How to Build Confidence and Be More Social with Vanessa Van Edwards
Hey everybody what's up it's Chase. Welcome to new episode of the Chase Jarvis Live Show here on CreativeLive. The show where I sit down with amazing humans, unpack their brains with the goal of helping you live your dreams. Today's guest is Vanessa Van Edwards and if you have ever wanted to decode all those little squints, those little facial expressions, phrases, people's actions and words, if you've ever wanted to decode that, find out what it means and improve your skills, your ability to respond in the moment. This episode is for you. If you're not familiar with Vanessa's work, she is a national bestselling author of a number of books. Previously, a book called 'Captivate The Science of Succeeding With people' and her new book called 'Cues', which is Mastering The Secret Language of Charismatic Communication. She is a legend, she's got a research lab called the science of people. I often recommend when asked who would be a great guest speaker at a conference or in a leadership gro...
up. I recommend Vanessa because she's so insightful and her stuff is very, very tactical. If you want to understand the science, the subtle science of community verbally and non verbally, this episode is for you. (upbeat music) (applause)
They love you.
Vanessa Van Edwards. Thank you so much for joining us and so happy to have you back on the show welcome back.
Oh, I'm so happy to be here. I wish I could give you a hug through the camera, hi five.
Cheek, cheek, and yeah. I'm very sorry I was in Austin and we missed, but we will reunite soon my friend. Grateful to have you back on the show congrats on, gosh you've done a lot. You're headquartered out of Austin now you've got a new book. YouTube videos are on point just a lot going on in your world. Why don't you for those who may not be familiar the handful of people who are listening to the show who might not be familiar with your work, give a little background, say who you are, what you care about in the world. And then I'm very happy to, to lead our discussion today in large part around the secret language of charismatic communication. But before we go there, give a little background for the folks at home.
Yes well, the most important thing to know about me is I am a recovering awkward person. So I really, really struggle with social skills, people skills, all that charisma stuff. Conversation does not come naturally to me. And so I, my mission, my goal in this world is to help people up their social skills in a very concrete way. I always wished there were formulas for conversation blueprints for facial expressions. And so that's exactly what my work is. So for all my recovering awkward people, listening, my ambitious introverts, my goal oriented extroverts. I'm so excited to talk to you.
Awesome. Well, the irony is that I know you as one of the most charismatic people in my friend circle, I have on many occasions when I get asked either to speak, or if I have other speakers to recommend, I've recommended you to a lot of corporate clients and friends that you are an incredible speaker and you, I think it is an interesting place to start. You talk about, a recovering being a recovering awkward person. And then you also use the word skills in there. And so confirm for me that in fact, these things that we're talking about, the ability to have charisma, the ability to be recognized in a room to hold a conversation to hold eye gaze to master attention is they are skill sets that you can develop. And you claim that you are living proof of this process. Is that fair? And what would you add?
Yes so the most important thing to know is charisma can be learned. I used to think like I was in the cafeteria looking at the cool kids and I was like, they're born with it. You're either born with it or you're not like they just oozed cool. And then I stumbled upon research very early on, that basically showed that very highly charismatic people have a very specific blend of two traits and those traits can be learned. So this study blew my mind it came out in 2002, it's done by incredible researchers, Dr. Susan Fiske and her team, what they found. And this was, I wish I had had this study even earlier, what they found was highly charismatic people. The reason they're so charismatic is because they rank off the charts in these two traits, warmth and competence. And what's interesting about this is most of us have an imbalance. Most of us are very high in likability, trust, all those warm sides, but maybe not as high on the competent side, or we're really smart. I meet a lot of like brilliant engineers who are off the charts in competence, but they don't balance it out with enough warmth. And so when they discovered this, and this is 82% of our judgements of others are based on these two traits. That's incredible I mean, right. 82% like we, when I ask audiences, what do you want your ideal first impression to be? One of the things I ask audiences is how do you come across? What's your first impression? I get hundreds of adjectives, right? I get like funny, pretty, smart, likable, but actually it's just these two traits that are the most important. And so very highly charismatic people, the cool kids in the cafeteria, the Ted talkers who walk on stage and you are captivated by them. They're at the very same time, highly likable and trustworthy, but also capable, powerful, and impressive. And that is what I was missing. I did not understand that balance. So I would show up to a meeting or negotiation or an interview or a party. And I would try to be super impressive, right? Like, blow 'em away with my accolades and my title and my education. And of course that did not win any friends, right? Like it was like, eh, like horrible. And that's when I realized that, that I have to hit that balance. And that's what [Indistinct] do.
And I'll say, I have to say your latest work 'Cues' here is an incredible book that states the problem that you just talked about, this belief that there are so many things that we have to work on when it's really two. It organizes these things sort of categorizes them and gives us strategy specifically to improve those skills in a way that I've never seen presented before. So kudos for, or the, there's a lot of research out there, but organizing it in a way that we can consume it. That's I think genius and you're genius here with respect to 'Cues', but I love how you oriented those two on an axis early in the book, you put, you know, this the concept of warmth and the concept of competency on different axes. And what we wanna operate in is that upper right quadrant, right, where everyone is or where you, the person who's seeking to polish these skills are the right balance of warmth and competency. And also that we can adjust these things for different audiences. For example, if we're trying to hold the attention of some new folks, maybe warmth is characteristic, we want to escalate. And if we are trying to impress our boss, we need to maintain warmth, but demonstrating competency. So if we can continue to speak around these things, 82% of all judgements are based in these two or are centered in these two vectors. Why is it that it seems like a mystery when we, you listed 10 adjectives. Why can it be reduced to these two things? Are we just, is it that simple? It just, it was, it's fascinating to me that the research says this when conceptually it doesn't feel like that's possible.
Yes okay. So this all comes down to the basic questions that our brain needs to answer for social survival. So if you think about this in terms of we are social species, right. Humans evolved, we have to, we survive better in groups, especially back in cave man days. Okay so if we survive better with social, with our social species, then how do we quickly know if we should group with someone? And so the reason why this is so important is our brain has to do it really fast. And what Dr. Fiske and her research has found is the very first question we ask about someone. The very first thing is, can I trust you? Are you gonna harm me? Are you on my side? Could you be an ally? And we have to do that quickly, right? If we're being approached across the room by someone on a networking event, if we walk into negotiation and we just met our negotiating partner, if we're in the interview and we have to quickly shake hands, we have to very quickly know is there someone I can open up to. Same back in our cave men days, same today. The second question we ask, and it is chronological. So first we make sure am I safe, right? Can I trust this person? Not just physically, but are they gonna be on my side? Which is why, by the way, we're looking for warmth cues. So the way that we answer this question is we're looking to see all the warmth cues do they like us? Are they withholding something from us? And we can talk about those in a second. The second question we ask is, can I rely on you? So after we, can I trust you? Yes, the second question is, can I rely on you? Would you be a good forger with me? Are you gonna ask me good questions? Are you gonna tab my needs taken care of? So as a species that has to quickly connect with people, everything from grocery store to an interview, we have to be able to answer those questions fast. If we had 15 traits that we had to check off, right? If we were like, can I trust you? Are you friendly? Are you funny? Are you smart? Are you, it would be too much in that first impression. And so those two questions are the key and the faster we can answer those questions, the faster we connect with people. So very highly charismatic people one thing that we find is, so one of the ways that I research for this book is we analyzed 495 'Shark Tank' pitches. You know, the show 'Shark Tank?'
I know it well, I know Damon has been a guest on the show. Many of the entrepreneurs who pitched there have been guests Many of the entrepreneurs who pitched there have been guests So yeah, yes, I know it well, and I'd love the opening to the book, by the way. I'll just say that as you continue with your point here.
So for those who don't know what 'Shark Tank' is, I highly recommend going to check it out. Very simply it's a show where entrepreneurs pitch a panel of sharks who are investors to invest in their company. What's really special about this is the first impression is controlled a little bit. They have entrepreneurs walk down a long hallway, the door is open and they have this very canned standard greeting to the sharks, before the negotiation begins. So what my team and I did is we wanted to know, are there patterns between the most successful pitches and the least successful pitches, the deals that get a yes and the deals that get a no. Like, are, is there any patterns beyond the actual idea itself? So what we did, and this was with my incredible research partner, Jose Pina. This took months of analyzing. He analyzed all 495 pitches on 'Shark Tank'. So many, many, many, many hours looking for patterns and we coded everything we could think of. So we counted hand gestures. We clocked smiling, we rated the amount of space that someone took up as they walked into the hallway, we looked at laugh moments. I mean, we were looking for anything. And one of the biggest things that we found is that the really successful pitchers, very quickly show I can tr... You can trust me and you can rely on me. So as they're walking down the hallway, they show a number of warm cues, and then they immediately hit with competence cues. The bad pitchers withhold. And this is the biggest, the biggest mistake that my highly really smart people make all my engineers, all my introverts. A lot of the times they feel that going stoic or going mute makes them look more powerful. The problem is is going mute or being stoic is a cue in itself. When we withhold our cues, when we stifle cues, when we're less expressive, the other person cannot answer those two questions. So this entrepreneur will walk into the tank and Mark Cuban is going, can I trust you? Can I rely on you? Can I trust you? Can I rely on you? And if someone is under expressing, they're not showing enough verbal vocal, nonverbal, or imagery cues, Mark cannot answer that question. And research has found it is almost impossible to listen to any kind of logical information before we answer those questions. And so the most success pitches they show, yeah, you can, I'm warm and I'm trustworthy now listen to my deal. And that's how they get buy-in. So for everyone listening, my mission with this book is to give you the exact tools you need, no matter where you are, that's a professional room, a social room, or a date. To show the cues you need to move forward to have someone trust and rely on you.
Well, I think the, the framework for the research was incredible. And without giving too much away for your, in your new book, your cues master the secret language of charismatic communication. The book opens with a pitch from a friend of mine, Jamie Siminoff.
Don't tell him. Do you know him?
Oh my goodness.
Yeah I know Jamie well, sir, Richard Branson was an investor in both of our companies and oh when Richard would come to town, he would take Jamie and I out to lunch. So without giving again, too much away, the book opens with how Jamie, who is an incredible entrepreneur, how he totally incredible botched his 'Shark Tank' pitch and----
I'm so embarrassed. Wait, are you gonna tell him, don't tell him or tell him, oh gosh.
I absolutely I'm gonna tell him, you're the opening to my friend Vanessa's amazing new book. So Jamie.
Can I just, oh, oh, okay. Go ahead, I'm so embarrassed go ahead Chase.
Okay let me keep, keep rolling this out. So Jamie is the founder of a company called Ring. And Ring you may be aware is the sort of the start out as a doorbell camera combination. Now it's a whole set of security tools for the home and commercial applications.
We use them, I used them.
It was acquired by Amazon for, gosh, I think one and a half, or just shy one and a half billion dollars so---
With a B. With a B.
With a B yeah, exactly. So obviously, and this is what I found so interesting and why I think the folks who are listening right now should pay her close attention. The reality is Jamie is an exceptional entrepreneur. He's incredibly talented he ended up, building this billion dollar business, having an exit, and yet he did not get any pickup, any uptick, any traction in Shark Tank, he couldn't do it. And it was specifically what he, he struggled with these skills early on in his career as an entrepreneur he's since gone on to be, exceptional in those areas but this is proof that this is learnable. And proof that how he showed up on 'Shark Tank' or in any social situation was not actually indicative of his warmth and ability to connect, nor was it indicative of his competence, because clearly he was very successful at these things once some time and a little practice had come his way.
And also I wanna make people listening, feel better about this like, if you're brilliant, if you've been successful, it is not your fault that you don't know people skills. My most brilliant followers, my most brilliant students who had so much success are unwittingly held back back their cues because nowhere that we learn this. And so Siminoff is a great example of someone who is brilliant and successful yet his little nonverbal giveaways, some of his verbal and vocal giveaways ruined this incredible opportunity. And the best part is he came back as a shark and he is so charismatic. So Jamie Siminoff went from one bad pitch to being highly charismatic because he finally learned the right cues. And so you can too.
Yes, you can do it. And that's part of the reason that I wanted to have you on the show, not just cause you're a friend who's got a new book and all those things are important. And I love to share all of the work that you do as I shared earlier. I've hopefully I've been very proud to introduce you to a lot of friend circles, but specifically I see, I see there's a lot of folks out there who have basically have the skills, but haven't been oriented specifically around the ability to present, not just like a pitch, but to present one's self in these situations where so many of the decisions, we've heard the saying it's not what you know, it's who you know, well getting to know people and getting to know, say the right people, those are skills that are trainable and knowable and you can improve on them. So the question if we can assume, and as your work indicates, these are skills that are acquirable. How do you practice these things? Because this book is gold. It lists, you can see all the pages for those folks who are---
I love it.
Look, who are in on the pages---
Look at all those dog ears.
Highlighted, but how do we practice? Because right now someone's like, someone's on Amazon buying the book or they just pulled over the car over at the local bookstore. But I need you to tell us how to practice, because right now the idea of standing in front of my mirror, practicing my Shark Tank pitch, doesn't sound all that appealing, give these people a reason to believe.
Okay here's the reason to believe there is incredible science that shows, that cues cause loops. Here's what I mean by that. A lot of the times when people think about their cues, they think about one aspect, which is decoding. So they think, oh, I wanna read someone's facial expressions, or I wanna read their body language. Or I wanna read behind their words. Decoding is one aspect of cues. The next aspect is called encoding. Encoding is the signals that we send to others. And the last aspect that people rare, very rarely talk about is internalizing. What I mean by this is the cues that we spot change our physiology and our thinking and that affects the cues we send. Here's a very specific example. Research found, and this blew my mind that cues of social rejection. So a cue of social rejection, an eye roll, an exasperated huff, a verbal dismissal like in a meeting when someone goes, "Yeah, I already know that," or "we've already heard about that" or, "I don't think so," right? So those are all cues of social rejection. When our brain here's sees or experiences a cue of social reject, our field of vision increases. Literally our pupils dilate so we can see more in our environment. This happens without us even thinking about it. And this is incredible, why? Researchers believe that when we see a cue of social rejection, I can't trust this person or I can't rely on this person, right? We're getting a note to that answer. Our brain goes, uh oh see more of my environment. Does everyone else agree? Do I have more cues of social rejection? What are my escape routes? What are my next plans? And so your body is already picking up on these cues. The last step is how do we take advantage of our amazing superpower that is seeing these cues? And so the way that we practice is actually labeling. The moment we spot a cue and there are 96 cues I talk about in the book. Every single one of these cues. If you go through the book page by page and just slowly keep learning them. Every cue that you add to your toolbox is labeling knowing exactly what's being said to you, knowing its effect on you, and then knowing what to respond with. So we're almost leveraging this secret superpower. And that's how we begin to practice is we realize we already are reading these cues we just have to figure out which one is it and what do we do next?
Let's go with something that, again, you talked about verbal nonverbal imaging, there's a number of kinds of cues. And I really appreciate how you organized the book that was very helpful. I'm a big structure guy and it was easy for me to digest that, but let's talk about, the visual cues that we see specifically hand gestures. We have gone from a world where we spent time in boardrooms, in meeting rooms with our colleagues, our peers, our coaches, our clients, customers in person. And over the last couple years due to the pandemic, most of these meetings have now been reduced to this screen that you and I are on now and our ability I want, I'm wondering how has this changed our, this sort of the innate abilities that we have as humans to perceive these things that you're talking about and has your coaching, or what you would prescribe changed as a result of this new world, where so many of our social interactions for the last couple years, and for maybe some, a few more are constrained in a way that they haven't historically been. Can we still be effective communicators and social cue givers and receivers in a video world?
Okay. So here's a huge myth that I think people were facing and are facing on video. We think, oh, I'm in my home or in my office. And look, it's this little screen. It's easier my cues are less important. I just have to get things done. But actually it's the opposite. The less modes that we have to communicate with so when we're not in person, we don't have touch we don't have space we don't have full body. Actually the cues we use on camera or even vocally and verbally are even more important. And that's because we've reduced the inputs. So the inputs we do have matter even more and that's why people are burning out faster. I think that the reason why we get burnt out faster on video, we think, oh, it's cause it's back to back. No, it's actually because our brain is working harder to answer those questions. It is so much harder to answer, do I trust you and do I rely on you, on a video camera. We can do it but our brain is working harder, which is why you have awkward video call starts, which is why we are so burnt out at the end of the day, why it feels like, I dunno if you've had this where you're on video and you're like, not like clicking in the same way. It's because your brain is working harder. We have less inputs. Here's the good news because we have less inputs, it's actually easier to work with the few that we have left. So there's couple things that I want you to think about. So, and these are both for warmth and competence. So the very first one and I teach, I like talk about this constantly on my YouTube channel because it's a mistake I see open and over again, the first one is space. So in the book I talk about the four space zones and these are really important for how we answer can I trust you? They are the most important for instance how can I trust you? So in human behavior, universally across cultures, there are four space zones. Intimate space, personal space, social space, public space. In person it's very easy to know to not be a close talker, right? You would never walk up to someone you just met stand six inches away from their face and say, "Hi, nice to meet you." Right like you've ever seen that Seinfeld episode close talking it's like painful. We know that instinctively or at least most of us know it those close talkers are the exception. On video what happens is we pop on video and accidentally we go into people's intimate space, which is about zero to 18 inches away from the camera. So right now I have a piece of tape on the floor Chase you can't see it. Because I make sure when I get excited, I get really close to the camera it's like, when I'm really excited, I get really close and I'm so excited. But if I were to get really close to the camera, you're like back up, you are in my personal space. And so I make sure the tip of my nose and this very tip of the camera are more than 18 inches away. What happens on Zoom or on video calls or on FaceTime is we pop on our video and we're leaning in and over. So it's like walking up to someone and talking six inches away from their face. So the very first one is first, make sure that you are more than 18 inches is away from your camera, just that will help people trust you. You're not going right into their intimate space. The second benefit of this is you also see more cues, specifically gestures. So if I were to do this entire interview or if I were to try to do a meeting with just my head and none of my hand gestures, it would reduce our listener's comprehension and also make it harder for them to process what I'm saying. And that is because we look to gestures for all kinds of extra information. So if I say I have five big ideas that I wanna talk about, but I hold up number three first that was really hard for my brain to do. Right just try it.
It's just short circuited my brain too.
Wait, try to say five and hold up three go.
I can't it's laughable. Five.
If you say five it's hard.
It's so hard.
It's so hard just try that listening, cause I want you to feel how hard that is. And that is because cues are very naturally occurring if we know what to look for. So on a video call, we are always looking to gestures to try to get that extra blade of information. So three is three. If I hold it number three, but also I might say, this is no big no big deal. I have a really, really small thing it's gonna be really easy to get rid of. And I hold up my fingers so that I'm holding a little tiny thing and then I wipe this slate clean. That tells people listening, who might be worried or they don't believe me. Oh, it really does look small, right? Like it's really, really does look like a small idea. And that gives extra information to me saying small. So having your gestures on camera also really helps if you push the camera away and being purposeful with them.
So smart. This is, is there anything else from a video perspective? I mean, I don't wanna harp on this that we can double down on.
No let's do it.
Because I see so much of our world will remain in this state, which I think there are some benefits. There's some drawbacks. I think we have to unlearn and maybe relearn some things. Is there anything else while we're on this thread that we can pull on and any other tips let's do it for video because so many people are doing job interviews remotely or trying to pitch their boss or even venture capital pitches are happening in over Zoom.
And also even like we have lot of doctor readers. I feature a doctor in the book. And they're all now all the rapport they used to do, gone. All their visits are over video. So this is incredibly important for so many industries. Let's talk about video a lot because all these gestures also work in real life, right? So even in real life, we also wanna think about the space zones. We don't wanna go more than eight inches. Also in real life we also wanna use our gestures. So these are double whammies and in the book I have call outs for video too. So let's talk about some more. So we talked about gestures we talked about space. Let's actually talk about a verbal cue. So verbal cues, this is called the power of priming. So priming is how our words set people up for success, change their expectations, improve their behavior. And what research shows is that our verbal cues send signals to how the other person thinks. This is this research what I'm about to share totally blew my mind. So what researchers did is they took participants and they had them complete a little task, like a math quiz. In one group, they had participants read standard neutral directions. Please answer the following 10 quiz questions. Use the best of your abilities, right? In the second group, they added just a few. They sprinkled in just a few achievement oriented words, achievement oriented words are words like master, win, succeed, achieve. Okay they're words that trigger a part of our brain specifically that gets, that feels more motivated. They wondered if just using a couple, two or three of these words in a basic set of directions could change people's performance. What they found is adding just two or three achievement oriented words, helped participants perform better. They worked faster on those math answers they got more right. Here's what's even more amazing. Not only did it improve their performance, it actually change their physiology. When we read words like win for men and women, it ups our testosterone. Testosterone is the chemical that helps us perform. It does a lot of things in our body, but when we're about to win a race, that's what's usually coursing through our bodies. So reading a word like win makes you think more like a winner and makes you more likely to win. And the last piece they found that the participants who had two or three achievement oriented words, had more motivation to work on the quiz. They were more excited about the quiz. They worked longer on the quiz. This study completely blew my mind because I think we're wasting our verbal opportunities. I think what's happened in our work world, especially today is our communication has gotten very sterile, right? So in our important emails, we're using words we've heard a million times before, and that's actually under queuing. Right that's sending too few signals. So on a video call, what often happens is two things is the first 10 words out of someone's mouth are either sterile or accidentally negative. Here are the opening phrases I hear on all video calls. You ready here they are. I can't see you. I can't hear you. Oh man those COVID numbers, right? Oh, it's been so stressful. This weather it's so cold. The traffic, my food. I need a cup of coffee. It's and we accidentally. Like that like----
You're so good at that. I'm like were you on all the last 10 Zoom calls I was on?
So what's happening is we're doing it accidentally, like right we don't even realize that we're doing it. What the research shows very clearly, especially in your verbal first impression. And this is really important. The first 10 words out of your mouth, that if you use words like stress, crazy, busy, difficult, it's been so hard, it's been so difficult. You are actually priming the other person to think, act and perform with stress, crazy, busy and difficult. And so what I want you to do an audit of, if you're willing, this is a, another way that we're putting those tips into action, right? So how do we practice those cues? There's two challenges I wanna give you if you're listening if you're willing to take the challenge. One, please go back and find a couple of recordings of your Zoom calls or an important presentation and listen to the first 10 words you say. Are they neutral, are they positive, are they negative? The second thing I want you to do is whatever important pitch or presentation you give, or if you have a team update, I want you to record a video of yourself doing it because as you read the book, I want you to go back, watch that video and see if you can spot the cues that I'm talking about. So if I'm talking about, for example, a lower lid flex, right? A very specific one of my favorite 96 cues. I want you to go back to that original video before you learn it and see did I use that? Did I use a lower lid flex? So that way we're actually changing the cues that are holding us up. I think that that was what Jamie Siminoff struggled with is he had his pitch down, but he didn't watch those accidental leaks. And so on a video call, how do we get away from the first 10 words being negative or sterile very casually. This doesn't have to be rocket science. Literally the difference is happy Monday. Good to see ya. Oh, it's so nice to be here I've been looking forward to this. Man, what a beautiful day it is how is it in your neck of the woods? Like it's nothing rocket science, but it's being purposeful. And thinking about that as you're logging on, can completely change interaction.
This idea that, that I've been largely orienting our conversation to date here on the professional capacity, right. Achievement and work and job interviews and professional correspondence. But I wanna switch to interpersonal to like say dating for a little bit. And yeah, and I know you through the science of people site that you run and you have coaching programs. And I read somewhere in preparation for our interview, some of the mistakes that people make when dating and fortunately there's a new universe of software and possible connections for us to meet people with online dating. And it has become more complex given the pandemic. And at the same time, these age old skills that you teach the science of communication and cues, charisma, as an example, they have such a huge impact on first impressions and dating. And so I'm wondering for those folks who may feel a little bit awkward or in a dating environment, or just want to connect with their significant other in maybe a more meaningful way and change some of their habits for the better, what are some mistakes that people make on dates or in a courtship situation, for example. What are the common mistakes and what are some cues that, that they could change in order to help?
Okay the are so many, so if I miss the one that you're thinking of, yeah tell me. Cause I know you're thinking of one.
Oh okay there's so many. So here, based on what we just talked about, I'll give one based on that. And then if you are reminded another one, tell me, so the biggest mistake is verbal. It's based on the questions you ask. So I think the biggest mistake that people make, even in their greetings is that whether this is on Tinder or a dating app, from like the text that happens, right? Like the chat that happens first, or when you actually show up on a date or when you actually pop on video is people ask socially scripted questions. And what this does is in the dating world right now, there's so many options and people are going on back to back to back dates, or they're chatting with, dozens of people at the same time, you have to make yours stand out and the worst thing you can do is stay on social scripts. It's basically asking another person's brain to stay on autopilot and it makes you less memorable. So socially scripted things are even as simple as how are you, so what do you do? Where are you from? Those questions really difficult because they keep the brain on autopilot and people are so used to answering the question that they'll say, "Oh, you know, I'm in marketing" "and yep I'm from Ottawa cool." And then you get into what I call a conversational trap, right? Like it just like dies. You're like, how about you? How about you? And so what I want you to think about is go back into your dating apps. Or even if you're with a partner, if you're not dating and think about what are the questions that you typically ask in the first five to 10 minutes of interaction, go back and look at your chats and see if you can identify, how's your day going? Another socially scripted one, where are you from? What are you working on? Those are all socially scripted and think about how can you subtly dial up using priming. So remember that the words we use, one single word can change the nature of an interaction. When we hear a word like collaborate, we are more likely to be collaborative. When we hear a word like open, we are more likely to be open. So if you ask, how is your day? It's socially scripted, it's sterile. If you change it slightly to, what's been good or what's good. You are literally asking the other person's brain a different question. Then they can't say, oh, just Zoom calls or whatever. They literally have to stop and say, what's been good, what's been good? And that begins to change the way that they're thinking into good. Good, good, good, good. Which makes them associate you with good. Good, good, good, good. So going from, how are you, how is your day? To what's good, next level. Instead of what do you do, please do not ask that question anymore, please. Can we just make a deal? We're just not gonna ask anymore. Just let, go on a what do you do diet, it just, ugh. Just no more okay no more. Instead I want you to ask one of two things, working on anything exciting recently? Okay so working on anything exciting recently is a subtle way to ask them what they do. And what we found in our lab too, is if people don't like their job or don't feel identified with their job, when you ask them, what do they do? It actually creates stress. It creates cortisol for them. They don't want to answer with it. They don't feel identified with it. If you ask working on anything exciting recently, that is a kinder question. It's kinder because you are giving them the option to tell you what they what they do if they want to. If they don't want to, they can say, oh, you know, I'm working on, I'm designing my own skateboards. I just started my first garden. My daughter, she's learning how to sing. They have flexibility in the question. So that's a gift. It's also kinder cause when we use the word excited or excites, their brain begins to think exciting. What's been exciting, what's been exciting, which then makes them feel more excited, which then is a gift of excitement.
I love that. And the particular example that you just used was referenced in the article that I was reading specifically about talking to others, that in the case of either dating or speaking to your boss, for example, I think people forget that bosses or movie stars or people that you respect, admire or look up to that they also are daughters and wives and husbands and they have a human side too and love great conversation they love joking they love connecting just as much as you do or that you are trying to do in order to become, I think your, the recovering awkward person. And I think that that people lose that. That was a, a skill that I learned as a photographer in order to try and massage my celebrity photo subjects into, getting the kinds of gestures and expressions and rapport that I wanted to get out of them. What, if we----
Can I ask a question?
Yeah. Can I ask you a question?
Okay. So I have a theory and I've taught this theory saying, this is just my theory, but you are the person to verify or debunk my theory. Okay.
So a question that we get asked all the time at sign of people is how do I deal with VIPs? So bosses hiring managers, actual celebrities, influencers, role models, right? How do we deal with those? And so I have a theory after many, many years of sometimes brushing shoulders with a VIP that there are two different kinds of VIPs. And I think they're distinct, cause I've made this mistake. I'm learned this the hard way. I learned this the hard way. There is the kind of VIP who loves to be the entertainer. They want to be the center of attention. They want to tell funny stories. They have lots of areas of their life they can't wait to talk about and share about that has nothing to do with their work. They want to be in the center. They wanna have everyone laughing and being, oh, ah, how would they wanna, they wanna be the entertainer. The other kind of VIP wants to be entertained. They entertain for a living. They do not wanna answer any more questions. They don't want to be put on the spot for answering stories. And so they, when they go out, the last thing they want is a, is an icebreaker about working on anything exciting because everything they do is exciting they talk about it all the time. No, they want you to tell them a great story that's funny and interesting where they can just sit back and enjoy it. Is that true?
Awesome question. Let me give this real thought.
Like while you're thinking.
Okay. I think you are the second type. Okay you're a VIP in my life, and I have noticed that you're asked a lot of questions all the time you're often in charge. And so I, when I'm with you, I am actually less likely to ask you a really hard question. I mean, I just asked you a really hard question, but I'm less likely to be like Chase working on anything exciting recently? I'm not gonna ask you that. I'm probably gonna tell you a story about something exciting I'm working on because you're empathetic and you like to celebrate my success. That's my.
This I think your take is right regarding me thank you. And as I reflect on your question, rather than saying, there are two types of celebrities or VIPs, I would say that there's are, there are two modes that VIPs can be in and they, they move back and forth sometimes rather seamlessly based on whether they're just coming off stage or whether they're, you know, in a rush or, but those two sort of.
Those yeah, moods are very, very common. And what I will share about my experience here is, I believe that if you take those two types or those two characters and are able to identify quickly, which of those modes or moods that this particular VIP or celebrity, whether it's your boss or a rockstar or someone that you'd like to maintain a relationship with, or you need to coerce them into doing something in my case, as a photographer. What I found is the ability to read those two things and then deploy, actions toward the support of that were, was the that's the magic. And ironically---
With reading their cues. Reading their cues.
Like literally reading their cues and to do that enough. And I'll to confess, early on in my career as a photographer, I would not have been as [Indistinct] at those things as later in my career. But a strange thing happens if you are able to develop those skills, I end up in a weird way. I end up like most more often than not a celebrity or a VIP at the end of an interaction will say, "Hey, can I get your digits?" Like they would like, they would want to either hang out. Or if there's another opportunity to hire a photographer, they would rather hire me than someone else. And mastering some of these things, again, it was largely, I didn't, I wasn't aware that I was working on these things now that I know you I know that I was through those, across the couple of decades there. But it had a profound impact on my life because I was able to, part of my journey was to try and spend as much time as possible around people who are the most talented, interesting fulfilled people in the world. And so it was easy for me to then gather a harem of friends like yourself so of the best in the world, that the thing that you do and connect with them. So not only did it transcend getting people to be able to do the work in a, in a photographic setting and get good pictures of them, which does happen if you can build rapport, but it also ended up opening up a wider array of, of opportunities to befriend them, to learn from them, to get them as mentors or peers or inspirations. For example, I used Jamie and Richard Branson, Richard, I met Richard at a conference and we sat next to each other and 18 months later he would call me when he comes to town, invested in my company and introduced me to, so many other amazing people in the world. So I think it's interesting that you chose to frame those. That's just two types of two modes, right? And those modes are easily once you understand, that's sort of what I loved about when you opened the book, can you master the concept of warmth and can you master the concept of competence? Like this is the 80/20 rule. This is the, if you can do those two things, you've answered 82, I think you said 82% of the ways that people judge you. So it's not this and same with understanding, how to work with a VIP or a celebrity or an influencer, someone who's, further along at this stop in life and somewhere where you'd like to be is it's really quite simple, but what it requires is intention. So now that we've established that, now that we've got your book 'Cues' in front of us, we talked about practice. I want to understand what are the common mistakes that people make when trying to learn these things or get better at them or thinking they know it, or just what are common mistakes in the world of verbal cues that you are of which you are a master.
Okay. So here are the, I'll talk about two mistakes I see the most often. So the first one is that people might try a cue. So there are 96 cues in the book and you have to try 'em on like some you'll be doing already naturally, but some are sort of unique and different. Like for example, I chose to put a steeple on the cover of the book. So I'm holding my a steeple is when you hold your fingers together, the tips of your fingers. So it looks like a church steeple with space in between your hands, okay. This is a favorite of Kevin O'Leary if you watch Shark Tank, Margaret Thatcher did it, Angela Merkel did it, does it. So it's a very common one for high competence folks. It's a high competence cue. And the reason for this is because when we put our fingers together to, if you, you wanna try this with me, put your tips of your fingers together. It actually makes you feel more centered. You also have to keep your hands relaxed to be able to do this. So people who are anxious or tense or low competence, they have trouble doing this they're usually making fists or they're crossing their arms, or they're having very limited movement. And it also showcases my palms are visible, which is a trust signal, right? We I'm not concealing anything okay. So that cue at first did not feel natural to me. So I learned about this cue. It was very clear they did research where they photographed leaders in seven different hand positions. The steeple was the most highly rated cue for all the leaders. So I read this study very clearly, okay the steeple and they explained why. So the first few times I tried it, I felt silly, it was not natural to me. Then I, the first time I tried it, I tried it in one room. So I was in a, a kind of a important meeting with some big VIPs. And that's where I tried it. And in that particular meeting, it did not feel natural to me. And instead of giving up on it, I decided to try it in a different scenario where I also wanted high competence, which was a photo shoot. On a photo shoot where I wasn't negotiating with someone or interacting with someone, it was actually quite calming. That is the picture on the cover of this book. That is the second time I ever tried this cue was when I was like, oh, this actually does feel kind of calming and centering and relaxing. So what I would say is, as you read the cues, please try them on. It's like wearing an outfit. You kind of have to find the right positioning for it. You might have to tailor it a little bit to yourself. You might have to figure out the right scenario. So try it on three different times in three different settings. If it still feels unnatural, give it a break and try it again in a year. So that's the first thing is try it in a couple different ways before you totally disregard a cue. Cause I would would say of the 96 cues, you probably will love 40 of them kind of like they're, okay maybe another 50 of them and the rest are like, no gos. Nope not for me. Don't like them don't wanna do them. And that's good. So as you're sorting the cues, that's what I would do, I would try them three different ways. The second one. Okay the second one is more of a communication myth that has to do with cues, which is a lot of highly competent people, especially in the work world today, prepare for a meeting, a pitch, an interview and negotiation, a date. And what they do in their preparation is they have a kind of agenda in their head, right. They think, okay, I'm gonna open the meeting with this icebreaker and then I'm gonna go through my slides. I'm gonna teach all these different things or on a date they think, okay, I'm gonna have a great opener. And then I'm gonna ask about her family. And I'm gonna ask about his background and then we're gonna close on a kiss, right? We tend to have these agendas. Agendas are great, but you have to be willing to go off course. If you see a cue, it's a red flag. So if you are on agenda or in your plan and you don't decode cues, you will miss opportunities for a really powerful left or right turn. And here's a specific example I talked about this in the book. I mentioned a lower lid flex. So a lower lid flex. It's one of my favorite cues. So try it with me. If you flex or harden, your lower lid is if you're trying to see better so to see something. Yeah, you did it perfect. Trying to see something across the wall you harden your lower lids. Research found universally when we are afraid of something, we widen our eyes to take in as much as possible when we're trying to scrutinize something or see something better. We harden our lids because it lowers the amount of light coming into our eyes so we can see more details. So literally when you school, your lower lid, you can see more. So that's why we do it. What they found is that when someone lowers, flexes their lower lid at you in a meeting or a date, it means they've gone from listening to scrutinizing. It means something in their brain saw something, heard, something felt something that they're not quite sure about and they wanna check it out. That is one of the most important cues to see because you just lost something. And so when I'm in a pitch or presentation, I will look for a lower lid flex on my audience. And that's where I'll say, let's pause here any questions? All good, how does this feel? So make sure that you're leaving room in your communication for spotting cues and responding to them. That's the second mistake I tend to see.
This is just, this is just it's wisdom. We are taught as parents---
To comm' to, you have an amazing daughter and I'm sure that you work to, with her to communicate, use your words, honey. And--
I say use your hands.
We tend to, I believe over index on verbal. And this is just a hypothesis. You shared one with me earlier, and I'm sharing one with you. We are taught that our words are the most important aspect of our communications. It allows us, humans develop language. Language is connected to how our brain works. But I want to know from the expert, which is more important, verbal or nonverbal. And if you tend to coach more toward one, I know there's, ample examples across all of the different kinds of cues, verbal nonverbal imagery, et cetera in the book. But just now that I got you right in front of me here, what do we over index on? Would you coach people one way or another?
Okay so I'm gonna answer by the research, which is the research shows that nonverbal is more important than verbal. Specifically even gestures are 12.5 times more powerful than words. For example, if I were to say five, but hold up three, your is more likely to believe my hand. So, and that is because it's very hard to lie with our gestures. It's very easy to lie with our words, but I was able to say five, even though I meant three very easily, and other people know this. We know that it's pretty easy to serve out a word or say, "oh, I love your dress." I hate her dress right? It's extremely easier to lie with our words. It's much harder to lie with our gestures. And so other people know this. And so that's why we're always looking to gestures to figure out the truth. And so you can start a meeting and say, "Hey everyone, good morning" "it's so good to see everyone." And sound and look happy, right? Smiling, face up eyebrows, lots of gestures. But if I were to say the exact same thing, but show dislike, you would not believe my words. So if I were to say, "Hey, everyone, so good to see you" "and it's gonna be a great meeting." No, you don't believe my words. You believe my gestures and my tone. And so for that reason alone, I think we over index on verbal because it makes us feel safe because it's easier to change on the fly. But if you can learn the nonverbal and vocal, and we didn't even mention vocal, but if you can learn the nonverbal and vocal signals that you're sending, those are more important in terms of authenticity, in terms of having people see congruence between your words and your nonverbal.
So right now, incredibly helpful, but right now there's someone who is on the treadmill, commuting, sitting on the subway, listening to this while they're sipping their morning coffee.
Hi everybody. And there, I believe that there is a story in some people's heads, not everyone I'll call this 25% of our listeners.
Are saying, yeah, this doesn't apply to me because my goal is not to be a, a professional speaker. I'm not going to be an orator. I'm not my, I do have no ambition to be heads of state or, or the CEO of a publicly traded company. So this doesn't apply to me. So I'm hoping that you can debunk that very swiftly and help people understand, that's one of the reasons I brought the date example in, but maybe you could cement this. So I I'm hoping that people who might be on the fence right now, like, okay I'm listening, but what if I don't, my goal is not to I'm a researcher take your own profession, or, Brene Brown gives a funny example of the first time she got off her Ted talk that has been seen at a hundred million times. And her husband says she's worried about it, and her husband says, "Well, hey what are they gonna do" "Google Brene brown shame researcher or something?" And obviously she's one of the, is a huge public public figure now. So help us understand why these are relevant to us in every walk of life. Not just if we wanna be, a CEO.
Okay, I love it. So first, if you're that 25% of people welcome, I'm so happy you're still listening because that's shows there's something here. Here's the study that I would share with you. So if you don't wanna be a business leader, you don't wanna run for office. You don't care about presenting. There's a study that I talk about in the book, which is by Dr. John Gottman. Dr. John Gottman is a marriage and family counselor in Seattle. And he did a years long marriage experiment. And he wanted to know which couples get divorced and if you can predict it, and this is not just couples, this is not just the one person you're with. It's also for any long term relationships. So I would say, if you wanna have long term healthy relationships, which I hope is everyone, if it's not you, then this won't apply. But if you wanna have healthy long term relationships, then this is what matters. He found that when he tested these couples on a variety of variables, so he filmed them. He did intake surveys. He looked at their history. He looked at their medical, he observed their body language. He asked them in-depth history questions. There was one single cue that indicated which couple would get divorced and which couple wouldn't that he can watch a silent video of a couple talking and predict with 93% accuracy if that couple will get divorced, that is insane. The queue is the micro expression of contempt that if one member of the couple showed contempt, it's a one sided mouth raise kinda looks like a smirk. So you can lift up one side of your mouth. If one member of the couple showed a contempt micro expression to the other with 93% chance, that couple would get divorced. And that is because contempt, the contempt cue is one of the most important cues for understanding the start, the seed of disrespect. Contempt is one of the only emotions that doesn't go away. Happiness comes in a burst, and then it fades. Anger comes all at once you calm yourself down, fear comes, you soothe yourself. But contempt or scorn or disdain or feelings of better than, if that happens in a relationship, a friendship, a business partnership, a romantic relationship where you feel contemptuous of the other person, and it is not addressed. It will fester and fester. And that's why at the end of a very bad marriage, you have people who can't even look each other in the eye. So what I would say is if you wanna have long, healthy relationships with the people in your life, you have to respect them enough to know the danger zone cues so you can address them before they fester.
And in your book, you dissect the danger zone very well. I was super impressed by that it's so helpful.
The longest chapter when my publisher was like, "This chapter is so long," I was like, "I know, I know."
Yeah, but it's so good. And I truly believe that for those listening I could have opened, like, if you wanna learn to read people and use it to your advantage this interview, this conversation, this book is for you.
You should that's a good idea.
Maybe we will. That'll be the rebuild for the intro and then they listen to it they could get here and they can laugh with us. But I, it truly is. And this cycle of, decode encode, and then what was the third piece?
Internalize. Yeah, that is that's there's wisdom in there. Hey, thank you friend so much for helping us learn the cues, verbal, nonverbal, and otherwise that can help us be the best versions of ourselves. I have been inspired by your work. Congrats on what is this the third book.
Is that right?
That's so cool.
I don't believe it. I can't believe it.
So cool. And, I mentioned the science of people, people in this community know to go buy your new book to support you and your work, but also to learn more about these skills that we've talked about in our conversation today, but where would you steer them if not or if beyond the book, if there's additional interest there.
Yeah well, first we have a quiz. If you were interested in where you fall in warmth and competence. So if you're not sure where you are, we have a free quiz everyone can take its scienceofpeople.com/charisma, and it's free. And you can take as many times you want. So what I would actually start with is, yes, please, please go by the book. Oh my goodness yes, please. But if you also wanna have a starting point of where you are, are you highly warm? Are you highly competent? Are you in the danger zone? Take that quiz and also send it to a partner or a friend and a colleague and have them take it as you. That is a way that we communi... We audit our communication. So what's really interesting is you might find that you ranked yourself as highly warm, but wow, your colleagues said you're highly competent and your partner rated you totally off the charts in charisma. It's very helpful to know where you fall and where others see you. So I would actually start there and take that little quiz. You can watch some of our free tutorials and I would be so grateful for an order of the book. I read the audible book, the audio book so thank you.
I pre-ordered your book the day it was announced. Yeah and I think it comes out in March for those who maybe we're gonna try and time this release the show with your book pub-release. Congratulations again thank you, friend. It's so nice to see you. I'm sorry I missed you last time I was in your hood, but I will be back shortly and we will get together for white wine on the deck.
Thanks again for being on the show. And is there anything else that you want people to know before we adjourn.
You got this, your cues can be changed.
It's huge it really is huge. Thank you for sharing with us to everybody out there in the world. I think my I'm very particular about my recommendations. The fact that I've recommended Vanessa to so many of these places that I've spoken before or to corporate corporate as a coach, or that should be the clue that I believe deeply in her and her work. Vanessa, thank you so much for being on the show and until next time I bid you and everyone else out there adieu.
Yay thank you. (upbeat music)