How Do Mentalists Guess Names? It’s Easier Than You Might Think!

Derren Brown is probably the most famous British Mentalist and he is very happy to explain how he does tricks after he has done them, unlike others who claim it’s some special power.

I am going to use some of Derren brown’s tricks and also tricks from other magicians to explain how easy it is to make people think you can read their minds.

So how do Mentalists Guess Names? It is not possible for someone to stand in front of you and read your mind. Whatever they are doing it is not mind reading. They are simply using a variety of techniques to gather information from you without you being aware and then making educated guesses on what you are thinking. Often this is a thought that they implant in the subject’s mind.

Would you like to learn how to do this?

I can teach you the methods but it will require a lot of practice to master and at the end of the article I’ll recommend an in-depth online course where you can learn Mentalism step by step.

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So, let’s start learning right now.

This will involve learning several techniques that I will teach you one by one.

Technique 1: How To Guess Names

The first technique is fairly easy to do.

I believe any beginner can master it in just a few hours of practice.

It’s a universal technique that is used for guessing names or any drawing.

It requires no preparation and the effect is stunning!

See the video below for a tutorial:

Technique 2: How To Guess Names #2

There are several ways how you can guess a name or drawing.

Another method is shown in the video below and it’s again suitable for beginners.

In case you’d use it for guessing the name, you’d ask your spectator to write down for example name of the friend from childhood or the name of their first pet.

See this video:

Technique 3: Embedded Suggestion

In this technique, you will learn to implant an idea in someone’s mind.

You will do this by conversation.

During this conversation, you will repeatedly suggest the word you are trying to implant in that person, as part of the narrative of the conversation.

This is sometimes called an NLP suggestion.

I am going to show you a video of British Mentalist Derren Brown who demonstrates this technique.

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First, let me explain what is happening in this video.

Derren has (in advance) asked the subject to write down what he wanted as a present.

This subject went the extra yard and signed the back of the paper, and sealed the paper in a small envelope.

He brought the paper in his pocket to the meeting with Derren.

Derren then sits the subject down and has a long conversation with him, where he explains he is going to convince the subject that they really wanted something different from what was written on the paper.

This conversation is where the implantation of the idea takes place.

Derren uses the conversation, touch, and other visual clues to direct the subject subconsciously to think about a particular gift, which is hidden from view in a large box. He also establishes a connection with the subject using eye contact and mirroring techniques.

So that you can appreciate what Darren is doing I am going to spoil the trick by telling you the end first.

Darren is trying to convince the subject to choose BMX Bike.

Now let’s go through the video and I will pick out some of the key moments from the explanation part at the end:

  • 05:53 – How I Bike Gifts
  • 05:58 – Best way to handlebar none
  • 06:02 – what to saddle for…
  • 06:07 – rather than recycle the same two tired bottles of wine
  • 06:17bike creating a strong feeling of desire
  • 06:23 – get all sort of pumped up
  • 06:26they beam excitement
  • 06:38 – can be so extreme
  • 06:45 – I want X
  • 06:49 – like a BM or an X box

After this conversation, the subject chooses a BMX bike.

The subject had actually written a leather jacket on the paper as something they really wanted as a gift.

He confirmed it was his writing on the paper, and that it had not been tampered with.

Yet at the end of this conversation, he was convinced that all-along he had wanted a BMX and he had no clue why he had apparently written leather jacket.

In addition to these verbal clues, there had been a lot of touching of the arm, tapping the hand, and nodding used by Derren as he spoke.

All ways of emphasizing speech.

See the video below:

Watch the video several times and watch carefully what Derren was doing and saying as he talked to the subject.

Technique 4: Embedded Suggestion #2

Derren Brown works on the basis of debunking people who try to claim they have special powers and he happily shows how he does his tricks, (although he actually leaves out some parts – hey he has an act to protect.).

In this video, Derren is going to ask someone (supposedly a random parson) to think of a tune and Darren reveals what the tune is, somewhat dramatically.

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In actual fact, Derren has gone to great lengths to put that song into the mind of the subject throughout the whole day.

The random subject was very carefully selected.

At the end of the video, Derren shows how he ensured that the song was in the subject’s mind.

To any audience member who was not aware of the whole day put into embedding this song, it would appear there was no way of Derren knowing what the song was without special powers.

This is the point, as Derren reveals how people can be tricked.

Nevertheless, this is an illusion that you can try on your friends as long as you have access to them prior to the trick taking-place.

See this video:

Technique 5: Derren Brown And a Clinical Psychologist

In this final video, Darren tries his “mind-reading” techniques on a Clinical Psychologist.

This is someone who will have an understanding of the mind and how theoretically these tricks could be done.

It turned out that Derren is so skilled at what he does that the psychologist understands how the trick must have been done but marveled at how he actually did it.

I was truly amazed and I gasped myself when he talked about the tail being raised and the cat’s face is turned toward turned forward as they have great respect for neuro linguistic programming it was a perfect example of how it’s done

So a good mentalist can even fool a trained psychologist using these techniques.

The average member of the audience will have no chance of seeing how these things are done without a great deal of study.

See the video:

Techniques that Mentalists Use

Let’s dive into some techniques that are used by Mentalists.


Some mentalist illusions depend on working with probabilities. Here is a very simple illusion that has been revealed many times, so it’s not a secret. The trick is commonly called the Grey Elephant from Denmark.

First of all, pick a number between 1 and 10 and multiply by 9.

Add the numbers together and subtract 5

NOTE: The answer is always going to be four.

Match your number with the alphabet to get a letter (e.g A=1, B=2, C=3, D=4)

NOTE: The first letter is always going to be D

Think of a country that begins with D

NOTE: Nearly everyone will say “Denmark” – Think of other answers – It’s hard!

Now think of an animal that starts with the second letter from your country

Note: We knew the country was going to be Denmark, so the second letter has to be E.

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Note: Virtually everyone will choose Elephant.

Finally, think of the color of the animal.

Note: we knew it was an elephant so the color will be grey.

You tell the subject that it was a grey Elephant from Denmark, and stand back for applause.

This trick was totally based on the probable answers.

The questions were designed so that on most occasions the subject will give the standard answer.

You have to succeed and it will appear that you are reading minds.

Reading Body Language

People communicate in ways other than traditional vocal methods. and one of the other ways of communicating is through body language.

This includes facial expression.

Let’s take an example:

If your wife is standing by the front door scowling and with her arms firmly folded, you are not going to be expecting a great welcome.

A combination of the scowl and the defensive posture is not boding well.


We looked in detail at ways Derren brown was able to suggest ideas and embed them into someone’s mind.

This is a skill that requires a great deal of study, but after enough practice, anyone should be able to do it.


Psychology and Mentalism are deeply entwined, which is why I related Derren Brown’s experience with a psychologist.

A mentalist needs to have a clear understanding of how the mind works.

It is using this knowledge that allows the mentalist to exploit the ways our mind operates and utilizes that information.


A mentalist must have the ability to observe the subject and pick up clues from body language, facial expressions, quality of clothes, fashion, educational levels, and then use this information to make deductions.

There is a big difference between the way introverts and extroverts think.

Not only are these skills of immense use on the stage but they can also be used very effectively in everyday life as well, making them a great investment.

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Mind reading and Mentalism is my favorite discipline.

Finding the right online course might be challenging.

I tried several online courses – some good, some bad.

After trying several courses I found out that this one worked best for me.

It covers Mentalism and Mind reading in great detail and it’s suitable for beginners as well!

If you search for a Mind reading online course, this is my honest recommendation.

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Final Thoughts

We can see from the techniques demonstrated in the videos and described in this article that Mentalism is far from being a manifestation of some kind of special power, but is a disciple to follow that requires study and practice.

The Mentalism course I recommended to you in this article will teach you Mind reading step by step.

Improve Magic

I believe that life is magic. I'm a playing cards collector, I love performing magic tricks and I'm also the owner of a small magic shop. Apart from that I like to explore different kinds of supernatural magic that we all have in our lives and I like to share what I learn... I'm great fan of Harry Potter...

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