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Marc Salem’s mind-reading secrets

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

Marc Salem can perform astonishing feats, including reading the serial numbers on dollar bills in audience members’ wallets and telling strangers where their parents attended college.

Salem swears that he can’t read minds; his abilities are simply well-trained powers of observation.

You may not realize it, but you use physical signals to “read” people’s thoughts, too. When someone nods to indicate “Yes,” you use something you see to read a thought. Salem says that, with practice, you can pick up on many other signals, too.

You often can tell if people are lying to you, for example. As you listen to their words, also listen for:
  • A rise or fall in the person’s voice pitch, especially one that is quickly corrected.

  • A change in speaking rate or rhythm, such as the sudden onset of monosyllabic, staccato-like speech.

  • A sudden, uncharacteristic stress on one word or phrase.

  • A voice that cracks suddenly.
But avoid making “rote judgments,” Salem warns. “Signals carry more or less weight depending on circumstance. If someone has a chest cold, for example, the significance of a cough is diminished. Don’t ignore qualifying conditions; evaluate them.

— Adapted from

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