Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People

Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People

by Vanessa Van Edwards

Want to become a better speaker? Terrified of social networking events? Do you find yourself not knowing what to say? Captivate is a guide to overcoming social barriers and becoming successful in any social interaction, with science to back it up.

Summary Notes

Control: How to Win the Social Game

It’s silly trying to learn how to ‘charm people at a conference’ if conferences make your skin crawl.” —Pg. 23.

Within seconds, people make assumptions about your character. That’s why it’s important to “hack” social situations, i.e., play at your strengths. If they see you as anxious, angry, or

annoyed, that alone can tint their perception of you—without you even saying a word! So, what can you do about this? Choose social events that make you comfortable and happy for the best outcome, and display power body language.

Actions to take

Capture: How to Make a Killer First Impression

The power of our first impression lies not in what we say, but how we say it.” —Pg. 40.

Since most of our first impressions of people are subconscious, a huge amount is contributed to body language. To give better impressions, it’s important to learn the art of friendly and open body language when meeting new people.

Actions to take

Spark: How to Have Dazzling Conversations

When you produce dopamine during a conversation, you not only give your partner more enjoyment, you are also assigned more significance, which increases your memorability.” —Pg. 57.

Too many people are accustomed to small talk, which leads to boring and predictable conversations. To step up the game, it’s important to have “conversation sparkers” that really engage who your talking to, to seek out “hot buttons,” and to remember the other person’s name.

Actions to take

Highlight: How to Be the Most Memorable Person In the Room

Being a highlight helps you be the highlight.” —Pg. 85.

Being the most memorable isn’t about how loud or amazing you are. It’s much more about what you say about others that actually is the key to being the most memorable person in the room.

Actions to take

Intrigue: How to Be Ridiculously Likable

Whenever you say a version of ‘Not me!’ you are handicapping your connection from the start.” —Pg. 89.

Likeability is about similarity; as the saying goes, correctly, “Birds of a feather flock together.” So the more similarities you share with another, the more they’re likely to like you.

Actions to take

Solve: How to Crack Someone’s Personality

I began to ‘solve’ each of the important people in my life by looking at their behavioral patterns.” —Pg. 128.

Using the Big Five and the matrix she created, Van Edwards was able to gauge what traits people had instantly and how to communicate with them effectively. She called this matrix OCEAN. OCEAN stands for the Big Five personality traits, which are openness (how open you are to new experiences and ideas), consciousnesses (how you like to get things done, how organized you are, etc.), extroversion (how you interact with others: If you find conversations give you energy, you’re probably high extroversion), agreeableness (how you work with others: If you find it easy to get along with teams and are empathetic, you’re high in agreeableness), and neuroticism (how much you tend to worry and feel stressed about your environment).

Actions to take

Appreciate: How to Get the Best From People

Seventy percent of U.S. employees say they received no praise or recognition in the workplace.” —Pg. 159.

Workers and other people simply do not get much praise for their efforts. Worse yet, people don’t receive the right praise they need. There are five appreciation languages: words of affirmation, gifts, physical touch, acts of service, and quality time. They are exactly what they sound like. A person who’s appreciation language is gifts will like a personalized gift, unlike someone who finds more value in words of affirmation and likes thank-you notes and appreciative remarks.

Actions to take

Value: How to Get Along With Anyone

Knowing your primary value is key to contentment.” —Pg. 183.

How do you motivate your coworkers, employees, friends, and spouse? By finding their values! Van Edwards shows the six values people praise and live by. Knowing them can help you understand your colleagues and everyone else. There are six resource values: love (feeling appreciated, accepted, and liked), service (care, warmth, support), status (taking on roles, praise), money, goods (material objects), and information (ideas, advice, teaching, opinions).

Actions to take

Connect: How to Speak so People Listen

Even simple stories rev up brain activity and sync us up with the people around us.” —Pg. 198.

It’s in human nature to tell stories. We’ve been telling stories to one another since the dawn of time, yet many people don’t utilize this skill or understand its opportunities. Understanding how storytelling works can bond you with strangers and acquaintances faster than you realized possible, so mastering storytelling is key!

Stories have a format you can follow to create them:

  1. Create a hook: Get them hooked with an interesting intro, such as, “I used to love chocolate, but now I hate it because of what I found inside a wrapper one time. …” Make them ask what, or instantly pique their curiosity.

  2. Reveal the struggle: This can be a problem or a challenge to conquer. This creates suspense. Following the first example: “So I open it up, and I see a pink thing … I scream and drop the candy bar on the floor. It’s a worm! And it’s alive!”

  3. Insert detail: Ensure your story appeals to the senses, as this makes it easier for the brain to connect to the story: “The worm was three inches long. My face turned mint green, and I started to gag. Goodbye chocolate for life!”

Actions to take

Empower: How to Lead People

When you give up control, you let other people take ownership, and everyone wins.” —Pg. 198.

Humans are emotional creatures. Therefore, we should interact with them emotionally if we want our messages to get across. Nobody wants to chat or do business with someone who is robotic and cold sounding. Having an emotional buy-in lets your audience know why you’re doing what you do and helps them invest in you.

Actions to take

Protect: How to Deal With Difficult People

I don’t believe difficult people are bad people. I believe they are being emotionally hijacked the majority of the time.” —Pg. 250.

Some people are hard to work with. And, unfortunately, it’s inevitable to either encounter or comes by difficult people in everyday life. Using N.U.T., you’ll know how to navigate and dismantle difficult people.

Actions to take

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