Psychic Persuasion Skills!
By Rintu Basu
NLP Business, NLP Products
9th September 2012
About ten years ago I read a book that transformed my persuasion skills. The book was about a fascinating subject called ‘cold reading’. This article is about how cold reading can help you to become more persuasive in every facet of your life: personal, social and professional.
The book I read all those years ago was ‘The Full Facts book of Cold Reading’ by Ian Rowland. It had a significant impact on my approach to hypnotic persuasion skills and helped me develop some of the techniques in my own ‘Persuasion Skills Black Book’.
So what is cold reading? If you want an informal definition, it’s how to talk to someone as if you’re psychic (even if you are about as psychic as a teapot). It’s the technique that some people use to give “readings” for their clients — such as tarot readings and astrological readings.
In his book, Ian Rowland provides a more formal definition of cold reading: “A set of techniques, to do with the psychology of communication, that enable you to influence what another person thinks, feels and believes”.
It’s a large subject and in his book Rowland describes many different techniques. For example, there are ways of making statements that sound highly specific but in fact will always sound correct, no matter who you are talking to. There are also techniques for asking questions without appearing to do so, and even methods for predicting the future in ways that will always come true (or seem to do so)!
When these techniques are combined with props such as tarot cards or an astrological chart they can sound like an astonishingly accurate and convincing ‘psychic’ reading. In essence, these many different techniques provide fascinating insights into human psychology and what makes a statement seem plausible or convincing. As you can imagine, this is all very useful for any student of persuasion.
How Would You Use This in a Persuasion Context?
When I read Ian Rowland’s book I wasn’t aware it is considered the definitive text on cold reading. I adapted several of Ian’s ideas in developing my own approach to hypnotic language. Here are a few examples.
One of the biggest things I took from Ian’s work was a conceptual element that I used when developing my approach to conversation management. In his book, Ian has a variety of patterns and phrases that can be combined in countless different ways, in a wholly improvised way, to create what seems like a convincing reading for any client. The constituent parts may be pre-set, but the way they are put together is different every time.
If you have studied my material, you will know that I approach hypnotic language patterns in the same way. Instead of lengthy, overblown scripts, we focus on smaller patterns that we can apply within many different contexts.
In Ian’s cold reading book he discusses different phases of a successful reading. For example, he explains what he calls ‘The Set Up’, which involves establish a co-operative atmosphere and nullify unhelpful beliefs. I use a similar approach in this article about how to handle a sales process.
If you are interested in the art of persuasion – and are willing to work at developing your skills – I’d say this is a great book to work with. I know that it helped me to develop some insights that are unique within the persuasion, hypnosis and NLP communities.
If you have any interest in the workings of the psychic and mentalism (mind-reading magic) industries, then this book is pure gold.
However, there’s one more point I’d like to make. Ian has recently released the fifth edition of his cold reading book, which features a chapter called Applied Cold Reading. This is where things get really interesting!
Ian’s book is, for the most part, a description of how cold reading is used within the psychic industry. However, Applied Cold Reading (or ACR for short) is about how some cold reading techniques can be used outside the psychic industry, in a variety of other contexts that have nothing to do with pretending to tell fortunes — including selling, management and even social situations.
In the book Ian only touches on the surface of ACR, but he does run courses on the subject that explore ACR in much greater depth and detail. Just on the strength of his book and a couple of online chats with Ian I am booking myself on the course and I expect I’ll get a huge amount that I can use personally and professional. Click through and find out more about the course here.
Tags: Case Studies, Language, Products