Cold Reading is a Useful Tool of Influence
A “cold read” is a statement or guess about someone that isn’t based on any real knowledge or information about them.
When you give someone a cold read, you are suggesting that you understand them on a deeper level than you actually do.
Psychics use cold reads all the time:
[To someone who arrived right on time for their appointment] “You are a very conscientious and detail-oriented person, but sometimes this can get in the way of having fun.”
[To someone who just popped in to the psychic unexpectedly] “You’re spontaneous and adventure-seeking, but you are wondering if your disorganized way of living might be limiting your potential.”
Because the human mind is a pattern-recognition machine, it doesn’t matter if the read is 100% true. All that matters is that (a) it’s spoken with authority and confidence, and (b) it rings true to the other person.
Now you don’t have to be a shady psychic or con artist to use this technique well.
Like everything, it’s just a tool. And whether it is used for good or ill depends on the person using it.
A good cold read is a way to jump-start the process of rapport and connection-building.
To do it, you simply need to observe, listen and pay attention to the other person (something that many people have trouble with).
When you really watch and listen to someone, opening yourself up to their energy and their message, they will give you plenty of information about themselves. Even if they speak few words.
Your job is to simply connect the dots and create a narrative or frame based on the information they are sharing (and also what they are not sharing), and based on your common sense and life experience:
If they say, with an exasperated tone, they are running late because their boss gave them extra work at the last minute:
“That’s tough, it must be a stressful job. I bet you like the money but wish you could have more freedom in your lifestyle.”
The person may reply: “Exactly! That’s so true.”
On the other hand (especially when you have little experience with cold reading) your assumption may be incorrect.
But that’s ok. It still opens up the potential for rapport because now the other person can correct you:
“No, I feel good about my lifestyle overall, it’s just that this time of year is really busy at work, so it’s always tough.”
There you just learned something about them and can ask further questions to learn more. You can also expand on that and share your own experiences related to deadlines, difficult bosses, etc.
Start employing simple cold reads as a jumping-off point for rapport and you will likely notice your conversations are much more interesting and engaging.