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Master Your People Skills

Lesson 15 of 31

Halfway Check-In


Master Your People Skills

Lesson 15 of 31

Halfway Check-In


Lesson Info

Halfway Check-In

We're here just to have a midpoint check-in, and to answer all of your questions on the course so far. Now joining us, and here she is, live from Oregon, is the wonderful Vanessa Van Edwards herself. Welcome Vanessa, great to see you here today. Hi, nice to see you; I'm so excited to be beaming in to you, Jake Hale. Now you've been traveling a lot, you've been all over the U.S. since you were live here in the studio, but your course has been really rocking it out there for CreativeLive. I know the audience has been loving it. What reactions have you been having directly? You know it's been incredible, because, you know, I built the course alone in my lab, sort of thinking about how I want to teach it. I've had a couple of trials with people, but it wasn't until it launched where I got to see people interacting on Twitter and sending me their stories on Facebook, to see it really come to life and get people's messages and feedback and questions. Everyday I wake up and I'm just so excite...

d to see how people respond, and so it's just been thrilling. I'm glad, because it's been wonderful for us here at CreativeLive as well; I mean not only have our regular community here at Money & Life been really enthused and energized by this course, we've reached out to so many new people in the CreativeLive community all over the globe, so it's been wonderful to have you with us for this course. Now today we're going to be doing a check-in. The first question actually came from Violetta, and Violetta's joining us and she's saying, "What should I do, I see people starting with power poses "during conversations, should I be mirroring them?" Vanessa, what do you think? So that's a good question. We didn't talk about mirroring a lot in this course Mirroring is something that we do naturally. So, in our brains, we have something that's called "mirror neurons," and mirror neurons are sort of the basis of empathy. They're the reason that we're able to connect with people, and what they do is when we meet someone, we can't help but mirror them. And the more that we like them, the more that we tend to mirror them. So Violetta your question's interesting because if you see someone power posing first, it's great because it shows they're in high confidence. I think it's a great idea to always mirror neutral or positive body language, so if you see power posing and you feel comfortable with that, like that doesn't feel too open or aggressive to you, absolutely mirror it; that only can build the camaraderie. The only time that you don't want to mirror someone is if they're blocking. So for example, if they have their arms crossed, you don't want to mirror that to show camaraderie because that's going to put you into that cortisol mindset. But power posing, I love it; mirror away! Now mirroring is actually something you talked about on your last course with CreativeLive, which was "The Power of Body Language," and I definitely encourage all of our viewers to check that course out as well, because Vanessa has some really great tips on mirroring and other stances. We have a question here from Chelsea, who's actually in your part of the world; she's up in Oregon, and Chelsea's asking, "Vanessa, you talk about blocking your calendar "to detox your life; what do you think about "the concept of 'never eat alone' "when it comes to people skills?" So, Never Eat Alone is a book by Keith Ferrazzi. It's a great book, and basically what Ferrazzi says is that you have to eat anyway, you have to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, why not always make sure that you're eating with people where you can make business connections or talk to them? He also has a couple of studies that talk about how wonderful it is for us to break bread with someone, how that's a great way to bond and connect. I love the principles in that book; I think it's wonderful to connect with people. However, it's incredibly important to make sure that you're doing it with nourishing people, and in nourishing places. So I'm going to say never eat alone, with a little caveat, which is, think about the meal, it could be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or happy hour; for me, I am least productive between 4 and 6 p.m., I don't know why, it's just the way that my body works. I just hit that, I hit bonking; I hit my energy loss wall, I know Jake Hale loves that word. And so what I found is that I'm super unproductive on my computer between four and six. However, it's the perfect time to meet with someone because I kinda can get jazzed up, so I tend to book happy hours around that time period, so that I can never "happy hour alone." So maybe that's breakfast for you; maybe it's Friday lunch. Maybe it's a Tuesday evening dinner. So it's never eat alone in a nourishing place that's for you. That's great advice, thank you for that Vanessa. Now, Mary from New York is joining us, and she's absolutely adoring the course so far; she's saying, "I love, love, love the course so far." So her quick question is, "If I'm telling a story "from my story toolbox, and I think it's going well, "can I go longer than two minutes?" So that's a good question, so when we talk about the story toolbox, I recommended between 15 seconds and two minutes for a story. So, I like this question because if it's going really well, if you're getting laughs and people are tuning in, whenever I tell stories it's almost like a campfire, right? You see other people, especially if you're at a party or a networking event, other people will start to like, lean in, because they want to hear this story too. So yes you can absolutely go longer; I just want you to make sure that you're watching for bonking body language, so any boredom body language, if you see someone (sighing), they start to look up and around, maybe they put their hand on their face and look at their watch, or you start to see the facial expressions drop; you no longer see happiness. So I want you to watch for microexpression changes and body language changes. If all that looks good, keep going, yeah! Sounds good. Well let's hear a question now from Serge, she's joining online, and Serge is saying, "How can I turn a low conversation from a depressing topic "into high conversation so as to help "the other person overcome the problem at hand "by seeing it in a positive light, "without it seeming as if I've brushed them aside?" Yeah, so, that's a super important part of the art of listening, and you've picked up on this exactly, where you don't want to go too fast into solution mode, but you also don't want to dwell on the negative, and you also don't want to be an enabler, right? For their negativity. So I think the best questions are, "Can I do anything to help you with this?" So, "Can I do anything to help you with this?" is a wonderful question, because first, it shows that you're not trying to brush them aside; you actually want to engage them on something, but it also subtly gets them into solution mode by having them focus on how you can help. So that's the first option, is "How can I help you with this?" "Can I do anything to help with that?" "Oh, that must be so stressful; what can I do to help?" So any kind of question like that. And the other thing that you can do, is ask them, and this is a little bit tricky, so it's only if you feel like you're comfortable enough using it, is "What would need to happen, "for you to feel better about this?" So, let's say that you can't help, like let's say that they're talking a work situation, where there's clearly nothing that you can do to help, you can say, "What would need to happen "for this to be better?" That at least gets them into the solution mode without you imposing solutions, while they are able to talk about it with you. So I would try those two questions. I've found that I have incredibly deep conversations when I use those two. Matt Patner is asking, "Vanessa, "for the 'Detox Your Life' segment, "you were saying that there is no need "to give an explanation when you "don't want to attend a draining event. "But what if they do ask for one? "Oftentimes people ask me why." So, I believe, especially if it's someone that you're regularly seeing, like if it's someone who constantly is asking for coffee or something like that, you actually can train them out of asking why. So it's totally up to you. If you have a legitimate reason, and you want to say why, absolutely go ahead. If you have someone who's always kind of pushing the boundaries and asking you to do things that you don't want to do, you want to train them out of asking why. And so what you can say is, "Ugh, it's just been too crazy; "I'm not going to be able to make it happen. "I'm not going to be able to make that happen. "I'm not going to be able to make it." And just keep repeating that sort of vague phrase; eventually they will get it and they will stop asking. So the first few times might be a little bit awkward, but eventually they'll just know that when you say no, you mean no. Okay, fantastic. Now, Mark K.'s joining us from Los Angeles, and Mark's asking, or saying rather, "I thought your vow of silence story "was incredibly powerful, Vanessa. "I want to do a vow of silence with you next time you do it. "Will you be doing it again?" Yes. So, I think about my vow of silence pretty much every time I'm in a group of people, because I have that interrupt instinct. So I want to do it once a year, and I would love, love to do it with you; in fact I am hoping that the more of us can do it together the more we can sort of face our fears at the same time. I am thinking that in the summers, and you can watch my blog, we're going to have a vow of silence week, and if you want to just do an hour, you can do an hour. If you want to do a day, if you want to do a week, if you want to do a whole month. So stay tuned to my blog; I would love to do it with you. That's great, but don't do a vow of silence today, Vanessa, we need you to be here answering questions. Now Georgie is in Palmdale, California, and Georgie's asking, well saying first of all, "I never want this course to end. "I get up every morning, prep my coffee and my notebook, "and I settle in for my daily dose of knowledge." But she has a quick question, "If you are partnering with someone, or hiring someone, "do you actually change the job benefits "to fit their value language?" So, it's interesting because we talk about how you want to make sure you're meeting someone's needs for motivation or value language; you want to make sure that you're meeting their personality matrix. I don't think you should change a job for someone's value language, but I do think you can emphasize or de-emphasize based on their motivation. So let's say for example that in your description of the job you have the salary package, bonus, and a couple of additional bonus or commission opportunities, but their value language, you know, is relationships. So, they've already been talking about how much they love teamwork and collaboration, the people they met on their last job. For them you can say, you know, "We have all of these benefits, "you have all of these commission opportunities, "but my favorite part of the job is what comes next, "which is to have team retreats; "we're going to have multiple outings and dinners; "we really encourage a culture of collaboration." So it's more emphasis as opposed to changing. And the reason for that is because, let's say that you're hiring multiple people for the same job; you want to make sure that they're not, if you get someone else who's looking at the same description, you had it changed already, and so it fits everyone. It's just the way that you emphasize it, having set that. Sounds good, thanks Vanessa. Now Suze, who's in Toronto, in Canada, is asking, "Can your 'big five personality traits' change over time?" Yes, the answer is yes. And it's not just about optimizing; I know we had a whole day on optimizing, but they can actually change over time, and there's a brief session where I talked about how men and women have different trends. For example, women tend to become less extroverted over time whereas men tend to become more extroverted. The heart of this, researchers think has to do with, if people become parents. So if we become a parent, that can fundamentally and dynamically change our value language and our personality traits. So if, let's say that you're looking at a personality matrix and you're not liking parts of it, although you should never judge your own personality, you can know that by a lot of work, by changing some scenarios, by moving cities, by becoming a parent, all of those things can change your personality matrix. And that's important to know also for spouses and friends. Let's say you've been someone for many years, you're very good friends with someone over time; they might be changing themselves and noticing their changes, noticing how their personality matrix is growing or adapting, that can be one of the best gifts you can give a friend or a partner, by acknowledging those changes and accepting them for who they are both old and new. Vanessa, "What if I have two conflicting values, "like uniqueness and control, how do I handle this?" Uniqueness and control. I actually don't think that those are conflicting values. And interesting that you would think that; I get it. So let's just review very quickly, so we're talking about value languages, value languages are what drives someone, how they make decisions, what brings them or causes their happiness. So if someone has uniqueness, it means they like to be out of box; they like to sometimes challenge the rules, be different, own their true self, especially when that's outside of being what the conformity is, or what everyone else is doing. Control on the other hand is about being "perfect." Or struggling with the idea of having all your ducks in a row. I actually don't think those are conflicting and here's why. Control or perfection is in the eye of the beholder. So for you, control or perfection could be being the perfect out-of-the-box person, right? It doesn't necessarily mean being perfect according to personality standards, according to society's standards. It could be your own idea of perfection. So I want you to think about how can those value languages work together? For example, what is your perfect idea of being unique? How does that drive your decisions? When you're thinking about being outside the box or challenging the status quo, how does that make you feel more in control? So I want you to think about how those two can go together, because I think it's a very interesting combination, a very unique combination, and I would love to hear also what that means for you, how that turns out. Be sure to Facebook me; I'd love to hear how that goes. Definitely; we'd love to hear that too. Now here's a good question, and this one actually rings true personally with me, "How can we deal with groups of family and friends "where we already have a role given? "How about a group/family where there's a pure extrovert "who controls and bullies the whole gang?" Yes, so I know what this is like, in family where you're already given, either you're already given a role or someone has sort of already decided they're going to commandeer the group. I think in that scenario it's really important to build your one-on-one relationships. So just because that one extrovert is sort of domineering or the bully of the group or in control of the group, it doesn't mean that everyone else's love, we're going to learn love languages too, and love languages and value language are being mixed, so in Segment 20, we're talking about the love languages, and that's how people feel appreciated. So what I want you to do, is I want you to think about what are the value languages in each of your family members? Are those value languages being met? And then when we get to Segment 20, the Day 20 on finding love, I want you to try to fulfill each and every single one of their love languages. That will help you build one on one relationships, which can shift the dynamics of the group. Even if it doesn't shift the dynamics of the group, it at least allows you to feel more fulfilled in your family relationships, because you're connecting with people on a deeper level without having that one person take control of everything, if that makes sense. And that's what I do personally when I'm, I have a group of friends where there's sort of one person who typically takes charge, and I work very hard to develop one-on-one relationships with other people in the group, so I make sure that we're all at least connecting on a deeper level, even when that person, and she's very fun, we love having her around, but I at least get those more deep feeling connections on that one-on-one basis. Now, my favorite term again, "Sometimes I recognize "when people are bonking," but they just keep going anyway. "How can I practice overcoming this vampire side of me?" So, I think what you're talking about is, you see someone bonking, you see someone who's bored or kind of losing interest, but you keep going with your conversation or your stories. I think that's probably what you mean. And I get this; this comes from a fear dressing up. So in Day 13, we talked about "conquer your fears," which, by the way for me, was the hardest day. I'm sure many of you saw, I was incredibly nervous to film it. I didn't really know what it would be like talking about my story and fears across the tutorial, so I was incredibly nervous to air live; I did not know how it was going to be received. And in that day, we talk about fear dressing up. So when you are in conversation, and you see someone who is bonking; they're entering into boredom body language, ask yourself what you're afraid of. I just want you to notice it; don't try to change anything at first. Notice what is it that's making you afraid to either change the conversation or try a conversational pinata, which we talked about in the Surprise Day, or shift into a different story. Is it that you're afraid of being rejected; are you afraid of having a silence? Are you afraid that they won't like you? I just want you to notice what is stopping you from changing that behavior. Just that; don't even think about changing it yet. Once you notice that, I want you to go through your fear file, so you've identified your fear trigger, and see if you can reframe as a thing. Go through all those conversation starter ideas, conversational pinata, the "mindgasm," as well as playing, maybe asking "would you rather," pick one that you're most comfortable with, again, once you've done your triggers, and try that one thing and see if that fear stays there. So I want you to try that; it might be a long process, it might take a few weeks, and that's totally okay. Ethan's question is, "To convince someone, "the first thing is to listen. "But what if they just want to talk "about what they want it to be, "and will never give you a chance to talk at all?" So, I absolutely know what these people are. There's two things that you want to consider when you have someone, I call these people "verbal tanks." Right, because they're in a conversation, and they just talk and talk and talk, and talk, and talk, and they will roll you over with their talking. You will start to talk, and they're like, "Uh-uh," and they just roll right over you. So with those people, the first thing you want to think is, is this person doing it because they're afraid? Are they trying to fill the silence? Or is this person doing it because they truly have no interest in finding out about anyone else? If it's the first one, using the RUC technique, and then waiting for that pause, and then asking questions, and keep trying, keep trying to their own words, use the RUC technique, to try to break that fear, to show them that you're there to listen, you're not going to judge them. But if you think it's number two, I question whether or not you think that they're worth having a relationship with. If you're with someone who doesn't want to hear from you, they don't want to understand who you are, they don't want to stop talking to make space for your experience, I don't know if they're someone who's worth talking to. Someone who doesn't appreciate, value your connection. So try those two things, and if not, you deserve a better connector. That's great advice. Now we have of course a truly international audience with us at CreativeLive, and people all over the globe having been tuning in for your wonderful course, Vanessa. L. Pelado is asking, "Would you say that "the people-reading skills that you've been talking about "also work outside of the U.S.A., "within different cultures?" Definitely. So, all of the personality matrix, the five-factor model, that absolutely fits internationally. So that has been proven in multiple different languages, multiple different cultures, between the sexes. So the five-factor model, you can use anywhere you want. The only thing that's different, and we didn't even talk about this very much in the course, is that from different cultures, the distance between people, what's called "proxemics," that's a little bit different between people, and also haptics, so how much you touch the other person. Those are the only two differences that are cultural. So for example, let's say that, when we talked about, speed-reading people, we talked about how extroverts typically are high-touch and agreeable, people who are high in agreeableness, they tend to do high touch. In a culture where touch is not accepted, you might not see that physical behavior. But otherwise, everything else is exactly the same. Fantastic, now Vanessa, following on from the question about how do you actually get people who don't want to listen to you, how do you get people to actually respond? A user online is saying, "How may I understand values "if the person I'm talking with "does not like being asked questions "or does not feel comfortable answering questions?" Yes, so remember how we talked very briefly about, when you see fear, that fear microexpression where the eyebrows and the eyelids are raised up, you see the whites of their eyes. In conversation it looks a little like this. Right, someone will be like, "Uh ... I don't know how to answer that question," and they have their eyes really wide. When that happens, you can try answering the question yourself, so sometimes demonstrating the openness that you yourself want, can be permission for them to say, "This is a safe place; they're not trying to interrogate me. "They're sharing so I can share too." So first, answering it yourself. The second one is, to back up, in the conversation starters that are a little bit more casual. So for example, in our list of killer conversation starters, we have conversation starters that are really deep, like, "What personal passion project "are you working on right now?" That can be quite a deep question. Or, "What did you like about where you grew up?" also could be kind of a deep question if they've had difficulty in their childhood. So you might want to try with them some of the more casual conversation starters, like, "How do you know the host?" That's a pretty safe question, just to get them warmed up. You can also ask them, "Is this your busy season?" That can be a little bit of softer, "What are you working on, what do you do right now" kind of question. So, in your head, pick two or three conversation starters that are more general, more giving them space and time to dig deep with you, and then your favorites that are a little bit deeper when you're like, "Oh I'm really connecting with this person; "I'm going to go really deep and ask "a hard-hitting question." I have two or three in my head that I typically go to. Fantastic, now here's a question from Valentina. Valentina is saying, "Dear Vanessa, "thank you for this wonderful class, "but please help me with my solution to be less judgmental. "My value language is control/perfectionism, "but also I'm high on conscientiousness and neurotic. "So sometimes I am not the nicest person; "I feel annoyed and my face is "very expressive and easy to read. "So to help people with low conscientiousness "and with careless or lazy attitude, "people perceive me as being not very friendly." Yes, so it's extremely hard to, judgment, being judgmental, is a symptom of fear, right? So if we're afraid that we're going to be judged or if we're high conscientiousness as you mentioned or high neuroticism, that's just the way that your personality plays. So judgment is typically a secondary factor of that. So it's very hard to address it head on, so what I want you to instead of trying to stop your judgment, which never, ever works, I want you to try to shift it into compassion. And bear with me, because I know that this is a really hard one, and this is one I struggle with myself. So when I'm with someone, and you mentioned specifically someone who's lazy. So let's say that you're with someone who's lazy and it's driving you absolutely crazy, because you're high conscientious, high neurotic. I want you to think about, in their most private moments, and they can be speaking to you or doing something in the workplace that's lazy, in their most private moment, what do you think is holding them back from being an achiever? So, laziness is typically because we are afraid of something, so ask yourself, "What is it that's making them be lazy? "Why are they afraid to achieve? "Why aren't they being their best self?" When you tap into that, you're able to see past some of the annoying things, some of the external manifestations of their emotions, and you're able to tap into what's really driving them. Just doing that flips your brain into empathy. The more you do this, the easier it will get, and it will also change the kinds of questions you can ask them. So instead of focusing on how can I get them to be an achiever, you're focusing on how can I understand why they're not an achiever, which is a very, very different way of interacting with someone. Fantastic answer. Well unfortunately as always, the clock has beaten us, but I do want to end with a really fantastic comment that came in online from H.D. Art, and they're saying, "I don't necessarily have a question, "I just want to say this course "has been life-changing for me, quite seriously. "I have always felt like a social outcast; "I have feared and avoided social situations. "Since starting this course with Vanessa, "I have worked diligently to practice "what Vanessa has been teaching. "I have had several meaningful conversations; "I have used these techniques with my children, "and I have been surprised by the results. "My husband has noticed the difference, "and with tears in my eyes I want to say thank you Vanessa. "I want to say thank you, and I still have a racing pulse "when I'm in a social situation, "but I now know that it is a skill I can develop "and not a character flaw." Oh, that makes me look a little bit teary; that means the world that it's working in your family as well as in social situations. I hope that you can connect with your husband and your children in a totally different way, and what an amazing way to be a role model for your children as well. Oh, I'm very grateful; thanks for letting me teach you.

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!