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The Power of Body Language

Lesson 22 of 27

Putting Your New Skills To The Test

Vanessa Van Edwards

The Power of Body Language

Vanessa Van Edwards

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Lesson Info

22. Putting Your New Skills To The Test

Lesson Info

Putting Your New Skills To The Test

Let's go into the example. Okay, now we've learned the science. We're gonna do a theoretical example before we watch a video. Alright, so here's an example of what could happen. Let's say that you have someone come into the office that's a client and you are talking to them about, actually, let's give a real life example. What's a time that you want to find lies in your business life? Is there a moment where you've, yeah, Jean Marie? The checks in the mail. Okay, so let's pretend that they came in for their weekly consult and you're like, you know what, I didn't get payment for last month. What's happening with that, okay? So during the regular session with your client this is their baseline. You see they're a foot jiggler. They like to jiggle their foot or they're a foot tapper. They're very expressive. They use their hands. They're very expressive with their face. They play with their earring. So as they're talking to you they dangle their earring. They play with it, right? That'...

s how they think. It's how they process. And they're a giggler. They giggle a little bit, ha ha, ha ha, right? A little bit after they answer. Then when you get into some of the nervous parts of your session, you're talking about some of the deep topics. And foot continues to jiggle, no changes there, but you see frozen arms, so the expressiveness disappears. They put their hands out of the desk and there is very very little movement there. They also do slight turtlings, so as opposed to having relaxed shoulders, they freeze and their shoulders just slightly creep up as they're talking to you. You see that tension in their shoulders, which we learned from yesterday, is part of the law of space. They're feeling less confident as they take up less space with that turtling. And they also show the fear microexpression while they're talking about it. They briefly flash that fear to you as they're talking. So that is how they look when they're nervous. So, now, we talked about frozen arms, or the microexpressions. That could be a lying red flag, but for this person, for this client, that would not be a lying red flag. Here are some red flags we see. So you ask them, you know, that check never came in the mail. Did you send it? And they say, oh my gosh, yeah, I sent it. I can't believe you didn't get it. And this time their feet stop jiggling. They've been crossing their legs and they've been jiggling, and all the sudden their feet freeze. You also see, um, gosh, I don't know where that check went. I can't believe you didn't get it. Right, so you start seeing lip pursing. You see the fear microexpression yet again. And you see eye blocks. Now we should know the fear microexpression does not count, right? Because we saw that during the nervous baseline. So you have to ignore that fear microexpression, 'cause you already saw it during the nervous baseline. But then you see a third one, eye blocks. So as she's talking to you and she says, "Gosh, I don't know where that check went. I mean, where could it have gone?" Right, that would be three in a row around that and you can think, uh oh, I think that check wasn't actually put in the mail. And you can say, you know what, to make it easier, why don't you just give me your credit card now, right? Or, I have a Paypal, and we can just do it right on my computer, right? What if the amount is in the thousands? Then I would say, "So, here's what's gonna happen. I'm sure it was a mistake but I need to get it tomorrow. If not I have to charge a five percent interest fee, which I'm sure you understand. I'd also love it if you would start sending your checks insured mail, and you can send me the confirmation number and I can make sure that I get them." Right? And so those are two ways that you can-- With the nodding too, right? So they agree-- Yeah, absolutely, or you can tilt your head. You're not trying to be confrontational. You just wanna make sure that you get paid, right? And this also can work on video as well. We would take away the feet, 'cause you don't usually see the feet, but you could just use the face and the upper body. So that's a theoretical example of how that works. Does that make sense for people? Okay, yeah. What would be, in this theoretical example what would be the way to check for their nervous baseline? Ah, so in this particular example, if you're working with a client, and you're sort of, so how was your week, what happened? That's normal baseline. And then what I would do, is, luckily in client work it's very easy, is you can say, so tell me about some of your biggest challenges this week. What's making you feel a little bit nervous? Is there any of the homework that I've been giving you or any of the work we've been doing that put you out of your comfort zone? That helps you anyway. This is all about information gathering. And that could put them into that nervous to see it. Yeah, good question. Okay, it's time for a real practice. So I'm going to show you that video that you saw earlier. And I want you to write down all of the lying cues that you see. And then we're gonna go through them and do them together. So open your baseline coding system. The first person should be McKenzie, as we've been doing in the chart. And we're gonna look for those red flags. Now, you will notice that you are gonna see this video completely differently than we did just two hours ago. You're gonna watch it with a completely different brain. Literally, you're using a different part of your brain to watch it. So I want us to catch all the lying red flags that we see in the video. I think, if I was smart, let's see if I was, I think I put the baseline first so it could be fresh, and then I put the lying red flag area. I hope I did that. If not, we can go back and we can review what the baseline was. What's your name? McKenzie Wools How old are you? I'm 20. Where are you from? Washington. Tell me about one of your personal passions. Personal passions? I'm in love with singing. It makes me feel good. (laughter) Tell me what you ate for breakfast. Ate for breakfast this morning? I don't even remember this morning. Fruit, I think. (laughter) We had, it was like back at the beginning of Creative Live, and we had this mesh of students and instructors coming in and I just didn't know who was what and so I was talking to someone who was a well known instructor for a while and I was thinking that they were a student so I was just asking them a question, and I'd be like, oh, so what are you here for? And then they're like, well I'm teaching the class. I'm like, oh, okay, knew that. I'm definitely on my A game. When I was on a first date with someone and we went out and we were having Thai food and I don't know why, you always pick the worst food for first dates. And I totally was sitting there and eating and eating and talking, and then we'd been sitting there for like, I don't know. It was probably an hour or two after the meal was done and when I went into the restroom before we left I had just, like, sauce all on my chin and they didn't say anything and it was just really embarrassing, 'cause I knew it was sitting there for a while, because I hadn't been eating for about an hour and that was super, definitely a good first impression. Alright, you saw a ton right in a row. So what were they? What are the ones that we saw right away? Touching the upper part of the nose. Yes, so we saw eye blocking and a nose touch. So she did both. She was also closing her eyes. Oh, okay, so that's a form of distancing behavior. It's a form of blocking out. So longer blink rates. So we had a change in blink rate. So she was like, ehhh. And she's closing the eyes to remember what's next. Right, exactly, so eye block we had. We had nose touch. We had longer blink rate. At the end of the whole story, she did that... Lip purse Yeah, that was different from the first kind. Yeah, what else? Well, she itched her knee. Thank you. A self soothing behavior. That is called a leg cleanse. So when people itch or rub their leg it's like a way of calming themselves down and usually it's to get the sweat off the palm of their hands. It was a symptom of that automatic nervous system change. So, very good, so a self sooth leg cleanse. By the way, it's amazing because this clip is like 20 seconds long. And I'm gonna have more cues in the box. Okay, yeah, go ahead. At the end she trails off. Aha She's making something up. Incomplete sentences, right? You heard (speech slurring), right, totally incomplete sentence at the end. What else? She's also repeating the same thing. Yes, repetition. She changes the tense at one point I think. She did. She changed tenses. And she becomes really expressive, overly expressive. Like she mimed it, like she was trying to imagine it happening. I missed one. Incomplete sentence, tense change, I missed one. Someone else had something. I missed one. Expressive Ah, there was something else verbal. Was it a pause? Oh man, I missed it. Repetitiveness She what? She repeats the same-- Repeats, thank you thank you thank you. Okay now, I'm going to call you out on the expressiveness. Did I spell that right? Repeats... Can I add one more? Yeah There was a lot of uncontrolled giggling throughout. Okay, but why is that, so, I'm glad you brought that up. So repeats, expressiveness, and giggling. But we are going to examine those, express. I can't even spell today. Expressiveness, and giggling. There was one more. Sure She goes into a lot of detail, like unnecessary details about sauce on her chin. It was so much longer than the real one, right. Sauce right here. Also, who would have this much sauce? Anyway, yes, okay. (Participant laughter) Right, unnecessary and nonsensical details. So that didn't work. What else? She's also imitating with her hands. She is showing what's happening. Okay, so I'm gonna put that with expressiveness. But it's not like her normal expressiveness when we were saying that when she's, her emotional baseline, when she's nervous she's becoming more expressive, right? She was demoing what happened. But she's like showing the story. The problem is, do you remember how in her first clip, she was like, "Oh I can't believe he said that, like..." She actually did mime the first time. So we are going to discredit that one because that was during her regular one, During her real story she was imitating how she talked to the instructor and she was like oh, you're an instructor? So, I'm gonna discredit that one. We have way enough to show us this is a lying story. But that's why this is a nervous cue. This is part of her nervous baseline. What else can we discredit that we just said? Giggling, right? Absolutely. Because she was giggling a lot during her nervous. So those don't count for her. Did I miss something that you said? No, I was just looking. No, okay. So I have eye block, nose touch, longer blink rate, lip purse, self soothe, incomplete sentence, tense change, repeats, details, like unnecessary details. I had one more, I think one more. Oh, I have two more. Do we see them? They were hard. Well, this one wasn't such a hard one and maybe we covered it here and I missed it somehow but this is what's confusing me. We saw the palms of her hands a lot. Yes We hadn't seen the palms of her hands before but that's supposed to be... I would discredit that one. I always err on the side of caution, right? Because she was expressive. We didn't quite see, we saw a lot of this in the previous one but we still saw the expressiveness. So just to be safe, I would discredit it. Luckily we have enough from everything else. There was lack of leaning. So more frozen. I actually didn't catch that one, but that's true. Do we agree with that? Yeah Yeah, I agree with that too. Okay, so the other two that I caught were she had a much longer set of pauses in the middle there. Did you hear that kind of like "and then...we..." Right, so longer pauses. And there was one really hard one. I was gonna be amazed if anyone got it, is at the very end she did a one sided shoulder shrug. Did anyone catch it? Okay, well I'll slow it down for you in a second. So she did a shoulder shrug. This is not scripted, guys. This was not a scripted video. I did not tell her to do any of these things. When I was saying earlier that if you see one it doesn't mean anything, because when there's a lie, I mean, there's so many things that you see. All of these fell in the lying red flags, all of them. So, now what we're gonna do is we're gonna watch the video and I'm gonna slow it down for us so we can see each and every one. By the way, I couldn't pull out all of them because there was too many so I just did some of the obvious ones that we could see. But there were so many more. It would have taken us forever to piece apart the video. So I just slowed it down so we could see a couple of them. When I was on a first date with someone and we went out and we were having Thai food. And I don't know why you always pick the worst food for first dates and I totally was sitting there and eating and eating and, like, talking, and then we'd been sitting there for like, I don't know. (tape rewind sound) We'd been sitting there. I forgot to mention that, disgust. I forgot, there's that disgust. No, she wasn't sitting there. It was probably an hour or two after the meal was done. And when I went into the restroom before we left I had just like sauce all on my chin and they didn't say anything and it was just really embarrassing because I knew it was sitting there for a while because I hadn't been eating for about an hour. (tape rewind sound) Watch it. There it goes. You see that little one-sided shoulder shrug? And that was super, definitely a good first impression. Super, what, it doesn't even make sense, right? That's an incomplete sentence. Okay, so I even forgot that she did the no. She said "we were sitting there." She did that disgust, and no, shook her head, no we weren't really sitting there. That disgust and no. So I even forgot that one. So, totally different way to see this one video. This is just one really easy example. You cannot turn this off when we start to do it, right? It is very very hard to not see it. Okay, so let's, for my visual learners, I have a couple of ways I've visually broken this down for you. So I wanna show you how it kind of works visually. Hopefully you stay in baselining. My goal for you is you have the kind of interactions where you never get to spot red flags because there are none. Your conversations are so honest and so open and you're reading all their emotional cues, that you never go past the barrier. But if you do you're looking for three red flags in a row and three red flags or more is a cluster. That's when you go into the next behavior, which is getting a second meeting, circling back, or doing a background check of some kind. Another option for you is if you get in there you can start hypothesizing the reasons for the behavior, asking questions that might explain why they were acting that way. Testing that hypothesis. Talking to them about it, following it up, doing more research, and then revising your opinions accordingly. That's another visual way to do it, but, again, I hope you never cross over that barrier. Alright, let's try it again. Let's do another in person interaction. Okay, so while we watch the video, what I want you to do is, this is very quick. So I gave you a baseline of her name and I think where she's from and then I made her play two truths and a lie. And I want you to guess which is the truths, which are the truths, and which is the lie by watching. Hi, my name is Lauren and I'm from Florida and I moved to Portland last July. My fiance got a job up in Camas, Washington, so we moved here to be closer to his work. My favorite food is pizza. I have never been skiing and my favorite color is blue. Third one So this is a tough one because is it the second or third? She did a lip purse. It's the third one, 'cause of that one-sided shoulder shrug. We also heard a difference in her tone. Right, the authority completely changed. Alright, so let's break that one down and let's do it together. So what did her body look like during the baseline? Do you remember? And this is hard. I'm not going to let you watch these as many times as we did in the first one. So what would her body look like? Closed Very closed, very stiff. She had her arms tightly pinned to her side so she was stiff and less expressiveness, right? What else? Any other ideas? What was she doing with her hands? Clenched Yes, she was clenching them. Absolutely, she had them tightly together and she was kind of nervously tapping. So we had a fidget and we had hand wringing. So, fidget, and we had hand wringing. Alright, face. What did her face look like? Eyebrows keep going up. Yeah, we had very expressive eyebrows and we had smiling. So we have high expressiveness in the face, actually, even though low in the body. And we had smiling and had eyebrows. Anything else? That's all I noticed, but anything else anyone caught? I thought her eyes were fairly focused. Okay, focused, yeah. They weren't darting around. There was no, she did not access memories in any weird way. Very good. So focused eyes. How did she sound? How did she sound, what were the different questions that she, the different things that she used? Inflection up Yeah, so inflection up. She uses the question inflection. So for her, that would not be a red flag, absolutely. She used it a couple of times. What else? Hard, right? She did a tongue click. (tongue click) Yeah, I heard that too. It was some kinda, yeah. So that's a little speech tic. So I'm gonna call it the click, okay? And by the way, there's a reason that I'm only letting you watch these once, because your brain is gonna get there. You will be able to do it after one time. You already have done it. We're already filling out this chart. We only watched it once. Anything else that we heard? For me, I felt that there was a volume change once we get into the red flag area, that her volume changed very very slightly. But that could be just me so we could hear it again. We didn't actually get an emotional baseline. We were still able to do it, right? We were still able to do it. Luckily, two truths and one lie is not a tense topic so you don't need to emotionally baseline someone because they're not necessarily, they're not lying about something that matters a lot to them. So we don't have to do that for this game. Alright, so let's watch it one more time. And I'm gonna slow it down and show you, oh, sorry, the red flags. We saw it. So what red flags did we see? The intonation completely changed with the last one. Yeah, so the tone changed. I'm gonna erase these, okay? So the tone changed. What else? I heard someone say it earlier. The lip purse? And of course the shoulder. And the shoulder shrug, right? We saw three in a row right there. So shoulder shrug. Alright, and that's all we need to be like that's our guess, especially in this low pressure situation. Alright, so let's watch it one more time. I'm gonna slow it down so we can see it. Hi, my name is Lauren and I'm from Florida and I moved to Portland last July. My fiance got a job up in Camas, Washington so we moved here to be closer to his work. My favorite food is pizza, I have never been skiing, and my favorite color is blue. My favorite food is pizza, I have never been skiing. Alright, there's that lip purse, real easy to spot. And then she goes into that shoulder shrug, as well as that, my favorite color is blue. Alright, blue, which was totally different than the way she sort of lilted up on other segments. She's going into a half smirk there as well. Yeah, a little bit of contempt there, at herself for having to tell the lie, we don't know. And as she was going into the lie as well she took a long blink, whereas before she'd. Extra long blink, that's right. So longer blink. Okay, how does that feel for people? Does that feel good? She's also looking this way instead of straight. So her gaze direction changed. Did that happen? I didn't even notice that. Did she stop going straight? Even in this photo. And she what? Even in this photo she's looking over. Oh yeah, so when she told the lie she specific, she shifted out. I didn't even notice that. Okay, so shifty gaze. So let's talk about some of the lie detection challenges. What are our biggest challenges? How do we know the science? How do we get really good at it? So, some of the challenges, the first one that we have is lensing. So lensing is what happens when our brain gets lazy and it convinces us that what we're seeing is not actually what we're seeing. An amazing experiment on this. First of all, has everyone seen that video where people are playing basketball and a gorilla walks through and you don't notice the gorilla? So there's a video where everyone's playing basketball and a gorilla walks through and they ask you to count the number of times the ball is being passed. And when people are asked to count the number of times the ball is being passed, we miss seeing the gorilla. And the reason for that is 'cause our brain is focused on something totally different. So that is an aspect of lensing that our brain forgets to take in the whole picture and just focuses on one thing. So when we're just focusing on someone's words we forget to see all the nonverbal messages that are being sent to us. Can I tell you something funny Yes just about me? We did a show at Christmas and somebody from our crew came onstage dressed as a horse but because I was so focused on what I had to do and deliver it with the camera, I never knew there was a horse standing behind me. A month later everyone's saying, "what about that horse?" I'm going, "what horse?" I never saw it. Everyone else on stage is killing themselves laughing. There's a horse standing behind me. I never, 'cause I was so focused on what I had to do. Perfect example of lensing, right? We get really focused on the one thing. And so my goal for this course is to get you to see all of the input that's coming to you. I want you to see the whole picture, not just the words, but their body, their voice tone, listening with every part of your being. The other interesting lensing study was by Daniel Levin and Daniel Simons and I have a video of this experiment on my website. It is called the door experiment. They did it at Cornell University. And what they did was, and let me just set the stage here. So they were on a college campus. They were on Cornell. And they had one actor, who was dressed like a student, pretend to ask for directions from another student. And they put him in a construction outfit. They put him in like a hard hat and a orange vest. And he walked up to students and he said, "do you know how to get to the white building?" And as the student was explaining it, oh, you take a left, it was kind of hard directions, two other actors carrying a giant door walked between them so they momentarily lost focus of each other and he switched places with another actor. The construction person switched to another person dressed in a construction outfit. Only 7 out of 15 people noticed they were talking to a completely different person. (laughter) They continued the conversation on like it was no big deal. They kept with the directions and it was a completely different person. And they kept trying this and making it weirder and weirder. First they changed the race of the man, okay? (laughter) People still didn't notice. Then they changed the sex. People, they just don't even realize. They get stuck on one thing. And so why I share this story, and it's funny to watch the videos, is that I want you to start paying attention to who we're speaking to. We forget. Our brains kind of go to sleep. I want you to actually notice who you're talking to because that teaches us to be better human beings. Two, negative expectations. So research has found very conclusively that people who have a positive outlook on people and their honesty, the levels of their honesty, the higher that we believe people are in their honesty, the better at lie detection we are. The more faith we have in people, the better we are at spying those lies 'cause we assume the best. So, teaching you these tools, I want that to give you more confidence to assume that people are telling you the truth because that will help you keep an open mind to be able to spot the lies when you genuinely see them. You don't get false positives. The problem is when people think that there's high levels of lying with the person they're speaking with, is they spot falsely lying cues. They think that they see what they don't actually see. Three, the last problem for lie detectors is not enough practice. Luckily, I built my entire website around giving you as much free practice as I possibly can. Here's a couple of other options for you. So, first, to tell the truth. I mentioned, oh, I didn't mention this one earlier. This is a really fun show they have on Youtube. It's a show where people come on and they pretend, they have three actors, and they pretend to be different people and then a panel of judges tries to guess who's the real person. So someone comes on and says I'm a Hawaiian fire thrower. I'm a Hawaiian fire thrower. I'm a Hawaiian fire thrower. The panel of judges asks them questions trying to guess who's the real Hawaiian fire thrower. It's a great way to practice, 'cause you're able to test yourself to see if you can spot the liar quickly. They're all on Youtube and they're hilarious. Pick the Perp. So this is a free website. I can't believe this website exists, actually. It's a website, I have all these links, by the way, in the free resources in your bonus materials, in the handout. They're all here in that free resources section. Pick the Perp is a website where they have mugshots of people, real mugshots of people, and the crime they were accused of committing and you have to pick which perp committed that crime. It's a great way to try to see if you can tell aggression, anger, sadness, fear, right on someone's face. We talked about the power of facial expressions. That's a way to test your facial abilities. Truth Tellers, this is one I mentioned earlier. The Washington Post has a website where you can watch a video of a politician speaking and it will fact check as he speaks. So you can literally see, statistically speaking, if he's lying about any numbers, or opinions, or people. And then that's how you can line up any lying tells. It's a shortcut to being able to find out someone's baseline. Science of People, we post videos all the time, submitted by you guys actually, Anthony Weiner, Amanda Knox, Lance Armstrong, we love critiquing them. Bachelor, Bachelorette, Survivor, reality shows. Now sometimes reality shows are scripted. A lot of the Kardashian shows are completely scripted, so you're not seeing real emotion. But in some of the contestant shows, not always, you get some real interactions where you're able to test and see who you think is going to be voted off. Being voted off is a very easy way to test and see if you can spot who will be voted off in the beginning of the episode based on the interviews. So it's kind of a fun way. When I watch The Bachelor, I tell my husband I'm working. I'm like, I'm working with this glass of wine. I'm doing research on human lie detection. Okay, so before we go into the next segment, I wanna know if there are any questions. We do have some from the chat room definitely, but if our students have any. Think about it, definitely. A lot of the questions now that we have that are coming up in the chat room now are things we've covered in previous segments, so apologies if you don't get to all of them because we do need to keep moving in the right direction. But for example, Lindy's just saying, how can you tell the difference between an eye block because of embarrassment and one from lying? Are they separate things or is that because they were just clustered together? Sure, so we talked about yesterday the body language of shame and that when we're ashamed we typically touch the fingers to the top of our forehead in a form of eye blocking. So they're very very closely related, shame and the secondary emotion behind eye blocking that you don't wanna see what's happening. So I would take shame as a lying cue if it matches with other things. But you always wanna verify that. So you can ask further, go a little bit deeper, but it is a form of eye blocking, shame. And Diane Michelle wanted to know what is the difference for when someone feels like they're lying by association with someone who's guilty? What would be an example of that? I'm actually trying to work it out in my head as well, but let's say that I know that JKO is lying, and I know about it, so if you're asking me, I'm not really lying, but I feel guilty. Oh, okay, yeah, so you will feel the same guilt as the liar, not in the same extreme, and you won't feel the genuine emotions they felt when whatever happened happened. But you do still leak guilt as well. So if someone is lying and you're standing next to them and they start talking about it or someone asks them about it, you actually could do a one-sided shoulder shrug. Your baseline will probably change. So the same guilty cues happens if you know about the lie because you have that same amount of guilt. You just might not show the same facial expressions 'cause you don't have the same genuine emotion.

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!