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Master Your People Skills

Lesson 4 of 31

Captivate Your Audience


Master Your People Skills

Lesson 4 of 31

Captivate Your Audience


Lesson Info

Captivate Your Audience

(audience applauding) Welcome to day four. So today we're talking about captivating your audience. This is all about making an awesome first impression. Here are my goals today. Make an awesome first impression. How to command authentic attention. Not all attention is created equal. I want you to do it in a genuine way that feels right to you. I also want to teach you how to captivate a room. Captivating an audience is a very hard concept to understand. I hope that today I can break that down and show you how it works. First, as always, we have a warm-up just to get your juices flowing a little bit. Get us started for the day. Today we're going to be talking about being open to connection, thinking on our feet, and getting creative with stories. Our warm-up has to do exactly with that. What I want us to do is tell a story together. This is an improv game. It's a story telling improv game, so I want to demo it. Maggie, will you come up and demo with me? Here's how it works. I want you, ...

and at home you can do this as well. I want you to turn to your partner and you're going to take turns telling a story. It's going to go like this. I'm gonna say, once upon a time, and then Maggie might say, there was an evil princess, and then it's my turn, who knew an ogre, and you can only speak every other sentence. You have to rely on your partner to tell the story. Alright, so it's thinking on your feet. It's getting a little creative. Maggie and I are gonna demonstrate. Are you ready? Should I start or do you wanna start? You start. Okay, so once upon a time, There was this incredible lecture on. On Creative Live. And there was 1,000 people watching, but this one. Was really special and decided that she wanted to. Be the star of the show. She decided that she was going to log onto Creative Live chat. She was gonna ask the most incredible question. Which was. About all the. (audience laughing) All the amazing people and how she was gonna make amazing change. Alright. (audience applauding) Alright thank you, Maggie. So that is, and it takes a lot of courage, that's why I didn't bring you, I was gonna bring you all up on stage and I decided that was too much. I know I sound like fear (audience laughing) I want you to think about how you can do this with each other. Play off each other. Be creative. It makes our brain open up. At home, I want you to think about what's the most powerful story you've ever heard. I want you to write it in your workbook. I want you to turn to your partner and I want one of you to start with once upon a time and every other sentence. Ready? Turn to your partner. (audience talking) And she took it upon herself to start hovering over her students. But we loved her for it because she gave us a really strong presence. The insight that she was able to provide to her students. What great fun, she's a great fun to be around. You guys are such suck ups. I love you both. Jason, your turn to start. No, no, you start once upon a time. Once upon a time. There was a six foot seven woman. You have to go with her story. But it was my turn. It's your turn. It's your turn. Once upon a time in a land very close to home. It's really hard, right? So what's the struggle that you're having? Instead of adding anything, I'm just passing on conjunctions back to him. And, also. Yes, I actually took improv like a few months ago. You wanna do it with me? Onstage? Sure. But I'm gonna go like crazy. Good, do it. How hard or easy was this exercise? Hard. What is so hard about it? It's funny because when they're telling their part of the story, you're like, oh wow, really? (audience laughing) You forget that you have to come up with something. That right there is the captivating part of stories. Even when you're telling a story together, you yourself are just captivated by their sentence and you realize, oh it's my turn to speak. Which happened to me with Maggie where she was like, on creative on, and I was like, yeah on? Oh right it's my turn to go. I really want you to come up and do it with me. You took an improv class. He said he's gonna go crazy. That's what he just said. He said, "I'm gonna go crazy." And I was like, well you gotta come up onstage and do it with me. Are you ready? You wanna start or should I start? Sure, so once upon a time there was a frog. And his name was Fred. And he met a frogess. She was a secret princess. They visited the planet Pluto. On Pluto though they found something special. It was a magical rock. This magical rock gave her the power of... Glowing in the dark. (audience laughing) They took this rock and they got married and... Went around the solar system. And made little glow in the dark babies. Forever and ever. (audience applauding) Alright so I love this exercise because first it gets your stress pumping, right? Are we feeling like a little like, phew? That was hard. That's because it forces us out of our comfort zone. It makes us think about what the other person might say and what we have to say back and we have to respond to them, which is exactly what a good interaction is all about. It's about responding to the other person, staying open minded, and leveling up. Leveling up your game a little bit. Thank you guys, that was awesome. We are now solidly on the path to connection. This is the last segment we're gonna do in the hook. We've learned how to set our intention to live purposefully. We've learned how to trigger dopamine, to make that hook, those first few minutes really pleasureful for the other person. Now we're about to learn how to captivate their attention. That's gonna take us up to the next level which is deposit, which we're gonna start in the next few days. I wanna start with our law today. We are on our sixth people skill. These are the 33 essential people skills that everyone needs to know. Number six is to harvest stories. We need to grow, collect and share captivating stories. Now stories are talked about a lot. Storytelling seems to be like a hot issue, especially online. I read all these articles about the power of storytelling, but very rarely are we told why they work, so the science behind why a story is so powerful, and how to use a story in real life. How to make that tip applicable. Today I want to do both. I want to explain the power of stories and how we can use them in our interactions, both socially and professionally. There's three reasons why stories are powerful. First, they make you incredibly memorable. When you tell someone a story, they wanna hear more. They light up. They wanna hear what happens next, and that makes you a more memorable person. It also draws people to you. When I learned how to use stories, I noticed something kinda funny happen when I would be in interactions. I would start to tell a story. A story is like a campfire. It draws other people in the room to you. They hear a story and people would start to, what was the story? What was the story? Cause they want to hear what the story is too. We can't help it. We crave them. So stories is one way to draw attention to yourself in a positive way because you're captivating them authentically. Of course, stories trigger dopamine. That is, other than ourselves, stories is one of the highest dopamine producing activities for our brains. I have a confession. I have a lot of confessions in this course. When I was in college I was a telemarketer. One of the things that I like to do is put myself out of my comfort zone. I think that the only way to grow and change is to be in discomfort and challenging yourself. I thought of the most terrifying job I could possibly take was to call people have them yell at me and hang up on me. That sounded pretty terrifying to me. I decided to take this job and it was at Emory. I went to Emory University in Atlanta and they have a telefund where you call alumni and you ask for money. I sit down on my first day and I'm terrified. I'm sweating. I'm like, why did I sign up for this? Why did I do it? I start calling and I'm doing terribly. People would yell at me, curse at me, and then hang up the phone. People would curse my children and my family. I mean it was horrible work. This lasted for four and half weeks of just horribleness. Finally the manager came over to me and he's like, "look, you're trying the wrong way." I was like, "what do you mean?" He was like, "you're trying hard but you're trying wrong." I was like, "what are you talking about?" He was like, "I need you to stop selling them. Stop trying to sell them. Stop trying to ask for money. Just get on the phone and tell them stories. They're alumni. Tell them stories about your time at Emory. Tell them stories that are gonna remind them of their own stories about their time at Emory. Make your only goal not to get money, not to ask for money, but just to tell them a really impactful story. Just forget about the money part." So I started to, I got on the phone, and all I wanted to do was tell them my favorite things about Emory. I started to tell them stories about my dorm, about traditions that were happening on campus, about what we did on Halloween, what I was dressed up as, whatever I could think of and slowly my phone calls started to change. Not only did I get donations, I got four times the donations that month and I was the highest earner for six months in a row just using that. That wasn't actually the best part. The best part was that the length of my phone calls and the quality of my phone calls was like night and day. I actually looked forward to calling people because I loved hearing their stories. As I shared my experience at Emory they would start to share their stories of Emory. It felt like I was talking to old friends. Instead of being a telemarketer, I was a storyteller. That's all I did is I got on the phone and I told stories and if they gave money and they wanted to give to Emory that was great. It felt like such a better way to interact, a more authentic way to interact than just asking for money, asking for their business. So why do stories work? MIT did a fascinating study where they had students go around campus and ask for favors. They found that whenever the student paired the favor with a story, and it could be the most ridiculous story out there, whenever they did it they doubled their success rate of getting that favor answered. What they asked for was if someone could order a pizza for them. Whenever they gave some kind of reason, even if it was an outrageous reason, that always worked. It doubled their success rate, and people saying, "yes, of course I'll order you a pizza and I'll pay for it for you." I wanna tell you one other story about the power of stories. Once upon a time there was a struggling toy inventor. He had really cute toys. They looked a little bit like this. These toys were very cute. He was very very passionate about them. He made them and he showed them to kids and he asked kids to buy them, but no one was buying these toys. He mortgaged his house. He went into bankruptcy. He put every last cent he had into these toys. Finally, as a last ditch effort, he decided, you know what? I'm gonna give each of the toys a story. That's exactly what he did. He gave them each a name. It says something like this. My name is Banjo. My birthday is October 25, 2011. Searching for the perfect treat. Something that is not too sweet. Great big bones will suit me fine. Now I can hardly wait to dine. So he put these little poems and stories, a birthday and a name on every baby. He started with eight Beanie Babies. Cubbie, Chocolate, Pinchers, Spot, Squealer, Splash, Raspberry, and Flash. All of a sudden the toys started flying off the shelves. People could not get enough of them. Nothing about the toy changed. All that changed was he gave them a story. It got to the point where he made over $700 million in one year selling these Beanie Babies. That is the power of stories. Stories make us connect with people. Here's exactly what happens in the brain when we think about stories. First, our brains light up. What they did is they put people in fMRI machines and they had them listen to all kinds of things. Recordings of stories, gossip, relationship, people talking about themselves, facts, and they found that activation was by far the highest when people were listening to stories. What happens specifically is their brains matched the storytellers brains. They actually discovered this part by accident. They were doing research on chimpanzee's brain behavior. So chimps, they had them hooked up to fMRI machines. They had them hooked up to electrodes and they were monitoring brain behavior. During the break, one of the researchers went out to get an ice cream cone. He was eating the ice cream cone in the research lab. He looked over at the monitor and he saw that the activity in one of the chimp's brains was going crazy. He was like, "what's happening?" The chimpanzee was watching the reasearcher eat the ice cream cone and his brain was lighting up as if he was eating the ice cream cone. What they found is that when we listen to a story our brains activate as if we ourselves are in the story. That is why our brain loves it so much. That's why we love reading adventure novels, even though we're sitting in our room or we're sitting on the porch, we actually feel like we're there with them. Our brain acts like we're there with them. This is the third aspect of the power of stories. Not only does it activate our brains, not only does it make us feel like we're there, it syncs up our brain with the storyteller. When we're sitting with a client and we wanna get on the same page as them, the easiest and fastest way to do that is to sync up your brains with telling a story. When you tell a story your brain pattern matches their brain pattern. That is the easiest way to captivate your audience. You're literally syncing up your brains. This is, by the way, the power of the placebo effect. The placebo effect is when you give someone medicine that's a sugar pill and you tell them this is gonna cure all your ailments and it works, even though it's a sugar pill. The reason for that is because the small story of healing actually activates their brain to go into healing mode and that has a very high rate of solving the actual problem. The placebo effect, which is not even real medicine it's just a sugar pill, is really the power of stories that our brain already goes into healing mode for us. I wanna talk about how to use the power of stories. Hopefully now I've convinced you that stories are awesome. How do we use that in real life? I use something called the story formula. This is a very applicable way to use stories. It is a three part formula. The first thing you do is you think of trigger words. Trigger words are words that come up in conversation regularly that trigger stories that you have in your story toolbox. Your story toolbox, which we're gonna build today, is your favorite authentic captivating awesome stories you bring out when you hear a trigger word, and then you follow it up with a round-up question. A round-up question brings it back to them so they begin talking about themselves and you spurt interesting conversation. That was pretty theoretical. Let me show you how it works in action. Let me tell you a story from my story toolbox. One thing that happens a lot is I hear interesting names. I meet people and they have an interesting, beautiful, or fascinating name. That is a trigger word for me, interesting names. What I say is, you know the most interesting name I ever heard was when I was in elementary school. Actually it was two different names. It was Male and Female. As in male with an accent and female with an accent. In school we always wondered why did these twins have the names Male and Female. Rumor had it that the dad was so excited to get twins, and surprised because they weren't expecting twins, that he confused the lines on the birth certificate between male and female and names. We'll never know if that was true or not, but I always thought that was the most interesting name I ever heard. What's the most interesting name that you've ever heard? So that's a story from my story toolbox which I bring up when it's a gentle transition when I hear an interesting name and then I bring it back to them. People always have an interesting name story to tell you. Everyone's heard an interesting name at some point in their life and they will tell you the story of that name. That's just a quick example of how that works in action. I want us to start building our story toolbox. The first thing I want us to do is brainstorm trigger words. I want us to talk about what are words that come up all the time in conversation. All the time, come up regularly. Weather, thank you. What else? The day. Day. Did I hear jobs? Did I hear job? Did I make that up? Job, okay yes. What else? Traffic. Traffic, yes. What else comes up a lot? Money. Money. Lack of it. Lack of it, I'll put it in parentheses. We don't have any money. What else comes up a lot in conversation? Sports. Sports, pets, I love it. Sports games come up all the time. Pets. What else? Clothing, what they're wearing. Clothing, yeah accessories. I'm gonna say fashion. What else? Gas prices. Uh oh, what? Gas prices. (audience laughing) Gas prices, totally. What else? Kids. Family and kids, very good, yeah. That's a lot of them. Any others that we can think of? No, that's pretty good. These are very popular trigger words. What I want us to do is come up with stories for each and every one of those trigger words. Authentic, natural stories that come up right there. I actually picked one which we already named which is traffic. Let's say the word is traffic. Then you want to have a gentle transition to a story. I'm gonna give us a prompt just to get us started. The prompt is what's the weirdest thing you've ever seen someone do in their car? This is actually part of my story toolbox. When someone says, "oh the traffic was terrible." Which often comes up in conversation, I'll be like, you know one time I was sitting in traffic and I saw one of the weirdest things I've ever noticed someone do in traffic. I was sitting on the 405 and I see this woman and she's kinda doing these weird behaviors. I'm pulling up next trying to see pulling up next to her like what is she doing, made the commute go really fast. She was painting her toenails (audience laughing) in the car. I'm like are you kidding me. I almost rolled down my window and I was like stop painting your nails but I didn't do it. What's the weirdest thing you've ever seen someone do in a car? That's a very quick very funny story about a real experience that I had in a car. What's the weirdest thing you ever saw someone do in a car? Or in traffic or in a commute? I saw it, were you gonna say something? Yeah, I mean people just singing out loud and that's actually usually me. (audience laughing) You do the weirdest thing you've ever seen in a car. I love it. People rocking out, practicing for American Idol. Yes, what else? Weird things you've seen in cars. Or what's the worst commute you've ever been in? My commute everyday in the casual carpools so I pick up a stranger every single morning on my way to work and I'm so disappointed at the quality of the stories, cause there aren't any yet to tell. There aren't any good ones? No, but wouldn't you think there would be by now? That's the perfect story. That is saying, I was looking for good stories, I pick up random people, and you'd be amazed there are no good stories from it. People are so normal, average, and nice. Which is a great segway into conversation. The most important part of the story toolbox is ending with great follow-up questions. The biggest mistake I see people make when they tell stories is they'll tell a story and they just end it. There's sort of a laugh or an awkward pause and you're like, what to do next. Okay, I'm so awkward. Right, that happens. You have to end your story with a great follow-up question. The reason for this is you want to keep that dopamine flowing. You wanna turn it back to them. Hear what they have to say, what their opinion is, how you can be an adder not a subracter, which we're gonna talk about tomorrow. After this, have you seen anyone try to do something odd during their commute? Do you have a bad commute? What's your commute like? Do you drive? Do you walk? Do you bike? Do you take the streetcar? Any of those follow-up questions would work. A special note here is that these are not long stories. I'm not talking about five or 10 minute stories. Usually these stories are 15 to 30 seconds at the most they're two minutes. Now we love telling stories as much as we like listening to stories so it's important we keep them short otherwise you tend to lose people. If you're talking for too long you can't check in with them. I want you to practice short 15 to two minute stories. I also want you to use this course. I want you to use this course as a storytelling opportunity. Everyday the reason why I ask you what the most interesting thing you learn today is because I'm trying to create stories for you. I want you to think of aha moments, interesting studies that you've heard, things that clicked for you, those are all stories that you can put in your story toolbox. Even if you ask a weird conversation starter and someone doesn't reply the way you want, you can say, you know I did it when I took this crazy people kills course. Oh what's a peoples skills course? Even that in itself is a way that you can use this course as a story for your story toolbox. You can also do what I do. I have a note in my phone where when I experience an interesting story or I hear an interesting fact or tidbit or I see a cool YouTube video or read a news story, I'll put it in my phone under a note that says stories as a way to remember some of those stories. In your workbook I've created an entire chart of trigger words and prompts for you. We have hometown, names, job, adventure, new activity, holidays, parties, books, news. I have almost every trigger word that could come up in conversation and prompts for you to think about what your stories are around those trigger words to help you start to build your own story toolbox, which we're gonna start right now. Let's start with names. I talked about an interesting name story. I want us to come up with some stories right now for our story toolbox. I want you to turn to your partner. I'm gonna have someone come up on stage and I'll do it with them. What is the most interesting name you've ever heard? What's your name story? How did you get your name? That could be your name story. What's a time you forgot someone's name and it was really awkward? I want you to think of a potential story around the trigger word of interesting names. Let's turn to our partner and you can brainstorm some stories. Oh yes, JK and Jason, I love it. Mine might not be family friendly. So the most interesting name I ever heard. I went to school with a kid, a Vietnamese kid. His name was spelled P-H-U-C. (audience chatter) A way to honor all the strong women. What's the middle name? Marie. Oh, that's lovely. Marguerite, Marianne, Elsie, Marianne, Marguerite, Marita, and Marie. Isn't that amazing? That's beautiful. So what's the follow-up question to that amazing story? How did you get your name? Love it. I might have you tell that on stage. You know I always wanted a meaning behind my name but when I would ask my parents why I was named I was yearning for this meaning, this connection. It was always like, oh we just liked it. It was very flat. Could I say at this point, what would you have picked? I love it. Oh my God I love it. I always just want the connection and so I've never really thought about a specific name that I would want because I actually do like my name, and that's ironic because growing up for whatever reason I just didn't like women's names that had a root and a male name. It wasn't until I was about 20 that I internalized that my name is a male name with an A. You didn't realize it? No I realized it, but I didn't group it in with the names that I didn't like and I was like wait a minute I've been against all these other names but it's my name. I love that great story. What did you learn about the person you were talking to? What did you learn about them? I wanna hear some interesting tidbits that you learned. That some people don't think of names. (audience laughing) What would you say back to that? What did you say back to that? She told me to get another one. Alright so you told another story. Fabulous. I love it. Michael, what'd you learn? I learned that Ariana has a sister called Tatiana which is a Russian name. Are you Russian? No. (audience laughing) That's an interesting set of questions then. No, so it's because the names match and I was first. My name's Italian because of my dad's family being Italian. Then they picked the name that matched. I love it. So there right there it's an interesting set of conversation back and forth. I learn about you. I learn that you're not Russian. It's a very cool set of stories and already we're passed social scripts. Already her dopamine is triggered. Already you become more memorable because you've engaged in this conversation. I would actually love you guys to come up and share your stories cause I thought they were really great. Ali if you wanna share your story, come on up. Ali if you wanna share the story that you told and the follow-up question. Yeah come on up. What was the question that you asked? What was the story that you told? She just started. Oh right, go ahead, yes, perfect. I just started talking. I got my name Alice Elizabeth, it's my grandmother's name. My whole life I loved being named after this great strong woman that was such an influence in my mother's life. We loved it so much that we named my daughter after her grandmother and I was actually able to combine all four grandmother's names, Marita, Marguerite, Marion, and Marie into her middle name. It was a way to honor the strong women in her life. And your follow-up question was? How did you get your name? I said that I always wanted a deep connection with my name, sort of like a family lineage or something that I could connect with. I would ask my parents and they would just say, oh we just liked it and it was just flat. (audience laughing) I always yearned for it, and then you asked. If you could've picked your name, what would you have picked? I said well I just always wanted that connection, but I liked my name so I didn't want a different name. It was ironic because growing up, for whatever reason I just didn't like female names that had a male root name with a vowel at the end to make it female. It wasn't until I got to be 20 that I realized my name falls in the bucket of names that I don't like. (audience laughing) I knew that it was Eric and Erica, but I never associated that. It was a very weird moment. That, which was the most beautiful conversation back and forth, they learned about each other. You can sit down. Thank you so much. They learned about each other. They're hearing about names with a little bit of laughter. We giggled about how she didn't realize that Eric and Erica were the male and female. The reason why these work is because you have to have a follow-up question or you have to tie it back to them, and they're short, interesting, real stories. A quick example, oh sorry do you have a question? I'm terrified of stories. Tell me why. I don't really know. I think potentially because I've told so many stories that have just not been well received that when we did the first exercise, finishing each other's sentences, that went really well and smooth and we were laughing and having a lot of fun. I think I like to tell stories in partnership but there's something that terrifies me about all eyes on me and maybe I start rambling. I want you to start with, and we're gonna learn about this in segment 15, so it's good we're talking about it now, is when we adopt new habits there's four different stages. It's awareness, discomfort, adoption, and assimilation. Right now we're in awareness mode. We're just learning the new concepts. Now we're getting into discomfort. When I make you practice I'm making you really uncomfortable. I'm pushing you out of your comfort zone. I'm making you do it. The adoption phase comes when you can do low pressure practice. We're talking about sharing a story and having it potentially fall flat. That would scare me too. What I want you to do, and this is why we have this course, and at home I want you to practice your stories in low pressure environments. That's why we have a story toolbox. It's stories that are your go to stories. You've told them before, you know your timing, and you feel comfortable with them. In fact, you're excited to tell them. You know that they work. At the end of today I want to actually talk about which friends you want to practice with outside of today where you can practice and hone your stories to find the ones that you love to tell. Not that you're afraid to tell the stories, that you're like, oh that reminds me of a great story, let me tell it to you. So it's that low pressure practice. I love it. We're gonna talk more about the discomfort phase of learning in segment 15. Sorry, that's so far away. I gave away the answer. Don't look at it yet. It's kind of an obvious answer though. Which do you prefer? This is two charity options. A, any money that you donate will go to Rokia, a seven year old girl who lives in Mali in Africa. Rokia is desperately poor and faces a threat of severe hunger, even starvation. Or B, food shortages in Malawi are affecting more than three million children. In Zambia, severe rainfall deficits have resulted in a 42% drop in maize production from 2000. Which on would you choose? Obviously A, right the story is there and Save the Children and a lot of nonprofits have figured out that the power of stories helps people connect with the people that they're donating to, so they always add stories now to each of their causes. It's a very quick example. I want to very briefly, and in your workbook I have a couple of pages on this, talk about the art of storytelling. What makes a good story. There are actually a couple different parts to a good story. I have a detailed description of this but I want to briefly go over it. Always you wanna start a story with a hook. A hook is a question, a provocative statement, or a curiosity. For example, in my name story I said the most interesting name I've ever heard was in elementary school. Instantly someone thinks, what was it? Even when you said, I combined my daughter's middle name to include all four grandmothers. At first when you said that you didn't tell me the name and I went, what's the name? Cause I was dying to know what the name was. That actually is the perfect hook, statement, or curiosity that engages someone. The second phase is to highlight some kind of a struggle. This can be looking for a resolution or being faced with a challenge. For example, in my name story I said, we all wondered why they could possibly be named Male and Female. That sets up a question of, well why? It's highlighting a challenge. You can do that in a very very short amount of time. The third aspect is painting with quality words. Using words that get people's imagination going. Under two minutes you can use a lot of exciting words. Let me give you an example of the art of storytelling. Here's another story from my story toolbox. The trigger word is summer. When anyone talks about summer vacations, summer plans, what they're doing over the summer, what they did over the summer, I always bring up, you know summer always reminds me of the worst and best summer of my life, which is my hook, because instantly you're like, what's the best and worst summer of her life? Here's the struggle. When I was six my brother almost ruined our summer plans when he broke his arm. We had to get super creative. One thing that happened in our backyard is we had these rocks and when you lifted up these rocks you had these little roly poly bugs. We loved those roly poly bugs. We would roll them down his cast of his broken arm because to us we thought this was the great bug eco system, his cast. What would happen was we would roll the bugs down the cast and sometimes they would crawl back up later in the day, which was really fun for us, not my mom. Or they would just stay down there. We thought they're probably living down there. It's their own little home eco system of roly poly bugs Really what was probably happening is they were getting caught in the gauze and dying. What we decided to do was shove leaves and mud and dirt into his cast so they could live really nicely in his arm. The problem is after a few weeks he really started to smell. Like really bad, he started to smell. He had a big case of encased dirt and bugs. My mom would shower him and be like why do you still smell? We brought him to the doctor. They cut open his cast and opened it up. It was all filled with bugs and dead carcasses. My follow-up question to that is what did you do growing up in the summer? What were your summers like? That's also a very sneaky way to ask the question, where did you grow up? But it's a much better question than where did you grow up. Because where did you grow up is, Los Angeles. They say oh I grew up in Los Angeles. I grew up in Dayton, Ohio. And they tell you a story. This is a very quick example of how you can use hook, challenge, and painting with words. I have another question. Yeah? With the trigger word, would it be the sentence that goes along with that trigger word? If I said oh I love summer. Yeah. Is that when you'd then? Exactly. Oh I love summer. You know, summer reminds me of the best and worst summer of my life. Mmm, okay. Exactly like that. It's a gentle transition. If they're talking, you don't wanna be like wait, I gotta tell you a story you just said my trigger word. (audience laughing) I mean you could do that. I'm sure it would be a very interesting conversation. It's a gentle transition. If you're talking with someone that never stops talking Yes. Oh goodness, yes. Let's talk about that in human vampires. Okay. Human vampires, a never stop talkerer. That's a little bit different than you telling a story cause they won't listen to your stories anyway, typically. We're gonna get to that one. Oh, rough. I wanna do one more prompt. The trigger word is holiday. When people talk about the holiday plans, and this could be any holiday, Halloween, Christmas, Easter, some holiday that's coming up, the holiday weekend. What kind of prompts can you think of? Here are a couple. Special holiday traditions that you have. What's your favorite holiday and why? What was the best or worst holiday vacation? These are all prompts for you to start thinking about what's your holiday story that you like to tell. I want you to turn to your partner and think about how you can answer one of these questions and tell a good story. Okay, ready, go. So funny story about Christmas. One year for Christmas, I was living in London at the time. There was a two hour snowstorm, I don't know if you remember that. My flight got canceled. I had to fly on Christmas Day from London to California and I managed to make it home for Christmas dinner. What year was that? It was about four years ago. I do remember that year. I was in London that year. It was ridiculous. Two hours of snow. Yeah, the Brit's can't cope with snow. It's just the wrong kind of snow. Yes, exactly. So what about you? (audience chatter) Always going somewhere and then trying to find something to do on Christmas Day on your own. I usually try to time it so I'm actually traveling. Okay, okay, so you have to share. I overheard this story and I was like, what? It totally captivated me into your story. Share the story that you just told please. Oh I was just telling him we don't have a lot of traditions and stuff. My middle son, about four years ago for his birthday instead of having us sing happy birthday he started this new tradition where we sing and dance to Bootylicious. (audience laughing) Just outta nowhere, you know, just sparks everything up, so. Yeah, we do it every year now. So for birthdays you always sing Bootylicious to someones birthday, which I love. By the way I heard that story over two chairs. I heard, yeah we sing Bootylicious for birthdays. I was like, what? You must tell me this story. That is the power of stories that they captivate you. That's hilarious, and I also just learned that he's a dad. Instead of, so what's your family? Do you have any kids? It's a much better way to find out about someone. I wanna give a very brief story about when I learned the power of stories in my professional life. I teach body language and I teach people skills. I am very heavily science based. I love the science. I'm a total science geek. I used to give presentations that were like hitting people over the head with graphs and charts and pheromones and brain scans. They were just loaded with science. I thought this was great cause that's how I learn. I ask for surveys after I speak where I get ratings and I ask for feedback. They were always okay. One time I show up at an event and they could not get the technology to work. We couldn't plug in my slide deck to show overhead. They're like, you're just gonna have to give the presentation from memory. I had given the presentation maybe 50 times, so I knew it pretty well. I definitely couldn't show charts. I couldn't show brain scans. I didn't remember all the numbers. So basically I had to get up on stage and share case studies, stories, and testimonials. That presentation which I thought I bombed. I got up there and I told a bunch of stories about the importance of body language, no one's gonna care. Actually what happened is my ratings went through the roof. They asked me to come back and give the presentation with my slides, but what I realize is actually telling stories was much more powerful than sharing a bunch of science. That's when I started incorporating stories into my presentations cause it makes you more persuasive. It gets the audience's brain synced up with yours. In action, this works, of course, at networking events and parties. It also works in social media and your business and in your pitches. We've been talking a lot about how our stories in social situations. I wanna talk for a second about how to use stories professionally for your businesses. Features don't really sell. Benefits don't really sell, which is usually the first thing we tell people about our work. Here are the benefits, here are the features. What sells are stories. What I want us to do is I want us to think about how can you tell a story about your product, service, or business. Here are a couple of ideas for you. How you got started. What motivated you to start your product, business, or service. How it's used. Do you have a story testimonial that you could use that would show, not tell, the power of your service? How successful it's been. So the story of your success. Does anyone have a story about how they got started on their product that they wanna share right now about what would get people interested in what got you started? Otherwise I can share mine, but mine's not as interesting. I'm a recovering awkward person and I had so much trouble interacting with people that I would show up at events and be so terrified that I couldn't talk to people. I would just go hide in the bathroom or pretend to text people. I realized that I was not going to grow my business if I was terrified of people. So for me I started searching for a way that a situational introvert could comfortably talk to people. It's a very very short story. Then I would usually ask, how did you get started in your line of work? That would be my roundup question to hear their success story. Now if it's a pitch you can continue on with your pitch. I want you to think about it and I want you to turn to your partner and I want you to answer one of these questions. What's a way that you can share a story about what you do? This works, by the way, whether you work for yourself or you work for someone else. At home you have the luxury of filling out all the questions. In your workbook I want you to go through and start answering all the story toolbox questions and filling them in. Some for your personal life and some for your professional life. So just turn to your partner and do a quick story about your business. (audience chatter) Then I moved to London in 2008 and I had to continue doing that on my own and I ended up starting a gym doing that on my own because there was nobody out there that was coaching it the same way. So I started that gym and it ended up, the gym grew so fast that I ended up quitting my job that I moved to London for. It kept me in London probably three or four years longer than I was going to be there. Then I finally moved back here and started another gym. How did you make that transition from the UK business back to here? Do you find it easier just to walk in and do it again? It was a lot easier to get started cause I already knew what to do. I had enough people involved with that one that I was able to let that one go and come back here. As you know, California's got a lot of benefits over living in the UK. So were you able to sell the British business? Working on it. Oh okay. Yeah, yeah. Wow, I didn't know you got started in the UK? That's so cool. So what did you learn about the other person? What story did they tell you or capture? What did you hear? Yes? I learned about how Erica made her career transition from such different careers. From an engineer to a nutritional coach, right? What was your follow-up question? We didn't get to the end. What would be a follow-up question for you? What's your favorite food? You could ask one about nutrition. You could also say, have you ever gone through a career transition? Has that ever happened for you? Have you ever been with someone who's been through a career transition? That would be a great question to see what she says. It's better than what do you do, right? I love it. Before we get into our challenge, which is gonna be implementing some of these stories, I wanna talk about what's coming up next. We are finally moving up a step in the connection path. Yeah woo. We are going from hook to deposit. We are taking it up a step. Moving past the first impression. We've made that awesome first impression. We've captivated their attention. Now how do we keep it and dive a little bit deeper? We're gonna do that with creating spark, unleashing your inner rockstar or diva, whatever you've got rockin I wanna show it. Never be boring again and increasing your impact on the people you are interacting with. Then we're gonna talk about the art of conversation. This is being a master conversationalist, mastering the art of small talk, talking conversations to the next level, going a little bit deeper with our interactions, and how to engage people, which is the first step to connection. Our challenge for today. Our challenges help us put all of our learning into action. Number one, I want you to add three stories to your story toolbox using the workbook prompts that I have in your workbook. I want you to add three different ones. I think there's over 30 questions in there, so if you can answer just three that's what I want you to do today. Then I want you to add one story to your pitch, your website, or your social media. I want you to think about how you can add the power of stories somewhere in your business. It can be written, online, or you can think about what do you say when you pitch a client. What story can you tell them to captivate them. We are ready for the final part of what the most important thing we learned today is. The reason why we do this is cause it solidifies our learning. At home I want you to take just 20 seconds and write down what the most important thing you learned is. JK if you want to come up onstage with me you can. We can talk about what we learned. Ali I saw your hand pop up, I love it. The idea of having the stories prepared ahead of time, I would've thought that would make them sound canned, but today I learned just the opposite. It actually makes you, you get excited to tell them. You're so excited to tell them, that passion comes out. Absolutely. Yeah. There's no small stories as long as they're effective in what you're talking about. I always thought you had to have these grand stories that are just crazy and over the top, but they don't have to be. Simple is actually better. I love it. Yeah, Jason. The stories can be really small but it's really about what happens after the stories where it starts to get really interesting. Hopefully throughout this course you're gonna be using every segment to create more stories. Every time we talk about what the most important thing you learn today is I want you to think about what's a fact that you learned that you can share in a story about your experience taking this course or watching this course. That's an experience in itself. Yeah, absolutely. Today has actually been really interesting for me. I felt I've not learned so much in this segment because this is something I genuinely try to practce myself. This is how I got into broadcasting and how I got into writing. You're a storyteller, yeah. By telling stories, you're absolutely right. To hear your affirmation here as part of this segment and to learn that perhaps I am doing something right. You're doing a lot right. We wanna hear your stories too. Share them on Twitter. We'd love to hear more from you. We're using the hashtag, I've forgotten. We're using the hashtag people skills, and remember that we're going to gift my dating entrepreneur course to people who do this for all 30 days, the best answers that we see on twitter. We're looking forward to hearing from those. We've got a lot more to come, but for today thanks so much to Vanessa Van Edwards. Stay with us because we've got another segment to come. Same time, same place, tomorrow. We'll see you then. (audience applauding)

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Learn how to inspire, influence, and engage people in this life-changing program with Vanessa Van Edwards.

If you want to succeed in business, life, and love you need to master the science of interpersonal intelligence. Master Your People Skills will show you how to effectively communicate with partners, clients, and colleagues so you can flourish in all aspects of your life.

In Master Your People Skills, Vanessa will teach you the communication methods and relationship-building strategies that will transform your interactions. You will learn how to increase your likability, deal with difficult people, be a master conversationalist, and quickly identify personality types.

This is class has 30 lessons each 45-60 minutes that are comprehensive lessons, activities, and challenges to assess and improve your people skills.

You’ll also develop techniques for overcoming awkward interactions, avoiding toxic people, and building rewarding relationships. Not only will Vanessa show you how to be proud of your in-person interactions, but you will also learn how to communicate more effectively online — via email, text, and social media.

Here’s how Vanessa will help you increase your impact:

  • You will be able to command respect and supercharge your first impression.
  • You will know exactly how to win more deals and attract more clients.By the end of week three you will have learned the art of speed-reading people.
  • You will have mastered your presence to be more persuasive, likable and influential.

Vanessa transformed lives in her previous CreativeLive class, The Power of Body Language. In Master Your People Skills, Vanessa will go beyond non-verbal communication, showing you how to boost your emotional and social intelligence.  



This is the best course I have ever taken on anything, anywhere, ever. As an adult with Asperger’s, I have been studying social skills and nonverbal communication for a long time. All the books I’ve read and other courses like these I’ve watched prior to this one, didn’t even teach me half of what Vanessa has taught me in this course. Master Your People Skills has provided me with literally everything I have ever wanted to learn from inner confidence, charisma, making conversation, making a great first impression, being memorable, etc. Vanessa is such a charismatic, passionate, and knowledgable mentor, who has a real gift of taking her many years of research and hard work, and teaching it in a way that is easy and fun to learn. This course is the real deal, you will be a master after you are finished with it, and I would recommend it to anyone.


I have just finished day 13 and so far the course has been amazing every single day. Vanessa is a great teacher and I love how her work is down-to-earth, practical, very applicable and rooted in scientific research. It's not the usual "ra ra ra, I can turn you into a master people schmoozer-type courses" found elsewhere. Anyone that wants to improve themselves and have better relationships in all aspects of their lives, both professional and personal, should get this course. There is so much quality material in this course, I look forward to going over the videos and the workbook more than once in order to improve my own people skills. The course is worth every penny and much more! Thank you Vanessa!