Vanessa Van Edwards, Founder at Science of People | Master Your People Skills, Increase Your Success

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Vanessa is Lead Investigator at Science of People. She is the bestselling author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People. Her book has been translated into 15 different languages and more than 30 million people watch her on YouTube.

Vanessa shares tangible skills to improve interpersonal communication and leadership, including her insights on how people work. She’s developed a science-based framework for understanding different personalities to improve our EQ and help us communicate with colleagues, clients and customers.

Vanessa works with entrepreneurs, growing businesses, and trillion dollar companies; and has been featured on CNN, BBC, CBS, Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur Magazine, USA Today, the Today Show and many more.

Millions visit her website every month for her methods turning “soft skills” into actionable, masterable frameworks that can be applied in daily life. Hundreds of thousands of students have taken her communication courses on Udemy, CreativeLive, LinkedIn and her flagship course People School.

Vanessa is renowned for teaching science-backed people skills to audiences around the world including SxSW, MIT, and CES to name a few. Her groundbreaking and engaging workshops and courses teach individuals how to succeed in business and life by understanding the hidden dynamics of people.

She regularly speaks to innovative companies including Google, Facebook, Comcast, Miller-Coors, Microsoft, Amazon and Penguin Random-House. She has been a spokesperson for Dove, American Express, Clean and Clear and Symantec.

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Stories worth telling.

On the Success Story podcast, Scott has candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas and insights.

He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their story to help pass those lessons onto others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.








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Scott, Scott D Clary, Vanessa Van Edwards


Scott D Clary  00:06

Welcome to the success story podcast. I’m your host, Scott Clary. On this podcast I have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, politicians and other notable figures, all who have achieved success through both wins and losses. To learn more about their life, their ideas and their insights, I sit down with leaders and mentors and unpack their story to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between. Without further ado, another episode of the success story podcast. Thanks again for joining me today I am sitting down with Vanessa Van Edwards, who is a behavioral investigator with science of people and author of captivate the science of succeeding with people. She’s also a body language trainer specializing in science based people skills to run science people, a Human Behavior Research Lab in Portland, Oregon, where she studies Prisma influence and the power of body language. She has been featured in Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, she’s written for CNN times, Forbes, Fast Company, she teaches online courses, she has conducted a set of experiments on TED Talks presented research at South by Southwest, her lab conducted research on the TV show Shark Tank. She’s also the author of books, human lie detection and body language 101, as well as do I get my allowance before or after I’m grounded. So she’s done a ton of stuff. Very interesting work. Thank you so much for educating us joining us. And tell me a little bit about your story.


Vanessa Van Edwards  01:41

Yeah, absolutely. Oh, my goodness, you went deep dive in that bio to I was like, did I do that? I don’t even remember that. That was wonderful. I’m so honored and happy to be here.


Scott D Clary 01:50

Oh, my pleasure. It’s an incredible career. The work you do is very impressive. How did you get into this? What’s your start from wherever you want to start high school before high school? Wherever? Sure. Well,


Vanessa Van Edwards  02:02

I feel like I should start with a confession. And it’s definitely the the most important part of my story, which is I’m a recovering awkward person. So I have always been that that kind of just write off be, you know, I always felt like I was missing a memo. That was always the way it is, I think it’s still that way to some extent in film recovery. And that was the kernel of my career. So I actually love to study charismatic people, and also not very charismatic people. And so I’m obsessed with what makes us charismatic. What makes leaders a leader? Are we born that way? Can we learn it? And the good news is, I think that we can learn it. And that is my life’s mission is teaching people how to more authentically and naturally they’re be charismatic. And I don’t believe you have to fake it till you make it to get there.


Scott D Clary 02:49

And when did you realize that this was something that you wanted to go into as a profession? Because a lot of people don’t feel comfortable? Growing up? That’s their normal, but not not everyone pursues it?


Vanessa Van Edwards  03:02

Yeah, so what I, I always was a personal niche, right. So like in high school, in college, I had this horrible thing where I would break out in hives when I got very nervous, which doesn’t when you marry many friends in high school in college, and so I was studying people skills to make myself more confident. And I began to create these frameworks or blueprints, I’m not very naturally good at conversation. I’m not naturally good at reading body language. And so the only way that I know how to read people and read conversation, is to literally create frameworks and blueprints. And so I would create these little post it notes, I would write down little formulas, like, for example, I would observe at a party, that when someone raised their eyebrows, they were usually even more intrigued, and we’re about to go deeper. And that was a little framework that I learned that that was a really, that was like an almost like a nonverbal door opening. And so it was okay, eyebrow raised the nonverbal door opening. And so I would look forward in conversation if I stumbled upon an eyebrow raise. Let’s say that I was saying, oh, you know, this weekend on my deserted, dependent with my daughter, how about my husband? I started a little kitchen garden. Oh, kitchen garden. Okay, that was something that was something. And so I knew that. Okay, that was my door opening. And like, yes, a kitchen garden. I’m trying to teach myself how to grow my own herbs. Have you ever garden? And I’d be like, yes, in fact, I’m taking. And so I came up with these little formulas that I was using. And then I started to document them on my website, because at that time, I was doing a lot of writing. And more and more people were like, Hey, can I have that framework? Hey, can I have that blueprint? How does that conversational hack work that you posted last week? You have a video in action. So then I started doing YouTube videos and little did I know that most of us do not understand relationship operating system. And if you’re very engineering minded, or if you’re very I like black and white, I like formulas If you think that way you want that for people. And actually, I think that you can have relationship operating systems for people. And so that was when I realized that maybe I could create this, I can make this into a career, and who knew it would be as successful as it is?


Scott D Clary  05:18

And when did because you’ve mentioned you were writing a lot, and you started to codify some of these systems and these things that you observed in your in your life and then turned into your career. Is that the inception of science of people? Or is this just like a casual blog that you just started, and it eventually morphed into science of people? So when did this like this science people actually happen?


Vanessa Van Edwards  05:39

Yeah, so that was actually I started signing two people with the intention of trying to make this into a business. And so we I officially started 10 People in 2011. But I’ve been writing and casually blogging since 2006 2007. So it took about five or six years of dabbling in a couple of journalism things. I was doing a lot of us coaching at the time. So I was actually teaching some of my principles to teenagers and teenagers on the spectrum. Because I realized that this framework, the way that we read faces, the way that I teach via language is actually extremely helpful. And so that was actually the kernel where I realized how helpful how game changing some of these frameworks could be.


Scott D Clary    06:25

And was this and just helped me understand it’s just like something that you had to go to school to, to practice? Is this, is this a degree program? Or is this something that’s just evolved over time, and you’re just really good at it?


Vanessa Van Edwards  06:38

There is no degree for body language, sadly, because if there was, man, I would have loved to have taken it. The closest thing to what I do is maybe a combination of psychology and sociology. Well, I took both of those in college, I went to Emory University, I never actually majored in them. And so everything I learned since then, is this weird combination of neuroscience, Behavioral Economics, Psychology, Sociology, and sort of a mix of the two and a little bit of body language as well. So there is no degree program yet. Hopefully, there will be one that is this weird intersection of all of those disciplines.


Scott D Clary  07:14

And I guess that’s So that begs the question, How did you how did you start? How did you start science people? How did you think like, this is a viable business idea? How did you commercialize your brand? To the point where now you’re, I guess you’re writing books? You other products, I guess it’d be horses. You have like your whole social going on? You have people school? Yeah. So how did that start as the you know, entrepreneur, go, Yeah, go.


Vanessa Van Edwards  07:41

So funny. Funny, funny story is that I, my parents are both lawyers. And so when I was in college, my mom I was I think it was home for the summer home for a break. And she said, I’d signed you up for a financial class, like, Great, I’m so excited to do that on my break. She said, I am a lawyer, and I’m paid by my hours. And I don’t want you to have to do that. I am constantly counting my hours. It was really hard for her as his working mom. She’s like, I want to show you another way. She said when I was going to college, I didn’t know another way. I thought you could be a doctor or a lawyer or accountant. Everything was hourly. And to a certain extent that there are other ways now. She dropped me off at the I think it was the LA Convention Center. I grew up in Los Angeles, and was a Millionaire Mind seminar by T Harv. Eker. You ever heard of him? Yeah, yeah. So so the Millionaire Mind seminar, it was a weekend seminar. And this seminar completely blew my mind because he introduced me to the concept of passive income. So at the time, I believe I was 18 or 19. So it’s very young. And he explained that there is other way of earning income. It’s not just based on your hours, that books and products and courses and or very powerful active income, which is like speaking or training or teaching. And so from that age, I knew that I wanted to create a career with passive income streams. And so in from 2006 to 2011, I was trying all those ways, hadn’t found that work. So I was doing a lot of active income youth coaching, I had a youth workbook that I was on to the passive income stream, had my first book, which was published by Penguin at the time, and that’s the one that you mentioned, do I get my mouse for it after I’m grounded for a long title? Don’t recommend that, by the way, if you’re writing books, shorter titles are better. And so I had these very small little revenue streams, I could see how it was working. But they were very slowly paying the bills. Still, most of my income, at that time was coaching and consulting, which was very active. Once I figured out you know, what, there’s something broader here more than just the nature of working with us and parents. I think these frameworks could be used by engineers at companies. I think that C suite would love these. I think that coders and graphic designers would love to have people skills in their back pocket. And at the time, I believe it was 2011 2012 I just started the website Udemy which was in New online learning platform was just starting. And at that time, it was all for engineers. There’s almost all like technical classes, a couple of accounting things on there. And so I thought, That’s my ideal person, right, someone who’s super engineering minded. And so I said, I’m gonna upload a body language course to Udemy as a passive income stream, and just see what happens. So I filmed in my living room, I had no professional lights, I literally had all the lamps in my house, I had a $20 microphone that I had bought from Amazon that I like, weave through my shirt, and like pinned on my little blouse. And for three hours, I just taught the body language frameworks that I had been using. I was like, okay, my goal was 30 sales. Like if I can get 30 sale those $49 course, it will just be major game changer. 30 sales. So I go to sleep and it takes at the time, it took about 24 to 48 hours for them to approve your course. So I go to sleep. I wake up the next morning, and my inbox was filled with 1000s of failed 1000s


Scott  11:03

It’s the first the first time you up you uploaded the course.


Vanessa Van Edwards  11:07

Yeah.Yeah. Wow. Very first time. Wow. I think now, I want to say I’m at like 376,000 students in my course. In my living room, it’s still the same course. It’s me in my living room with no lights with a mic that probably didn’t even work. And by the way, the entire thing was filmed on my phone. The entire course is filmed on my phone. That was the first time I went, Oh, maybe there’s something here and so


Scott D Clary 11:39

I what I’m doing for a living now I’m I don’t wheels it.


Vanessa Van Edwards  11:46

Yeah, it was it was it was like madness. And so in a wild, it was like the Wild West. In six months, I completely changed everything that I was doing. I filmed for more courses. And this time and every course got a little bit better. By the last course actually was with a little small crew. From them, I put them on the on the platform, they weren’t selling like crazy. Very quickly request started coming in for me to speak it companies. And the reason why it worked, I think is because this was a platform where my people already were, there was already engineers and coders and accountants on their learning online. This was the only soft skill course I think there might have been one or two others. And so people were like, ah, something new. And what I heard was my students kept telling me, You’re my lunchtime course, they would watch these other very serious courses during the day, but I was there break their lunch, their dinner break, and they would buy every single course that I put out. And so that’s when I realized, okay, like I can be the the soft skill balance to the hard skills, and I can teach soft skills like hard skills, and that was in 2011 2000. I think 2012 was when I finally cracked the Udemy game. Yeah.


Scott D Clary  13:01

Very impressive. Congratulations. Seriously, that’s incredible success, like and like, you know, you got the content timing platform. And it just took off. That’s really really impressive. I had no idea seriously that this was this is how you sort of built your own brand, your entire company.


Scott D Clary 13:18

The reason I was asking you about education was sort of alluding to why was also so I’m just blown away by the fact that you put this on Udemy and took off. And my point is or my question is, is there anything else like this out there that teaches people for 50 bucks, I’m assuming it’s great content is 300,000. Plus people have I haven’t taken the course that I can go check it after we finished this call. But


Vanessa Van Edwards  13:42

don’t take it. It’s so old. If you want to take a course take my newer one. It’s done so little and so old. Oh God,


Scott D Clary 13:48

but the point is during 1000 People can’t be wrong. Let’s let’s be honest. Like that’s that’s social proof that the course is pretty damn good. So, so is no one else teaching this stuff? Or you know, are they’re just the people that charge the Tony Robbins $5,000 for $10,000 at the competition.


Vanessa Van Edwards  14:07

Right. Okay, so I think it was critical. It was definitely good timing, right. So it’s very good timing that this was before the wild west of online courses, right? Like 2012. People were like, online, what, like people kind of knew what it was it was very new. And so the timing was really good. The other thing was, there are a few other at the time, there were a few other people teaching soft skills or by language, but they were doing it in a very traditional way. It was very traditional. So they would be hired by a company, they would come and they would do a two day sales workshop. And that was it. You couldn’t access them. Otherwise, you couldn’t even hire them as a coach. Maybe you could hire them as a dating coach, but no one had thought. In fact, I had other people tell me, you can’t teach body language online. You can’t teach body language in a video. And so that was actually hard it was that it was hard to move the content into videos format. But I think that being willing to try readers and students were like, Yes, I don’t want to attend. People also don’t want to attend a two day workshop, where they have to roleplay with their colleagues, my person. So I think it’s also really important to know your person, my ideal student, is a super high achiever above average intelligence, usually very technically minded, recovering awkward person, they do not want to do a role playing workshop, they do not want to have to go to an HR webinar on, here’s how you smile at someone they want to learn on their own time. So that means this is one of the reasons why I almost exclusively teach on video is if they want to speed me up to point five speed because that’s how fast they learn. Cool, I’m not offended, great, do it. If they’re like, No, I want to actually pause the video and absorb it, we have a lot of our students who say, I learned in chunks, I have to, I can only do 1520 minutes at a time, cool. You can consume my content however you want. And so I think it’s also critically important to know that my ideal student didn’t like the way that a lot of my competitors are teaching.



Scott D Clary  16:13

And I want to I want to sort of unpack what you teach a little bit more. Sure. Before before we go into that, because there’s, there’s there’s entrepreneurial lessons. And then there’s very tactical lessons that you teach over that I kind of want to tease out and run through some of those and understand some of those. But before I migrate off, like your career path, is there anything else like notable in your career path that you think would be good to chat about? Or was this is this kind of the summary of where you’ve been?


Vanessa Van Edwards  16:40

Yeah, I think that was. So that was the first part. And the second part was, I tried to go to where my students are. So I try very hard to go to other platforms or other podcasts where my students are. So from you, to me, I went to Creative Live to my next group that I wanted to meet with a different audience, which is a highly creative audience, artists, photographers, who are super creative, but hate selling. So that was my next group. So I hit my engineers, and my my amazing computer geeks in Udemy. And then I wanted to hit my creative. And so Creative Live was where they were all watching online content. And so I called Pitch creative life. I was not invited to speak there, I had to bang on their door, and I cold pitch them and the most creative way I could think of I sent them an email to their support inbox that said, I want to make you money. And then I outlined all the ways that I thought my course could make them money. And it got forwarded internally, I didn’t know this until later got forwarded internally and bounced from departments, departments department, until finally is the right content producer who was willing to take a risk on me. And they brought me in to San Francisco. So this was a very different way of filming, they bring you into San Francisco, you film your course. And we took a risk it was we did my first course was a three day course. And it was one of their top selling courses across our entire platform. And so I’ve done four more courses for them. That is a different audience than my Udemy. audience. And so I think that one of the major things is that I’ve tried to over the last, you know, 15 years is go to my people know who my people are one who are my people, and then tried to meet them where they’re at.


Scott D Clary  18:19

It’s all very smart, entrepreneurial lessons, to be quite honest. And it’s just incredible that I’m not sure if it’s it comes naturally to you, or it’s through trial and error. I’m sure, like any entrepreneur, there’s a lot of trial and error, and a lot of times where it hasn’t gone so well. You know, everything you’re saying is right on point with how you you know that product market fit, finding your ideal customer profile, bringing that product to that customer meeting them where they’re at. That’s all like, this is like sales 101. And totally and yeah, and it works. And you nailed it. And and I guess so just to tee up in your career. So you know, you’ve done Udemy courses, you’ve done Creative Live courses. You have three books now, is that correct?


Vanessa Van Edwards  19:01

Yes. So two self published books, one failure and one success. Okay. And I’m very honest with those kinds of things. I think we don’t talk enough about our failures. So one failed, self published book, one great self published book. And then two traditionally published books, one failed, traditionally published book, one successful traditionally published book, and now I’m working on my third traditionally published book. So yes, it was up to me to Creative Live. And then I finally created my own platform. So at that point, my audience was big enough. And I had been working very, very hard to get people over to my platform. So even though I posted a course on Udemy, I had lots of incentives for people to come over to science people and sign up with me. So by that point, I had a couple 1000 people who were just with me, and I thought, okay, now I want to create some my own courses, because then you don’t have to give up a share. You’re in complete control of the content. And that’s why I began working on my first self published book, I thought it was my second self published book And then that got me a traditionally published book deal.


Scott D Clary 20:05

Very impressive.congratulations. That’s, that’s a very fun, interesting career path. I’ve never really spoken to sign who’s



sorry. It’s been a ride.


Vanessa Van Edwards  20:14

It’s been crazy. And like, I never would have been able to predict this as a path. And by the way, all throughout that I’ve been doing corporate speaking. So I’ve been doing corporate speaking since the very beginning of my first corporate event was in 2008. So that just has been my fee just grows. Every year, I had a great mentor once tell me, I said, Am I charging the right amount, you know, speaking events, you’re kind of making it up, right? And he says, You’re charging the right amount if you get no 50% of the time. Like, in other words, that’s too expensive. And so every time I get more than 50%, less than a few percent knows I raise my rates. SMART.


Scott D Clary 20:49

SMART, very smart. So let’s so do you want to speak about lessons from Captivate? Or do you want to speak about lessons to your new book? It’s whatever is more relevant. What are you talking about?


Vanessa Van Edwards  21:02

Yeah, let’s talk about Captivate. So I, here’s the one study that really kind of, I was like, oh, there is a book here. So I don’t know about you, Scott. Were you popular in high school?


Scott D Clary  21:14

I was like, mid middle middle of the pack. I wasn’t like the most popular but I still played some sports that has some clout in high school. So it was good, but I wasn’t like the the one where I didn’t have all the parties, right? Like the person at the parties and the person who was like, the best on like five different teams and got the varsity like sports. I wasn’t that I was I was.


Vanessa Van Edwards  21:33

Okay, okay, cool. You’re right, your average. Okay, got it. middle middle Lorraine, so I was not popular. And I was painfully not popular. And so this study intrigued me more than any study I read in the past couple years, so much. So that made me want to read a book about it. So this is a study done by band Sloan. And what he wanted to know is why are popular kids popular? So he went to a couple of high schools, and he has a couple 1000 kids. And he gave them all very, very long questionnaires, trying to figure out what variables are the popular kids not public goods? First, he had to figure out who is popular kids. Who are the kids that people say that they knew the most, or they liked the most. The second thing they tried to figure out is okay, okay, here are the popular kids, what is different about them? And so he looked at all the obvious variables. So what do you think you actually mentioned one of them? He said, sports?



Scott D Clary  22:30

outgoing personality. Okay. I’m trying to think it depends. I think it depends on on the dynamic of the school, it could be a school, for example, I was in an IB program. So people that were extremely smart in some classes were, yeah.


Vanessa Van Edwards  22:45

so forth. So athleticism or extrovert, outgoing, intelligence, GPA, IQ, or FAQ scores. And then another one that people often get attractiveness, or just like the most handsome students, the prettiest students not hotter. So none of those four predicted which of these students the most popular across multiple high schools, the one predictor across all the schools that accurately predicted which kid was most popular was that students listed the longest number of people that they also liked. In other words, when he asked all the students, who do you like, at your school in your grade, the popular kid had the longest list of people that they like. And when he observed them in the wild and their hallways, he noticed that the least popular kids didn’t acknowledge anyone. And this could be by the way, lots of years and years of bullying or using a trainer. They walked down the hallways in their own tunnel, their arms crossed with their chest with their notebooks in front of them. Not saying hi, not smiling. The most popular kid and this is a facet about going that you mentioned but actually the most healthcare kids weren’t necessarily extroverted, some of them were introverted. They typically said, Hey, Raul. I joy, David, and Sarah, they were the first graders. So when they walked down the hallway, they didn’t have a problem, acknowledging and saying hello to someone first, in their classes in our hallways. This was such a relief to me, because it made me realize that we are in control of how likable we are. And for some reason, especially as adults, we withhold our liking at the self protection mechanism, that we’re afraid to be the first likers right. We don’t want to say to a colleague, hey, it’s been so great working with you. We should hang out in the weekend. Because we’re terrified. They’re going to be like, no thing. Weird. So what we do is we play it cool. I call this professional ambivalence, and it’s the killer of any kind of rapport building in the workplace. Professional ambivalence is like this. You Hey, Karen. Yeah, yeah, good weekend. Yeah, pretty good. Yep. Cool. No one engages too deeply. No one gets overly excited. Heaven forbid you get overly excited. No one invites first. You know, and I also visit because people are just trying to play a safe. And so my entire goal with Captivate is that you are in control with your career of your charisma, you’re in control of your likability. And this doesn’t mean off in authentically going and liking is enabled, you can, but it does set you up for a very different mindset, which is this is totally different in the way that I operate in the first 15 to 20 years of my life, which is, how can I like more people? Not? How can I be more likeable? And so once I discovered that, and I started going to conferences and networking events and podcasts was the only question my mind was, how can I like this person? How can I like this person? Which was the opposite of what I’ve been asking myself for 20 years, which was how can your likeable? How can I get them to like me? How can I get them to like me, and that was a game changer, my interactions and so Captivate every chapter and a layer upon layer of how to be more likeable through liking others.


Scott D Clary    26:11

That’s that is the I’m just, you know, when I do these podcasts, I think about like, sometimes the lessons I’m learning in my flight into my own life, and that’s, that’s, that’s huge. That’s, that’s a huge, huge, huge mental shift.



Vanessa Van Edwards  26:26

It’s a game changer, and especially for all my all my, my high achieving listener, all my high tubulin stars, I just want to say this to now, which is, you are so worthy. You are so worthy of also being liked, not just respected, but also being liked. And a lot of my high achieving folks, they feel like all they searched for their entire career was respect, really great test scores, great GPA, great transcript, great university, great job, great title. And those are all really impressive. And they get a lot of respect for there becomes a point in their career where they realize they have a lot of respect, but not a lot of rapport. And so what I want to say to you is you can have both, you can absolutely be both respected and liked. And that actually can get you ahead faster than just respect alone.


Scott D Clary    27:17

And let me ask you, let me ask you this, because there’s so many lessons, the of course, is all book on it’s, it’s it’s silly to try and go into all them on this pocket. I told you, we’re gonna run at the time because I have questions and we only have like 10 minutes left. But that’s good, we’ll have to do another one and a half to read the book or whatever. But anyway, so say, say the the secret the key is, is to reframe your mind so that you are trying to like others, which in turn will increase you know that that angle of being more like, if you’ve lived your whole life and apprehension of saying hi first, it can be very difficult to take that first step, right. It’s not like somebody is comfortable saying it could be for some people, they’re comfortable saying hi, they just don’t. But say somebody literally has like this gripping panic attack, when they’re walking in the hall, and they see their CEO or they see maybe less intimidating figure, whatever they see appear this you anybody. How do you get over that? That first step say hi first.


Vanessa Van Edwards  28:17

Okay, so thanks. Hi, first is actually a little bit of intermediate, I would say it’s intermediate, right? Like that’s from cold to warm, right? You’re walking down a hallway, hey, right, that’s an intermediate. Before we even get there, I’m actually going to give you an easier one. And I want to teach you a couple of my favorite phrases for warm. So these are like things that you can just drop into a conversation which a little bit less scary than the cold, open, and they sound like this. So if you’re already talking to someone, you’re already in rapport, you’re having a good conversation, you’re having a good video call. Here’s a great phrase, if you genuinely feel that never use these phrases, if you don’t really feel it. One. It’s always so great talking to you. That’s one where you’re already warm. You just had a laughing moment. You’ve just agreed about something and you’re in your body and in your mind your thinking is good.


Vanessa Van Edwards  29:09

The way that really likeable people do this is a immediately share that they don’t withhold it they don’t pretend to be ambivalent. So you have a laughing moment. You have an agreeable and you go Ah, yes, I always love working with you. We’re always on the same page. It’s a really nice way to put a stamp on the momentum. It’s like we just had a good moment. Let’s like double down on what’s highlighted. So always so great talking to you. And then the other thing that people every human being wants, I don’t know if you’ve ever read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends Influence People, but when I got my


Scott D Clary  29:42

Oh, is that a shot? He’s just on my knees on myself.


Vanessa Van Edwards  29:49

Oh, my good friend Dale. Yeah, one of my favorite sales books. Yeah. Okay, so we’re just a little behind the scenes is when my editor from Penguin Random House approached me to write a book I said I want to write a book like How to Win Friends and Influence People with science, so captivated was actually pitched to my publisher as How to Win Friends Influence People with science. That was one of the that was one of the titles we were bouncing around. So Captivate was taking everything in that book and seeing is there any science here? So one of the phrases that Dale Carnegie uses so brilliantly is to be interesting, be interested in his famous phrase. Okay, so how do we do that in a very practical setting, random, professional environment that’s, like, how do you grok that, here’s how very specifically here is my little hack for this, for all my personal listening. Anytime someone says something interesting, or you’re having an interesting discussion, or you’re having a shooting conversation, highlight the lack of ambivalence by saying, and it’s so interesting, you’re so interesting, that was so interesting, I always have the most interesting conversations with you. When you just say that you’re actually giving someone the greatest gift, which is telling them they’re interesting, no one likes to have more. And it goes back to that original phrase have to be interesting, be interested. And so I use the word interesting, as freely as I possibly can to anyone who’s piqued my interest. I literally dole it out, like, you know how Oprah gives out cars. It’s like, You’re interesting, you’re interesting, you’re interesting, if I feel it, right, I never do that if I don’t actually feel it. But actually, you’d be surprised when you’re looking for the opportunity to say that, how many more times you hear it. It’s amazing that just looking for it makes you want to see it more, and then you do see it more. So that’s my secret way of getting you out of ambivalence. Do


Scott D Clary    31:37

I love it? No, that’s, um, listen, I, I don’t have much to add on. Because I just think that it’s just very, like it’s so it’s common sense when you start to understand and you start to say it, but I just find that these these small little tricks and hacks for this interpersonal communication, it seems to escape us all the time. And you run into these very awkward situations, you don’t know exactly how to act, or you’re having a great conversation. And all of a sudden, it goes stale. And as you’re teaching me this, as you’re saying this, as you say, you know, you still say you’re interested, just, you know, reinforce that moment, say you enjoyed the Congress, it’s so simple, like, it’s not a complicated thing to understand. But if you if you if you think back to the last conversation you had, how impactful would it be if somebody had said that to you, right? And just think about the feelings and the emotion you’d be getting if one of your peers said that to you. And it’s like, it gives me like chills a little bit like, it’s silly to say, but like, it gives you a good feeling. It’s like a really good feeling.


Vanessa Van Edwards  32:38

It actually gives you dopamine. So the reason that I have these chemicals behind me, yeah, so So that’s so when we, when they talk about interactions, a lot of times in my with my classes and my courses, I talk about the chemical reasons behind why things work. So we can do them more purposefully. And so exactly what you said, like, oh, gives me chills. That’s actually the feeling of dopamine. So dopamine, very simplified, it’s very complicated little molecule. But it gives us pleasure, it makes us feel excited, actually makes us feel motivated, makes us it drives us to want to do things. So when someone says, Oh, it’s so fun talking to you. It’s always such a pleasure speaking with you. Ah, no way that’s so interesting. When I say those phrases to you, your body’s like, ah, reward, reward, reward, dopamine, dopamine, dopamine, and your body produces this chemical, which makes you feel like, yeah, I got this, as the problem when I do all these corporate workshops with professional ambivalence is that it makes us feel slower. It makes us less motivated. It makes us burned out. It’s why we hit career plateaus and career ruts. I just did a training on how to be burnout. And they’re not things that you would think of, and a lot of them come from a lack of dopamine in our relationship. And so the more that we can do these tiny things, it’s like giving someone just a hit the chemical and you can feel driven.


Scott D Clary    33:57

Very good. Very good. Okay. I have a couple rapid fire professionals. Yeah. Ready. Before, before we before we go. Okay, so go get Captivate because that I’m not every book that gets talked about on this show I actually am interested in but this sounds really, really exciting. What’s the next book? What’s it about? Is it can you talk about what you’re doing? Or is it still



I can’t talk about it. Yeah, it’s


Vanessa Van Edwards  34:23

gonna be it’s gonna be my hope is it will make you see things you’ve never seen before.


Scott D Clary    34:30

All right, I’m excited. I’m excited. Rapid Fire rapid fire questions.


Scott D Clary  34:38

Let me let me let me see what would I let Oh, where do you go to learn and stay on top of things that are happening in your world and entrepreneurship in behavioral psychology science whatnot?


Vanessa Van Edwards  34:50

signposts psi POS T I freakin love their new research. That’s how I keep up with all the latest research.


Scott D Clary    34:59

Do you have Have any particular books outside of our friend Dale, that you would recommend besides your own that you did? Go check out Excuse me.


Vanessa Van Edwards  35:08

If you like these topics, anything by Daniel Goleman is just, you know, amazing if you’re more on the entrepreneurial, like business mind, like a lot of how someone sometimes I teach how these psychological principles work in advertising and marketing and my opt ins and my funnels. I use all these principles in my funnels. I use them all in my lead magnets in my options, and my website optimization, then I you know, I love Eric Ries lean startup. I love may GISTIC. I love anything by the Heath brothers. I believe Dan Heath just came out with his own book extreme. The I love them.


Scott D Clary  35:40

Good. Very good. Those are all those are very, very good books. Yeah, so I’m going to put I’m going to put together a couple of links in the in the description along with your books as well. Go check them out. Definitely


Vanessa Van Edwards  35:55

just link to captivate the other ones are they didn’t work and can work. Only Captivate really well right


Scott D Clary    36:01

just Captivate just just activate. What are you curious about in the world of social and human interaction? What’s What are you researching



right now? Mm hmm. Alright, so let’s give you


Vanessa Van Edwards  36:14

a hint about my book. I’m really fast. No, it’s good. It’s good. I like it. I’m really fascinated with things hiding in plain sight. So things that we’ve seen a million times before. Classic news events, speeches, everything from you know, all the Steve Jobs speeches to you know, the the OJ Simpson trial to Bill Clinton’s testimony. We’ve seen them but What haven’t we seen? I like those things.


Scott D Clary   36:43

Very interesting, very interesting. Lesson you would tell your younger self.


Vanessa Van Edwards  36:51

If I could tell myself at the start of college, something else they would be to have more fun to go meet more people. I was very awkward in college. So I didn’t, you know, I didn’t join a sorority. I didn’t join clubs. I triple majored and stayed at home. So I don’t know if I would have believed me. But I would have said don’t triple major. You’re crazy. That’s really silly. Go join a club, go play some badminton. I’m not athletic at all. So like badminton is like the peak sport I could possibly play. Go join dance, go have some go have some drinks with friends. It’s okay. You’re not going to get in trouble. You’ll have way more fun with that than a triple major.


Scott D Clary   37:31

That’s good advice. It’s a triple mistress. That’s not an easy college career.



Why did they do that?


Scott D Clary    37:37

I have no idea. double major was a lot for me. So good. Good on you. I don’t know I could do one more during that. I didn’t five years. That’s nothing to be proud of. But whatever. That’s tough. That’s tough. I


Vanessa Van Edwards  37:52

have a little more fun, which I get to play is advice for everyone. Right?


Scott D Clary    37:56

And what does success mean for you?



To me, success


Vanessa Van Edwards  38:03

means feeling like you’re actualizing your potential. So you feel like you know what today I gave it my all and that your goals are as high as they should be that you’re not leaving anything else on the table.


Scott D Clary    38:16

Very good. And lastly, most important, where can people find you online? Oh, yes.


Vanessa Van Edwards  38:21

So everything is at My YouTube channel and probably the most exciting place to be we release wedding videos every week. I’m Vanessa Van Edwards on YouTube. And then Kathy, I also read my own audio book, which was a very fun experience. I need different voices, things like that. So there’s a place you can find me and I’d love to hear from you.


Scott D Clary  38:40

That’s all for today. Thanks again for joining me on another episode of the success story podcast. You can download or stream this podcast wherever podcasts are available, including iTunes, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, I heart, radio, and many others. You can also watch his podcasts on YouTube. If you haven’t already. Please subscribe and share this podcast with your friends, family, coworkers and peers. Please leave us a rating on iTunes takes about 30 seconds as it allows other people to find our podcast and lets our amazing guests reach even more people with their message. And remember any rating is fine as long as it contains five stars. I’m Scott Clary from the success story podcast signing off

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