Vanessa Van Edwards (@vvanedwards) rejoins us to further discuss components of nonverbal communication. She is the lead investigator at human behavior research lab Science of People and author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People.
What We Discuss with Vanessa Van Edwards:
- What Albert Mehrabian’s commonly misinterpreted 7-38-55 Rule of Personal Communication is — and isn’t — telling us about nonverbal communication.
- The components of nonverbal communication including body language, facial expressions, and vocal tone, along with ornaments, proxemics, and haptics.
- The dangers of focusing so fully on expressing yourself with one component of communication that you neglect the others.
- The two metrics of essential nonverbal communication: confidence and engagement.
- Power posing and movement, and how to use our hands and eyes to engage.
- And much more…
- Have Alexa and want flash briefings from The Jordan Harbinger Show? Go to jordanharbinger.com/alexa and enable the skill you’ll find there!
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider including your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
When you interact with others, mere words only convey part of the message. Nonverbal communication goes beyond simple body language and accounts for a significant part of the signal — whether you’re sitting across the table from someone or talking to them on the telephone.
At nine months pregnant, Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People author Vanessa Van Edwards and her baby-to-be joined us to dig further than we ever have before into the mysterious world of nonverbal communication, how we can decode what others are trying to tell us, and effortlessly make our own intentions clear to others. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Jordan Harbinger Show receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you for your support!
Sign up for Six-Minute Networking — our free networking and relationship development mini course — at jordanharbinger.com/course!
More About This Show
The components of nonverbal communication can be a tricky bunch to master, but having at least a basic understanding of how they work will get you far in picking up what others are trying to tell you beyond the words they’re speaking and reduce the likelihood that your own messages will be misinterpreted.
Luckily, Science of People body language expert and Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People author Vanessa Van Edwards was able to rejoin us to drop another round of nonverbal communication knowledge on us. Make sure to check out her first appearance on the show here for practical understanding of the role that social cues play in our interactions with others.
Nonverbal First Impressions and the 7-38-55 Rule
Dr. Albert Mehrabian’s famous, but often misinterpreted 7-38-55 rule seems to imply that only seven percent of any communication is verbal, 38 percent is through vocal tone, and 55 percent is with body language. But if you’ve ever tried to watch a movie in a language you don’t speak without relying on subtitles, you know you’re missing more than seven percent of what’s going on. So what gives?
Vanessa clarifies that subjects in Mahabrian’s study recorded their first impression when just one word was spoken to them: “Hello” — so of course verbal is only going to account for seven percent of the communication in that particular study. So while the results don’t hold true for all communication, they do support the idea that the first few words of a conversation are not as important as their nonverbal components.
Communication Is a Balancing Act
Sometimes we focus so fully on one aspect of communication that we completely neglect the others at play — and this even happens to the experts. While being interviewed for a podcast, Vanessa channeled all of her vocal power and charisma into the microphone, but didn’t make much eye contact with the host or provide him with much feedback in the way of facial expressions.
“I’m kind of watching his cues, but I’m really trying to focus on my message,” says Vanessa. “And about 15 minutes into this interview, he says, ‘Am I boring you?’ I wasn’t giving him a ton of facial expressiveness, my voice tone was there, but I wasn’t giving him eye contact. I wasn’t doing a lot of gesturing; I was focusing on my vocal power. And so what I said to him is, ‘First of all, people can’t see me, and I have resting bitch face! So I also look angry even though I’m not angry. And I realized in that moment that the channels are totally overlapping.
“You can be putting all of your emphasis in that tonality, into your vocal power, into your resonance, trying to get that up, but it is so tied with facial expressions and body language that he could not hear the vocal and keep it by itself. He was watching me and he wasn’t getting the nonverbal feedback that he wanted and therefore he felt snubbed.”
When people are completely focused on something, they tend to emphasize their words with their face in what is called a facial punctuator. These facial punctuators vary from person to person; Vanessa’s happens to be what some might read as surprise — eyebrows up, accompanied by vertical lines — and this can be misread by some as a sign of gullibility or naivete. Others might punctuate with an expression more closely associated with anger, and it’s easy to see how this could lead to someone being unfairly categorized as overly negative.
So we all have facial punctuators that may not even match our emotional state at the time, which throws confusion into the mix at best and gives people a contrary opinion of us at worst. The good news is you can become aware of yours and consciously course correct so it doesn’t get you in trouble.
“It’s really important to know what subtle message you’re sending across even if it’s not real,” says Vanessa, “and using either nonverbal or verbal to correct it. If I know that I come across as prudish or unknowing and surprised — which by the way is terrible for my brand — I have to really work to overcompensate…to fight that verbally. And also watch out for it in other people and know that if someone’s punctuating their words with an expression, it doesn’t necessarily mean they feel [as they appear].”
Vanessa recommends making a video recording of yourself during a conversation and pay attention to what your face is doing by default to emphasize your words. It may be uncomfortable at first, but the payoff is it will probably help you avoid even more uncomfortable misunderstandings down the line.
Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about how similar facial punctuators might be perceived differently when they’re expressed by women versus men; what ornaments, proxemics, and haptics are and how they contribute to the communication process; what eye patterns relay about confidence; how to be more aware of the personal brand we — knowingly or not — broadcast to the world; the power of gestures; encoding versus decoding; confidence and engagement, and much more.
People School is Vanessa’s advanced people skills master class that teaches 12 advanced social skills that will level up your career and interpersonal success. To sign up, click here and apply code JORDAN at checkout for $100 off!
THANKS, VANESSA VAN EDWARDS!
If you enjoyed this session with Vanessa Van Edwards, let her know by clicking on the link below and sending her a quick shout out at Twitter:
Click here to thank Vanessa Van Edwards at Twitter!
Click here to let Jordan know about your number one takeaway from this episode!
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Resources from This Episode:
- Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People by Vanessa Van Edwards
- Science of People
- People School — use code JORDAN at checkout for $100 off!
- Vanessa Van Edwards at Facebook
- Vanessa Van Edwards at Instagram
- Vanessa Van Edwards at YouTube
- Vanessa Van Edwards at Twitter
- TJHS 30: Vanessa Van Edwards | How to Captivate with Social Cues (Vanessa’s last appearance on this show)
- Albert Mehrabian’s 7-38-55 Rule of Personal Communication by Nagesh Belludi
- Vanessa’s appearance on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose
- Still Face Experiment with Dr. Edward Tronick, UMass Boston
Transcript for Vanessa Van Edwards | Pumping up the Volume of Nonverbal Communication (Episode 82)
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:00] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with my producer, Jason DeFillippo. Today, we're back with Vanessa Van Edwards, a body language and nonverbal communications expert and great friend of mine and of the show. Today, we'll discuss the components of nonverbal communication including body language, facial expressions, voice tone, which of course you've heard of, but we also have some new concepts here that we haven't discussed before, such as ornaments, proxemics, and haptics. We'll also explore the two metrics of essential nonverbal communication, namely confidence and engagement, and how we can begin to master each of these two concepts. We'll also dive into power posing and movement as well as how to use our hands and eyes to engage. Remember, there are worksheets for today's episode so you can make sure you've got everything we talked about here today with Vanessa Van Edwards. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. All right, here's Vanessa Van Edwards.
[00:00:57] Vanessa, thanks for coming back. I know you're about to -- am I allowed to say anything that you're about to pop?
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:01:01] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:01:01] Okay.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:01:02] Oh, I mean like it's going to come out. I'm about to pop. I am almost nine months pregnant.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:01:06] Great. Yeah, so good. Good thing we came in right under the, under the line here, making sure that we got you on the show one last time because people -- my producer goes, why is she going back so early? She was just on the show and I was like, because she's going to be out of commission for a while probably.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:01:19] And I mean, I don't know. I feel like I could be either way more brilliant today because of all the hormones or way, way less brilliant. So we're just going to see how that goes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:01:28] Yeah, we're just going to play by ear, and today, we'll discuss some components of nonverbal communication, which is what you are best known for -- body language, facial expressions, vocal tonality. So we've all heard this, what is this? It's the Mehrabian study where it's like, “Oh, it's 7 percent what you say and all that stuff.” But we know that that's not really true because if I watch a movie in Italian, and I don't understand what they're saying, but I'm looking at their body language, I'm not suddenly like, “Oh, I know exactly what's going on right now.”
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:01:55] Yeah. So actually let's just bust that, that study. So he's actually come out and said, “I'm really sorry for this study. It totally misled people.” What he did in a study, it was actually a very clever design and it's not totally irrelevant. What he did is he had people record their first impression, which is, “Hello.” Right? So one word, and then he had people judge first impressions based on that one word. So of course, the verbal is going to be 7 percent because it was just hello. It's not like they were doing conversations or anything like that. So what's interesting about it is, that study does not hold for all of communication. However, I think it does imply, or it does talk about something interesting, which is that especially during first impressions and on a phone call, your first impression really is hello, right? Those first few words are not as important as a nonverbal. And so while the percentages are off, I like that study because at least it does show that the emphasis, especially in those first few words are important.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:59] Okay, good. So now that we've sort of busted that, let's talk about each of these components because I think people don't necessarily know kind of where body language and facial expressions begin, his vocal tonality that important. I would say, yes, doing a radio and online show where if someone's speaking in a monotone way, I just immediately tune out. But I don't know what ornaments proxemics and haptics really are, I mean I know what they are on my phone, but that's pretty much it.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:03:26] Yes, okay. So, well first of all, I can tell you a kind of funny story, I think they’ll appreciate. Okay, so I was on a podcast and because you were saying your voice tone is so important. And so when I'm on podcasts, I try to bring it with my vocal tonality, just like being, you know, being there, I have like tea and water and I spread this to my mouth beforehand because I know that on a podcast, it's mostly audio. Okay, so I get on this podcast and he says to me, the interviewer, he says, “So I would love to have the video up while we're chatting just so we can see nonverbal.” Okay, I'm all about that, like I'm a nonverbal expert, whatever that means. I'm like, “Okay, great.” So we turn on the video and it's not being recorded on video, just the audio. So I am focused 100 percent on this microphone. Like I'm delivering this microphone with all my charisma, which means one, I'm making less eye contact with the camera, like not him, the camera. I'm kind of watching his cues, but I'm really trying to focus on my message and delivering with vocal power, and about 15 minutes into this interview he says, “Am I boring you?”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:37] Ooh! Not a good sign. And you're like, “Yes, but I was trying to hide it.” Right?
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:04:42] Well, I was like, well, he was not boring me, but he was asking me the same boring questions that everyone asks me, and so I wasn't giving him a ton of facial expressiveness. My voice tone was there, but I wasn't giving him eye contact. I wasn't doing a lot of gesturing. I was focusing on my vocal power, and so what I said to him is, first of all, people can't see me and I have resting bitch face. So I also look angry even though I'm not angry. And I realized in that moment that the channels are totally overlapping. You can put me putting all of your emphasis into that tonality, into your vocal power, into your resonance, trying to get that up. But it is so tied with facial expressions and body language that he could not hear the vocal and keep it by itself. He was watching me and he wasn't getting the nonverbal feedback that he wanted, and therefore, he felt snubbed and it was a horrible experience because I was like, well, first of all, I'm never doing video -- like I've never ignoring video again, even if only he's going to see it. And second, it was a really good lesson for me and that even though I was focused 100 percent of my message and my vocal, that wasn't enough. Like I had to actually do more. I had to do more facial expressions, more expressiveness, more body language. So the channels are so tied, it's hard to separate them out.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:02] That's so interesting. Interesting story, but I'm also having trouble imagining what it would be like to have really charismatic vocal tonality and have your face be -- how do you even relax your face so much, but still have a dynamic way of speaking? I don't even know how you can manage that.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:06:22] So I can show you. Unfortunately, I know how this goes. From my own base, unfortunately. So it's totally when I am concentrating and when most people are concentrating, they tend to use facial punctuators. So facial punctuator is not a universal microexpression. A facial punctuator is how we emphasize our words with our face. So everyone has a different one. For me, I tend to do a surprise face. So I angle my eyebrow -- I put my eyebrows up and usually those vertical lines appear. So when I'm talking to you, I'm constantly in the up mode of my eyebrows. I am not surprised all the time, I am just punctuating my words. Some people punctuate with an anger, a quasi-anger expression. So they pinch their eyebrows together and this kind of furrowed brow kind of a look and they're explaining in this very deep concentrated waste, so they're pinching their eyebrows together. You'll notice on news shows, a lot of politicians they punctuate in that way, they're delivering like, let me tell you, this is really serious, let me tell you how. They're not angry. They're just in that -- that's their punctuator of concentration. So if you use a facial punctuator that's negative, people are going to assume that you're more negative. If I use the facial punctuator of surprise, it actually makes me look far more naive than I am, or far more gullible than I am.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:46] Great.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:07:44] And you know what? It's actually that's not served me so well.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:49] No.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:07:50] Yeah. And like people, people all the time, all the time, apologize to me for cursing. And I always think it's so funny, I'm like, “I know what curse words are. Why are you apologizing?” And I think it's because I look maybe innocent.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:06] Like a prude.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:08:07] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:08] But not really. You are pregnant, so you got that out of the way.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:08:13] It was immaculate, Jordan, what are you talking about?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:16] Yeah.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:08:17] Immaculate conception.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:17] Scott’s like “I was there, I think.”
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:08:21] He was there.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:22] Yeah.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:08:22] So, I think that yes, a prude is exactly it. That like this constant surprise kind of dough-eyed look that I could have, makes people assume the wrong things about me. So what's important here I think is one, for listeners, if you feel so brave. Record yourself on your next phone conversation and just pay attention to what you're doing by default, especially to emphasize your own words. Most likely it's quasi-surprise, so eyebrows up. Quasi-anger, so eyebrows down and pinched with two vertical lines. Contempt, so pulling one side of your mouth up and talking out of one side of your mouth.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:00] Yes, my default.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:09:03] And that, by the way, that one is really dangerous because it can make you come across as --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:09] Cocky or arrogant, right?
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:09:11] Yeah, I was going to say superior.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:13] Yeah, no, no. A cocky and arrogant, it's not really my default. It's something that I broke a long time ago --
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:09:19] You don’t do that very often.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:19] No, I really -- I don't, I don't really, but a long time ago I did it, but a lot of it was, it was more like, I'm really tentative because I was really shy and that came across as me being like almost not smug, but I guess really it is a sort of at the same as content, like well, you know, maybe it's like this. And it wasn't just like, “Oh, maybe you're wrong.” It was more like “Maybe I'm not right,” and then no one will like me and I'll be friendless and die alone, right? That was what was really going through my head. But people don't, as you know, people don't go, “Oh well maybe he's shy.” They go, “Oh, he doesn't talk. Well, he's not an ugly person, so he must be the arrogant.”
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:09:54] Right, that is exactly, I mean, people always jump to the easiest conclusion unfortunately, which is usually your bad, they're right.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:04] Right
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:10:04] Right. You're wrong, you're bad, we're good, we're great. So I think that these punctuators, it's really important to know what subtle message you're sending across, even if it's not real. And then using either nonverbal or verbal to correct it. So like if I know that I come across as prudish or unknowing and surprised, which by the way is terrible for my brand, because my brand is the science of people. I run a lab, I'm an author. I should not be surprised all the time, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:34] No.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:10:35] That's not good for my nonverbal branding.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:37] No.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:10:38] So I have to really work to overcompensate with the competence piece, the knowledge piece because I know that I have a really hard time controlling my eyebrows. Short of getting botox, which I really don't want to get, right? I have to fight that verbally. So thinking about how you could fight that verbally yourself and then also watching out for it in other people and knowing that if someone's punctuating their words with expression, it doesn't necessarily mean they feel anger or they feel surprised, they feel contemptuous, whatever. It means that that's their default and it would be good to try to get past it.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:11:14] You're listening to the Jordan Harbinger Show with our guests to Vanessa Van Edwards. We'll get right back to the show after this brief word from our sponsors.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:21] Support for the Jordan Harbinger Show comes from our friends at Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans, America's premier home purchase lender. Let's talk about buying a home. It can be one of the most important purchases you'll ever make and you should probably put some thought into it. I think I thought about buying my house for like 10 seconds because Jen's dad was like, “You buy this house.” And I was like, “Cool. All right, we'll do.” I recommend putting a little more thought into it, I think I got lucky because everything turned out well. But today's fluctuating interest rates can leave you with unexpected higher payments, which can be really turn this whole thing into a big anxious implosion. And that's why Quicken Loans created their power buying process. What you do? They check your income assets and credit. They give you a verified approval, which gives you the strength of a cash buyer, which makes you more attractive to sellers. Then you qualify for their exclusive rate shield approval, so you lock in your interest rate for up to 90 days while you shop for the house. Then once you found it, if rates go up, your rate stays the same. But if rates go down, you get to keep the lower rates. So either way you win. It's the kind of thinking you'd expect from America's largest mortgage lender. Jason?
Jason DeFillippo: [00:12:27] To get started, go to rocketmortgage.com/jordan. Rate shield approval only valid on certain 30 year purchase transactions. Additional conditions or exclusions may apply based on Quicken Loans data in comparison to public data records. Equal housing lender licensed in all 50 States, NMLSConsumerAccess.Org number 3030. That's rocketmortgage.com/jordan.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:46] This episode is sponsored in part by HostGator. HostGuitar. If you have a weird accent. You have to have your own home on the web. It's that simple. With the ever shifting landscape of social media, people need to be able to find you anytime, anywhere. And I know you think, “Oh, I have a LinkedIn profile. I've got social media.” Yeah, until something changes or your data gets jacked or they change the config and you hate it. That's why we recommend HostGator's website builder. You can easily create a professional looking and feature packed website and the best part there is no coding. Choose from over a hundred mobile friendly templates. Your site's going to look great on any device -- smartphone, tablet, desktop. HostGator also gives you a ton of add-on, so you can do things like increase your search engine visibility without being an expert in SEO, or integrate with PayPal and allow customers to buy directly from your website. You also get 99.9 percent guaranteed uptime. Their support team is there to help with any issues you experienced 247, 365, and HostGator's given you guys and gals up to 62 percent off all their packages for new users. So go to hostgator.com/jordan right now to sign up. That's hostgator.com/jordan.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:13:52] Thanks for listening and supporting the show. To learn more about our sponsors and get links to all the great discounts you just heard, visit jordanharbinger.com/advertisers, and as a special gift, Vanessa Van Edwards has given us 100 dollars off the list price for her Science of People Course, just to go to scienceofpeople.com/jordan, and at checkout, use the promo code JORDAN to get 100 dollar off. How awesome is that? Now, back to Vanessa Van Edwards and Jordan.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:22] Is it different for men and women? Because I think for guys, me looking serious all the time, people are like, “Oh, he's really competent,” but if you look really serious all the time, they might be like, “Oh, well, she's no fun.”
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:14:34] She’s cold. She’s cold.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:35] She's frigid, yeah.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:14:36] Yeah, exactly. So it's funny, I didn't think you meant that when you asked the question on gender, I thought you meant like, “Do women express differently than man?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:42] Oh, express it differently? No, I meant interpreted differently, yeah.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:14:45] Yes, yes. So express differently, I don't think so. I don't think so. Not that I've seen, I haven't seen it in the research and I don't think that's qualitative, even just paying attention. But definitely in terms of interpretation, what is acceptable for a man? Like for example, think of Tom Brokaw as a reporter, right? I mean he is like locked in his eyebrows the whole time. It makes him look intense and serious and like a hard go getting reporter. If a woman were to get on as a reporter and be like, “Tell me, sir. Tell me about your experience in the and whatever.” Politically obviously reporter, right? And like do that, she would be -- she'd be seen as like, “Whoa, that's aggressive.” Right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:26] Yeah. People do like, “Ugh, her husband must be in hell. Ugh! Look, imagine being married to that woman. Ugh, so terrible.”
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:15:33] Totally, totally. By the way, the funny thing is, I don't know if you have this, but how many -- how often I hear like I'll ask you the question first before I lead you into the answer. How often do people ask you what you do when you meet them? Like 90 percent of the time.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:47] Yeah. All the time, yeah.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:15:48] A 100 percent, okay. How many people ask you what Jen does, your wife?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:51] That's a good question. Probably they do it -- but it's certainly less often, yeah.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:15:58] So I constantly get asked, “What do you do?” And like immediately after, “What does your husband do?” Like it defines me, what my husband does. It's a very interesting kind of a thing. And so it's funny that you would say like a reporter with aggressive eyebrows, you think about her husband.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:16] Yeah.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:16:16] Whereas a reporter, a male reporter with aggressive eyebrows. You don't think about his wife?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:21] No, I'm always like, “Oh, I wonder is Charlie Rose, does he have kids?” “Oh, I never knew.” I'm not kidding. That's like a literal shower thought from this morning. I was thinking like, “I wonder if he has kids.” “Oh I don’t know.” Never going to Google that because I'm in the shower.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:16:34] Do you want him to tell you a funny story about Charlie Rose?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:36] Yes, please do.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:16:38] Okay, so I went on Charlie Rose when my book came out last year and it was awesome. Like it really well, they were very -- I was very, very grateful, because we sold a ton of books for not segment. Here's what happened though. And the reason, this is the reason I think we sold a lot of books. So we're chatting in the interview, you know, when you're on media interviews, like you basically black out from nerves or at least I do.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:00] I do, yeah. “Oh, like it's over already?” “It was 38 minutes.” “Oh, okay.”
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:17:07] Yeah, I feel like, “What just happened? What did I say?” “Oh my God! Is everything okay?” So like you go into the zone and you have all your talking points in your head, that everyone you know and their mother is watching, and in New York, been in the green room and so I get up there and they're asking me questions and it's going pretty well. And then they say something, and Charlie Rose says something, and I don't quite catch it, but him and the reporters are giggling, like laughing and giggling. And I'm like, now the part of me that was like the really uncool girl with braces in the corner in school is like beginning to sweat. You know, I'm like, “Why are they laughing? What are they giggling at?” And it gets so bad and you can actually find this interview on the YouTubes--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:53] We’ll link to it on the show notes.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:17:55] Great. On the Internet. They are laughing so hard that Charlie Rose and his anchor are like sitting cuddling and holding each other while they're shaking with uncontrollable laughter. Now, I have no idea what they're laughing about. I didn't get the joke. It totally went over my head. He had made a joke about faking it till you make it, which I was talking about in a social setting, but she was talking about in a different setting.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:25] I bet, that's you got in trouble for something like that, if I recall correctly.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:18:29] So I, this is like, I did not get it. I totally like this was naive. Like it totally went over my head. I was like, “Fake it till you make it like what?” Like didn't get it at all. They're like hysterically laughing. If you see my face in this interview, I'm like --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:44] Yeah, you have the natural surprise and delight look.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:18:47] Like totally frozen, I have no idea what's happening. And I like ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, like just fake laughing until I can get to the interview. Luckily it's sold a lot of books like peaks up for -- people at home got it. People at home got it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:03] Yeah, they're like “Go out and order that book with the one who faked the fake or is it orgasm girl. Go get the fake orgasms book.”
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:19:08] Yes, exactly. And I leave the set and I asked my publisher came with me, and I was like, “Was that okay? What happened? What happened? Why were they laughing?” She was like, “It's fine, it's fine.” Let me tell you, when you get off of an interview and you're like, I don't know what happened. And someone's like, “it's fine. It's fine.” That does not make you feel like it is fine.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:30] It’s not, yeah. Your like for sure it's not fine then.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:19:33] I was like, “Oh my God, I didn't think it was even, it's fine realm.” Like, I didn't even think we were at that level and so I'm like trying to like process what happened and she goes, but “Look, you're at number eight on Amazon.” I was like, “Oh, then it was fine.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:44] Yeah, it’s fine. Yeah, it's fine. Okay, I'll just going to go buy myself a new car and make myself feel better, yeah.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:19:50] I was like, it's totally fine. Now it actually is totally fine.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:53] Yeah. Wow!
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:19:54] So my Charlie Rose story, which speaking of nonverbal, I think that was one of those moments where they were having a moment and I had missed something, but you don't know that I'm like totally out of it. You just think I'm kind of laughing along and waiting for the interview to keep going. So sometimes I think you can fake it to make it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:13] Yeah, that's -- you hit all came full circle I guess in that one. It's funny. About Charlie Rose, I loved his interviews. I always have, I think he's a great journalist and then when he went through that recent scandal, I was in an article months or even just weeks prior. I think it was an Inc., or Forbes and it was like Jordan Harbinger's the Charlie Rose of podcasting and around 2 o'clock in the morning, one of my writers who lives in Europe was like, “Hey dude, we're going to have to change your bio.” And I was like, “What? Why?” And he's like, “You know, because the Charlie Rose podcasting thing.” And I was like, “What are you talking about?” And then he just dumps like 17 links of all this harassment stuff from Charlie Rose. He got in trouble for probably making a lot of jokes about fake it until you make it to the rest of his staff. And then I was like, “Oh, shoot!” So then another friend of mine is a journalist was like, “Hey, I love this byline, I want to use it for an article.” And I was like, “Can we just not make it the Charlie Rose podcasting?” And she was like, “Oh, I was Larry King.” I'm like, “So far better.” Yeah.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:21:11] So far okay.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:13] So far.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:21:14] That -- when the scandal came out, I had my PS in my email was, you know, Vanessa Van Edwards, PS checkout this awkward moment I had with Charlie Rose. That was what was linked in my email. This awkward moment. And I was like, “Oh my God.” I was like, “Delete.” Ugh!
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:33] Yeah, yeah. Before you hear from his legal team about it. All right.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:21:37] We've got a lot of clicks I think before I was able to delete it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:40] I bet! yeah. Well, we're going to link up that video in the show notes if we can find it. The awkward moment with Charlie Rose.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:21:44] Oh yes. It's still just see me really uncomfortable. That's the best part of the interview is like me just like totally deer in the headlights. We want to see what I look like when I'm really uncomfortable and trying to hide it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:55] Yeah, yep. No, that's a good example of nonverbals. What about ornaments, proxemics, and haptics then? Because of course, body language, facial expression, vocal tonality. Yeah, we kind of covered that a little bit in other shows with you, but ornaments, I don't even know what that is. I really have no idea.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:22:10] Yeah, so ornaments is a kind of overlooked aspect of nonverbal, but I think it really matters. So ornaments are the way that we decorate our bodies. So makeup, hair, jewelry, color psychology actually falls in ornaments as well. And interestingly, there is more and more research coming out around it. It's not, it's not super robust yet, but we can start making inferences. I'll give you an example. So we talk a lot about eye contact and eye patterns in our courses, and not just that eye contact is important, we know that, but that actually the different patterns that we make on someone's face are important. So, for example, alphas, people in power tend to keep their gaze very high on someone's face. They bounce between the eyes and the forehead and alphas and bosses and VIP is very rarely dropped their gaze to the bottom half of the face. It's a way that they socially signal signs of power.
[00:23:01] So this is important because one, if you want to be perceived as more powerful, you can think about subtly adopting it, if it feels natural to you. I'm always very careful to not tell people to try something that's like totally counterintuitive to them because then it comes across as really fake. But if that seems feels natural to you, it's a great way to sort of socially encode competence, and when you see he will make this pattern on your face, you can also sense their feelings of confidence. So that's a great little tidbit to know about eye contact. What can change that? Are ornaments, for example, if you are wearing glasses on the top of your head and they are reflecting, that can just, even that ornament can change someone's or eye gaze patterns. Opposite would be if a woman is wearing a statement necklace, statement necklaces when you have like a big chunky kind of colorful necklace, that can also force someone who was power gazing with you into a different gaze pattern and drop their gaze down.
[00:24:02] So all of these ornaments are also not only signaling different things on their own, like sunglasses on the head is very casual, right? Like surfer dude, okay? And intimate -- chunky necklaces, signals fashion. It also changes someone's natural nonverbal wave interacting with you, same with nails, same with loud bracelets, same with certain kinds of watches. So the ornaments send a lot of different signals as well as change the signals that people are sending to you.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:31] For men, it seems like we have a little bit of a limited option here because sure, sunglasses on the head, fine, but I don't have a lot of statement necklaces, chunky bracelets, nail ornaments, or even more than just my wedding rings. So what are my options here?
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:24:47] I would agree, actually that's a good thing. I think that the more ornaments, the more choices, the harder it is. So I actually think it's really good. So it's more like a peacocking items, so you know, in the pickup artist community, that's like a big thing to like wear crazy hats or like wear boas or have interesting tattoos or weird earing's, every time you add one of those, you have to realize that yes, it can get attention, but also it could change people's non-rural perception of you. So there's the extras, but I think that -- luckily men have less. So it's, yeah, sunglasses on head, it's ties, obviously colors, like the kind of colors you wear, watches, rings, cuffs or bracelets. Some men wear necklaces, so necklace, especially if they have like religious iconography on them and that those are really the big ones that you're going to hit. So the men are going to have way less choices, and by the way, there's no right or wrong with those, right? Like none of those are bad or good, but you have to understand their assets of your nonverbal brand.
[00:25:47] So every single one of us has a nonverbal brand and when you add ornaments to it, you are adding different assets or variables for someone to pick up on or read you or decode you with that nonverbal brand. It's like a formula, if I have just simple earrings on right now, I have simple earrings and my wedding ring, that's it, right? I have less variables in my formula for you to decode. I'm wearing a green shirt, that's it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:10] Right, yeah.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:26:11] Everything that I add on top of it would be another variable in my algorithms. Like I'm wearing red lipstick ,that changes perception of things versus no lipstick versus pink lipstick versus black lipstick, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:25] Definitely, yeah.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:26:27] Yeah. So like those were choices that I made getting ready today as part of my nonverbal brand. So every single variable you add is just adding dimensions to the messages you're sending across.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:36] Got it. Okay. And so what about things and -- this is sort of a weird question, but what about something that you can't change that’s part of your nonverbal brand? Well, I guess you could wear different clothing, but what about something like cleavage, right? Does that have the same effect as a statement necklace? Because that's definitely going to bring people's gaze down, man or woman generally speaking.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:26:54] Yes. Such a good point. So actually, the parts of -- the ornaments or the parts of your nonverbal brand you can't change are important to counterbalance with other things you can add. So for example, if you're a woman with ample cleavage, right? That is going to change your nonverbal rant all the time, right? it's going to be adding more sexiness, more sultriness, it adds more femininity. It just does as a baseline for you. So you know that that denominator is not changing, and I apologize, I math terms here are going to get real, real messy. I'm not very good at my math terms, right? Like that's something that's not going to change as part of your formula.
[00:27:33] So if you're in a negotiation or a pitch or a business meeting and you want to amp up in other areas, so not femininity, not sultriness, you are better off using more competence ornaments. Like I would actually recommend if you're trying to counteract cleavage, not putting on contact lenses and wearing your glasses. And that's because glasses it has been proven are competence cue for both men and women, right? If I were you, I would also not wear red lipstick, right? I would never pair cleavage with red lipstick if you're trying to be taken seriously in a business environment because you're trying to counteract that variable. So it's the same thing, for example, so men have less choices, but like if -- so I had, I put this in a good way. So if you, okay, so like if you, everyone's facial expressions or facial settings are different. So one of the things I talk about in my book is like how our brows are laid out, how our jaw is laid out. If you have a goofy face, do you know what I mean by this story like a goofy face?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:32] Like somebody that would be a comedian and not just a really goofy looking person?
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:28:37] Yeah. Like Rodney Dangerfield, you can think of him. He has a kind of goofy face, like if you just look at him, you almost assume he's a comedian even without him talking. Versus people who have like an aggressive face. So kind of aggressive face would be like, hmm, who's like a really like alpha athlete?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:01] Geez, I don’t know.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:29:00] So it'd be like --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:02] How about somebody like Hugh Jackman when he's not smiling? Does he look aggressive? I don't even know.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:29:06] Yeah, actually that's a really good one. Like, well, he's like Wolverine, right? But he is also like very like deep set masculine features. Perfect. So Dangerfield and a Wolverine look totally -- they're both men, right? They're both men, but like their facial settings are so different. So if Rodney wanted to be taken more seriously, he would be better off wearing a suit to counteract his goofy looks, right? And if Jackman wanted to be seen as less intimidating, more approachable, he better off wearing t-shirts and shorts and flip flops. So that's a way that you can kind of play with your nonverbal messages, just knowing how you come across, and making sure that you're counteracting with other things.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:48] Okay, I like that. And I think that's in some way, a little bit common sense when we see other people do it. But when we think about our own nonverbal brand, I often think that we don't think about this at all.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:29:59] Yeah. Especially not in a systematic way, right? Like that makes sense as I'm saying this to you right now, but if you're going to approach this from a systematic way, I want you to look at your clock. First of all, look at your face, look at the ornaments you normally wear, you know, and like tally up, what messages are you sending? And I'm looking at your closet, looking at your ornament options and saying, “Here's what I could do, here's my wiggle room and here's what I don't have.” That way at least you're going in a little bit more purposefully. So proxemics is the fancy word for how we use space. So one of the ways we don't think about body language, so we think about body language is like just our body, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:32] Right. Ends up my skin, yeah.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:30:34] Yes, exactly, exactly. We're actually nonverbal, includes how our body interacts with our space, with the objects in our space, and with the people in our space. So proxemics is the study of, for example, how people sit around a board room table and how that affects their actions, their behavior and their feelings. It looks at where people stand, how close someone stands next to you or across from you at a networking event or a bus stop or a party, and how that affects your actions, your behaviors and your feelings, and as well as your, like the objects around you. So for example, we tend to see people who claim objects in their space as being higher in competence. So if I walk up to a high cocktail table, and I kind of lean against it, put my arm on it. I'm claiming that table that actually expands my body, so my body becomes a part of the table. That's all my space, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:31] It can be so awkward when done wrong though, I'm reminded of this Saturday Night Live skit where someone's playing Hillary Clinton, and she's like, “I will now awkwardly lean against the table,” and they like have her kind of moving backwards and smiling in this awkward way because it doesn't come across as natural. And we've seen things like this, you mentioned earlier the pickup artist community. There's a lot of these guys in some dipstick guru want to be guys like take up more space. So they've got like one foot up on the whole banquet, no one can sit down. There are other arms all the way on two tables, and then someone's like, “Excuse me?” And he's like, “What's up?” And it's like, “Can you move? You're taking up four seats and you look like a dumb ass.”
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:32:11] Yes, exactly, exactly. So like that's what's really important is context is really important. So if you're taking out four seats in a crowded club, you're just an asshole, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:20] Right.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:32:20] Like that's not confident, that's not cool. It's just like shitty. So like there's never any -- I think anytime someone gives you really prescriptive nonverbal advice, you got to watch out, you got to be really careful. And I will say it's really hard because like an articles or short videos, you want to get prescription advice because you don't have much time, right? Like we have like a really long interview so I can go into depth. But you have to be really careful when taking prescriptive advice without context, without goals, that nonverbal messages, like if you're the rock and you're told to take up more space to show confidence, you don't need that. He doesn't need to take up space because he is huge on his own. So like it also is your own, again, on the real brand.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:33:04] We'll be right back with more from Vanessa Van Edwards after these messages from our sponsors.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:08] This episode is sponsored in part by Four Sigmatic. All right, so this is the mushroom coffee and I know people are like, “Eiw, I don't want my coffee to taste like mushrooms.” It tastes like coffee. They have other things that tastes like mushrooms, if you're into that. Elixirs and things like that. They even have hot chocolate that tastes like wait for it, hot chocolate. So I'm a big fan of this stuff. How's this stuff? When I go to conferences, I don't want to drink Ramada in coffee in the morning. I want my mushroom coffee, so I bring my travel packs and I'll tell you, when I do that, I'm like the hero of the event because people are drinking the coffee and I'm like, “Oh, you want some mushroom coffee?” And I bust out a pack of Four Sigmatic and people are like, “Oh my God, I love this!”
And word quickly spreads, I actually use it as a networking sort of gimmick because I'm the mushroom coffee guy at the event, and people will come find me and go, “Hey Jordan, you don't know me, but I heard you've got mushroom coffee.” And then it's just kind of -- almost like a running joke except for people are dead serious when they want the mushroom coffee. So I highly suggest checking it out. If you like coffee, you'll love mushroom coffee, gives you a little, little extra brain power for the morning. Jason, tell them what we got for them.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:34:17] For a 15 percent discount in all your orders, that means all of them, not your first order, but all of them. Go to foursigmatic.com/jordan. That's F-O-U-R S-I-G-M-A-T-I-C.com/jordan, for 15 percent off, and what are you're waiting for? This stuff is amazing. I love my Cordyceps elixir, I have it every day. You just can't go wrong with this stuff.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:37] Hey, if you're a first time founder and you're trying to get your business idea off the ground, you can check out this new podcast I came across called The Mentors. It's hosted by these two twin brothers who teach you how to get past the critical early days of your business and they interview founders to succeeded despite lack of experience, lack of money, lack of connections. You can find them on your podcast, platform of choice or at thementors.co.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:34:59] Thanks for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers is what keeps us on the air, and to learn more and get links to all the great discounts you just heard, visit jordanharbinger.com/advertisers. And if you'd be so kind, please drop us a nice rating and review in iTunes or your podcast player of choice. It really helps us out and helps build the show family. If you want some tips on how to do that, head on over to jordanharbinger.com/subscribe, and Vanessa was so kind to give all of our listeners 100 dollars off her Science of People Course. Just go to scienceofpeople.com/jordan, use the promo code JORDAN, and you will get 100 dollars off and you will learn more about what it is? The Science of People. That's right! Now for the conclusion of our interview with Vanessa Van Edwards.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:46] Good call on not taking prescriptive nonverbal communication advice without looking at context because we see that a lot people say something like, “Oh, talk with your hands,” and you end up with this like very inappropriate way that people start using their hands and it doesn't fit the topic of conversation, or they're doing so in a place where maybe you should not be doing so much of that, or maybe you're not the person who's supposed to get the attention right now, that kind of thing.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:36:13] Yes. So I have an entire section in my course on hand gestures, and a reporter went in, took the course, reviewed it great, and she like pulled out a couple of helpful tips and put like, “Vanessa Van Edwards recommends hand gestures are one of the most charismatic things you can do.” And what happens is it creates what I call hand gesture monsters, especially because I teach something called Purposeful Gesturing, which is like underlining your concepts with your hands. So like for example, I'm talking about a big idea, I show you how big it is. I'm talking about three things, I hold up my three fingers, it just helps to anchor information. But what you shouldn't do is interpretive dance, I don't want you to do is like, “Hello Jordan, I'm so happy to be here, and this happiness makes me feel good on the inside.” Like I don't -- that is what I don't recommend, and so that's the problem is you take prescriptive advice like that and it's hard because often people want to see like boil something down. It should never be taking alone, and you have to think very carefully about how it fits with everything else.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:17] And going back to proxemics also, no one likes to close talker, right? That's sort of an example of what you're giving here. So someone who's too far away from you, that rarely ever happens. But we all know somebody who got just a little bit inside our psychological space and we were like, “How does this person not have the social awareness to know that they're too close to me right now, this is so weird. I don't like them anymore.”
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:37:39] Yeah. The only person who likes the close talker as a close talker. I've been like this close to close talkers before and they like absolutely love it. They just like fly, they're just so excited because I will meet them where they're at even though I don't like it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:52] The problem with close talkers is universally, I feel like they all have halitosis as well. It's like you can't pair it. No one's like this really good smelling person who's got gum and mint and is like also a close talker. You're like, “Oh, I'm mildly uncomfortable.” It's always like, “Yeah, I haven't brushed my teeth in a week.”
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:38:08] And drink coffee.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:09] And I eat garlic. Right. I just had coffee and a garlic sandwich with salmon.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:38:13] That is true. I don't think I've ever met a close talker who also smelled delicious.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:16] Nope. Nope. Super rare slash never happens. All right, haptics, which I assume is touch.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:38:23] Yeah. Touch, yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:23] Sounds [indiscernible] [0:38:23] touch.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:38:24] Yeah, this is easy one, right? So it's like any kind of touch from handshakes to hugs to cheek kiss to shoulder tap to forearm touch, and it's the study of like bodies meeting. So we're talking about nonverbal, it's all of those things, and people will tend to focus on just one, but actually all of those things have to interplay with each other and you have to have a deep understanding of how they interplay.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:46] A lot of what we've been talking about, of course, is the way we express our nonverbal communication, right?
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:38:51] Yep.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:51] So we're good at maybe encoding, as you call it. We're good at expressing it and formulating it and putting it out, but what a lot of us, I would assume come to you to learn and come to Advanced Human Dynamics on our end to learn is the decoding, right? What is it that I can use to read other people? And you have to be good at both of these, because if you're not good at decoding, you don't get feedback for your encoding. If you're not going to encoding, you don't look charismatic or generate rapport or whatever it is you want to do. But if you can't decode it all, you're cut off from feedback and you don't know what other people are trying to communicate.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:39:24] Right. That's the biggest, I think, fallacy that people have is they come to us and they say, “I want to be a human decoder.” Right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:31] Right.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:39:31] And it's all about reading others, reading others, reading others, they don't really -- they're like, “I'm good. I'm fine.” Like I know how I come across or it's “Ugh, my presence, I lack confidence. I know I have like bad interpersonal skills. Help me, help me.” Right? Like you know, I need to work on my own presence, but what we have to understand is there's an interplay here. So you know, research has indicated this is a very broad number, but we can take it with a grain of salt, which is that we send over 800 signals in 30 minutes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:04] Oh, wow!
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:40:04] And what's happening there is it's not just my signals and just your signals that those are important. It's also the bounce back, right? So I show anger, you try to call me down, or you match my anger. I show happiness, you mirror the happiness, that makes me more happy, more relaxed. So that interplay, it's almost like a third signal. It's like you have you, you have them and then you also have the bounce back of what's being mirrored back and forth. And I'm very careful to not talk about mirroring and the traditional sense. I think that we have to be so careful of like, “Subtly mirror,” there are nonverbal. That's actually not -- that's not the best way to do it. It's just to be aware that there's a third entity in their relationship, which is the signals you're encoding, the signals that you are decoding, and then how those are being interpreted. For example, have you ever seen the still face experiment?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:57] I don't think so.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:40:59] It's a fantastic experiment that was done that looked at mothers and babies, and they had mothers come into the room with their babies and they put the baby down in a like a high chair and the mom is interacting with the baby. So the baby is going “Ha,” and mom goes, “Ah,” and the baby points and the mom looks and the baby giggles, the mom giggles, and the baby leans in, the mom leads in. There are three distinct things happening. The baby is doing something, the mom is doing something and they're deciding what cues they pick up on. And then in the second part of the experiment, they have the mom turn around. So she turns around like this, turn around and then she comes back completely still faced. So she's there, she's making eye contact with the baby, but her face is not moving, her body is not moving, she's not responding to any messages, no movements at all. And she sits there and the baby like instantly sees something's up. So the baby starts doing all these things to attract the mother back. The baby points, the baby laugh, the baby reaches out and very quickly the baby's like, “What is happening?” Like mom is here and she's here, she making eye contact with me, I am sending signals, but there's no interplay, right? There's nothing that's -- she's not receiving my signals and then bounce them back to me. After a few minutes the baby hysterically cry and the mom that's --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:21] Yeah, it’s so sad.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:42:22] Yes. When I show this to moms, it's so funny, they cry when they watch it because it's like -- but the mom didn't go anywhere, she was sitting right there. So the reason why this is important is because for decoding and encoding you have from it, there's the interplay as well. You could be the best decoder in the world and reading someone perfectly, but if you're giving them a still face or you're not giving them interplay back with their reactions, they feel deeply, deeply unheard, and misunderstood, even if you're understanding them.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:51] That's so interesting. So we have to be both good at encoding and decoding, and we have to do it in real time. No easy task if you're not naturally practiced at this.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:43:00] That's right. And it's worth investing in both. It's even though you think you're good at one of the other and you might be better at one or the other, it is so worth meeting most because they are a loop. You get better with both of them at the same time.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:12] So then what exactly are we decoding and encoding, right? We all know like stand up straight and have a firm handshake or whatever. Like that's this sort of cliché Dale Carnegie stuff that we've all learned. Some of us do it, some of us don't. And we even parody this in the news, right? You see like zoom in on Trump's hand and there's like a thumb print from a crown on it.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:43:33] Yes, exactly. So this took me a long time to figure out my labs. So you know, as you know, we do tons of original research in our lab, and I was trying to think about, “Okay, there's all these nonverbal signals,” right? Like there is fronting and haptics and proxemics. I'm like, “What if we had to boil these down into like what are the basic buckets?” I think it comes down to two things, and that's confidence and engagement.
[00:43:59] So first, when we first meet someone, or even the second time, when we do first impressions, we're trying to assess their temporary and permanent confidence levels. So we're trying to figure out, is this person a competent person? Are they an alpha or are they very low confidence? And then also temporarily speaking from a mood perspective, is this person in a good mood or bad mood? Or like what is their confidence in this relationship and this interaction and this place? And so that's the very first thing we're trying to decode typically. That changes our encoding, so when we first meet someone, we're like, “Okay, decoding.” How are they standing? Are they really confident? Are they owning their space? And do they like me? Do they feel confident in me? They feel confident in the situation. That's what the first thing we're trying to figure out.
[00:44:46] And the second thing is engagement. So this is much more personal to us is how attentive will this person be to my needs, my feelings, and my wants? So the second thing we want.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:57] Huh?
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:44:58] So this is with a lower high confident person, right? So whether you're an alpha or not, we want to know are you going to engage me? Are you going to be thinking about me? And so the very next thing we're trying to decode is, are you on my side? Are you on my team? Can I count on you? That all goes into loyalty, trustworthiness, rapport. I think those are the two things that we have to constantly be thinking about in our interactions is what are we decoding? Like, sorry, what are we encoding to others? And then what are people sending to us? Those two kind of buckets.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:30] Okay, so what do we do about this? If we know that there's a problem, like “Yes, of course, go sign up for people school, come to Advance Human Dynamics.” That's great, but what can we do right now? Like, “Oh my gosh, I know that I'm not communicating properly or I know that maybe I am communicating in a certain way, but other people aren't really feeling it like they're not feeling heard or whatever.” How do I engage better?
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:45:52] Totally. So the absolute easiest and first thing you want to do is know that confidence comes first. What I mean by this and the biggest mistake that people make is they go after the engagement, and that's because we're selfish creatures, right? Like we want to feel attractive, we want someone to pay attention to us. And so we go into engagement first, which actually isn't the first thing you should do. So we tell funny stories, we try to be impressive, we try to convince people, we try to make the sale. Those are all engagement things. You cannot get to engagement stuff before you address confidence stuff.
[00:46:27] So there's two aspects of confidence, which is their confidence in themselves as well as their confidence in you in the situation. So you're much better off doing first is if there's a problem, if someone has low confidence either with themselves or in the situation is doing whatever you can to build up their confidence before you even begin to try to engage them, right? So this is great because this is ties into some of the classic Dale Carnegie stuff, which is, “How can I ask questions that make them feel like superheroes basically? Not sucking up, but I call this one of the concepts I teach to try to build confidence is finding out someone's pet or pest. So I think that everyone has like a pet project that they like love to talk about and it could be like a hobby, but it also could just be like something that -- someone gets obsessed with. Like I love talking about research and science, I geek out on that. That's one of my pet projects, and then also people have a pest and like a pest is like, have you heard of the missing tile syndrome?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:28] No, what is that?
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:47:30] It's like, if you walk into a room with a tiled ceiling and there's one tile missing, your eye goes to the missing tile.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:37] Sure.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:47:38] Sure.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:38] And you also wonder why the heck you're at like at that dentist's office if they can't even afford a ceiling for the tiles.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:47:44] Exactly. Because it makes it look really shotty and really bad. So the missing tile syndrome is also this pest that a lot of people feel like they have like one tile missing and they are terrified you're going to notice and judge them for it. So from a confidence perspective, you want to focus on either one of those things. What is their pet? What do they love to talk about? What are they passionate. What are they geek out on? What's their hot button? And/or what's their pest, and how can I make them feel not judged for it, better about it? I'm like, “I don't care about that.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:12] Interesting. So how do you elicit the pest? I'm so curious like, “Hey, I know you're probably sensitive about that really gross missing crooked-ish front tooth thing you got there, but I like it.” What do you do with it? What do you do with this?
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:48:25] Totally. So there's a lot of different ways. One is you can share yours. So like, for example, whenever I go to like nightclubs or bars that I hate, I make the best friends by sidling up to like a woman that's there. I'm married so I'm not hitting on anyone, but I sign up to a woman and I say, “Oh my God, my heels are killing me. All I want to do is be in my pajamas watching Netflix.” Right? Like I feel so uncomfortable, my pest is that I just hate those kinds of places. So I will then vulnerability share with her and the wrong woman, the one who would not be my friend is like, “Oh weird.” I’m like “Hello, bye. See you later.” Right? Like easy way for me to know. And the right woman who's a great friend for me, I've made great friends this way is like, “Right, I know.” Like “I can always just take off my spanks,” and I'm like, “Me too.” So like, that kind of back and forth is so sharing a vulnerability, also pretty quickly people will hit their pests. Like if you start listening, people will like drop little things. Like if someone's, you say, “How are you?” And they're like, “Ugh, one of those days.” Right? That's actually a lead in, and they could talk to you about their pest, if you ask the right question.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:42] You got to be careful. I feel like you could get some real dark stuff going there.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:49:46] Oh yeah. Oh yeah. I mean, absolutely. I mean, you might have someone dump on you for an hour for sure. But the question is, is that worth it?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:54] Yes, it worth it. Exactly. It depends on what your CIA handlers are paying you to sidle up to this person. What about the positive stuff? Could we focus on positive things like you'd mentioned their pets. So if I'm looking to create a connection with an influencer or a speaker, an event that I'm going to, I usually research them beforehand. But what if I'm in the middle of something? I just met this person. It's might be a little weird to be like, “So what are you interested in these days? And they're like, “I'm just riding the subway man. Get away from me.”
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:50:24] Totally. Well first of all, I'm a believer and this is just my personal opinion, that if you throw out a hook that's like that, that's like, “So what are you interested in these days?” And someone's like “ [indiscernible][0:50:35] and like they're like totally like lid on it. I don't know, you're not my person, but you know what I mean? Like if someone approaches me and like they're going to give me a hook, I'm going to try, like I'm going to try, I'm going to try and give them an answer. Like I don't do Debbie Downer, like that's just not my people. And so like one, they might be giving you a really great clue which is to walk away. They are not a great person. They will not be a fun date. They will not be a fun -- they will not be a good colleague, you don't want any coffee with them. So one you could just take it as is. And the other one is you ask very casual versions or more positive versions of your typical questions. So instead of what do you? You ask, “Working on anything exciting these days,” instead of “Got anything coming up?” You say, “Do you have any big projects coming up?” Like adding just slightly different words, like big or exciting, and seeing what pops into their head for them. I'm not just -- you're fishing, you're fishing for something good. And by the way, if someone -- if you ask three or four of those questions, and they literally can't think of anything, that should tell you something.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:33] Yeah, super boring person, and of course context matters. Like you're not really doing this on the subway. You're doing this at some friend's gathering, a barbecue, whatever. Some mixer, some speaking event, some sort of work thing. It's not like a random person on the street generally or especially on mass transit where people don't talk anyway.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:51:53] I mean, hey, like if you are brave enough to do it on a subway.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:56] I do that stuff but I admit that I'm the weirdo.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:52:00] But like, but like you could do it. I mean like, for example, on the subway, I'm not going to be like “Working on anything exciting recently?” Like no, I'm not going to do that. But if they're reading a book I could be like, “Hey, is it good?”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:11] Yeah, of course. Contextual, something easy like “Hey, I was looking at reading that, what do you think so far?”
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:52:15] Right or like, yeah, you like “Whole Foods, got any good snacks?” They have a Whole Foods bag, whatever. Like there are ways to do this where you're literally just hunting or fishing for good stuff and you can even do that on a subway.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:27] Awesome. Vanessa, a lot of practicals in there. Always a pleasure having you on board. I'd love to talk to you for longer, but I know at some point some part of you is going to get sore because that baby is just ready to knock.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:52:38] She's like, she's just like “Wah.” Like pushing on me.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:41] Stretching out. Yeah, she wants to go for a walk. So thank you very much for your time, and I guess next time I talked to you will have multiplied into two people.
Vanessa Van Edwards: [00:52:50] I cannot wait. Thank you so much for having me.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:54] Yeah. Always a great show here with Vanessa Van Edwards. A lot of new concepts here that we hadn't discussed before with nonverbal communication, always fascinating. And by the way, she did have the baby, and everything is great. Healthy young little baby there. Congratulations Vanessa! Great big thank you to Vanessa. Of course, her book is called Captivate, and her course is called People's School, and we'll be talking more about that when it's open later on in the fall. If you enjoyed this one, don't forget to thank Vanessa on Twitter or Instagram, and tell me your number one takeaway here from Vanessa Van Edwards. I'm @jordanharbinger on both Twitter and Instagram, and I'm doing a lot more on Instagram these days. Little videos of little productivity hacks, or I hate life hacks. I hate that term, Jason, but I don't really have a better -- I don't really have anything better to use to describe what I do there. Productivity tips, shortcuts. Sometimes I post funny stuff, I post sneak previews of shows, and I post little takeaways that you may have forgotten on shows you've already heard. And don't forget if you want to learn how to apply everything you heard from Vanessa Van Edwards, make sure you go grab the worksheets also in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast.
[00:53:58] This episode was produced and edited by Jason DeFillippo. Show notes are by Robert Fogarty. Today's worksheet was by Danny Jessup. Booking back office and last minute miracles by Jen Harbinger. And I'm your host, Jordan harbinger. The fee for this show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful, which should be in every episode. So please share the show with those you love and even those you don't. We've got a lot more in the pipeline, we're very excited to bring it to you. And in the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.