully proclaiming “well aren’t you in a good mood!” as the tears roll down their eyes could come off a little sarcastic. Any other time though, be sure to give this a go and see the results for yourself.

There are more uses for this than simply priming a good mood. It can be used to inspire almost any action or emotion you want. For example telling someone that they look like they’re “working hard”, in turn, can cause them to temporarily work even harder as to not tarnish their new perceived hard-working reputation. Depending on when you read this, there may or may not be a link below to an article solely on this topic of priming.




Cold reading is just one of the many tools in your conversation arsenal. But it’s only going to work if you sharpen it. It doesn’t matter what you want out of life, conversation skills matter. Keep practising what you’re learning here (and any other websites/books you enjoy) and I promise the world is yours.

There are so few people that realise the power behind mastering social psychology. You’re going to be miles ahead of everyone you know.

Practising this stuff isn’t easy I know, but it’s worth it.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. And a special thank you to those of you that share and let me know what they think, it means a lot.





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