Wow. I think I must have set some sort of record. EVERY call I got tonight had to do with relationships. I shouldn't be too surprised, as love and finances are the Top Two Topics that people ask about. I saw that statement in the first book I ever read on Tarot reading, and in over 30 years, I haven't seen it disproved yet. Heck, even back when I was a beginner and reading for high school classmates, for a fundraiser our school was having, the questions generally centered around, "Does the boy I like, like me back?"
I've taken to pulling three cards at the start of a reading, and interpreting those in relation to the question, rather than using a set spread of any sort. Then as the caller asks additional questions, I pull more cards from the deck to read those. That's far easier, in the setting of phone readings, to make sure that the caller actually is interested in hearing what the cards have to say. And unlike face-to-face readings, where I've NEVER run into this attitude, I've done a couple of readings via online where I told the person I'd pulled cards for the past, present, and future, only to be told by the caller that they ONLY were interested in the future card(s). That was, shall we say, a stance that I didn't expect to encounter.
It was after the second time a caller told me that they weren't interested in cards related to the past or present that I adopted the non-spread, three-card draw that I now use to open all my calls. I figure that The Universe is sending these people the cards that get drawn for a reason, and if ditching the use of spreads is what I need to do to ensure that they pay attention to the message, then so be it. :-) It also saves me from wasting time making decisions on the fly, such as "Which spread should I use? Past-Present-Future? Challenge-Energy-Outcome? Mind-Body-Spirit?" Time is money, and these people are paying by the minute for these phone calls, so I'm not about to waste their time going "um, er... ah wait I need to cut the deck X number of times and lay out the cards..."
Pulling cards randomly out of the deck is a time-saver in one other way: I can do my shuffling and deck-cutting BETWEEN calls. Then I know the deck is suitably randomized for the next call that comes in, and I can confidently use intuition to pull my three cards (and any cards that I pull thereafter).
Oh, and I've adapted my reading style in one other way that I never expected to: I am omitting reversals and reading the cards upright. I never even knew, for the first 25 years that I read cards, that it was possible to "not do reversals", much less that I'd ever take that position myself. But then I discovered the Aeclectic Tarot online forums, and read about other people's reading preferences there. I never thought that going reversal-free would "work" for me, but that was before I embarked on phone readings. For those, I'm all about anything that will help me proceed directly to presenting the message itself, with as much clarity as I can provide, to the caller. Phone readings are a unique venue and they present a unique set of challenges, not all of which can be met by the same methods that would work in a face-fo-face context.
So as you can see, I'm still learning and adapting as I go along. Time will reveal what other things I learn and adapt so I can give the callers the best readings I can.
Oh, and P.S: WATER. I regretted not having any handy last night, to sip between readings. So I had a new exercise water-bottle to drink from tonight. Good thing that I kept it away from the cards, as it seems that the seam leaks. (Mumble grumble, time to hit a sporting-goods store and get a really good bottle.) However, regardless of this issue, I made absolutely certain to take at least a few sips of water after every call. That made a big difference in how well I felt at the end of my two-hour login session. Anyone who's planning to do multiple readings in a row, be it face-to-face or via the phone, DRINK WATER. Make a point of staying hydrated. Trust me, you'll be glad you did.