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We can’t really tell you how to become a mind reader. But we can teach you how to make some impressively accurate guesses, based on psychics’ tricks of the trade.
Step 1: Prime them
Use your body language to make the person comfortable around you. Smile, tilt your head to one side when you’re listening to them, keep your arms unfolded, and point your torso and feet toward theirs.
Step 2: Read their palms
Gauge how relaxed they are by reading their palms. Are their hands tightly clenched? When you shake their hand, is it cold and clammy or hot and sweaty? All indicate unease.
Step 3: Study their face
Study their face, specifically the upper portion. A fake smile does not reach the eyes, so if the area around the eyes remains smooth and un-crinkled, the smiling person may really be feeling nervous or skeptical.
Of course too much Botox might throw off this test.
Step 4: Go fishing
Make a general statement that will help you fish for information—something vague that could apply to anyone at any time like, 'You’re worried about something, aren’t you?' or, 'You’re concerned about a relationship,' or 'Something has been on your mind lately.'
Step 5: Listen carefully
Listen carefully to their response so you can tweak your tactics accordingly. If they get emotional, you know you’ve hit a nerve—keep digging! If not, switch to another subject.
Use a psychic trick known as the 'Barnum reading,' named after P.T.’s philosophy of offering something for everyone. Describe the person in safe, even-handed terms like, 'You can be quiet, but when you want to, you can become the life of the party.' Watch for physical flickers of recognition so you know what to zero in on.
Step 6: Look for micro-expressions
Look for micro-expressions—those blink-and-you-miss-them involuntary movements that betray a person’s real feelings. For example, the person who lies when he says he’s not worried about something will nod his head up and down almost imperceptibly during the denial.
Step 7: Lead them on
Ask the person about something that almost everyone has in common—like a box of old photos—then use the response to tease out more information.
Other items that a high percentage of people will identify with are 'a scar on the knee,' 'a meaningful piece of jewelry,' 'a childhood incident involving water,' and 'keys that you can no longer match to anything.'
Step 8: Learn basic body language
Learn basic body language. A person with his hands clasped behind his back or behind his head is confident; crossed arms indicate dislike or guardedness; a man with his thumbs hooked in his pants pocket is showing his sexual availability; ditto for a woman who plays with her hair and entwines her legs.
Step 9: Mirror them
Mirror the person’s movements—if they are cupping their chin with their hand, you do the same—to establish intimacy. It not only will help you to read them better—it will make them more prone to open up to you.
Did You Know?
Psychic debunker James Randi has a standing offer of $1 million to anyone who can prove the existence of psychic powers.