Vanessa Van Edwards: The Power Of Body Language! Create Rapport & Sales – Virtually Speaking Ep. 21

Vanessa Van Edwards has made her life’s work investigating the science of people. She’s the bestselling author of “Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People”, which has been translated into 16 languages. Her …



Vanessa Van Edwards has made her life’s work investigating the science of people. She’s the bestselling author of “Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People”, which has been translated into 16 languages. Her videos online have been viewed by over 30 million people and hundreds of thousands of people have taken her communication courses online.

Vanessa has been featured on CNN, BBC, CBS, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Today Show, and many more. She studies the hidden forces that drive our behavior patterns and she’s cracked the code! Vanessa works with small businesses, entrepreneurs, and the biggest companies in the world, teaching valuable shortcuts, systems, and behavior hacks for taking charge of our interactions at work or anywhere.

When you understand the laws of human behavior, you can get along with anyone, and your influence, impact, and income will all increase as a result! You will improve your interpersonal intelligence, make a killer first impression, and build rapport quickly and authentically in any situation – negotiations, interviews, parties, and pitches. You will never interact in the same way again!

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Vanessa Van Edwards: The Power Of Body Language! Create Rapport & Sales

Joining me is Vanessa Van Edwards, who\’s made her life\’s work investigating the science of people. She\’s the best-selling author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People, a book that\’s been translated into sixteen languages. Her videos online have been viewed by over 30 million people, and hundreds of thousands of people have taken her communication courses online. That\’s how it works with the small businesses and the entrepreneurs all the way up to the trillion-dollar companies. She\’s been featured on CNN, BBC, CBS, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Today Show and many more. Vanessa studies the hidden forces that drive our behavior patterns and she\’s cracked the code. She gives us valuable shortcuts, systems and behavior hacks for taking charge of our interactions at work or anywhere. When you understand the laws of human behavior, you can get along with anyone, and your influence, impact and income will all increase as a result. What\’s more? You will improve your interpersonal intelligence, make a killer first impression, build rapport quickly and authentically in any situation, negotiations, interviews, parties and pitches. You will never interact in the same way again.

Vanessa Van Edwards, thank you for being with me. How are you doing?

I\’m so good. I\’m happy to talk to you.

I\’m ecstatic to be talking to you. You are one of my favorite speakers. I love the fact that people don\’t see you coming. When they say they have a leadership conference, a sales conference and any conference, I feel like you fit into it. I can recommend you but they don\’t see you coming because they don\’t realize that you\’re the science of people, charisma, body language, owning the room and captivating is something that people necessarily were thinking about or needed to improve upon. Once they hear it, they get excited about it. Tell me a little bit about the science of people, that\’s your thing because you were going to study human beings. It\’s the most incredible thing because you have many cool tools and studies that you\’ve done that you can share with us. We can change a few things about ourselves, be much more likable, charismatic and captivating. Tell us a little bit about the history of you getting into that.

First, thank you for that very kind introduction. You nailed it, which is I love the hidden dynamics of people. I like to joke that I\’m a recovering awkward person. For any other recovering awkward people reading, when you\’re awkward, you tend to do a lot of observing and you watch the cool kids. I remember this when I was in elementary school, I would watch the cool kids and I would think, “Why is it that some people can walk into a room and everyone wants to know them? Why is it in the first few seconds of meeting something you think, ‘I like this person?’ Why is it other people seem to rub you wrong?” Little did I know that fascination would turn into a career. One of the biggest things I learned was that charisma comes in many flavors. For a long time, I thought that all charismatic people were the same, bubbly extroverts. They own the room, tell hilarious stories and good with people. As I began to study behavior, I realized that charisma comes in many flavors. There are bubbly extroverts, quiet powerful introverts, contemplated and paths. There are warm and giving teachers and nurturers. My mission in life is to help people find and uncover their flavor.

You don\’t have to be the incredibly dynamic, charismatic and very energetic person to be a leader or a great speaker or anything. You can be a little bit quieter, more reserved and more yourself.

I would even say, everyone can be dynamic and charismatic with the right energy. It\’s about setting yourself up for situations that are going to work for you. That we have to think our interactions, like a social game plan. One of the metaphors I like to give the most is when you\’re growing up your parents, teachers and coaches think what are your natural gifts? If you\’re very tall, you\’re shuttled into basketball. If you\’re fast, you\’re often shuttled into soccer. We should do this also with social interactions, presenting, pitching and public speaking. There are some people who are exceptionally good at rocking a stage, working a room, getting to know VIPs, logistics and details and event planning. What\’s critical is not trying to be good at something that you\’re not naturally good at. That\’s going to be way harder. It\’s to break interactions down into very specific skills and figure out which of those skills are you already naturally good at.

You also give people tools to not only be more charismatic and I\’m sure to share a lot of that with us, how to read other people. That\’s the other half of putting yourself in a position to do business with somebody you can trust, who\’s authentic, who is like-minded or a good person who you can feel is going to be a good partner in this transaction. Are they lying to me? Are they not interested? They\’re kind of here. They\’re not really, they\’re turned off by me or they\’re uninterested. What are the different things that these people are showing me? I love the studies that you\’ve done. You can always point to these different studies.

There are two that I liked was the Shark Tank one. Why are people more successful on Shark Tank and the people who aren\’t? It\’s very simple. The people who walk in, make eye contact with the judges, who look comfortable and smile at the judges as they\’re walking intend to be a lot more successful on the show than those who have their eyes down, walk to their mark, look a little nervous and they\’re afraid to make the eye contact. Why do two TED Talks have the same title but one has 50,000 views and 500 views? Because of the way the person comes across visually, not what they\’re saying, not how they sound but how many hand gestures are they making and what is their body language? These things are so interesting.

The TED Talk study was one of my favorites because we tend to put all of our eggs in the verbal basket. When we\’re thinking about communication, we focus very much on the words we want to say. We script out answers in preparation for an interview or a pitch. We rehearse the perfect script for a speech. Words are very important. How you say something is as important as what you say. For the TED speakers, everyone was good and had good words. If you\’re invited to give a TED Talk, you\’re an expert in your field. Everyone was good in their words. What is the difference between good and great? Good TED Talks have a couple of thousand views and great TED Talks have a couple of million views. That\’s what we were curious about.

[bctt tweet=\”Don\’t waste time trying to be good at something you\’re not naturally good at.\” username=\”calentertainmnt\”]

We analyzed thousands of hours of TED Talks in our lab looking for different variables. We would find why is it that one TED Talk goes viral with 48 million views and others don\’t break 50,000? There were a couple of different things that came up. A lot of them had to do with the non-verbal content, specifically those good speakers who know their content so well they speak to you on two tracks and with their words, they can also outline their concepts along with their hands. Notice the very best TED speakers get onstage. They hit that little red dot and they say, “I want to talk to you about three big ideas. I\’m going to talk about things that are going to change your life,” and they gesture at the audience. They hold up three. They talk about a big idea, not a big idea. Those things are incredibly powerful because it helps the brain hook. It was interesting as if you\’re reading to this, my hand gestures also add a dynamic aspect to my voice. If you were to be sitting on my hands, two things would happen. One is my voice would sound more boring, more monotone and hand gestures add depth to our vocal tone.

The second thing that would happen is I would become worse at explaining my ideas. They have repeated this in a number of different experiments by Susan Goldin-Meadow. She found that our gestures and thoughts are quite intertwined. When you ask people to explain a story and they can\’t use their hands, they are less fluid and explain that story or that idea. Your gestures are not just important for other people to understand you and hear about your vocal charisma and your gestures but they\’re also important for you as a speaker to feel more competent in your explanations.

As a salesperson or a CEO walking into a board meeting or being in front of his peers or his company.

Can I tell you the biggest mistakes salespeople make? Can we do that?

Yeah. I love talking about gestures with sales folks that are important, but I do a ton of sales training. There\’s one mistake that salespeople make the most and they don\’t even realize it\’s destroying their rates and conversions. We have some script they\’re working off of. I have a similar pitch and they nail it. They have it down to a science. When they get to their number or their price, that\’s usually the number that makes them the most nervous. They\’re scared their price is going to be turned down. They ask their price instead of telling them the price, that’s called the question inflection on their price. The question inflection is when we go up at the end of our sentences. On a statement, it sounds like I\’m asking even though it\’s a statement, that\’s a question inflection. When the brain hears the question inflection on not a question, it begins to get suspicious. It activates a very different part of our brain than listening. What happens is you have a salesperson, they get on the phone and they\’re like, “We would love to have your business. We would love to work with you. The price of our package is $5,000. “

When you do that, you are asking your price instead of stating it, you are begging someone to negotiate with you. We hear the question inflection as a suggestion. By asking your price, you\’re begging people to negotiate with you. You\’re begging people to doubt you because they\’re thinking, “Should I pick that price? Is that price real?” A lot of the time, if salespeople do have some wiggle room on their price, they give away the fact that they have wiggle room by asking. It\’s really important that whatever you\’re nervous about, your timeline, price and final give that you say it, don\’t ask it. Instead of the price will be $5,000, I want you to say the price will be $5,000. That one change will get people to believe you more.

There are so many little hacks and tricks that you have. That\’s your favorite one for sales. What are the most common things you speak all the time to corporations and associations? The associations are usually small business owners and people who are leaders of organizations. The companies that have you a lot of times have you speak to their executive teams or leadership teams. What are the most popular things that they\’re asking you to help them with? What is it that you\’re hearing the most from them that they want you to give to them?

We have to remember that with communication, there are two sides. Typically when I\’m brought into a company, I do a lot of all hands too where you have a big group of people from all over the company that they have to use the same communication skills, where the HR team has to talk to the engineering team and the engineering team has to express their desires to the marketing team. The marketing team gets very frustrated with the engineering team. The first thing that I\’m brought in to talk about is the science of our communication. The most important thing we have to know is that there are two aspects of our communication. We don\’t think about it this way. We get very focused on decoding. A lot of the time people talk about communication. They talk about reading people or spotting emotions or spotting lies and that\’s incredibly important.

Decoding is only one part of the loop. It\’s a loop. The other part is much more important and that\’s called encoding. Encoding is the signals that we send to others and decoding is the signals we read from others. This is an interesting feedback loop. We found is that when we encode happiness, confidence, competence and charisma, that makes other people decode our cues and they often catch it. The name of my TED Talk is You Are Contagious. The reason for this is because the more charismatic you are as a leader, the more charismatic you encourage your team to be. It creates this amazing positive feedback loop. It also happens in the opposite way with negative emotions. If you are critical or suspicious and you encode without realizing it, those micro messages of suspicion, judgment and negativity begin to infect your entire team.

They found that emotional contagion can infect an entire organization even through email. What I\’m brought in to talk about is how do we begin to create positive loops of communication? How do we take control of our micro messages? I want to show up to this meeting and encourage collaboration, openness and creativity. What do I do with my body, words and voice to encourage that? That\’s the first thing. Most of us have no idea how to show up collaboratively with our body and voice. We\’re like, “What does collaboration look like for the voice tone, with hand gestures and body motion?” How do we use those in meetings so that people are getting them, catching them and then sending them back to us? It\’s about controlling our micro messages both positive and negative. That\’s what I\’m most often brought in to talk about. I feel like I have one of the coolest jobs in the world. I\’m very lucky.

You get to look at something and say, “What\’s the answer to this? What\’s a recent study that you have done that you\’re excited about?”

\"VSP Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People

One of the latest ones we\’re doing is we\’re running it on our website. We\’re going to be running it for the next few months. If you want to play, you can, I would love it. is where we wanted to test how your profile picture sets you up for success or failure. It\’s an overlooked underestimated piece of our brand. I hate using the word brand in bigger senses but all of us have a reputation. Whether you\’re posting a picture on your LinkedIn profile or you\’re putting your headshot in an agenda or a PDF or a program. Even in a lot of companies, I\’m now seeing pictures at the bottom of their email.

Now that we\’re going more virtual and more digital, we\’re not having a lot of face-to-face. I\’m seeing people are adding pictures to their email signature. Your picture is incredibly important. It\’s oftentimes your first impression. Your first impression now is happening more and more without you being there, which is mind-blowing when you think about it. I was very curious how do we control the signals in our LinkedIn profile picture? We\’re running an experiment in our lab where we\’ve taken different models and we\’ve modified very small things about them. We posted them on our website and we ask people, “How smart is this person? How likable is this person?” You would be amazed at how these small changes and these pictures completely change your perceptions of likability and competence.

I\’ll give you an easy one. When we\’re trying to hear something, if I say, “Chris, do you hear that?” We tilt our head up to the side and we expose our ear. Now, “Try to listen to me here. If you can hear sirens in the background.” We can\’t help but expose our ears. That\’s because this is a universal instinct as humans, dogs do this too. Sometimes is we tilt our head up to expose our ear because we\’re trying to hear as much as possible. Universally, this is seen as a friendliness cue. When we tilt our heads, it makes us look more open. We\’re listening, more empathetic and more nurturing. What we found is already that if you have someone who\’s in a business suit, very professional and they look at the camera, tilt their head to the side and smile, across the board they\’re seen as higher in likeability, higher in warmth but it does impact their competence scores, power scores and status scores.

What we have to understand is every micro message and nonverbal cue that we change can sometimes have positive effects but it can also take away from other effects. I would say if you\’ve been ever told that you\’re cold or hard to talk to or intimidating, it would serve you to add a little warmth to some of your profile pictures and it would serve you to warm up your impression. If you\’ve been told the other side that you\’re very likable but people don\’t take you seriously or you\’ve been interrupted a lot in meetings or people forget having met you, I would make sure your profile does not have a head tilt in it because that might be taking away from your status. Little one, I have a lot more coming. I have so many more credits for doing the experiments. They\’re fun. Please go take them.

All of your examples are compelling and I\’ve seen you test the interviewers that you\’ve been on with. I know that you can do that in a moderated conversation at an event. You could ask me because I\’m the only one here and everybody can play at home. A few things where we can guess the answer to something that you know the answer to but we might get wrong. Maybe about leaders, personalities or somebody\’s competency or somebody’s whatever.

Let’s do it easy, it\’s not easy but it\’s very simple. Let\’s say that, Chris, we were taking our profile picture. We were doing some new profile shots for you and I asked you to look happy. What would you do?

I would smile.

Would you smile with your teeth or not your teeth?

I would smile naturally and let you tell me if I need to show my teeth or not.

The good news is here\’s the first one, it doesn\’t matter as long as it\’s an authentic smile, it counts. The reason for this is because authentic smiles reach up into these upper crow\’s feet, the muscles right up into your eyes. Dr. Barbara Wild and her associates found that when they showed pictures of people genuinely smiling with teeth or without teeth but they genuinely felt happy, people rated that person as more positive and also caught happiness. They themselves felt happier, which is incredible from a picture. It gets even more interesting with the second part of this experiment. I talk about this in Captivate.

The second picture was a fake smile with teeth or without but not reaching up into their crow\’s feet. When people looked at this picture, they not only rated them as less happy, they felt nothing. They had no emotion change. The most important thing about your happiness is tapping into something that makes you feel happy, your twins, wives and it makes me feel good giving me a genuine smile. That would be the key to infecting happiness. Here\’s the second one for you, let\’s say that you were doing your LinkedIn profile picture and I ask you to give me a smirk, a one-sided mouth brace. Raise one side of your mouth on either side. Little one side of your mouth. Give yourself a little smart and a one-sided mouth raise. What does that feel like to you?

[bctt tweet=\”How you say something is just as important as what you say.\” username=\”calentertainmnt\”]

I feel like I\’m not sure about this.

That is right. That smirk is the killer of charisma and I see it on many of my CEOs’ headshots. The first thing I do is look at their headshot where they give a half-smile or a smirk because people mistakenly think that this means happiness or things are okay. It\’s demure happiness. That is so far from the truth. A smirk or an asymmetrical smile is the universal expression of contempt. One of the things I talk about in Captivate are these seven universal facial expressions. These have been repeated across cultures, races, genders and socioeconomic status that when we are expressing these seven emotions, we express them with the same facial expressions.

They even found that babies who\’ve been blind since birth show these same seven facial expressions even though they\’ve never seen a face. They\’re somehow these universal expressions. The simplest one is contempt. It\’s a one-sided mouth raise. When I do that smirk, I feel scornful, better than, negative, pessimistic. When I see CEOs or LinkedIn profile pictures or dating profile pictures, I get so upset because it\’s telling people that you\’re better than. It\’s telling people that you\’re negative. Please, I\’d rather you have a neutral face or a genuine happy face, no fake smiles and no half-smiles.

You have a connection with Lie To Me. What is that connection?

I love the show, Lie To Me. I highly recommend watching it. I recommend the first season. The first season, they have a great writer. In the second season, they changed writers and it becomes much less accurate. I love the first season of Lie To Me, which is a show about a man who is a human lie detector. He studies body language and facial expressions. He creates an institute where he\’s able to read people quickly. That is based on a real man. His name is Dr. Paul Ekman and he\’s an incredible researcher. He is the one who discovered the universal micro-expression. He\’s the one who researched in Papa New Guinea, Australia, Japan and the US trying to find these universal facial expressions. He discovered that I believe in the 1970s, he\’s been doing pioneering work on emotions ever since. The show writers found his story, read his books and decided to do a show on quasi on his institute. He is the one who trained me in micro-expressions.

When people ask what I do, sometimes I say, “Have you seen the show Lie To Me?” I study people. Although, one thing that I very quickly learned I don\’t do is I don\’t spot liars for hire. That is what they do in the show. Chris, have I gotten into some trouble trying to spotlight? You have no idea the kind of requests that come across your desk when people think that you can spot lies because they get very personal, sticky and political. While I teach lie detection, I don\’t spotlight as for hire. It’s too dangerous.

Tell us a little bit about when you know somebody\’s lying to you. What are the number 1 and 2 giveaways?

I have a helpful example. I\’ll also give a research example. A helpful example is one of the most important things to understand about lie detection is you\’re looking for congruence. When someone is telling the truth, everything aligns and they\’re very congruent. They say that they\’re happy. Their face shows that they\’re happy, their voice sounds happy and they use happy body language, congruent. A liar is typically very focused on 1 or 2 channels. They want to convince you of the lie. For them, you\’re going to see leaks of guilt or you\’re going to see an incongruence. That could be they say they\’re happy but they don\’t show real happiness or they say they\’re really angry too but they look afraid. The biggest thing that you\’re looking for, is there an incongruence between the body, voice and face, the three major channels? The research perspective I\’ll give on this is there\’s been a lot of research on lie detection. Typically, we are bad at spotting lies. The average person can only spot lies with 54% accuracy.

That\’s not good.

No, it\’s like a coin toss. You\’re better off flipping a coin and trying. You can go through life detection training. We have a lie detection training on our website if you want to learn the steps. If you\’re like, “I want to go through the whole step process. I want a quick tip.” The one way that the research has been able to improve people\’s scores is by simply having them look for someone who looks nervous. Not even trying to spot specific cues are incongruence or not. If you were talking to someone and suddenly they seem nervous, you don\’t know exactly why but they seem like something is off here. That is your brain\’s ability to say something is off. There is something incongruent. That\’s the easy thing I tell people is what you\’re looking for is sudden nervousness that usually can hint something\’s not right.

You also have one that I like a lot, which is if somebody is disgusted, what is that thing that they do? They go like this if somebody is truly perturbed or disgusted with something.

\"VSP Body Language: Your gestures are not just important for other people to understand you and hear about your vocal charisma; they\’re also important for you as a speaker to feel more competent in your exploration.


Disgusted is my favorite micro expression. It’s very underestimated. Disgust is when you smell something bad, so you crinkle your nose up and flash the upper whites of your teeth and then say, “Ah.” It’s in your nose. That\’s because when we\’re disgusted with something, we crinkle up our nose to try to close our ability to smell. That\’s where it comes from. People always say to me, “I don\’t even know if people don\’t like the food or I don\’t even know if they smell something bad.” Disgust, the reason why I like it so much is because it\’s typically a signal that someone is about to lie to you. That\’s because liars feel dirty. We hate lying. It gets us into trouble. They even found that liars like to wash their hands afterward when they lie in the lab. It makes us feel very dirty. When we\’re about to lie, we will often not always show disgust as like, “I hate this.” We get it out. If you ask someone, “What do you think of the new girl?” They go, “She’s fine.” They have their nose wrinkled up. It\’s usually because they\’re trying to hide an unfavorable opinion.

Can it also be they don\’t like what you said as far as the price or the pitch, whatever it is? If they get that expression, you\’re like, “Whatever I said, they do not like it.”

You talked about my Shark Tank experiment earlier. My co-researcher and I, Jose Pena, analyzed 498 pitches on Shark Tank. It took Jose months to code all these answers. He did all the coding, all the gathering of 498 pitches. One of the things that we saw was sometimes you have a bad first impression or you have a lackluster first impression, and that\’s not everything. A first impression isn’t everything. The people who recovered the best were what I like to call dynamic pitchers. When I work with entrepreneurs and people who are doing a lot of pitching, I try to teach them that you probably have a script, a presentation, a proposal or agenda.

The biggest mistake you can make is trying to barrel through it. This point and this point, I\’m going to wow with all these points. The best thing you can do is share a point and look for the micro message. They show disgust, contempt and genuine happiness. If they show you micro positive, that\’s very positive, you want to double down on that. You hit it. Don\’t skip ahead. You want to drill into it. If they show you a micro negative, it\’s happened all the time on Shark Tank with successful pitches, they would notice, “He showed disgust. He wrinkled his nose up.” They would pause their pitch and address that shark. They would say, “Let me go into a further explanation for you.” They would explain what it was and then they were able to move on. The most important thing is to be a dynamic pitcher where you\’re looking for positives or negatives to tell you which direction to go. That also makes you an incredibly charismatic and dynamic salesperson and leader.

We\’re in this world of Zoom. Everybody is virtual. It\’s going to be a trend that continues after the pandemic is over. There\’ll be a lot more Zoom meetings. We\’re always going to want to see each other. Everybody is doing a Zoom and invite for my phone calls. I\’m like, “Do you want to see me?” They\’re like, “Yeah, I want to see you.” I remember several years ago saying, “One day, every phone call will be having to see each other and you\’ll have to look pretty good for every phone call you\’re on.” That brings me to two things. One is what can you do to look better in Zoom and have yourself not feel embarrassed about the way you look or to come across the wrong way?

The other thing is the phone. I\’ve seen you talk about it and tweet about it. It might not be the favorite thing of yours to do. These are two different questions. I didn\’t want to forget both of them but address the Zoom world that we live in and how to be better coming across Zoom. Why are people afraid of being on a phone call? They\’d rather email when you can get on a phone call and have so much of a quicker resolution, cover much more and not have to go back and forth over two days with emails. Why are people afraid of the phone? How do you fix that? Those are my two questions here as we come to the close of our incredible interview so far.

The phone lens is very easy. When we look at our micro-messaging, there are eight buckets. We have bilingual, a voice via facial expressions, how I use my space if I\’m like this or if I\’m leaning forward, objects or props if I\’m playing with this as I talk to you on video. In person, you have the most, every communication channel. The video is pretty good. You have seven. You can\’t see my feet and positioning. That\’s a lot. On the phone, you get two, words and voice tone. It\’s like taking away all of your communication power. The second thing that is purely logistical is I forget what happens on the phone. I cannot tell you how many times I\’ve been burned by, “We said that, we talked about that.” I found that either I want it in writing where I can refer back to it or I want every communication channel available to me. It doesn\’t mean that I won\’t get on the phone, I do, if I have a choice as to why.

The second part of your question about virtual, I\’m obsessed with video calls. The reason for that is because it\’s the Wild West. We have such an opportunity to build connections in a new way. Because it\’s this new virtual world, we are resetting up the way that we communicate in the office. You had this amazing opportunity and you asked, “What do people mostly bring you in for?” I didn\’t realize the answer is virtual communication. I\’m doing dozens of workshops on virtual communication every month because all of a sudden, teams are realizing this is a new way to communicate. That is an opportunity.

I have many video call tips. I have a huge video on YouTube for free if you want to watch, 15 Ways to Make Your Video Calls Instantly Better but I will say one that will help you hopefully. The biggest difference between in-person and video is space. The reason for this is because when we\’re in person, there are specific zones people use for space. For example, we have the public zone, social zone, personal zone and intimate zone. You might not realize it but when we\’re interacting in person, we are subconsciously aware of we\’re intimate, personal, social and public. On video, those disappear completely.

The biggest mistake you can make is in your first impression, the first few seconds of your video call is they start like this, “Hello? Are you there? Hi.” You lost your first impression. I got close to the camera, which should have made you feel like, “Whoa.” That is because I got into your intimate zone. As humans, even though we are video-calling and know that we\’re separate, it makes us feel uncomfortable. The first thing is you want to be about a foot and a half from your camera and you want to be able to show the top of your hands and ideally your shoulders. That is because, in the other person\’s brain, it makes them feel safer. It also allows them to see a little bit more of one of your modes, which is gestures and body movement.

This is not right here. This would not be.

[bctt tweet=\”You\’re contagious. When you express happiness, confidence, competence, and charisma, other people often catch it.\” username=\”calentertainmnt\”]

We don\’t like that.

You telling me at the beginning of this interview series that I was sitting too low. I go back to those early videos and my head was about here. They\’re like, “Bring your head up.” I was like, “Yeah.” It does look so much better.

It reduces the cognitive load. I would say space especially in the first few seconds. Make sure you\’re about a foot and a half away from your camera, show your upper torso. That\’s going to immediately help people feel like, “We\’re comfortable.”

Give us one more.

One more video tip. There are many good ones. I would say have an opener ready to go because of what happens a lot on video calls especially meetings. If you\’re doing video calls, they\’re like, “Hey, hi. Can you see me? Can you hear me? We\’re okay. Those COVID numbers. Those wildfires. That bad news bears.” It sets you up on that very negative contagion. You create these negative feedback loops where you cannot snap out of it on a call. It\’s important to think of something positive and anything positive. “It\’s beautiful and sunny here. How about you? It\’s great to see you and talk to you. I love your background,” anything positive. Chris does this well at the very beginning of our call. We first hopped on and you were like, “I love your captivate blue. I\’m wearing blue too.” It made us have a like moment.

It’s natural. I didn\’t plan that out.

It can be something with very casual backgrounds, color and weather.

Open up the person you\’re talking to, what they look like. Ask them how their kid is doing, whatever.

Something positive and genuine.

I know that you are busy and I appreciate you doing this. I was excited that we got this booked and scheduled. I will never forget the first time I saw you speak, it was in front of a room of 300 men. It was all men in the room, alpha guys who were successful people who were not easily impressed. You weren\’t intimidated at all. I was excited for you, but I was so excited halfway through and was like, “She\’s the best speaker.” I used to hang out with that group a little bit and go to some of their events. You were the best speaker I\’d ever seen at one of their events.

Afterwards, the fact that everybody jumped to their feet, cheered and gave a standing ovation was perfect because I had suggested you be at that event. Also, these guys realized about two minutes in that everything you were saying was something they could use. Everything you were saying was stuff that entrepreneurs, leaders and salespeople need to know in order to make them more likable and more charismatic. Your book Captivate is a major bestseller because it\’s awesome. Your TED Talk here in London has many views in the seven figures.

\"VSP Body Language: You would be amazed at how small changes can completely change your perception of likability and competence.


We\’re 2.5 million, something like that.

You are the only person who\’s talking about this stuff in the way that you do, and you\’ve made it your whole life\’s passion. You\’ve made it a science. It\’s unique and it\’s wonderful. I\’m happy that you came on.

Thank you for having me and for letting me share this work. It’s my life\’s work. I\’m grateful to share with your platform, to talk to your amazing folks. Anyone who\’s reading, thank you for giving us your time. Thank you for being open-minded and maybe taking some of these away. I want to thank everyone for your support.

You have a great social media following and a lot of great videos online for people to enjoy with many different topics. There\’s a lot to dive into here and you\’re guaranteed a home run every time you speak. I can\’t wait to book you again. See you and have a wonderful rest of the year. I will talk to you soon. Thanks.

Thank you.


Important Links


About Vanessa Van Edwards

\"VSPVanessa Van Edwards is a national best-selling author and behavioral investigator with Science of People.

Vanessa is the 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 20 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.

She 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 of 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, and Penguin Random-House. She has been a spokesperson for Dove, American Express, Clean and Clear and Symantec.


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