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The Power of Body Language

Lesson 26 of 27

Negotiation Tips

Vanessa Van Edwards

The Power of Body Language

Vanessa Van Edwards

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Lesson Info

26. Negotiation Tips

Lesson Info

Negotiation Tips

How do you use body language when you are negotiating for something that you want? The interesting thing about this is, this whole course we've been talking about how do you get someone on the same side as you. In negotiation, they're usually not on the same side as you, so the body language can be, can be, not always, slightly different. So tip number three, total, this falls under negotiation, is the silent pause. So it is so important in a negotiation to get as much information as you possibly can. And when you have someone who's on the other team, you want them talking so you can know how to best respond nonverbally and verbally. I talked about earlier about how I like to fill awkward pauses. In negotiation, I actually, on my finger, will count beats underneath the table to make sure that I wait an extra few seconds after someone says something. There's two reasons for this. First, is people who speak more slowly and with less frequency are seen as more credible, right? You use les...

s words more powerfully. So it makes me think more carefully about what's about to come out of my mouth. And second, a lot of the times when I wait those extra three beats, they begin to speak more. They realize they have something more to say or they're nervous, and they'll begin to fill that space. And it's amazing what they reveal in that non-practiced part of their answer. I find in negotiations, people typically go in knowing how they'll answer most questions. And when you wait that extra beat, they've gone off script, and they try to keep going. And that's when you learn sometimes the most valuable information that you can in a negotiation. By the way, what kinds of negotiations are you having in your life, both personal and professional? Just so I can get the right examples. Are you doing that very often? Yeah. With clients? Are you negotiating prices? Client contracts, too. Client contracts. Max? With our sellers on OpenSesame, we have a revenue share model, what OpenSesame keeps of the portion of their courses that sell and what they keep, and we're non-negotiable with that, but they'll try to negotiate that. Yeah, that's hard. Yeah. Right, so you know that you have no wiggle room on it. Yeah. Got it. Sarah, how 'bout you? Same thing, money stuff. Money, with clients. Yeah. Yeah. Jeanmarie. Well, the negotiation of ideas, actually. If you have a really great idea and people are coming together to collaborate on it. Yeah! There's quite a negotiation that happens if you really want your idea to see the light. Fabulous. So negotiation is not just about money. It's also about making sure that people understand your way of thinking and then finding a solution that you're comfortable with, right? Whether that's a creative idea or a brainstorming idea or a business idea. And that absolutely happens in negotiation. That's another reason why the silent pauses are so important, because if you're talking about ideas, information is what you're talking about. It's not a monetary value. It's trying to get to the heart of the matter, and information can only help you getting them to speak more. How 'bout you, Meg? Well, it's a really interesting question because I don't negotiate. I tell people very early in the process what my fees are. Sometimes people ask about a sliding scale, and my response is, I give you the best value I can in the shortest amount of time. You're going to find that it's a reasonable cost, but I can't tell you what it'll be. Right. And if someone pushes me, I actually, that's a client I won't work with because it means they're focusing on whether they're gonna get something else, and it's a red flag. It's a red flag for you. That's a great point. So the way that someone negotiates with you is a great way to see if you want to work with that person, right? So if you're having great collaboration and you get in a negotiation about price and their nonverbal completely changes, right, they get really dominant or they really low confident, it's an interesting way to see what people do. You learn a lot more about a person when they get into that negotiation. Yeah. Well I just realized that the negotiation sometimes comes not about the money but the format. Hmm, how you're working together. Yeah, I will say that it's very important that both parents come, and sometimes the person who calls says, "Well, I don't think my husband can make it." Ooh. And I say, I'm really sorry, but I can't meet with you unless they do. Or hours-- Right. Or why can't you do it this time. Again, the first part is re-explaining it and why it's important, but the second part is, I'm sorry, I can't help you because you need to find someone who can work the way you want to work. So this is a different kind of negotiation, this is negotiation explanation, okay, right? That's a process negotiation, okay? So we talked about idea negotiation, we talked about price negotiation. That's explanation negotiation or the method in which you're working together which is slightly different, because while you're negotiating, you're also trying to educate, which is very hard 'cause you're trying to explain, "I can't do that, and here's why." So not only do you have to get them to accept the can't or the can, you also have to get them to understand and buy into the reason so they can be on the same side as you. So that actually, that not negotiating ending is to get them on the same side. It's not a compromise. It's to get them onto your side to understand, which is a little bit of a different object outcome, right? The thing that you want, optimum outcome. Irena, how 'bout you? I think it's more, as you said, negotiating to get on my side, because I need to get the trust of, believing that what I do will end up nicely. Yeah. Because the way how we see ourselves or we think that we see ourselves in front of the camera is not the same as the camera sees. And also it's negotiation, I don't know, negotiation of ideas and collaborative projects. How you, how they want their photos to look? Is that-- No, no, no, no, no. It's, with the clients is, the negotiation of the process-- Oh. To get them on my side, but the other negotiations of my life is negotiation of some ideas and collaborative projects. With the partner. With the partner, with the partners in organization if I work with them, like how we get this project going and who does what and how to make it work. Okay, got it. And that's a different kind of collaborative negotiation, so not just ideas but deciding if you want to work on a project together, right? So figuring out can we even do this, which is a different kind of outcome. So what's most important for all of these negotiations is watching for chin juts. Chin jut is the nonverbal body language of anger, right? It is part of the anger micro-expression. I think someone actually asked in the chatroom, and I didn't get to the question, does a forehead jut also count. Yes it does. A chin jut and a forehead jut are two sides of the same coin. They are a territorial display, so it's a way of throwing out, you know, right. If I chin jut, it goes way beyond my body, and so it goes into someone else's territory. Chin juts are incredibly powerful to watch for in negotiations, because people will do them even when they're not speaking. So if you're talking about an idea or you're talking about how something works, you might see a chin jut and know exactly what part of the process they don't like. So what often happens in negotiations, what leads to stalemates is that people will be talking, and they're like, "No, I don't like that." And the other person doesn't know exactly what it was that set them off. Chin juts can alert you to a very specific point that made them upset. So maybe you're talking about, you know, "I would love to work together on this. "We could start the project in October, "and we could just, I think we should start with "phase one, and we can go to phase two in the new year." There's a couple different things there. They might have chin jut when you said, "We're gonna start with phase two in the new year," right? But then they're gonna say, "I don't think that's gonna work for me." So identifying where the chin jut is, watching your client, watching your partner, watching your teammate while you're speaking can help signify how they feel about where you are and what you're saying, if that makes sense. So it cues you in to where they disagree. That's the most important part of negotiation so that you can address their concerns. Chair height. So I briefly talked about how I was in a law firm, oh, I wanna talk, before I explain chair height, before I forget, I wanna talk about the differences between the sexes for negotiation. So it was interesting to hear you guys talk about how you view negotiation. When they asked men and women to pick an analogy for how they view negotiation, men picked playing a ballgame. That's what they said, that you fight real hard, you play, you strategize, you either win or you lose. Women picked going to the dentist. That's the analogy they picked. So women have a much harder time negotiating than men. Men see it as strategy, you win or you lose, but you kind of enjoy the process as much as you can, whereas women find the entire process painful but necessary, right? So if you're a woman and you're listening to this and you're like, "Gosh, I hate negotiating for prices," you are not alone. Power body language for you, confidence body language for you, is incredibly important. So you can get your confidence up to know that you're worth it. That will make negotiation much, much easier for you. Okay, chair height. So I mentioned yesterday how there was a law firm that I worked with where they had raised the height of the seats on one side of the table, and on the other side of the table, they had lowered the seats, and they always brought the opposing team into the lower seats. That is because they were using the law of height. We didn't talk about the law of height in this session. But basically, the higher that we are, the more confident we feel, and the more superior we are. And people who are lower than typically have a harder time catching up, right? They're constantly trying to make up, catch up to the high, the tall person. So when you have that chair height, it makes you feel better. How you use this to your advantage, please do not raise your seat and lower the other person's seat, okay? I don't want you to do that. But I do want you to do is, as soon as you get into an office, you know, most of those chairs are adjustable, go to your full height, unless it's like really, really tall like this picture. You know, go to the full height of the chair so that you can get your full height. Most people don't even realize that they're on the lowest setting. Second, never pick the low couch seat. So many people when they're negotiating for a salary or they're in a client's office, there's the client's desk, they're in a chair, there's two chairs, and then there's a little couch. The couch is always the lowest, and it looks the most comfortable, so you go and you take the couch. That's actually putting you into low body language because you're much, much lower and you're sunk back and down, and it forces you to roll your shoulders in. So always, always, unless you're watching a movie or watching TV, always avoid that low couch 'cause it puts you into low body language. So really easy thing you can do on seat height. Number six, avoid and watch for the Judge Judy. So the Judge Judy is when we peer over our glasses. So everyone who's put their glasses on after we talked about how makeup and glasses work for you, make sure to never peer over your glasses at someone. It is a negative, critical, judgmental, nonverbal cue when you look over your glasses at someone. It's like saying, "I'm being critical of you right now," which you never wanna do. So if you have glasses, be sure you look at everyone with eye level. Why is this so important in negotiation? In negotiation, there's always two sides. You're trying to maybe get to one side, but in the beginning, there's always two. So you always want to make the other side feel more like coming to your side, not less. If you do the overlook of the glasses, you're telling them, "I don't think that we're ever gonna be "on the same side 'cause I'm judging you." So you want to nonverbally show them, "I wanna try to work, I'm looking at this equally with you." That's why you want to avoid it. Avoid doing, and also you can watch for it. So watch for other people who do that to you. You could use that to your advantage if you wanna get rid of someone in the room now. Oh, yes. All the cues that I talked about are not so good, that are a little abrasive, if you wanna get rid of someone, you can use any and all of them. You can avoid looking at them. You can turn your face away. You can look over your glasses at someone. You can also do the looking down your nose. "Oh, yeah?" Right, this is when someone tilts their head back, and they look down their nose at you. That is also a critical nonverbal cue. When people do that, they're sizing you up and down, they're scrutinizing you. People do this in their head shots all the time. They'll tilt back their head, they'll throw back their head and they'll smile. Unfortunately that's a very critical, kind of Negative Nancy, it gives off that vibe. So be very careful to keep your head really, really level. And you also don't wanna tuck your chin and do a forehead jut either because that's a low-power body language. So keeping your head really level is important, especially in photography, cause that moment lasts a lot longer. The steeple, which we talked about. So in negotiations, you can be a lot freer when you use the steeple. The steeple is the gesture of wisdom, confidence, and superiority. I say you have to be a little careful with this when you're in social situations or casual business situations. In negotiations, you can use this a lot more freely, especially when you're listening to other people's points. It can also make you feel more calm. I've noticed that when I do this in a high-intense situation, doing this makes me actually feel more grounded, and this is a personal anecdote, that I'm like (exhales deeply), makes me feel calm and collected so I don't react as strongly right away. It also helps me stay silent, right? That silent pause that we talked about? Somehow doing this is like, okay, yep, stay quiet. It's very calming, so you could do that to calm yourself down. Number nine, let's talk about how to diffuse tension. So we talked about how to notice when someone's into you in negotiations, and now these sticky situations that we get into. And we all have them, unfortunately, I wish less often than not. Office drama, confrontations, disagreement, and a little bit of negotiation when it goes sour, right? When you get into that sort of he said/she said. How do you diffuse that tension nonverbally? If you're with a boss and he's yelling at you, or he's really angry, what can you do to calm them down? If you're with a client who's freaking out, whether it's their event or they're upset with you, or they're upset with someone else, what can you do to make them calm down? There's a couple things that you can do with your body. First, concede space. When we are upset, our desire for space typically expands. So when we're upset, we're feeling that energy going, we want literally more breathing room. So what would normally be comfortable for us in a social zone actually gets much wider because we feel like we need to (exhales deeply), get that breathing room. So if you see someone who's upset, you actually can physically concede space. So this works in two ways. You can do this to calm someone down, to give them the space. You could also do this to show that you're not a threat, right? So when we're about to fight someone, we usually will lean in towards them. That's what we do when we're fighting. Leaning back is saying, "I do not wanna fight with you about this. "That is not what I'm here for." It's a great, neutral disengagement body language that you can do. Now, you can do this standing, obviously, by stepping. You can also do this sitting. You can lean back in your chair, let them kind of vent. "Yes, you have your moment, go ahead. "I'm giving you space." You can also sit back by scooting back your chair and say, "Tell me all about it," and you can scoot back your chair. "I'm giving you the space, I'm giving you "the floor to do it, and I don't want to," and notice how I hold up my palms as well? The palm gesture's also great here to say, "Not a threat to you, you just tell me what's wrong." All right, so that's a way that you can calm them down as well as show that you're not a threat. Purposefully removing barriers. So here's what I mean. If you are in a negotiation with someone or you're with a client, and they're very upset, and you have your water glass and your computer and your phone, to show them that you nonverbally are, you want to find a solution, you are dedicated to finding a way to fix this, especially if you made a mistake, you can purposefully move the barriers out of the way and say, "I want to figure this out with you." That nonverbal action is so powerful. Mentally, it's powerful for you. You're clearing the space, and they see, she's down to business. He's gettin' down to business. So you can purposely remove barriers to show that, to show nonverbally that you want to be on the same side, you want to find a solution. Angle slightly. Okay, so in the laws of body language, we talked about the law engagement, that you should always aim your toes and your torso towards someone. If you are in a tense situation, you can actually angle away from them to give them space and just show that you're not trying to be directly confrontational. This happens all the time. Like, if you're disputing a bill with a waiter or a waitress, and they come over to you, I will sometimes sit back and angle away and say, gosh, I don't know how this even happened. Right, by angling away, I'm saying, I don't want to fight with you about this, I just want to find a compromise. So angling away can take the tension out. And this is speaking to their subconscious, this one specifically, because when we fight someone, we are always head-on, we're literally head to head, chest to chest, toes to toes. So nonverbally, you're telling them, "I'm not a threat." Dogs to this, dog body language. If they don't wanna fight a dog, they will literally turn their body away. Because they don't want to get in head-to-head combat. So that's a nonverbal way that you can diffuse that tension. Deep breathe to help them mimic you. So we talked about mirroring, that we subconsciously mirror the people that we're with. If you want someone to calm down, you want to display a calm body language to help them mirror. Now, that sounds like very, "Of course! "That makes a lot of sense." This is the opposite of what actually happens. When someone's in a tense situation, and they are either accusing you of something or they're angry, they usually are like, "How dare you do this?" And you actually go into fight response. So what I'm telling you to do is, when you're thinking to yourself, how can I calm this person down, I want you to go back to that calming neutral body language, relax your shoulders, take a deep breath before you speak. That will cue them to take a deep breath before they speak. You can relax your head, relax your arms. That is the opposite of what your brain is going to want you to do, but if you don't wanna have a fight with them, showing them that you're gonna be neutral will help them also calm down, 'cause their brain's going, "Oh, they're not trying to fight with me." And nonverbally, they hopefully will mirror those deep breathings, that deep breathing and oxygen coming into the bloodstream (inhales deeply) is a great way to get us to calm down. Whenever I am coaching speakers or entrepreneurs, I tell them, getting oxygen in your bloodstream is the best thing you can do to get your heart rate down, to stop you from feeling so anxious. Take a walk together. So studies have shown that movement gets that adrenaline and that energy out. So if we're in a sticky situation, or if your friend has just had or a colleague has just had a fight with someone, and they're like, "I cannot calm down." The best thing that you can do for them is take a walk with them. That movement helps get the adrenaline out, and we also feel very bonded with someone when we take steps together. And you know when you walk with someone, you typically walk in the same pace, like you take the same steps, you move at the same space, so if you're talking with someone, you could say, "You know, I just need to get some fresh air. "Do you want to take a walk and talk about this?" That can be a really great way to get them out of the room, out of closed body language, and get that adrenaline out, especially if you've already finished the fight and now you're trying to work together, you've had a little disagreement. This is the perfect ending. "Let's go get a coffee," you know, "Let's go grab something to eat." That can get that adrenaline out so you can then be collaborative. Yeah. So let's say that you're the one that's upset. Yes. And you have something to say to someone else. What would you recommend to create a good environment but one that you can still be heard? Great question. So first, you should always try to mentally prepare the other person that you want to talk, and it's totally fine. And I, you wanna prepare them that they're gonna have a difficult conversation with you. The reason for that is because if you don't and you bombard them, you often get them into a defensive body language right away. But if you tell them in a very calm voice that you wanna talk about something, they know that it's not a threat. It's serious, but they know that it's not a threat. So that's the first thing is to prepare. The second thing is to make sure that you have the physical space that you need. When we are upset, people, it feels like people are strangling you they're so close. So make sure that you're in a place, preferably not public, where you kinda make sure that you have enough space that you're not gonna be interrupted by anyone. Those little things can make a difference. And then deep breathing is the most important thing. First, because you don't want to go high into your vocal cords, that makes us sound not credible. You want them to take your concerns seriously. And that also will keep your heart rate down and your adrenaline not pumping so you can clearly hear them. When we're upset, when we're talking to someone about what we're upset, our brain clouds. Like, it's very hard to hear what they're saying. Deep breathing, keeping your cortisol levels nice and low, so making sure you're in your launch stance when you do it, helps you think clearly so you can figure out whatever the solution is, yeah. It's actually very similar on the other side, right? A little bit, yeah. Other questions on that. We've got quite a lot, actually. Yeah, we have time. There's some very, very specific situations. Louis G Photography is saying, "So how do you reply when someone does "the Judge Judy look to you?" You know, they look over the glasses, et cetera. How do you handle that, diffuse it? So if someone does that to you, first you should take a mental note that they might be being critical of you. I look to go into information-gathering mode. If someone does that to me, I wanna know what they're thinking. I wanna know what they're being critical of. So I will say, tell me what you're thinking. It looks like you're trying to figure something out. I will actually say that to them. And a lot of times they'll say, "Oh, I was just trying to figure out this." So either they'll tell you it was no big deal, or they'll raise a concern, which is exactly what they were thinking. So I verbally address it. I address if it looks like they're trying to look for something, yeah. And BodyTalk wants to know, "Wouldn't these calming gestures be seen as "submissive instead of like, and kind of "make you look less powerful?" Okay, so great question. There's a different between neutral calm body language and low-power body language. Notice how I didn't tell you to contract your body. I didn't tell you to cross your arms over your chest. I told you to lean back so you can give them a little bit of space but stay in your launch stance. So you're not saying that your a pushover. You're not saying that you're gonna take it lightly. You're just saying that you don't wanna fight them on it. So that's why you have to go into neutral but not low-power posing, right? I didn't share any of the low-power tips. These are all neutral or giving them space. Purposively removing barriers also is great for torso aiming. Angling away slightly is not low-power, it's just a disengagement. Remember that we learned that the law of engagement is torso aiming. So it's just saying, you know, "I don't wanna engage with you on this fight. "I'm happy to talk to you when you're calm." And when they are calm, you sit back, you scoot back in, and you say, "Great, let's talk about it," nonverbally rewarding them and saying, "Great, in this space, "I am happy to talk to you." Yeah. Amanda is asking a very tricky question, saying, "Is there an effective way to stop yourself "from crying in an office or public or situation "where you feel you've been insulted "but all eyes are still on you?" It's very, very hard to stop yourself from crying. I haven't seen any research. I've heard, you know, people, their own, they will like bite the side of their tongue. I've heard people will pinch the bridge of their nose. I haven't seen anything scientific on what works. The biggest thing is when you get into, you're about to start crying, your cortisol levels and adrenaline levels are very high. So one thing you can do to counterbalance it is, first of all, I like to be alone. So if you can take a moment, it is worth it, right? If you're in a tense situation, you say, "I just need a minute," go out and move around, right, get that adrenaline out. Take yourself for a walk, and then get your testosterone levels pumping. That will help you counteract so you can think more clearly. Remember, testosterone is a strength hormone. It helps us think more clearly, helps us have muscle mass, helps us have more endurance. So if you're upset, or you're sad about something, you want to be able to at least think clearly so you know what you need to do next. And that can counterbalance the cortisol, the stress hormone. So getting your testosterone levels up is a great way to counteract some of those really sad, low feelings. 'Cause cortisol is what causes us to gain weight and makes us think more slowly. It makes us move more slowly, which makes it even worse. So, space and testosterone level is the best thing you can do. And by the way, I've been there. Totally have been there and said, I need to take a moment. Because if I'm gonna cry, that's fine. I just wanna have my moment to be able to cry and let it all out and then sort of reset myself. So I totally get it. There's quite a few questions about how to, which are really about anger management. So if you bear with me, I'm not gonna put those to Vanessa. I think that's a slightly different subject. But Bluebird is saying, "When you use deep breathing "so the other person will mirror you, "how do you breathe so they don't "misunderstand what you're doing? "Maybe they think you're exasperated." Ah, okay, so that's a really good question. So look at the difference. So exasperated is more like this. (exhales loudly) Right? That's exasperated. It's a very different facial expression. Deep breathing is more like this. (exhales calmly) Right? So you can actually breathe out of your nose. That's the difference. You can deep breathe in your mouth and then out your nose. Exasperated, people don't usually go out of the nose. So that's a way that you can (exhales calmly), right? And you can be listening to them and deep breathing, and that doesn't look like exasperation. But that's a very good question. So it's not (exhales loudly), right? It's through your nose. That's really good, yeah. I actually find that unbelievably irritating with customer service on the phone. You watch, and you hear them go (exhales loudly). Oh, yeah, that-- And I say, oh, I'm so sorry, am I taking up your time? Yeah. It's so irritating. It's the nonverbal, the audio nonverbal of exasperation. Yeah. Yeah. Totally. Anyway, let's move on. Okay, all right. (laughs) So the last thing is to eat or drink together. So back in our caveman days, when we take sustenance together, it is a bonding activity. When we eat or drink with someone, we feel more connected and bonded to them. It also helps us think more clearly, because we have more energy, and our body feels like, ah, we're getting more sustenance. So if you have a big negotiation planned or if you know you have a really heavy day, you might wanna think about, you know, do we wanna plan a lunch afterwards to sort of take down the tension. Do we wanna go to lunch beforehand to build the connection so that we're on a much nicer playing field when we go into the negotiation. So using food and drink, that's another reason why I like to serve hot cocoa in my office 'cause it's very calming, it's very high energy. And so if they're upset, I'm like, can I get you a glass of cocoa? Can I get you some tea? That actually, it's a switch in their brain to (inhales), okay, take in some sustenance, and it's a different focus point. So think about how you could maybe eat or drink before, after, or during. And that's also a great way to take a break, right? If you're feeling like it's getting really heated, you can say, "Um, could we just take a quick break? "I just need to get some water." You get up, you walk around a little bit, you can move back your chair, it gives them some space. I'm a huge, huge fan of taking a break and then going and bringing back water. That also introduces the law of reciprocity. So if you go out and you get yourself a drink and you just bring it back for them, even if they don't drink it, you're utilizing the law of reciprocity. The law of reciprocity says that when you do a favor for someone, they see you as more likable. So if you bring that back, it can bring them back in the frame of mind of, "Oh, right, maybe we can work together. "Maybe this person can bring me something. "That's why we're here after all, to do something together, "'cause they have something good to offer." Especially with ideas and collaborative, bringing in a meal, you know, planning that in there can be a very good thing. And you can plan for right in the middle of the meeting. "We're gonna have an hour meeting, "and then I'm gonna have lunch delivery," right? That can be a great way to stimulate really good, creative thoughts. Okay, number 11, removing blocks. And what I mean by blocks are things that can just trip you up without meaning to. And these are not necessarily body language related, but they can be. So the first thing is, never be late again. I find that people go into low-confident body language when they are late, 'cause they are rushing, and it's the last thing they can think about. So if you can build in more time, especially if for the important meetings, forget, you know, for them, it's for you, to give yourself time to go to the bathroom, power pose a little, get a newspaper out, and not be out of breath, have adrenaline pumping 'cause of the traffic, those are just, it's a really easy block that you can remove to make sure that you don't trip yourself up. Second, throw away any uncomfortable clothes. I know this is like a big challenge, but it's spring. So let's do some spring cleaning. Go in your closet this weekend, try on all of your clothes, and whatever is uncomfortable, whatever doesn't make you feel good, get rid of it. Because what happens is, when you're in that uncomfortable clothes, A, it can be painful, like the woman who wore shoes that didn't really fit her, or things that are too tight or the jeans like you feel like you can't breathe, right? So it physically shows on your body and your face. But, B, it will make you feel less confident, and that will also show in your answers. So go through, and Goodwill will get a lot of donations hopefully this weekend as you go through things, and you only keep the stuff that makes you feel awesome. Anything uncomfortable, get rid of it 'cause it will show on your face. Lastly, have a story toolbox. So this is something that I talk about when I teach influence, when I teach charisma courses. One of the things that our brains love is hearing a story. We love the phrase, once upon a time. And one thing that I do when I'm nervous is, I go back to the stories that I enjoy telling. So sometimes if I'm at networking events or I'm at meetings, I have a toolbox, it's five to 10 stories that I love to tell. They're either funny, or they're empowering, or they're interesting, and I will weave them into conversation. So I'll give you a very quick example. One thing I love talking about is baby names. So when I network, I will go to a networking event, networking makes me very awkward and uncomfortable. As we talked about, I'm a recovering awkward person. So one of my safeguards is that I go and I meet someone. And if I meet someone with an interesting name, actually, Jeanmarie, come on up! You're perfect for this example because you have a beautiful name. Okay. So Jeanmarie and I have just been at a networking event, and just, you'll hear how I weave in my story toolbox to this event. So I'm Vanessa. Hi, Vanessa, Jeanmarie is my name. Jean, Jeanmarie! Where did that come from? It's beautiful! Well, it's actually a blending of my first and my middle name. Oh, my gosh, so you actually created it. Yes. Oh, that's so cool. So I love people's baby name stories. This, when I was growing up, there was a set of twins at my school, and they had the weirdest name. Have you ever, can you guess what a weird set of twins would be named? Oh, like Click and Mick? (laughing) So these parents named these twins Mahlee and Fahmalee, like male and female. Well, what? What? Right, with an accent! They even had accents on their name, it was crazy. All right, have you ever had like those really weird names? Um, yeah, oh yeah. There's some strange names. We get some strange chatroom names, actually. (laughing) Oh, we have some, yeah. When people create them. Yes. Okay, so what we just did, so I just, that was a story from my story toolbox of one of the weirdest set of names I've ever met, I've ever encountered, and names come up all the time when we're at networking events. I find that story, A, it's a little kind of weird, it's kind of funny, and it's a great followup question to start conversation. You can ask, you talk about weird names you ever heard. Where did your name come from? "Where did your name come from?" Where did your name come from? Thank you very much. You're welcome. And thank you, that was a great story. So yeah, go ahead. But isn't the weirdness of the name in your story assumes that her name is weird, which has some kind of, for me at least it has some kind of negative connotation. Maybe. Did you feel that Jeanmarie, that it was like weird? That I assumed that your name was weird? No, no, not at all. Or negative. No, I, the only thing I felt is that you did have the baby name story in mind, that was the only thing that you really wanted to tell that, so maybe switching that up. Typically it's slower, right? I typically introduce that a little bit slower. Now, obviously I wanted to show you how it worked. But usually I only bring that up as we're a little bit more comfortable, a little bit more naturally I'll bring that up in conversation. So I'll talk about, like, oh, wow, how did you think about that, or you know, do you have any family names? You know, things like that. So I find that people actually just think that story is interesting, and there's also a little bit of separation between them mentioning their name and that name. Yeah, Sarah. Too, I'm sure you very rigorously test these stories, right, and so they're sort of, the stories that make it into the story toolbox, I assume, are ones that have earned their way there. Yes, exactly. So I have stories that have totally crashed and burned, like (mimics airplane plummeting). Where I think they're hilarious, and everyone's like crickets, they're like "Hmmm," and they give me the Judge Judy or like the look down their nose, and they're like, right? So those stories don't make it in the story toolbox. So what I encourage you to do is think about a couple stories that you like to tell, interesting books you've read, interesting studies that you've seen, what happened the last weekend, things that happened at networking events that you remind you of stories. Make a little note in your phone of those stories. Especially if you're an introvert. So for me, as a recovering awkward person, extroverts don't always need this, but as a recovering awkward person, I need these. They make me feel like I have something to hold on to. So you can use these when you're talking to people as things that build your confidence, right? I love telling that story. I also learn about the person I'm talking with. I love hearing people's name stories. I think it's so interesting. I love hearing the funny names that they've heard in their life. I've heard the craziest stories from that story. So I have about five to 10 stories that I use in my story toolbox. And that's something that you can do that when you're like, "I'm in the conversation, I'm not quite sure what to do," that can keep you in that open body language 'cause you go into storytelling mode, and everyone loves a good story.

Class Description

How strong is your first impression? In this course, body language expert Vanessa Van Edwards explains how to use non-verbal communication to become the most memorable person in any room.

Vanessa will show you how to:

  • Read people by gauging their visual cues
  • Use body language to your advantage in meetings
  • How to tell if people are lying.
  • Voice modulation so you can impress clients in phone conversations
  • "Statement Analysis" to help you write powerful emails, website copy, and business cards 
This Power of Body Language course will positively affect every part of your professional life.  By the end of the course, you'll be able to identify exactly what impression your verbal and nonverbal language is giving, and how to increase it.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Baseline Coding System Chart

Lying Red Flags

Positive Trait List

The Nonverbal Elevator Pitch

Laws of Body Language Answer Key

The Nonverbal Sales Pitch

Trivia Answer Key

Citation List

Elevator PItch Clinic

Laws of Body Language Worksheet

Self Diagnosis Chart


Body Language - Trivia

The Microexpression Chart

30 Day Action Plan.pdf

Action Steps and Homework


Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


R. P. Getz

I loved this course! I've learned so much and Vanessa did a terrific job making it easy and fun. I loved learning that by paying more attention to body language, I'm becoming a better listener (and picking up on stuff I never caught before). ;) I recommend the class highly to anyone and everyone as all can benefit from being more aware of others and yourself!! My hard earned education $$ well spent here. :) Cheers to Vanessa Van Edwards and Creative Live!


This was an absolutely fantastic course, it would be a huge understatement to say this course was worth the money. Vanessa provided tremendously accessible, highly actionable training useful for both social and professional environments. I couldn't recommend this course highly enough, and am heading now to purchase her next one! Thanks so much Vanessa and Creative Live, this is the course I've been hoping to find for years.

susan kinnel

I just found myself applauding in my bedroom as this program was wrapped up, Vanessa is fabulous! This was money well spent, loved every moment of it! I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the information, and soon felt blown away by how many micro expressions I could spot during the clips she showed. I was so impressed with how easy it was to pick this info up due to Vanessa's enthusiastic delivery. YAY vanessa!