As a professional mentalist and magician, I perform many demonstrations of what appears to be mind reading in my show and I blend an array of different techniques and subtleties to create that illusion. While I will never reveal how I do what I do, I am willing to discuss one of the techniques, especially if doing so justifies sharing a picture of my dog, Dylan.
One important skill I use is simple non-verbal communication. How much of what you say is said in words? Those who claim to see into other’s minds might not be looking that deeply. It has been widely stated that only 5-10% of communication is, in fact, verbal; the rest is comprised of a combination of conscious and unconscious signals broadcast through facial expressions, body language, gestures, tone, rhythm and volume of voice. While I believe that the 5-10% number is a myth based on an early misunderstanding of a study, there is no question that non-verbal communication can be a powerful tool if we make a conscious study of it.
Consciously learn the vocabulary of this “other” language and a world of information about those around you becomes available. One of the best guides I have had in my studies of this particular art is Dylan (see above), a very talkative Golden Retriever mix. His ability to “read” me is extraordinary and I hope, one day, to come close to his mastery of listening to what others aren’t saying.