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Master Your People Skills

Lesson 7 of 31

The Power of Surprise


Master Your People Skills

Lesson 7 of 31

The Power of Surprise


Lesson Info

The Power of Surprise

(applause) So today, day number seven, is a surprise party for you! Woo woo! (everyone cheers) (upbeat electronic music) (laughs) (audience laughs) All right! Woo woo woo! We can sit down. Thank you guys for celebrating with me at home. I hope you got a little bit of a dance in just there. I'm sorry I can't give you one of these amazing hats. So, the reason that we are doing a surprise party today, is because surprise is one of the fundamental elements of good people skills, and we're going to start with a warm-up. Are you guys ready? We're going to do some chocolate kisses. So, here's our warm-up: what's the number one personality trait of an influencer? Who remembers? Yeah, Maggie? Charisma? Charisma. I like it. Yeah, yeah, a kiss for you! All right. If you got that right at home, I would like you to check out science people dot com slash surprise, because I have a surprise for you as well for participating. All right. Blank is the pleasure brain chemical. Yeah? Dopamine. I love it...

! All right. Next question (laughs). What is our brain's favorite topic of conversation? Us, ourselves! Ourselves! I love it! I love it. That was a terrible throw, I apologize. Someone else said ourselves. I love it. So, the reason why surprise is so important, this brings me to my three different goals for today, is that I want to inspire you to surprise today. Today is all about getting those creative juices flowing. I also want to spark ideas for you and your business. I want to get some new inspiration, breathe some new life, into the way that you deal with clients and you deal with pitches. And lastly, I wanna get you out of the box. Right? So, today is all about inspiration. We are solidly on our path to connection. We're in the deposit phase. We're learning how to make emotional deposits in other people's emotional bank accounts, and we're learning how to receive those deposits. We've already talked about our hook, how to make a first impression in those first few seconds. We learned the power of intention, how to trigger dopamine, the power of stories, how they captivate our audience, how to spark our confidence and make that contagious. We also talked about curiosity, the art of listening, and how to be non-verbally attuned, and today, we're finishing up deposits with the art of surprise. So, I learned the art of surprise from my grandma. (audience chuckles) This is my grandma, (audience laughs) And she's really good at surprising people. I learned the art of surprise from her. She's awesome. She wears sunglasses inside, and she takes her wine with two Splendas and two ice cubes. (audience laughs) And she's great, and she's the most memorable and likable person I know. She's the one who taught me the likability spectrum, that surprise, engaging people's brains in new and inspiring ways, makes you more likable. And if you look at the likability scale, you have extremely likable on one end, that's my grandma, she's extremely likable, on the sorta likable end, you have people like Carrot Top, or David Hasselhoff, who are not super likable but they're only sort of likable. And I want you way on the high end of the spectrum, and this is our people skill number 11. So, we're going to learn 33 different people skills, and these are the essential skills that you need to be successful with people. Surprise and delight people, and they won't be able to forget you. So let me talk about some surprise science. So, researchers at UC Santa Barbara, they found that surprise does interesting things in the brain. When you surprise people, three things happen: first, we trigger their dopamine. Their reward centers start going. Second, we have creative thinking. So, they found that when you surprise someone, when you get them out of their typical default or automatic responses, it boosts their creative thinking, which you want when you're on dates, when you're in client pitches, you want them to start thinking creatively, to get out of their default no, their default answers. And the last one is, it increases their cognitive abilities. They found when they surprised someone right at the beginning of a math test, they performed better on that math test. It increases our thinking. It activates new parts of the brain. So, today, it's a little bit about going crazy. I want to you think of ideas that aren't necessarily practical. I just wanna get your ideas going, and so, I wanna bring two people on stage with me. Kim, if you want to come on up and sit on stage with me, and Sachit, if you wanna come on up. There's no such thing as a silly idea today. Thank you, thank you! Sit, yes. Wonderful. Wonderful to have you. Yes. So, surprise, and what we're going to do, is we're going to actually deep dive into their businesses and help them think of ways that they can use surprise in their life and their business. So, the way that we surprise, is we get out of default thinking. We stop thinking automatically, and we go into new responses, and we can also use this in all areas: professionally, socially, and romantically. So, why surprise? The answer is the Isolation Effect. So, when we see something that's unusual, we tend to remember it. All right. The first thing we're going to talk about is your hook and your business, so tell us a little bit about your business and your ideal customer. So, I am a meditation teacher. Mm-hmm. And I used to be a lawyer-- (gasps) I know, surprise (laughs)! Surprise! (everyone laughs) So I've been doing a lot with lawyers and executives and tech people, and people who are at that place of being really busy and really stressed, but also really ambitious, and they're wanting some kind of tool to help calm them down, but they're also really intimidated and kind of bored by the idea of meditation. Love it! All right. Sachit, tell me about your business. So, I work with companies to basically run their marketing to get them more paying customers. Love it. The kind of hook that I use, usually, is like most agencies focus on very specific things like SEO, but we actually focus on getting you more customers instead of just rankings. Paying customers. I love it. So, we're going to help them capture attention using surprise, and again, no idea is a silly idea today, okay? We're trying to think outside the box. The other thing that I want us to do, and I made a chart up here for us, is that we're going to use Kim and Sachit and we're also going to do this for CreativeLive as well, so we're going to think about how CreativeLive could use surprise to engage their customers. All right. So, the first thing is, I want to think about how you can surprise in your business first impression. So one of the things that I do, is, instead of passing out business cards, I often pass out lollypops, and those lollypops say, "Science of people: learn how not to suck". (audience laughs) Simply because this surprises people. You can also think about, what in your marketing materials could surprise people, or what can you offer people, either in your office or guests in your home to make them feel surprised? So, what is your initial business first impression that you usually have on someone? Well, usually, I meet people in some kind of networking event, because nobody ever goes looking for meditation-- For sure. Number one. Yeah. And they're always surprised when they find out that's what I do, because I don't look like what they think a meditation teacher will look like. Yeah. And, what else? So what's one way in your business materials? So is it your business card, is it your marketing materials, once one way that she could use surprise to engage people on meditation? Let's get crazy here. Start thinking about it. (audience member murmurs) What? I heard something. You could say something like, meditation for the real world. Okay, so meditation for the real world. So this is your starter topic, how you intro yourself. What else could she do? A business card like a yoga mat? (exhales) That is cool! A business card like a yoga mat! Is that what you said? Yeah. The texture. Yeah, I love it! Yoga business card. Sachit, what could you use, or what could Sachit use to surprise for his business? Any ideas on business cards? Yeah, go ahead. Dollar bills with paying customers on them as a business card? All right! Using a different kind of dollar bill. Huh? I like it. I like it, yeah! Dollar bills. How about CreativeLive? So, CreativeLive makes a business first impression when you first come to the website. What could CreativeLive do to surprise their customers right when they come? Any ideas on the website? Banners perhaps? How about playing music? How about starting with a free gift? Any ideas like that? What do we think? How about a door prize when we enter (chuckles). A door prize! I love it. Okay. I don't know. A hundredth customer? Two customers? I love it! Door prize. Okay. Next, when you're socializing, I never want you to miss a name tag opportunity. So, often we are given name tags at events, and that's actually a great way to surprise people. For example, I typically, on my name tags, will either put my favorite quote or I'll put an inspiring question, like, on this one, I have, 'what did you dream last night'? I just put it on my name tag and I see who will respond. Or, Vanessa Van Edwards: tell me a story. Or, I love weird people, which is just a quote about myself. (everyone laughs) Actually, Macy Nissa, from our last course, I told her I was on my power body language course, I talked about how much of a nerd I am, and she actually sent me pins that said 'talk nerdy to me' and 'nerd' and 'geek' and sometimes I will wear those pins when I'm bad at conversation starters. So, what's something you could put on your name tag to get people talking? What's stressing you out today? Ooh, I like it! What's stressing you out today? How about you, Sachit? One thing I tell people, or actually two things. One is, start with asking them, do you want more paying customers? All right, a question, yep. And the other one is, kind of different to it, I say revenue, not rankings, because all other firms are selling SEO and rankings. Yeah! Rev not rankings. So, a claim. What else could you ask? What else could he put on it? What question could he put on his name tag to get people thinking about things? I would actually frame that first question in a negative way, saying something to the effect of, you don't want paying customers, right? Mm! What would that do? If you saw that on a name tag, what would you say? It would be like, who is that bozo, I mean... (everyone laughs) Who doesn't want paying customers! I love it, okay! So what does he do? I would ask that. Okay, I'm putting reframing on here. What could CreativeLive do? Now, CreativeLive doesn't have a business name tag, but what could you guys put on your name tags today? If you had one quote, what would you put on your name tag? What's your favorite quote, or your favorite self statement? It's a hard one, I know. Lacey, you love quotes. Oh yeah, JK. Our name tag or for CreativeLive? Since CreativeLive doesn't wear a name tag, I would say for you guys today, walking into CreativeLive, what could you put on your name tags to sort of inspire conversation? Lacey, you love quotes. I know that you do. What brave thing have you done today? Ooh, I like it. Something like that. Yeah, and CreativeLive is all about being brave, right? And about learning. Or, what's the thing you learned most? Or, what thing do you love to learn about? Right? So, learning or being brave. Any other ideas? Well, one CreativeLive tag is, I am always learning. I am always learning. I love it. So, if you had that on, and you were introducing to someone who had that on their badge, that'd be a great conversation starter. I love it. Name tag is real estate. When you have a name tag, do not miss that opportunity to connect with people, to have a conversation starter, to share something about yourself, or to surprise people, okay? That's prime real estate. What about something like, your college after college for CreativeLive? Ooh, I like it! We're writing CreativeLive's business marketing plan! (everyone laughs) I love it! I love it. Okay, we'll submit this to them after the course. Yeah (audience laughs). The next thing I want to talk about is our social first impressions. Even in business, we have to connect with people on a social level before we can build a relationship with them, and I never want you to miss drink and food conversation starters. So, for example, how many have ever been invited to a potluck party or asked to bring something to a party? Yeah. It happens all the time. So, instead of bringing the boring wine or beer, why not try bringing food or drink conversation starter? Here's one that I use. It's a cupcake recipe that I tried where it's little cupcakes that look like rainbows. Right? It's just something different. People walk in the buffet line and they're like, these are awesome! Who made these? And that, itself, is a conversation starter. So what's something that you could bring to your next party that's totally crazy? The thing that comes to mind is beef jerky. Beef jerky! (everyone laughs) I love it. Sachit, how about you? Dollar bill cake? Dollar bill cake (laughs)! (audience laughs) That's a way to get conversation going about what your business is. What are some other things that you could bring to a potluck that would be totally crazy, it would be a conversation starter? I would bring desserts for you, because desserts spelled backwards is stressed. (everyone laughs) Oh my god, can I throw you a bunch of kisses? Here, take these kisses! That was so good! (everyone laughs) Wow! So, I love it! That was desserts spelled backwards. Wow! Okay, I love it! Right? And that would be a great conversation starter for you, right? Crazy. What could CreativeLive do as a food conversation starter? This is a crazy one. What could they bring? What could they serve at lunch that would get people talking about their food? And people do talk about the food at CreativeLive all the time, right? What could they serve that would be totally crazy? (audience member chuckles) It's a hard one, right? What happens with learning? A pineapple. A pineapple! (everyone laughs) No idea is a crazy idea today, guys. I was gonna say that they could serve food that is conducive to learning, right? Chocolate tends to boost learning, 'cause it boosts things in the brain. Chewing gum, even, is said to boost creative thinking, all right, so they could serve learning based food. Yeah, Maggie? I wanna say, interactive food would be interesting, too, just to have a blank canvas as if you're creating something yourself. You're creating something at CreativeLive. Totally. Creative food. It's probably not possible, but the example would be, omelets in the morning, but everyone can make their own-- Yeah! So, the reason why we're doing these exercises is just to get your brain thinking about associating surprise with your brand. There is no brand that cannot use surprise in their business in some way. All right, next, this is law number 12, and actually, you guys can sit down now. Thank you so much. We're going to keep going on your charts, but I don't wanna make you sit up here for the whole day. Thank you. Thank you. So, this is law number 12: it's having an experimental mindset. So, with people, when you're trying new things, sometimes you're going to try things that are gonna work. Sometimes you're gonna try things that aren't gonna work, and that is okay. That's where our best ideas and our best learning happens. So, I wanna tell you a couple of experiments that I've run that have worked and not worked so well. So, for example, and you can, by the way, the key to learning is feedback and practice, and I want you to use the experimental mindset with sales people, while waiting in line, while with patient friends. Every time you practice something, it becomes more solid. That's called a low-pressure practice, which we're going to be talking about more and more. So, here's an example of an experiment that I ran. I was invited to a big party, and I decided to make cupcakes that looked like ice cream cones, where you put the cupcake in the ice cream cone and you decorate it so it looks like a little ice cream cone because I thought, that's fun. So, we took this picture the moment before we pulled out of my driveway, and the moment we pulled out of my driveway, this happened! (everyone groans and laughs) The first one fell, and I was like, no, no, stop the car! And they were all like, (makes wilting sound effect) it was like a big domino effect. And I was like, you know what? They still look good, so let's just wrap them up and I'll just serve them just like that, and that is exactly what I did, and it was a great conversation starter because I brought those and I was like, we tried, but they didn't work, and I told everyone the story and it was totally fine. So, this about having an experimental mindset. Aristotle said, "What we learn to do, we learn by doing.". In this course, we're talking about a lot of theoretical things. The only way that we can truly embrace it is by trying it, is by doing it and getting feedback and deciding yes, this works for me, or no, I need to tweak it just a little bit. So, I did a business card experiment with the experimental mindset where I printed up three different versions of my business cards and I passed them out with different emails and I tracked which ones got the best responses after conferences. This one, the middle one, is the one that worked the best. That's the card that I use right now in addition to my lollypops. So, this is another way, that if you're thinking about trying a new business card or trying new marketing material, you can set up small tests for yourself. There are great printing services where you can print up a hundred cards for five dollars. So, I encourage you to try a card that makes you super uncomfortable just to see what would happen when you pass it out. Can you put a quote on it? Can you put a funny picture on it? Can you make it a yoga mat? Right? What can you do to make that a little bit different and pass it out and see what happens? You will watch people's face light up when they get a surprise that's not a typical business card. I also tried different hair colors. Brunette, blonde, obviously I chose brunette, but any kind of experiment works, because people like that element of surprise. Another area that I want you to think about using surprise is in your email signature. So, name tags are unused real estate. Email signatures is another area of unused real estate. That is your last impression, right? Often, it's your first impression. People will open up your email, they skim to the bottom, and they check out your email signature. I want you to use that area purposefully, and you might consider using it as an area for surprise. So, we did a video on the science of twerking, because, why not? (audience chuckles) And we wanted to surprise people with this video, and we did, and I put this in my email signature and I get more responses faster from cold pitches, where people will directly reference this video in my email signature, because it got their attention, because it taught them something about my brand without me having to say it. In that video I talk about how we apply science to random things that you would never think about. It's a 90 second video, but it shows. It doesn't tell what my brand is about while using the element of surprise. So what are some ways you think you can use your surprise in your email signature? Any ideas? What do you have in your email signature right now? Nothing. Maggie, nothing? Nothing. Any one have anything in their email signature? Company logo? Tell me. A give away, basically. 57 ways to make yourself happy. I love it. So, that's a great give away. So, it's a post they can go to? Yep. I love it. Someone else had their hand up. Yeah? I just have my company logo (giggles). All right. So, how else could you surprise people at the bottom of that email? I'm really liking the video idea. Something funny. Something funny, something that shows your brand. I love it. JK, you had your hand up, yeah? Yeah, I mean, I've done the video thing. It's a really good idea. I think that's fantastic, but I also always include whatever I'm working on currently and where they can find it. Yeah! So, make your email signature something that people want to read. If you are constantly updating your email signature, which we update it every month, people who get emails from you will regularly go down there and check it. It's almost like being on an email newsletter without really being on an email newsletter. We get a ton of website traffic from my email from that. What's your favorite quote? So, this is also something you can consider putting in the bottom of your email signature. If you don't have a video or a link that you like, thank you, if you don't have a video or a link that you like, you can think about putting a quote that defines your personal mission or your value on there. So, we've talked about hooking and capturing attention. Let's talk about interaction and keeping attention, which is part of surprise as well. So, one way that you can surprise people is by anticipating their needs. So, I went to TEDX Portland as an attendee, and I knew that it was going to be an audience full of my ideal customers. People who go to TED, they love learning, they usually love watching videos, and they're usually very creative and inspirational thinkers, right? So I was like, this is a room full of my ideal audience! So, I thought to myself, what's a need that they're going to have that day? So what I did, is I got a bunch of packets of gum from the 99 cent store, and I put a little title tag on there that says, 'Did you know chewing gum boosts your brain power?' 'Have one one us.' We also put dark chocolate. We got little dark chocolates and I put a little paper on there that said, 'You're here early, we are too! 'Here's a chocolate just for you.' And I stood outside during breaks and I passed out those lollypops and I passed out those chocolate, and people were like, 'Oh yeah, I so needed a piece of dark chocolate! 'I so need this chewing gum right now. 'My breath is terrible.' So here's a picture of, we also tied them to lollypops where we said, here's a lollypop just for you, it's totally worth getting out of bed because we're here for TED. And people Tweeted these, they Instagrammed these, they talked about them, because I was able to anticipate their needs that day. It was a way to just surprise them for that. So, I know this is a really hard one, but is there any events that you go to, conferences, parties, workshops, where there's a way that you can anticipate someone's needs? Anyone have any ideas on this? Or what's an event that you have coming up? Party or networking event? Josh, do you have any big events? Oh, yeah, go ahead. I have a couple of bridal expos coming up that I'm really looking forward to. Mm-hmm. So, how could you use that to surprise a little? What could you anticipate to surprise people's needs? Definitely handing out chocolates. I just need to ask him for some cold to put on for the chocolates. I love it! And by the way, I was really ghetto about it and I just printed out a bunch of pieces of paper, I cut them into little pieces, and I taped them on the front of the chocolate. (audience member chuckles) That's all I did, so you don't even need to get crazy about it. I literally got a bunch of chocolates and I just pasted them on there. I love it, passing out chocolate, because what bride doesn't love a piece of dark chocolate? I love it. All right. I also want you to use events to surprise people. So, how many of you run events or have events for your business? Does anyone have events? Yeah, tell me about that. Well, we have a three day retreat coming up. Ah! What are you doing at the retreat? We're doing behavior design frameworks and yoga and meditation and well being. So what's a way that you can surprise people at that event? Well, one of the things we're thinking about, is we want to give them a way to really practice these things outside of the studio. We'll be in class but then, for example, say, every time you see there's this one special butterfly that is on this island, and every time you see that butterfly, you're going to remember that for your intention, to use that as a trigger. I love it. For example. I love it. That's great. So, I want you to use that event and put in as many surprises as you can think of, and I think that no event is too small to surprise people. For example, at my wedding, we cut our cake with a sword. (audience chuckles) My husband loves Samurai swords, and so we hid it under the table and we brought it out and he surprised everyone with his sword. We also flew drones at our wedding and filmed our wedding from the sky. I think that no event is too small to surprise people, to be unique, to make what you do memorable. So, in your bonus materials, I have conversation worthy Halloween costumes, I have time of year conversation starters, so even using Halloween costumes or holiday parties, to wear a funny pin, or to wear a costume that's a conversation starter, those are all ways that you can surprise people in a way that you're comfortable. By the way, I'm giving you as many options as you can. If you even implement one, you will see the difference in the way people remember you. Right? So just start with one that you're comfortable with, especially if you're not big on big events. Maybe it's just with a couple of friends, starting really small. So, I love this quote by Patricia Frapp. She says, "It's not your customer's job to remember you. "It's you obligation to make sure "they don't have the chance to forget you." And surprise is the way that you do that. That's what makes your product, your service, your events, memorable. So, I also want you to think about how you can delight and surprise people with your product, with your service. Can you design surprise into your offerings? Is there a way, like today, where I had a whole segment on surprise, the surprise party, is there a way that you can surprise people with your offerings or with your product? Here's a picture of a hotel in Chile where they didn't just have lawn chairs on the beach, they actually added bathtubs to their lawn chairs on the beach. You know how many tweets and Instagrams they get of those bathtubs on the beach? A ton of people talking about their product, just by adding an element of surprise into their offering. So, what if you're saying to yourself, my brand doesn't delight and surprise? There's no way that I can delight and surprise with my brand. Every brand can, even the Tickle Monster. The Tickle Monster is a graffiti artist in Portland who also surprises with his brand. So, even if you're thinking to yourself, I don't know if I can do this, I want you to challenge yourself to think of one small way you can try surprise to see if you get positive feedback with that experimental mindset. I also want you to think about how you can surprise on your website. So, on your website, on Facebook, on Twitter, what can you do to surprise people with your posting? For example, on our website, we used to have really boring tabs. It was like, about, blog, resources, events. It was really boring. And I was like, why do I have these tabs just because everyone else has these tabs? And so I'm changing the tabs. We have Awesome as one of our tabs. Heroes. Play. Because those are tabs that people are like, huh, that is a surprising tab. That is not a tab that I ever see. So I want you to think about, in your website, what can you do? We also do, on our website, we hide Easter Eggs. Who knows what an Easter Egg is? Has anyone heard of this? Yeah? A little gif or video or something that you hide in the text that's a little hard to find, but usually-- Exactly. So one thing that we do on our website and our posts, is I will hide funny gifs or funny images or funny videos hidden in the text. So, if someone happens to scroll over that text and they click on it, they're going to be surprised with a really funny brand on, branded, video, or a gif that makes them laugh. What did that do? That makes them read my content very, very carefully. It makes people hover over my content more often because they're looking for Easter Eggs. They're looking for those surprises. So, you can also do this, you can also surprise with thank yous. So, how many of you send thank you notes to your clients? I love it. What do you do? Is it usually just a note? Yeah, tell me. I always send a box of local made chocolates to all my clients. Love it! What else do we do for thank you notes? Yeah? I put cute little stickers. Ah, you use the element of surprise with stickers! I love it! So, I want you to use thank you notes as a way that you can surprise people. Chocolates and stickers is perfect. You can also do, of course, notes. Even sometimes just sending a note surprises a client. Tique Box is a company in Portland that sends local Portland objects like candles and chocolates and coffee and they package them into a little box, and I love sending Tique Box to clients as a thank you, as like, Portland misses you! Portland says hi! So, is there a gift that you can send that's reminiscent of your brand or where you are? Can you do this with birthday wishes, by wishing them happy birthday on their birthday in a special way by sending them a funny picture? Can you celebrate your anniversary? Right? Do you have an anniversary with a client that you can send them something funny on your work anniversary? And, you can even provide them with cupcakes, like I have cupcakes for you right now, as a surprise! (everyone exclaims in delight) Yes! We need a little sugar! At home, I don't have cupcakes for you, but go to science people dot slash surprise, and I have a really great picture of a cupcake and some funny videos for you, because I want to surprise you as well. So, we have little cupcakes to pass out. Just get that little extra sugar boost, yeah? All right, so we're on the last section. We've talked about hooking with surprise to capture attention, interactional surprise to keep attention. Now, the last segment is, attraction to direct attention with surprise. So, this all comes down to something that's called 'bonking'. Anyone know what bonking is? Anyone heard of it? First of all, it's a fantastic word and I love using fantastic words. Bonking is a biking term that people use when they hit a sudden wall of lack of energy-- If you say so, Vanessa. What? If you say so. (audience laughs) If I say so (laughing)? It is really, I swear! People watching you can Google it. So, bonking is when you hit a wall. Yeah, don't Google it, maybe. (everyone laughs) Oh, goodness. I just got myself in trouble. Okay. You hit a wall, you have a sudden loss of energy, it's fatigue or boredom, right? It's when you suddenly feel like, ugh, I'm at the end of my rope. That is what bonking is. So with surprise, we can anti-bonk, right? We can spot bonking. So I want to teach you how to spot bonking non-verbally. We didn't get to teach this in my power body language course so I'm excited to teach it to you right now. So, here are the three different kinds of boredom or bonking body language. This is what we do when our attention has dropped. When we feel like we're bored, we're disengaged. This is what I want you to watch out for when you're with clients, when you're speaking in front of a group, what you need to do to anti-bonk. So, first is the lean back arm cross. So, JK, would you demonstrate this for me? This is lean back, cross your arms, yeah. That's a bonking behavior right there. Thank you, JK-- Again, if you say so, Vanessa. (everyone laughs) That's the first one! You get to do the second one too. You're a great model. Okay. Second one is, neck scratch head hold. So, scratch your neck. Ugh. So, that is a self soothing behavior, which means that someone is feeling either anxious or they're tired and they're trying to wake themselves up. The third one is the eye search body turn, which happens when we're in networking, we've all seen this, where all of a sudden you've kind of lost someone, and they're like, yeah, it's been great talking to you, and they turn away and they start overhead gazing. That is what's called a lack of fronting. It's also a distancing behavior. It means they have literally disengaged with you, when they stop fronting. These are the three bonking body language behaviors I want us to stop to stop boredom in its tracks. And here is how we anti-bonk. Ready? Anti-bonking happens with what's called a conversational pinata. Conversational pinata is something that you say that brings either dopamine or conversation or spurs excitement or surprise, and luckily, we've already learned how to do this with conversation worthy topics. I have, in your resources for you, ten of my favorite conversation worthy books, websites, and videos. These are things that you can talk about that spur fascinating conversation, and luckily, we've already learned a lot of these with our killer conversation starters, triggering dopamine, and the law of addition. Now, let's say that you don't like reading books. That's okay. I have one book to recommend, which is, 'How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read'. (everyone laughs) So, if you don't like books, I also have a book for you. The second thing that you can do, is offer mind-gasms. It is a mind orgasm. Get that pleasure juices flowing. Again, stories are a great way to inspire mind-gasms. Triggering dopamine, being curious, and playing. We don't play enough, especially as adults, and playing is all about surprise. Engaging people in ways that they've never thought of before. Albert Einstein said that "Play is the highest form of research". So here is how you can play: first, with words. You can play with people with words by asking Would You Rather questions. These come up all the time, naturally, in conversation. If you're with someone and you can see that bonking behavior, you could think about going into a 'Would You Rather', and this can be a little bit easier than maybe starting a story. So, let's play one right now. Would you rather go back in time to meet your ancestors or travel to the future to meet your grandchildren? Which Would You Rather? It's a really hard one, right? What do you think, Erica? Oh boy! At first I was like, clearly the grandchildren, but then I went back and said, wow, to meet my ancestors. But I think it would be the grandchildren. I love it. Who has the other one? Who would pick the other one? Yeah? Tell me. I think it would just be more interesting to see the history of the people rather than the people that come later. I love it. Oh, rather than the people that come later! (everyone laughs) You like history more! I love it. Another Would You Rather: Would You Rather live in a world with no problems or live in a world where you rule? Which Would You Rather have? A world with no problems, or one where you would rule? I would rule. You would rather rule? Yeah. I like it. Who would rather live in a world with no problems? This is definitely me. I would rather live in a problem free world than rule. I think ruling is so much responsibility! So, the reason why I show these, is because it gets our brain thinking about new things, and you can play Would You Rather in all kinds of situations. Someone is drinking a red wine. You can say, would you rather drink red wine for the rest of your life, or white wine for the rest of your life? Would you rather go on vacation for a whole month, or would you rather never go on vacation for five years and then take a year off? Right? You can ask all kinds of Would You Rather questions. Again, this is an element of surprise that you can use if you feel comfortable with it, but it's a different way that you can play with words. The other way that you can play with words, is by using imagination. So, asking about people's ideals. This is another killer conversation starter that I like to use. So, when trigger words come up, you can ask about ideals. What's your ideal vacation? What's your ideal date? What's your ideal Sunday? Any kind of ideal. You can use the trigger words if you can't think of a story. It's also a great way to round up your story. You can always use ideals as a way to round up your story and a way to play. Again, this is anti-bonking behavior. Nancy Duarte is an amazing researcher who talks about how to engage her audiences, and she talks about a 'star moment'. That moment that's your flare that you remember. She says that in her research, she finds that the element of a surprise in a public speaking event, that's the moment that people remember most. That's your star moment. So if you're thinking about presenting, if you're teaching a course, if you're interacting in a conversation, your surprise is your flare. You can surprise people just once in an interaction. That's typically what people remember as your star moment. I have a ton of surprise ideas in your workbook for you that you can work through on every area of your business or your social life on where and how you want to surprise. So let's talk about what's coming up next. Tomorrow, we are going to talk about how to be memorable, and that's going into, finally, the next level of our path to conversation, which is diving deeper. Emotional fracking. How can we really figure people out? How to be memorable is your social superpower. It's going to increase your likability and fight nerves. Then we're gonna talk about how to be the highlight. This is lighting up the room and the art of genuine charm, charm that you feel is comfortable to you, that is authentic to who you are, and lastly, how to be socially attractive. Our challenge for today is, I want you to think of three different ways that you can surprise people. This can be socially, it can be romantically, it could be professionally, and then I want you to implement one right now. That can be with a conversation starter, that can be playing the ideal or Would You Rather game, that can be posting a surprise Tweet, that can be planting an Easter Egg on your website. I want you to try one, and I want you to see what the feedback and what changes. Remember that in this lesson, I have a lot of extra-credit prompts in your workbook, so things that I haven't taught on the slides are in your workbooks to do some extra learning. And I want to know, of course, what the most important thing you learned today? JK, would you join me on stage for this? So, what is the most important thing you learned today? What was your aha moment when we were talking about surprise? Yeah? So, I haven't started my business yet, but what's really awesome from today, is just how important playfulness is. Mm-hmm. And so, as I go in and set things up, I think that I'll be able to incorporate a lot of this, where otherwise I would have been much more serious and boring, I think. So, I appreciate having this validation that it's okay to be playful and it's best to be playful and surprise. Yeah, I love it! I can't wait to see what you create! I can't wait! Yeah, Maggie? I really liked learning at the beginning that surprise stimulates creative thinking and it speeds up your cognitive ability, because I actually thought it did the opposite. I thought it startled people, and-- It startles them out of boredom. Yeah. Right? It actually gets those juices flowing. I love it. One more. Is anyone going to update their email signature or use a name tag opportunity? Yes. Who is going to update their email signature with a surprise? I wanna hear what it is. Yeah! What are you going to do? So, my company name is called Tiny Toast, so I actually recently found a video of a hamster eating a tiny toast-- (everyone exclaims in delight) Amazing! Yeah! I love it, and I can't wait to hear the feedback that you get from that video. [Tiny Toast Owner] I'm excited. You've got to put that somewhere on your site. Yeah, I'm excited to see it too! I love it. Yes. So, hopefully at home you can think about your surprise elements as well. I think that Babat needs to wear that cape to the next time he goes-- Yes, you have to wear it out! Your cape! (everyone laughs) Next time you actually go to a networking event, forget about the chocolate, walk in wearing your cape! Yeah! If you just show up at the wedding convention with your cape on, people will be really surprised. (everyone laughs) You're the wedding superhero. You're there to save their wedding. See? Wedding superhero! That makes it! (everyone groans and laughs) Isn't that great? Yeah! Well, please don't write in and tell us. We do know what bonking means in English. It means something completely different in Vanessa's world, and that's the best surprise I've ever had on CreativeLive. (everyone laughs) Today I'm going to show you how to bonk! (everyone laughs) I may have to go and lie down. Okay. Oh no, we've gone somewhere else now. I surprised you. You really did. All right. You really did. Can you believe we've come to the end of day seven? I know! I can't believe it. We are a week in, guys. We are a week in. I love it.

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!