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Captivate: Conversation with Vanessa Van Edwards

Vanessa Van Edwards is lead investigator at the Science of People—a human behavior research lab. She is the national bestselling author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding With People, which was chosen as one of Apple’s Most Anticipated Books of 2017. She writes a monthly column on the science of success for Entrepreneur Magazine and the Huffington Post. Her original research has been featured in Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, TIME, Forbes, INC and USA Today.

In this conversation, Vanessa talks about her new book, Captivate: The Science of Succeeding With People.

Geetesh: Vanessa, in Captivate, you explain about shortcuts, systems, and secrets that help readers take charge of their interactions in business, family, and societal circumstances. How will this help them, and what will be their most important takeaway from your book?

Vanessa: The biggest interaction trap people fall into is being out of social control. When people walk into a networking event, party or conference and have no idea how to approach a new person—that’s being out of social control. When you are trying to build rapport with your boss or a colleague and you have no idea how to talk to them—that’s being out of social control. Frameworks and formulas give you control. They give you purpose so you know exactly where to stand and how to cold approach a potential client. They give you effective conversation starters so you can talk to anyone, anywhere. My mission with Captivate was to give people strategies and science-backed tools that give them control in their interactions.

Geetesh: Many of our Indezine readers deliver presentations. How can they use the ideas in your book while delivering presentations to their audiences?

Vanessa: It is incredibly important to be captivating on stage or in front of a room. First, speakers have to be captivating with their ideas – how do you speak so someone listens? Second, speakers have to be captivating with their body language. In Captivate I talk about a study we did in my lab, Science of People where we analyzed thousands of hours of TED talks looking for patterns. We found 3 nonverbal cues the best speakers do to captivate their audience. I can’t wait to share these with readers. And lastly, speakers have to captivate people’s hearts. If you want to change minds and change behaviors you have to know about the hidden forces that drive our behavior as humans. I would love to uncover those hidden drivers for you.