Author: Mikeyday

5 Simple Cold Reading Techniques

5 Simple Cold Reading Techniques

What is Cold Reading?

Cold reading is a technique used by all sorts of magicians, psychics, mentalist and more. It is a form of reading someone’s reaction based off a set choice of words used by the professional.

Cold reading techniques are just one of those things that take a lot of practice to master and get comfortable doing. Even though that is true, it is a must have skill for aspiring Mentalist.  Today we will be going over a couple techniques you can use. As well as how to practice each one and make them a part of your mentalism arsenal. So without further ado let’s get right to it.

Cold Reading Technique #1- Barnum Statements

These are general statements that are used to prey on your subjects internal or external view of themselves. Their are a wide variety of statements available that will apply to many people out there. I’m almost certain that at one point in your life you to have been subject to one of these statements.

The way they work is by offering people general yet personal information that that person would want to be true. Usually a statement will be said and the subject will look internally for ways to connect the dots. For instance, if someone says the following statement to you, “At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing”. This is a very broad and general statement, everyone at one point or another has had doubts about their decisions. The statement above makes the subject fill in the blanks.

The reaction that one usually receives from the statements leads to other specified statements which will usually lead to an educated guess by the professional. This is a strong cold reading technique, that if practiced and performed correctly, will make you a strong mentalist. Down in the video below are 20 barnum statements that you can use yourself. Watch the video and see how many times you say yes to each statement. You will really get to gauge how powerful each statement actually is.


 #2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience and who you are performing to is crucial. You don’t want to pick a subject who is a skeptic. You want someone who is a bit gullible or someone who enjoys being entertained with tricks. At the end of the day mentalism and cold reading both are centered around getting into a persons head. Therefor it is a lot easier to get into someones head if they aren’t fighting back. With people who aren’t skeptics, it’s also easy to get into their head because most times they let you.

#3. Flipping Words or Your Meanings

One key skill your going to have to develop as a cold reader, is being able to instantly react when you make a bad or wrong read. The ability to flip your words or meanings in the situation is crucial. I’ll give you an example of what I mean. If you make a statement to someone and say ” you have lost a loved one before” , they could take that one of two ways. The first being that someone they loved has passed away or someone they loved has gone out of their lives. If they react badly and say ” no one near me has ever died” you could always flip your meaning. You could say ” what I am stating is that someone you once loved is no longer in your life”. That is what flipping meanings or words is all about.

#4. Shot Gun Cold Reading Technique

This is a good technique to use with a large audience. This technique will help you find a target who is most likely willing to be targeted. The way this cold reading technique works is by saying a general statement to a large audience. The key here is to use a statement that will entice an emotional response from someone in your audience. When you make someone feel an emotion, they are more likely to be intrigued with your act and they will also feel as if everything you are saying is specifically about them. This will help you get into their minds easier.

If done correctly, the shot gun technique will always grab someone in your audiences attention and most likely that person will not be a hard person to read. Remember, the key with this technique is to add a response that will bring some type of emotion into the minds of your target. You want to make them feel as if you are speaking directly to them.

#5. Comebacks

I like to call this technique a comeback. It’s when you pick up on a response early on in the conversation and you do not acknowledge the response. Then later on in the conversation you make a statement based of the response you got earlier.  This is a powerful skill because if done correctly the subject will be amazed once you tell them something personal about themselves. The best thing about the “Comeback” is that the statement you make will feel random to them. They usually won’t even remember telling you anything about the statement you made.


If practiced consistently, all the  cold reading techniques above will drastically improve your mentalism or psychic skills. A big key to take from everything is to be a big talker as well as an even bigger listener and watcher. You want to watch the body language and responses of your target. You also want to listen deeply in what they say. If you’d like to know more about mentalism, check out our post here. We give some great tips, and show you ca couple of tricks you could even do on your own. If you are interested more in cold reading and would like to know more about it check out our book recommendations.