“The best version of you is a powerful, charismatic, and authentic communicator.” This statement encompasses what Vanessa Van Edwards strives to do with Science of People, the popular research lab that analyzes and teaches us about human behavior.
Vanessa jokingly describes herself as a “recovering awkward person.” People skills didn’t come naturally to her. So, she sought out resources to help, but found that most were written by extroverts whose advice was essentially to fake being an extrovert.
And she – an ambivert (a person with both introvert and extrovert characteristics) – thought, “There has to be a better way. There has to be something different for people who are introverts and ambiverts for us to be charismatic, memorable and authentic without faking it.”
Because ultimately that’s how you build relationships, no matter your title, role, team, expertise, or job.
So, in seeking a better way to accomplish this and looking for the science to back it up, Vanessa launched Science of People. She and her team have since uncovered over 2,500 studies that help to create a people skills framework for every type of person.
There’s three types of people (customers) they try to speak to:
1. Adventurous Introverts – someone who is introverted and loves it, but wants to be able to grow their career
2. Ambitious Ambiverts – high achieving professionals who can sometimes dial it up on stage… and sometimes not
3. Goal-Oriented Extroverts – extroverts who are incredibly talented at people skills, but are prone to be all over the place.
She details them in the video below…
Click here to take the quiz and find out which one you are.
On this episode of The Customer Experience Podcast, we uncover the role of the science of people in the science of video with Vanessa. We discuss the idea of oxytocin being produced when watching video and the practice it takes to thrive on camera. Vanessa also shares her best video tips, as well as tricks for closing conversations in meaningful ways.
In addition to spearheading Science of People as its lead investigator, Vanessa is the bestselling author of “Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People.” She’s also a successful behavioral researcher and speaker.
So, how does Vanessa define the ideal customer experience? She believes it encompasses the life cycle from before a customer connects with you, to long after you might believe the relationship is over.
“Customer experience is how someone thinks and feels about your brand before interacting with it, while interacting with it, and after interacting with it,” she says – a familiar theme on the CX podcast.
An example she details is one of Science of People’s relationship with a customer beginning when they look up Vanessa’s office hours to set up an appointment with her. They’re having a Customer Experience before they even schedule a meeting with Vanessa.
And it extends beyond that to what Vanessa and her team leave their customers with. She explains this further in the following clip…
Read, watch, and listen below as Vanessa teaches us about the science of video and the science of people – and how they help us cultivate relationships. We explore topics such as:
• Starting meaningful conversations
• Releasing oxytocin through video
• Remembering that video takes practice
• Ditching the script and being yourself on camera
• Being memorable and believable with video
• Closing conversations with grace
Unlocking the Science of Video with Vanessa Van Edwards
Highlights and videos from every episode of The Customer Experience Podcast are available here in our blog posts, but you can also listen to this episode in your favorite player …
Since you’re here, give a listen right here to my entire chat with Vanessa about the science of video, and how we can use it to connect and communicate more effectively with our customers …
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Psychology of Video: Can Oxytocin Be Released Through Video?
The brain looks for hits – not misses – in our daily interactions. And this was actually the topic of Vanessa’s recent TEDx London talk, and she elaborates on this idea in the following clip…
Here’s how it works – if someone asks you, “Have you been busy lately?” your brain goes, “Busy, busy, busy. Oh yes, I was busy.” Or with something negative like, “Wasn’t the traffic terrible?” your brain goes, “Terrible, terrible, terrible.” So you respond, “So awful,” even if it wasn’t.
“We are actually priming people or setting them up to think a certain way by the words we use and the questions we ask,” Vanessa says.
Similarly, when you start conversations with common networking questions like, “What do you do?” or “Where are you from?” you’re doing yourself and the other person a disservice.
“These questions mean well. But you’re actually telling the brain, I don’t want to talk about anything real,” she says. “I want to keep it really safe and comfortable so let’s just stay asleep. Instead, we should take a moment, wake our brain up, and say, ‘What’s one good thing I could say?’”
A change to that awful pattern is like a gift to your brain — and the person you’re speaking to. Because research shows that when you produce dopamine for another person, it also creates an equivalent of a mental sticky note in their brain of the interaction.
“And we like being around people who give us pleasure,” Vanessa adds. So, these positive interactions will help you build positive relationships with your customers.
An effective way to break from the pattern is to use video to communicate in this more meaningful way. And the science of video backs this up. While oxytocin, the chemical of bonding and connection, is produced when we touch and make eye contact, scientific research shows that it is also produced via video.
“Even through a little tiny dot that I’m looking at right now through video, we can produce oxytocin,” Vanessa says in the clip below…
Video is the single best way to connect with customers short of being physically present. The science of people and the science of video support its use, although it does require a certain level of vulnerability to get started.
Video Takes Practice
Like everything in life, we get better with practice and experience. Vanessa points out how every adult she knows is an expert at eating, but her 16-month-old daughter is still learning how to eat with utensils. But she’ll get there one day.
It’s the same with video. Vanessa started her YouTube channel in 2007, but you won’t find videos on it dating as far back as then. She’s hidden most of her earliest videos.
That’s because it took her time to get good at video. Watch the clip below as Vanessa elaborates on her experience…
“It takes a while if you’re not born with it, and no one’s born with it,” she says. “Anything good takes a little bit to learn. Just like eating, socializing in a different way, filming video, being charismatic or trying to find your voice – it takes a minute,” says Vanessa. “So gve it a minute.”
Video Tips for Getting Started
This is one of the most common questions we get at BombBomb, even for the simpler style of video we teach and practice, so we were interested to hear Vanessa’s answer. Here in this clip are some of her tips for getting started with video …
Embrace who you are, and be yourself on camera. Because trying to be someone you’re not will not give you the results you’re looking for.
“If I tried to be Gary V on my YouTube channel, it wouldn’t work,” she says. “In fact, I can bet you that there are thousands of people who are trying to be like Gary V on their YouTube channels, and no one is watching them.”
So, on YouTube she’s just Vanessa.
“That works,” she says. “The videos where I don’t act like myself, don’t do as well.”
You don’t have to be a big personality or a dynamic personality to succeed with video. You just need to be yourself – with comfort and confidence.
Throw Out the Script
Recently, Vanessa analyzed her YouTube video content and realized that scripts were holding her back. In striving to deliver the best possible message with statistics, charts, graphs and examples, she was overdoing it.
“With a script, it’s very hard to be charismatic,” she says.
And her most popular videos were the unscripted ones. These were videos with Vanessa simply talking, and that’s it.
The ones with graphics and a script she worked on for days were not doing as well. So, now Vanessa is trying to wean herself off of scripts.
“My authentic communicator self is me actually just talking, which is still hard even after 12 years on YouTube,” Vanessa said.
Being Memorable and Believable With Video
Another great science of video stat is that your brain gives 12.5 times more weight to hand gestures than voice alone. It’s a lot harder to lie with these nonverbal cues. Vanessa demonstrates this in the video below…
“The other person’s brain is having a harder time comprehending you, remembering what you say, and believing what you say when they only have a voice tone alone,” Vanessa says.
So, in order to stay top of mind, be memorable with your customers, and gain their trust, you need a message that includes and combines your gestures and your voice. Video helps you do that because viewers will not only be able to hear your voice, but also see your facial expressions and body language.
“If you want to be more clear and memorable and you want people to enjoy what you’re actually saying, the easiest and quickest way to do that is just to snap on your video,” Vanessa says. “That’s it.”
Exiting a Conversation with Grace
A common struggle for many is ending conversations (or videos) on our terms without sounding abrupt or awkward. Vanessa detailed two applications in the art of the graceful exit that will immediately improve all our communication in the clip below…
The Future Mention
A graceful transition is to mention something about the future. This can be something like, “Do you have anything fun planned this weekend?”
This gets the brain thinking about fun and the future, serving as a jumping board for getting out of the conversation. It also gently alerts the person you’re talking to that the interaction is about to end, in case there’s something else they want to tell you.
“Ask a future question, use it as a springboard to talk about next steps, and then it’s a very easy out,” Vanessa recommends.
The Follow Up
Another great technique is to circle back to something earlier than you mentioned. This can include, “I’m going to send you that funny video right now,” or “Let me remind myself to get you that email.”
This takes you out of the moment for a pause before you can leave the conversation on a high note with ease.
Links You’ll Like:
Watch a video interview with Vanessa and Ethan here on her YouTube channel.
Get more video tips with Vanessa and Ethan in this blog post.
Learn more about Vanessa and her work at ScienceOfPeople.com
Stay With The Customer Experience Podcast
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- “Four Things Every Customer Wishes You Understood About Them” with Mike Redbord, General Manager of the Service Hub at HubSpot
- “‘The Holy Grail’ of Connecting with Your Customers” with Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs and author of “Everybody Writes”
- “Developing Customer Loyalty Requires Cultural Empathy” with Kristin Messerli, Cultural Outreach founder and CEO
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Showcase Your Authentic Self and Build Relationships with Video
Vanessa already explained the science of video and its benefits. Creating a video habit within your organization opens up endless opportunities for you, your customers, and your business. It allows you to shoot past skepticism and build trust faster. And simple, personal video emails, specifically, help you connect with people in an authentic way.
Video messages highlight who you are as a person and differentiates you. Personal video shows your current and future clients who you really are and why they should work with you.
So, if you’re ready to get started with video, “Rehumanize Your Business” is just the book you need to learn how to do so successfully.
The book is an Amazon #1 bestseller in Business Sales, Business Communication, and Customer Relations, the Porchlight Books #1 bestseller in its opening month of release, and a Barnes & Noble bestseller in its opening week of release.
Find out if it’s just the resource you need to start crushing it with video in your business by clicking right here.