New book from NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes is now available!

New book from NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes is now available!


Vanessa Van Edwards

The Science of People

What if you could read people like a book?

Tell if someone was lying?

Know exactly what makes someone impressed?

Win someone over within minutes of meeting them?

I think of these skills as super powers and I love learning about them.

So when previous podcast guest Vanessa Van Edwards told me she was coming out with a book, I was stoked to have her back on the show.

If you listened to Episode 105, you remember her as the queen of human behavior.

Vanessa has dedicated her career to understanding how people work, on a scientific level.

She has taught me so much about how to play to my strengths in social situations.

"Own your weirdness."  

So in this interview, I wanted to get some really helpful tips for situations that we all want to make a good impression in.

Things like networking events, dating relationships, and more.

Vanessa delivered, and I loved every minute of it – especially when she explained how to tell if someone is lying and why this information can be dangerous.

You’ve heard me say this before, but I can’t overstate how important emotional intelligence is to creating powerful relationships.

Get ready to learn from the people expert herself in Episode 475.

"We value people on our perceptions of their skills."  

Some Questions I Ask:

  • What is PQ? (23:47)
  • What are the best skills to use in negotiations? (1:07:30)

In this episode, you will learn:

  • What makes the most popular people popular (5:25)
  • What to do to make a great impression at a big conference or networking event (8:14)
  • The best questions to ask when you meet someone and why (13:53)
  • How emotions are contagious (21:01)
  • Why “fake it til you make it” isn’t the best strategy (22:03)
  • How to get support for the things your personality struggles with (36:05)
  • Which personality test is actually scientifically based (39:47)
  • The one personality trait that you need to figure out between partners (41:40)
  • What personality traits to be mindful of when dating (50:40)
  • How to tell if someone is lying (59:58)
  • Plus much more…

Connect with
Vanessa Van Edwards

Transcript of this Episode

LEWIS HOWES: This is episode number 475 with the human lie detector, Vanessa Van Edwards.




LEWIS HOWES: Welcome to the School of Greatness. My name is Lewis Howes, former pro athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur. Each week, we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Now let the class begin.




LEWIS HOWES: Ah, we’ve got a special guest on today. Her name is Vanessa Van Edwards and she is an author and behavioral investigator. That’s right. She is a professional people watcher, speaker, researcher, and cracking the code of interesting human behavior for audiences all around the world. Her groundbreaking workshops [inaudible] teach individuals how to succeed in business and life by understanding the hidden dynamics of people. I love this stuff. She has been featured on NPR and Wall Street Journal, Today Show, USA Today, etc. etc. She spoken to groups all around the world from stages at the Consumer Electronics Show to presenting research of hers at MIT.


This is the stuff that fascinates me the most, guys. Understanding people: what makes people tick? What are people thinking about? What are people taking action on? Why are they doing the things they are doing? We can better build relationships with all types of people. We can understand people in a moment, in an instant, and create connection and create opportunities with those individuals.


Now, here’s what we’re covering in today’s interview: what makes the most popular people popular? How do they become popular? What makes them popular? What you need to do in order to make a great impression at a big conference or any type of networking events. And how to be the standout person in the room even if you’re an introvert and nervous and scared. Also, the best questions to ask when you meet someone and why.


The reason why this is so important is because so many people ask the same questions. “So what do you do?” Or “where do you work?” It never leaves an impact or creates an intimate relationship. So we’re going to talk about some of those main questions you should be asking if you want to be remembered forever. Also, the personality trait that you need to figure out when you’re in a relationship with an  partner. Also how to tell if anyone is lying at any time. That’s right. Become a human lie detector.


I’m super pumped for this one. I’d like to thank today a sponsor which is Athletic Greens. Now I’ve used Athletic Greens for many years. It’s my secret weapon in the mornings when I travel and when I’m training hard. It gives my body everything it needs to power me through the day. The best part is Athletic Greens is giving School of Greatness listeners, you, 20% off your next order. All you need to do is go to and enter the coupon code “GREATNESS” at check out. You’re going to get 20% off your next order. 


Now Athletic Greens is much more than just another greens product. It’s the most complete whole food supplement available with 75 ingredients working together to help with 11 different areas of health. I never know what’s going to come up during my day. However, with just a scoop of Athletic Greens when I wake up mixed in water, I know I have all my bases covered. Getting into a daily routine with Athletic Greens really will be the single best thing you can do for your health and success. I really can’t stress this enough, guys. If you haven’t already, jump over to and enter “GREATNESS” at checkout for 20% off your next order. 


Guys, the Summit of Greatness 2017 is only five months away. Now we are over half sold out already. The early bird pricing ends very soon. I can’t wait to tell you the rest of the speakers we’re bringing in this year and what we have planned, it’s going to be massive. For those who were there last year, you know how incredible it was. It’s going to be even bigger and better than last year while keeping the same magic we created in 2016. 


Now so far, we  have announced incredible speakers like Super Bowl champion Ray Lewis, relationship specialist Esther Perel, Tim Storey, Chris Lee who are speaking already this year. We’ve got some other big announcements with speakers coming soon but make sure to get your tickets right now at to get your early bird pricing before it goes up., I’ll see you guys there. 

I want to give a shoutout to a Review of the Week over on iTunes. This was from “rcornishmac” who says, “Lewis is the master at finding the most unique and exceptional people to get on the show. The guests are always incredible with hard-won, hard-hiting knowledge. Lewis has an absolute knack for finding people with great stories and incredible insights to share with you, the listener. I consider myself a seasoned entrepreneur but I always gain insights from the School of Greatness. I started listening to this show about six months ago and I’ve been truly surprised by every interview. There’s been some interviews where I didn’t recognize who the guest was, which was rare for me, and I thought it wouldn’t be that great, but it turned out to be fantastic. If you’re looking to learn from the best and you want to gain more knowledge while getting massively inspired, subscribe and listen to the School of Greatness.” 


So “rcornishmac,” thank you for being the Review of the Week. And yes, it’s always my mission and goal to find the most fascinating, inspiring, inspirational people on the planet to give you some value every single week. Even if you don’t know who they are, I hope you trust that I’m curating the best of the best in the world. Vanessa Van Edwards is one of those individuals. I’m super excited for this episode. So without further ado, let me introduce to you the one, the only Vanessa Van Edwards.




LEWIS HOWES: Welcome back in [one of the?] School of Greatness podcast. Excited about our guest today, Vanessa Van Edwards. Good to see you. Thanks for being here.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: [inaudible]. Should we do a hand hug?


LEWIS HOWES: What’s a hand hug? Like this.






Wasn’t that good?


LEWIS HOWES: Well, it’s a finger hug.




VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: The oxytocin. That was so much oxytocin. 


LEWIS HOWES: The connection. I’m excited about this. We had you on  what, like three years ago maybe, right? It was a while ago. It was a massive hit, and we’re having you back on now because you got a new book out called “Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People.” This is the type of stuff that I love talking about the most.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: You’re going to do your captivating face. Yeah, that’s good. It’s like “blue steel.” [inaudible]. “Smizing” or it’s like a “blue steel.”


LEWIS HOWES: This is the stuff that fascinates me the most so I always loved connecting with you about this because I feel like you’re someone who understands me very well. I feel like you understand me because u can probably reverse-engineer how I have achieve certain things in my career and my life by everything you’re talking about in this book and  beyond that I don’t even know about.




LEWIS HOWES: I’m in the book, chapter five.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: You’re chapter five, you’re my anchor story.


LEWIS HOWES: Go get the book. She says the anchor story to everyone.




LEWIS HOWES: I was kiddding. I’m kidding. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: That’s not true.


LEWIS HOWES: “You’re the anchor, you’re the most important chapter.”


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: That’s [inaudible].


LEWIS HOWES: How you connect with someone in the first five minutes.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Tell them their [name story?].


LEWIS HOWES: You acknowledge them, you talk to them about—


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Write a book about them. 


LEWIS HOWES: Exactly. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Works really well for connecting with people.


LEWIS HOWES: Exactly. So you wrote this book, “Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People.” I love the first couple of pages where you it shows a photo of you with—I don’t know if you had braces on or not. You have like a helmet hair, your braces were like—


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Do you like my vest? 




VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: That was the sound I was making when I took that picture.




VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Just like that. Okay, wait. Can I tell you about that picture though?




VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: So I’m in LA, my family’s here. I gave my mom the galley. She was like, so excited. “Oh my god, yay!” And she opened it and she was like, “Why did you choose this picture?” I was like, “Mom, that’s real, that was me.” And she said something [inaudible] she was like, “That was the most painful part of your life. Why would you share that? Which I think is a really…


LEWIS HOWES: You have to.




LEWIS HOWES: To connect with people and show them that you’re not alone and that you’re just like everyone else. 

VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Also I have this problem. People put me in the expert position. Like I’m always kind of uncomfortable now position a little bit because I’m not a naturally charismatic person. I’m not naturally extroverted. I’m a recovering awkward person. So I was like, “I could either position myself in the [intro?] like everyone does as—


LEWIS HOWES: This [inaudible]. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yeah. All these awards, I’m the extrovert, I’m naturally charismatic. And I was like, “But that is not me.” So I was like, “I would rather switch it and say, ‘It is so hard for naturally charismatic people to teach people how they do what they do. It’s much easier in a certain sense to not be that person and then have to learn it the hard way.’” So I say that I learned it the hard way [inaudible]. So that was a big position that [inaudible].


LEWIS HOWES: I love it. I mean, if I had showed you a photo of myself, I’d send a photo actually [inaudible].


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I don’t believe you though.


LEWIS HOWES: No, hold on.




LEWIS HOWES: Let me see. I’ll send you a photo. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: No, you were like an athlete. I was like a mathlete. 


LEWIS HOWES: I was an athlete the way you are an extrovert. I was not an athlete because I was good. Because I was bad. And I said, “I’m going to master this,” just like you were [inaudible].




LEWIS HOWES: Yeah. So that’s kind of how I became one. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Are you going to show me a vest picture because I want to see helmet hair.


LEWIS HOWES: No, not a vest picture. Let me see. I’ll show you a photo of m— 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Recovering awkward Lewis. That’s what I want to see.


LEWIS HOWES: This is pretty goofy. 




LEWIS HOWES: It’s pretty lame, goofy—






VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yes, this would fit really well next time. 


LEWIS HOWES: Right? This could’ve been perfect next year. 




LEWIS HOWES: So anyways. I was tall and gangly and all those things. But I was like, “Okay, how can I learn how to be a great athlete?” So I reverse-engineered. I wasn’t gifted as a kid. I was very awkward. I was in the special needs classes, I couldn’t read and write. I was awkward in connecting with people. I was the youngest kid always in the sports teams because in high school, I started to become good at sports because I put my energy in that. So I was like the freshman [inaudible] seniors. I was always nervous and awkward, they were cool.


I had to learn how to connect with people. I think I told you this before—when I was a senior in high school, I was terrified because all the jocks that I hung out with were done now. So it was just me. I was like, “Oh.” You know what I wanted to do? I wanted to become friends with everyone. So I hung out in the choir, I hung out with the band people, I hung out with the science nerds [inaudible]. I hung out with everyone else like, “I’m going to learn how to connect with each human being and just listen to them and hear their needs and try to be friends with everyone.” That was the greatest thing that happened to me. It’s like having no jock friends anymore— 

VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: And being like, “I’m going to [inaudible].”


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, and just started to attract people. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Can we talk about the science—can we reverse-engineer that? You told me that story a couple of weeks ago. I was like, “Yes.” So there was research—I have always been fascinated by the popular kids, right. Like these magnetic sort of like, what makes a kid cool or popular, whatever that is. [inaudible] the really interesting research experiment with teenagers. He found—can you guess what makes the most popular kids popular? Like what is it? It could be anything from attractiveness to clothing to the way they talk. Could you guess? Listeners, guess too.


LEWIS HOWES: What makes a popular person popular, hmm. Their confidence? I don’t know. They’re outgoing?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Okay. I would have guessed outgoing. That’s exactly what I would have guessed. Extroverted, talkative which was—I was like, “Please don’t [inaudible] that.” So first of all, it wasn’t attractiveness. Which I think is very important for people to keep in mind. It wasn’t the most beautiful girls or the hottest guys. What it was is the most popular kids also liked the most people. Now that I heard that which is exactly what you just said—


LEWIS HOWES: As opposed to just five people, they like everyone. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Exactly. Was he found was that the most popular kids, when they were asked “who do you like?” They had the longest list. That also meant that they were like by the most people. This was measured by—typically—they smiled more in the hallways so they would do the—you tell me if this is right. So men, when they see someone they know, they give the upward  [inaudible], I see it as like an acknowledgement. Versus if you don’t know someone but you want to acknowledge them, you give them the downward nod. Is that right?


LEWIS HOWES: Probably. Yes. If you’re conditioned that way. I try to just smile at everyone.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Okay. So that’s [inaudible]. 


LEWIS HOWES: No. Because you train yourself to just—I just started smiling at everyone in the hallways, too. Just like, “Hey, how are you?” “Good to see you.” Like a [inaudible] or something.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Without realizing it, and that’s what I kind of wrote about your chapter. It was like, “Without realizing it, you were actually activating a scientific principle that we like people who like us.” 


LEWIS HOWES: It makes sense. You’re not going to like people that hate you or ignore you.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Or—and this is the real killer of relationships, people. Do not think of it. We talk a lot about toxic people, right? Difficult people, toxic people. But actually, the killer is ambivalence. 


LEWIS HOWES: You’re not sure.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yeah. You’re not sure. “Do they like me? Do I like them? Were we friendly?” That actually takes up more mental energy than the toxic people. They did a study with police officers where they found that police officers who have more ambivalent relationship v. police officers who had a lot of toxic relationships. The ambivalent ones actually had less efficiency, they had less happiness, career satisfaction, and they skip more days of work. 


That’s because if someone’s toxic, you know you don’t want to sit with them at lunch. You don’t want to stop by their desk. It’s clear. [inaudible] are like, “Should I invite them to lunch or no?” 


LEWIS HOWES: It’s not safe, you’re unsure.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Right. And I think that that’s the keyword is “safety.” So ambivalence, when you like someone, you clearly are smiling, nodding, “Hey, what’s up? Good to see you.” The person’s like, [gasping then relieved sound]. That is the greatest feeling of safety in the world. So if you go to a conference—you have a big conference coming up, you’re really nervous. I don’t want you to think about being extroverted especially if you’re an introvert or an ambivert. No. Don’t pretend.


LEWIS HOWES: Ambivert?




LEWIS HOWES: Ambivert.




LEWIS HOWES: What’s that?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I’m an ambivert. An ambivert is if introvert or extrovert never felt right to you, it’s when you can flip into extroversion if you need to, or in the right situation. So for me right now, I’m not that nervous. I’m a little bit nervous, maybe. A little bit nervous but not terribly. I’m learning one-on-one situations, conferences, I’m okay. Nightclubs, bars, those kinds of things, no. So if you are in those situations going to a conference, don’t think about “How can I be more extroverted?” “How can I be more outgoing?” It’s actually “How can I just like more people?” 


Like when I am at a conference and I do this you—you [inaudible] WDS. So I go every year, and all of my trainers—my science people trainers come with me. I say, “Our one thing is we are inviting everyone to sit with us, we are inviting everyone to come to lunch with us. If you see someone standing alone, we say hello, we invite them to come over.” That is our number one goal. That’s an easier way, I think, to tackle big groups or conferences is just “how can you like more people?”


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, that’s cool. Smiling is a good practice anyways. Whenever I see someone on the streets, I just try to smile. Sometimes you are a little awkward about, you [inaudible] react to me? 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: See, I can’t do that as a woman, I don’t think.


LEWIS HOWES: That’s true. Because you feel like leading people on or something. You’re flirting or whatever [inaudible]. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Gender differences.


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, it’s challenging. I try to smile as much as I can, guys and girls.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yeah, I think you should. Also, a smile’s never going to hurt you. It might get you into conversation that you didn’t expect but I think it’s always a good basic [inaudible].


LEWIS HOWES: We’re going to go onto—later. I’m going to hook you guys right now. We’re going to go on later and talk about how to understand when someone’s lying and what to do about it. And what Vanessa said is this is a scary thing to talk about. She doesn’t know if she wants to talk about that much, but we’re going to go into a little bit.


But first, you have different sections in your book. It’s the first five seconds, the first five hours, and the first five…days?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: First five minutes, first five hours, first five days. 


LEWIS HOWES: Minutes, hours, days, yes. Not seconds. But the first five seconds were important, too.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Actually, I debated calling it “The First Five Seconds.” Like that would work. But the reason why I didn’t is because a couple of chapters [inaudible] like conversation starters. It’s hard to get out a full conversation— 


LEWIS HOWES: In a few seconds. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Right, right, right. 


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah. But there are cues within the first five seconds probably, right? Maybe sooner than that.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I think that it happens the moment you first see someone.


LEWIS HOWES: Within a second.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Within a second. That has proven as well online. A lot of our first impressions are actually happening digitally. Someone emails you for the first time, they Google you, they see you on LinkedIn.


LEWIS HOWES: They see a photo, whatever. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: That’s it, that’s your digital first impression. 


LEWIS HOWES: Everything matters in what you’re putting out. Every angle, every smile or not smile, it can be misread the wrong way. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I think if you think of it as an algorithm. If you think of— “Okay, my LinkedIn profile’s a piece of my information that I’m putting out there as well as my email signature as well as my dating profile name.”


LEWIS HOWES: I should just have you break down everything that I do and just say, “No, this is wrong.”


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Can I give you a really quick tip on dating profiles? Are you on dating profiles right now?


LEWIS HOWES: I’ve got a girlfriend. She’s in the next room.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Anyone who’s on dating profiles, not Lewis.


LEWIS HOWES: Yes. I’m not on anywhere. I was on Tinder for like, three days because—this was years ago. It was my friend—I won’t say his name because he’s pretty well-known. I’ll tell you afterwards. He was like, “Get on here, it’s amazing. As just an experiment. Just get on there.” So for three days, I do it. It’s crazy, it’s like madness, it’s addictive, [inaudible] swipe [inaudible] time. Then it’s just okay, I had a bunch of matches or whatever. I was like, “This is just exhausting.” It was so exhausting, and I just deleted after three days. I was like—


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: You didn’t even see anyone?


LEWIS HOWES: No. I had a couple text conversations with people, I never saw anyone. But [inaudible]. I mean, I’m so forward with saying hi to someone if I like them when I was single that I’m not like, “I need to find someone to match with me.” It’s not uncomfortable for me to see anyone, stop them and say, “Hey.” 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: You know that you don’t have to optimize in that area because you don’t need the intro.

LEWIS HOWES: But I had to learn how to do that because I can never do that. I think I told you this when I was 16, 17. I didn’t have the good looks, I didn’t have anything, and I was terrified of girls when I was in high school. So for a summer, I made it a mission. I said, “Every single day,” I think I was 15, going into junior year, “every single day, whenever I see a girl that gives me butterflies,I have to go towards her and talk to her.” And then I was like, “I have to go ask her—” 




LEWIS HOWES: Every day I saw a girl, for the whole summer. It was an experiment I gave myself. I was kind of like a mini you. I was like, “I need to overcome this fear, this is BS. I want to be able to talk to girls and not be afraid.” I always stumbled over my words, I just couldn’t get anything out. I was terrified. That’s why I said, “Everyday, whenever I see a girl that I’m like, have butterflies, I’m going to go run to her.” Not like—but I was like, “I’m going to go up to her and just say hello.” And then it was like, “Ask her for her number.” Then it was just, “Ask her out.” It was another challenge. 


By the end of the summer, I was fluent in the art of asking girls—


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: The “approach,” the “ask,” the “opener.” 


LEWIS HOWES: Even if it didn’t work out or if they’re like, “No,” I was just like, “At least we had a fun interaction.” And I was like, “Okay.” And I learned how to gain confidence through taking action and giving myself a challenge.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Oh my gosh. So if anyone is listening and feels—


LEWIS HOWES: It’s the bravest thing. The bravest.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: One of the biggest challenges—I think we have to think about our life like a big experiment. The problem is, as adults—we did this when we were kids—you would play with something or you would try something out, you would take a class just because you were curious. Now the adults are like, “I can’t try anything because what if it becomes forever? What if it’s permanent? What if it’s a risk?” I think that every interaction is an experiment. When you think about it that way, you become so much braver. You think, “Okay, I’m nervous about approaching that VIP or that girl or that guy or whoever.” Those butterflies are a chemical signal for me that there is something here. Like there is an experiment that I can have. And I should do it. There’s a couple of things when you’re approaching. If this is something you want to work on whether it’s a VIP or a stranger or a— [inaudible]—so there’s a — 




VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: A girl, right. There’s the approach and the open. The approach is actually very important because that’s usually one for someone’s first impression is made. When you’re approaching someone, you want to signal a couple of things. You want to first signal “friend not foe.” So, friend.


LEWIS HOWES: I heard this last time.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yes. Hands, [eyes?] perfect. 


LEWIS HOWES: First thing that people look at is the hands.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yes. Go listen to that episode if you didn’t hear that.


LEWIS HOWES: No, that’s great, yeah. The first—and keep your hands out of your pockets.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Hands out of your pockets. Hand first if you want to do a handshake or a hug, eye contact. Great. Then there is the approach, the verbal, which we didn’t get to talk about last time. What people don’t realize is actually the verbal approach matters very little. That is because in the first few seconds of interaction, there’s a lot of chemical reading going on. There’s a lot of decoding. The verbal becomes sort of secondary. That’s why the “hey, how are you?” is one of the best openers you can do. Because it doesn’t actually necessarily mean anything. 


LEWIS HOWES: It doesn’t take brainpower. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: It doesn’t take a lot of brainpower. The first question, however, is important. So after you—


LEWIS HOWES: Well, “Hey, how are you?” Is a question but after that.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: That isn’t really, now look—we never really—


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s more of like a, “Good to meet you, what’s up?”


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: My approach is usually just “Hey, my name is Vanessa.” Or “Hey, nice to meet you.” So it’s not even a question. That first question though is when you want to have some kid of a spark. This is a way you signal to someone else “this interaction is going to be different.”


LEWIS HOWES: Meaningful, interesting, unique.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Fill in the blank. What your intention is for the social interaction. So you set up someone’s response based on the kind of trigger that you ask. So for example, if you say, “So what do you do?”


LEWIS HOWES: I’d be bored.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: You’ve signaled autopilot. “I don’t really want to think deeply about this, and I’m judging you on what you do which might or might not be true.” I would much prefer—and I call these “conversation sparkers.” These are these very dopamine-producing—dopamine is like a pleasure chemical  that gets people excited. You can actually do this with the words you use. If you ever talked about “priming?” on on the show—I don’t know if I’ve ever heard you…


LEWIS HOWES: [inaudible] talk about it.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yeah. [Priming?] was one of those things—I never thought about this way but the words you use signal things for other people. So for example, if you say “exciting,” the other person immediately looks for hits, not misses. So if you say to someone—


LEWIS HOWES: “What are you most excited about lately?”


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Right. Immediately in their brain, they’re going to search for anything in their life that hits that. If you say, “Hey, have you been busy recently?” They immediately then search for hits for “busy.” So that’s actually a very powerful thing to know because your words dictate everything, including in emails. If you’re sending an email to someone and saying, “Hey, we’re meeting on Friday, we’re really crunched on time. I’m a little worried about getting everything done so hopefully we can make it all happen.”


LEWIS HOWES: Seems stressful.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: You’re actually queueing the person to feel stressed, worry, and crunch for time. 


LEWIS HOWES: Oh, man, that sucks. It’s like anxiety. Like, “Oh, I got to do this now.”


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: And you are in control of it. You’re creating it. Whereas if you look at your emails you’re like, “What am I priming with this email? What am I asking them to search for in their brain?” “I’m so excited to meet with you on Friday. I can’t wait to talk about all the topics we’re going to go through. I know that we’re going to be super efficient.”


LEWIS HOWES: At ease. Excited.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yeah. And like boom, boom. You’re going to try to get through each thing on your list. So that same thing happens with that initial, kind of big sparkers. So, “Hey, I’m Vanessa, good to meet you.” Hopefully not “how are you?” because it’s not a real question. And then, “Working on anything exciting recently?” “Going on any big vacations?” “Hey, do you love this wine? This wine is pretty good, huh?” Those are all ways you’re signaling, queueing what kind of interaction you want to have. That sets yourself up for success.


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, interesting. So those are the few questions you would ask. Exciting—


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Exciting, vacations, and then what I call context cues. 


LEWIS HOWES: Whatever you’re doing in the moment. [inaudible].


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: “God, isn’t this restaurant great?” “Wasn’t that speaker awesome?” “Hey, how’s the wine?” “Did you get any drinks?” You’ll never run out of things to talk about if you’re looking for context clues. I could even be like, “Wow, three cameras, Lewis, impressive.” Okay, now we’re talking about cameras.


LEWIS HOWES: It’s actually four but you missed it. [inaudible] over there. Yeah.




LEWIS HOWES: It’s all good.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I am impressed.


LEWIS HOWES: You just activated my mind. I feel like you like me and that you’re impressed with me. Now I feel good and at ease. Okay, cool.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: So that’s how it kind of works. 


LEWIS HOWES: One of the questions I like as well is, “What are you most grateful for?” Maybe it’s not the first one but I like to keep it one of the first few. Maybe that’s wrong, I don’t know.




LEWIS HOWES: I’m triggering gratitude. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: You’re triggering gratitude and you’re setting an intention of “I don’t want to talk about service.” By the way, it goes the other way, too. Like if you’re with someone whom you’re not comfortable with or you’re ambivalent about or you don’t want to build deep relationship, you want to avoid those kind of personal topics because you’re not safe yet. That’s also a really important internal trigger. Did I tell you about the skydiver study when we talked the last time?


LEWIS HOWES: Probably.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Oh my gosh, this is one of my favorite new studies. So what day did is—thing happened to me in New York City. I was in New York City, and I was walking by myself after a dinner party, into the subway. I love New York but at night by yourself, it’s like, “egh.” So I was kind of already nervous. I walk into the subway, walk on the car, and immediately, I feel fear. Like you know that feeling you get like at the pit of your stomach where you’re like, [breathes sharply], and I could feel the hairs at the back of my neck stand up, and I was like, “What is it? What is it? What is it?” I’m looking around the car. Everything looks fine. Right before the door is closed, a guy standing right next to me grabs the purse of the elderly woman sitting and runs out the doors. Thank god, people stopped him within five seconds of him getting off of the car, got the purse back. But I was like, “How did I know?” So I was like, “I don’t think I’m psychic, so what else is going on here?”


So there was a study that was done where they had first time skydivers, before they went up in the air, run on the treadmill. They ran on the treadmill enough to get them real sweaty, and they had them wore sweat pads to absorb their sweat. They took those sweat pads out, they put them in a new sweatsuit, and they have to jump out of a plane. Took those sweat pads—obviously, you get a little sweaty when you’re jumping out of a plane. Then they had participants smell these sweat pads—I know, it’s kind of gross.


LEWIS HOWES: See which one was fear or which one’s excitement or what.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: They didn’t even tell them what they were smelling, they put them at a brain scanner, and they had them smell each one. These people had no idea what was being tested, they didn’t even know they were smelling sweat. When the people smelled the sweat pad that was used when they jumped, the person’s fear part of their brain activated. In other words, when we feel fear, anxiety, we actually produce a fear chemical. This study kind of blew my mind because it means three things: one, there’s a physical response to the emotion that we feel in a chemical or a pheromone. Second, other people pick that up. And third, not only do we pick it up, we actually mirror it. We catch it like a contagion which means that on that train, I clearly smelled his adrenaline or his fear and it made me very scared. Even though it only happened two seconds later, I could feel that something was about to happen. So when you show up to an event feeling either really anxious or really nervous…


LEWIS HOWES: You’re going to [create?] that on other people.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: People are going to catch it from you. Which is why I do not believe in the phrase “fake it till you make it.” I don’t think that that works. I think what’s much better is figuring out where you naturally rise to the occasion, where you already feel strong and confident because I would much rather infect excitement than infect anxiety. We have a lot of power in our social interactions. The cues that people catch from us can literally physically not only change our conversation, but change the shape of their entire day.


So I think that that’s where—we’re talking about here is not just like, “Oh, make fun conversation and smile more.” It’s like, no, you could actually change someone’s entire being but you can’t change their physiology. 


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah. But you got to have the energy to show up in a certain way.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yeah. And it also shows up in the body differently. There was a really interesting set of studies that looked at how we feel emotion, and they found that—anger, for example. You have a lot of activity in the chest and the face and in the hands. They’re get bright red. Because usually, we feel that heat in our chests, we’re usually yelling if we’re angry, and then we might get into a fist fight. Whereas depression or sadness, we lose activity over our entire body. It’s why people who are very sad or depressed want to be in bed, want to be horizontal. They have literally less activity in their limbs. So there’s a lot going on that I think is still very exciting. We have a lot left to learn about people, but I think that even what we know so far, there’s a lot we could do with it. 


LEWIS HOWES: Amazing. Tell me about PQ. What is PQ?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Interpersonal intelligence.


LEWIS HOWES: I love this because once—you’re going to tell us what that is in a second. But you have a test in the first chapter which tells you how your personality, what is it?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Your level, your interpersonal intelligence. 


LEWIS HOWES: Level. Gotcha. How socially adaptive you are essentially. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I love quizzes. I can’t help that I love quizzes. I love checklists and all those to-do boxes and things. So I was very focused on IQ. Growing up, book smarts, technical skills. I never heard about PQ. I never heard about social or emotional intelligence. So there’s all these IQ tests and things like that what a really good way to start is “where is your smarts?” Socially, what are your social strengths? We even have StrengthsFinder 2.0. I’m working on something right now where I want to do social strengths 2.0. “What are social strengths which are just as important as some of our capabilities?” The quizzes sort of like, “Okay, where are you at right now? How good are you decoding?”


So when we talk about social intelligence, there’s really two things we’re talking about. Decoding—so spotting cues, spotting hidden emotions, decoding lies, and encoding. Encoding are the signals that you sent out to others so we’re [inaudible]. 


LEWIS HOWES: Got it, got it. I read that people with the higher EQ or PQ also make more. $29,000 more per year according to this research.  Then someone with a—a high IQ or a lower?




LEWIS HOWES: Lower EQ. So higher EQ, you’re going to make more. 




LEWIS HOWES: [inaudible].  


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: That’s because we are interacting with people in ways that we don’t even quantify or  realize. Every time you send an email—that email has to be received, processed. There’s a s difference between having someone respond to it right away and having it sit in their inbox for five days. Negotiating, interviewing—around the water cooler—people still have water coolers in their office.


My team is all virtual, I still am using bad PQ everyday all day. One exercise that sometimes I think about it—you can do this if you’re listening—is in the course of a day make a note of every single interpersonal reaction that you how. It will shock you how many of those there are, and how big of an impact they have. Like even if it’s just like a casual coffee, all the possibilities come out of interaction and then—so you make one column where you’re marking all the interactions you have. The second column is if that interaction went as good as it could possibly go, what magic could happen for you?




VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: So much. But instead, a lot of our interactions are like, “Eh.”


LEWIS HOWES: Average so you get average results.




LEWIS HOWES: You know, I’m thinking about—I’m probably like, “I have hundreds of these interactions.” They [inaudible] especially those social media and emails and in person. If you’re advanced and like—yesterday, I was at Oprah’s event, SuperSoul Sessions. There was thousands of people but I have met a lot of people. Even for like, 10 seconds I have met people.  I remember there are a number of people—even I just met and gave them a hug—they always have to comment, “Man, you give really good hugs.” As opposed to just “Oh, nice to meet you.” Off. Like they always said something that was a positive reinforcement. For me, it’s like maybe the next time, and maybe months when I see them, but they’ll remember I gave them a good hug.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Absolutely. So that was you took something in interaction even in 10 seconds and you made it above average.


LEWIS HOWES: I have awkward, long hugs. I try not to make them awkward but I try to make them like, not super awkward like, “Get off me,” but  a little extra second. Like right when they start to pull away, I squeeze. I squeeze a little bit more than like, “Oh, okay.” I always do that. Sometimes it goes bad but most of time this works.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I have a theory that you should greet everyone like they’re an old friend. Hand hug!


LEWIS HOWES: That’s what I do.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yes. Because if you have that mentality, same with an email, you give so much more excitement, whatever. It’s like, “Oh my gosh, you haven’t seen this friend in three years, how would you greet them?” That is the way that I think we should greet most people. 


LEWIS HOWES: Maybe not screamy [inaudible].


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: [screams], right, like that’s the girl’s scream. Like two girls get together and immediately, I told you, the volume would go up once they got excited. Because we scream, we go [up?]. What I was going to say also about that which is really very smart is it doesn’t need to be a 5-minute interaction. It can be 10 seconds. A lot of the time, we focus on productivity. We focus on efficiency. We focus on maximizing our business revenue. All those things are great, but if we focus on some of the social aspects of that, it makes it so much easier. Like, let’s not just optimize our IQ, our business acumen, let’s also optimize our social acumen. Because you make that list of every interaction you have, and all the good things that could happen if it went really well, it’s magic in every other area. 


LEWIS HOWES: Magic. Oh, gosh I [inaudible] this stuff. Because I feel like this has really been kind of the key to my results of my business in life. Because if I took an IQ test—I don’t even know what these rankings are, I don’t even know what the lowest is. I’d probably be at the bottom. So for me,  I feel like I just stack and stack and stack so much good PQ, is that right, EQ, PQ, SQ, whatever you’re calling social—yeah. And I feel like people care more about how you make them feel as opposed to how smart you are, whatever.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: And that quote, that famous quote, I think, it’s by Maya Angelou.


LEWIS HOWES: People don’t care how much you know until they know what you care is one quote.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yes, and then people remember—


LEWIS HOWES: They don’t remember what you say but they remember the way you made them feel. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Oh god, quote. Quote. Mind melts.


LEWIS HOWES: Well, it was my time to [inaudible].


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yes, yes. So I saw that quote, that second quote, what I just explained with the skydivers, that is the scientific reason behind that quote. In the book, I talk about these quotes we say and share all the time like the Dale Carnegie, “Be interested to be interesting.” Like what is the science behind that?


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah. Not just like, “Oh, that’s a quote. Philosophy.” 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Because now, that Maya Angelou quote, you actually could think to yourself, “What emotion do I want to infect today” Is it gratitude, is it excitement, is it fulfilment? By the way, this doesn’t mean that you cannot be vulnerable. It doesn’t mean you can’t have a bad day. This doesn’t mean that you can’t go into meeting and be like, “I’m so sorry, I’m feeling really down.” In fact, I have those days, we all do. I regularly do not cancel meetings on those days. I feel that I would rather go in and say, “I am just overwhelmed. I’m off, I’m overwhelmed, I’m sorry for that.” Because I also want to catch theirs. It’s not just a one-way street, we don’t just infect. I also like to be infected by others.


So I feel like—not everytime this has worked but a lot of the time, it works. When I come to somewhere, I’m like, “I am so stressed about this book launch. I am terrified.” Recently, fully honest, I am in so much fear.


LEWIS HOWES: Really, why?




LEWIS HOWES: The book?




LEWIS HOWES: Why? What are you afraid of?




LEWIS HOWES: Why, what’s the worst thing that can happen?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I’m afraid that people aren’t going to like it, I’m afraid that people are going to be like, “You’re not a real expert, you’re an awkward person. How could you write a book?” I’m afraid it’s going to get out there and be misused or misrepresented. I’m afraid that I put all those energy into launching—launching is such a big thing—and it’s going to fail. 


LEWIS HOWES: What’s failing?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: For me, it would be no one reading it. 


LEWIS HOWES: Okay. Well, that’s not going to happen, I’ve already read it.




LEWIS HOWES: You succeeded!


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: You had to read it. I booked myself onto your podcast, you had to read it.


LEWIS HOWES: Our production manager read it.




LEWIS HOWES: Listen, people are going to read it because it’s powerful and it’s what people need if they want to get results in their life. If you want to make more money, if you want to have better relationships, if you want to not be in pain and suffering then—


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: And I wrote it for that. I wrote it for me, I wrote it for them. I think going in with these fears is not actually a bad thing because then I can say, “Please infect me with calm.” You are so calm and so confident that that made me feel better. You’re like, “What do you mean? It’s going to be great.” Like that’s—I know what this book is. I’m like, “Right. If Lewis knows it, okay.” Like, Lewis knows it.


LEWIS HOWES: And she also has proof. [You’re blogged?] as well, your courses do well, and this is an enhancement of those.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I mean, we can talk business models if you want. This was an interesting platform change for me because my platform is B to B and B to C. I’ve never had a book piece in the platform. So it was an interesting addition to add in a book piece which you know—not just on like, horses.


LEWIS HOWES: It’s challenging.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yeah, it’s a new platform play and I’m excited about it, but it’s different. I’ve never done it before.


LEWIS HOWES: It’s going to bring a lot more opportunities. 




LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, it will. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I hope so. People always ask, “Should I write a book?” I’ve self- published, not traditionally published. They’re totally different bags, those two buckets.


LEWIS HOWES: Who is this publisher again?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Penguin Random House. Portfolio.


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, that’s great. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: And they are fantastic. 


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, you’re going to be fine. Don’t worry about it.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Wait, can I tell you something though?




VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Okay. So neuroticism. I’m high neurotic. People are always like, “Neurotic, it’s such a bad word.” But neurotic is a way to tag my emotional stability. You are, I think, low neurotic, yes? You’re not very neurotic, you’re very emotionally stable.


LEWIS HOWES: I can have triggered moments that make me frustrated and—yeah. But I think I’m pretty emotionally stable. 




LEWIS HOWES: But I I like things the way I like them. So when it’s not the way I like it, I get frustrated. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: So that’s about the ritual, the habit of setting things up. So as a low neurotic, you told me, “It will be fine.” Now, from my high neurotics listening, you might know who you are. When people tell you, “It will be fine,” it actually makes you more nervous. 






LEWIS HOWES: You know what, it’s not going to be fine. You need to work harder.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: You’re so right.


LEWIS HOWES: You’re screwed. You’re going to fail.




LEWIS HOWES: Is that what I just said?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yes. I know this sounds crazy. So neuroticism is one of the five personality traits. It is actually genetic. What I mean by that is how we look at neuroticism is by the seratonin transport gene. I promise this won’t get too scientific but this made me feel a lot of relief when I read this. So serotonin is a very very lovely little chemical that makes us feel calm. It calms us down—


LEWIS HOWES: At the end.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yes. If we almost get hurt, and we’re like, “Oh!” Then serotonin is what  floods our body to say, “You’re okay, everything will be fine.” Seratonin, its mantra is “everything will be fine.” High neurotics carry a special form of the serotonin transport gene which means they do not produce as much serotonin. And it goes more slowly. 


LEWIS HOWES: That’s why they’re more neurotic.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Exactly. Because when I have something bad that happens to me, it takes me longer to calm down than you. “Told you it’s about nothing.” 


LEWIS HOWES: On the trigger.




LEWIS HOWES: If I feel like that’s going to attack or something or had been like someone’s been questioned about me or someone did something to me wrong and I felt wronged, then sometimes it could be weeks that I hold on to it. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Oh, interesting.


LEWIS HOWES: It depends on the thing, but [inaudible] like, “Ah, whatever.” Like someone’s flipped me off in the streets or something or when I’m driving, I’d be like, “All right, onto the next.”




LEWIS HOWES: It depends.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: That, my friend, is a resource language thing. So that means that you have a resource language of status which means that if someone has challenged you that there’s a respect issue, there was a wronging, there was a disloyalty there, your value was taken from you in terms of resources. So there’s six resources: status, information, money, goods, services, and love. We all need all these resources but we typically want the resource we did not get in our childhood.






LEWIS HOWES: I mean, I was sexually abused. So for me when I feel like anyone’s taking advantage of me…




LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, yeah. Exactly.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Absolutely right.


LEWIS HOWES: So I understand it.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: And it threatens you. So when you talk about neuroticism, someone who cannot self-calm as much, they are more anxious because they know it will affect them for longer. 


LH; [inaudible].


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: So I hire people who will worry for me. Not literally. I don’t have official worriers on my team, on my lovely team. Like I will say, “Danielle can you just worry about this for me?” Because I know that if she’s worrying about it, I don’t have to. So you’ll notice that in relationships, partnerships with colleagues, you have to be able to ask for your resource theory. You have to be able to ask for things that will keep you calm.


LEWIS HOWES: “Can you take care of this for me, can you handle this for me?”




LEWIS HOWES: And what your trigger points are.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS:So for a high neurotic, it might be emotional stability. Like worry or anxiety. And having someone else share that worry with you makes you feel better. So in a typical male-female relationship, typical mrs.—not everyone. Generalized, the woman is the worrier and the man is not the worrier. Not always, but sometimes. So for example, in my relationship, my husband is The Rock. So I’m really worried about something, and he’ll be like, “It’ll all be fine.”


LEWIS HOWES: That makes you even more worried.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yes. Because I want to know that I’m not the only one worrying.


LEWIS HOWES: So what if he says, “You know what, don’t worry about it, I’ll handle it.”


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Okay, now we’re getting better.


LEWIS HOWES: Then he can say he’s going to take care of it.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yeah, cool. I like that. Especially if he’s actually—


LEWIS HOWES: Then you can let go of it?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I get on the [inaudible] quicker. Hear the ultimate.


LEWIS HOWES: “Wait, I got this. Here, I’ll how you. Go do something else.”


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Oh, see, that would like be magic.


LEWIS HOWES: Does he not do that?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Now he does do that. Because he knows.


LEWIS HOWES: Because [inaudible] what you need.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Right. So he’ll say—like I’ll be worried about planning something for [inaudible] or something like that. He’ll be like, “Babe, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to book the flights, I’m going to let my mom know about our timing, we’re going to make sure that we have early reservations, and we’re going to make sure that all these things are taken cared of.”


LEWIS HOWES: [inaudible] in advance. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yes. I’m a packer, actually. I pack as he does the travel. So I think that when we talk about how we’re wired, it helps us not want to change the person who we’re with. The biggest mistake especially when we’re talking about personality or resource language is we hope that we can make someone better. The problem is that we are wired a certain way. 35% to 55% of our personality is genetic, the rest is shaped in early childhood. So yes, while we do have some ability to change our personality, that’s called free trait theory—you can optimize parts of your personality to achieve your goals.


LEWIS HOWES: And you can be aware of it so you can move out on a shifter.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: 100%. It is much better to figure out, “How can I work with my partner, colleague, friends, resource, language, need, or personality in a better way?” For example, one of the personality traits is openness. So openness is like adventure—adventureness, creativity, new ideas. People who are [high open?] always want to try new restaurants, they want to go to new places. They’re always trying new ways of doing things in their business. They’re the boss that’s like, “Let’s try this, let’s try that. Let’s do this.” Low open people love habit and tradition and routine. They love having things set up the same way every time, they like to honor that routine, it makes them feel hole-in-one. So if you have people in a relationship, or someone’s [inaudible]—


LEWIS HOWES: [inaudible]. You’re like, constantly stressed.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: You don’t have to be but you’re constantly stressed. It would better for the high open person to be like, “Hey, it’s really important to me to be adventurous with food. Trying new restaurants is a thing. Is that okay with you? I’m totally okay with having the morning routine be the same, having our grocery shopping be the same, but on this area, that makes me feel alive.”


LEWIS HOWES: “Two nights a week, we’re going somewhere different.”


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Exactly. Or, “do I need to have a friend who’s my adventurous eater?” That’s I think something we don’t always negotiate in that way. As soon as you have the language, it makes it a non-hot button issue. So instead of, “I want to try a new place.” “You always want to try a new place.” That’s a hot button issue. First is, “Hey, Thursdays are our night out night, are you open to trying somewhere new or should I call my friend, George?” That’s a very different kind of conversation, and my goal is not to get rid of your fights, it’s to make them discussions. 


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, not fights.




LEWIS HOWES: So you said you wanted to talk about something in the beginning. About personalities.




LEWIS HOWES: What is this specifically?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yes. You’re like, “I don’t know about this stuff.”


LEWIS HOWES: Let’s hear it.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: So when we talk about science and personality, there’s a lot of things out there. DISC and Enneagram and Myers-Briggs and all these things.  The only one that is scientifically based is the Big Five. It’s these five personality traits—


LEWIS HOWES: Isn’t it five love languages?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: We talked about the five love languages, actually. That’s a good one, too. So there’s “special five,” five love languages and the Big Five.


LEWIS HOWES: I know that’s not scientific, the love languages.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Actually there is some science. 


LEWIS HOWES: Although it seems very practical.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: There is some science behind it. Yeah, there is. The Big Five has a lot. So everyone has these Big Five personality traits, and they’re either high or low in them.


LEWIS HOWES: It’s one or the other. High low, it’s no middle.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: There is middle. It is a spectrum. This is the biggest difference between Myers-Briggs like labels you like an extrovert or an introvert. A lot of people really struggle with that label. 


LEWIS HOWES: “Well, I’m kind of both.” Or “I’m in the middle.” So every trait is a spectrum. Like, we have a nice spectrum and you kind of place yourself on it. A lot of these personality traits are not our choice. That is why I brought up the serotonin thing for neuroticism. The greatest [inaudible] that we can have about ourselves is to know that our reactions, our emotional reactions are part of how we are wired. So a lot of the times, you feel guilty or jealous or all these dirty emotions, the negative emotions that we don’t like to fee. Then we judge ourselves for them. Like, “Ugh, I’m so not gracious right now. I’m so not feeling my gratitude.” [inaudible]. But actually, your optimism or your negativity is wired within you. You’re better off trying to figure out what are my triggers, how am I natural at it, and how can I optimize that?


We talked about openness, figuring out how you can balance routine versus something new. Talked a little bit on neuroticism. The other one that I wanted to bring up is conscientiousness. Conscientiousness in a relationship—studies have found that this is the biggest one that if you have a difference in your partner’s conscientiousness, you have the most relationship problems.


LEWIS HOWES: [inaudible].


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: So if you are different than your partner’s conscientiousness, scientifically speaking, you’re more likely to have more relationship problems. So conscientiousness is how you approach detail. So high conscientious people, this would be me, we love to-do lists. 


LEWIS HOWES: Details, everything.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Details, alphabetizing, steps, routine—we love lots of things.


LEWIS HOWES: If your partner could care less about it and is like lucy goosey. Like, hey, I will get to it someday. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Low conscientiousness is exactly what you just said. Big ideas. Strategy. Doesn’t want to get [bummed?] down on the details. This is you, right?


LEWIS HOWES: It’s not me. I like the detail but I just seem—where you’re telling from is funny.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Right. So what happens is is you have people who are like, “Hey, let’s plan a vacation. I have a color-coded spreadsheet with all different possible locations and approximate weather in those locations. And then you had the low conscientious person who’s like, “Let’s just fly to a place and figure out when we get there.” 


LEWIS HOWES: I like that too.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: So I think you’re in the middle.


LEWIS HOWES: I think I’m in the middle. Here’s the thing, because I love big ideas and I love strategizing about them. But I know, as an athlete, you’ve got to execute on a daily basis if you want to make them happen. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Oohh, that’s a different thing, what you just said there.


LEWIS HOWES: So here’s what I do now, and then tell me what you’re going to say. So I come up with the ideas, and then I hire the people who are very detailed and say, “Run with it,” so I can come up with more big ideas and then bring them back to you and say, “Now, we’re going to do this. Now, run with that.” I hire people with the [inaudible] to work with me on that.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I don’t know if you guys heard what Lewis just said which is that is so free trait theory. What you said is basically, “I optimized. I know the details are important as an athlete. I know the details are important to my business. So either I work those details out in a workout routine or I hire those people.” That is a great example of how you can take what you naturally are and then free trade or optimize it so that you leverage it up. I would say that you’re probably medium low. But you know how to turn it up in the area that it’s needed which is probably one of the reasons why you’re so successful.


LEWIS HOWES: It depends too as an athlete. I couldn’t hire anyone to do the work for me. It was like I had to train all day, I had to do the research. I was constantly starting game film, I was practicing, I was doing everything myself.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yeah, can’t export it.


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, you got to do it yourself as an athlete. So I understood. But now that I have more resources in different parts of my life, I can optimize the thing that I like doing the most. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I think that that is the key to happiness. I did a whole two-year study on happiness. We can get into it if yo like to—


LEWIS HOWES: Did you write a book about it?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I didn’t yet. I have an online course on it but I didn’t write about it yet. I wrote it from the place of like, I am also not a naturally a happy person. I am a worrier. I really have to work at it. What I learned was is that it’s actually not the big things that make you happy, it’s the little things. Including—


LEWIS HOWES: The cup of coffee you’re going to get later as a treat.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yeah, like the smell off the coffee, the amazing juice at Creation, whatever. [inaudible]. By the way everyone, I went to Creation with Lewis. You downed your juice faster than I could drink. It was impressive. I was like, “Where did it go? It was magic.” See, so savoring those things. Also, those moments where you optimized your natural personality instead of changing it. That is where happiness comes from.


When you can say, “I’m a big idea person. I love creativity, I love strategizing, I love big ideas and big pictures. Getting bogged down to details is necessary but I don’t like it. So therefore I’m going to find a way to either outsource it or minimize it so I can focus on those things.” That feeling of capability, that feeling of control is incredibly happiness-making. Control is a very happy-making emotion. We think of happiness as pleasure and joy and ecstasy. But actually, the words for happiness are control, capability, and optimization.


LEWIS HOWES: Like feeling like you’re in control. Not like controlling people or something but feeling like you’re in control of the results or your life.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: One example of this that I like thinking about is there’s this thing called the Tetris Effect, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of this. So what researchers did—this was not a study on happiness—they brought students in, they had them play Tetris for four hours.


LEWIS HOWES: I haven’t played Tetris in 20 years but I used to [inaudible] all the time. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: It is addictive. So they were testing something about the brain. An expected result of this study is that students left the lab and were literally seeing their entire life like a Tetris board. They wanted to rearrange their furniture like Tetris. They wanted to stand in line like Tetris. They wanted to reorganize their shelving like Tetris. And they realize it in a weird way they had primed brain to think in a Tetris-like pattern. What happens is typically, humans have a negativity bias. We are trained to see the negative things in the world, the bad things.


This is a survival mechanism. As cavemen, we had to go—”Hmm, it might rain. I better get ahead. I should really forge for the winter.” We are trained to see all the problems, the potential things that could go wrong so we can prepare ourselves. Our bias, our training is negative, negative, negative. We open our email and go, “What’s wrong, what’s wrong, what’s wrong.” We walk into a room and we’re like, “Who don’t I know? Why don’t I belong?


I’m not saying everyone has their certain extremes. I think that we can retrain our brain, just like the Tetris Effect, to see in happiness patterns. Instead of walking into a room and being like, “I don’t belong. I don’t know anyone.” Thinking about, “Why do I belong? Who can I know?” It’s a very different kind of framework to see the world. I think that that’s about control. That’s brining control into a negative mindset and flipping it so it’s not necessarily positive, you just know where your frame is coming from. 


LEWIS HOWES: Okay. Control. What was the other thing?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Control, capability, and optimization.


LEWIS HOWES: That’s key to happiness. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Those three things are I think the key to happiness, yes.


LEWIS HOWES: Wow. Okay. Cool.

VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: And I think that they’re underappreciated especially with capability.


LEWIS HOWES: Where else did I get us off-track?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I think I got us off-track. Like on the happiness—


LEWIS HOWES: You were going to say—so we’re talking about personality something, right? 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yes. So the last thing I was going to say was with conscientiousness is thinking about if your partner is a big idea person or [inaudible] person, same with your colleagues—


LEWIS HOWES: Oh yeah, you said in most conflict of [inaudible].


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: It’s the most conflicts where you have “Why didn’t you clean up?” “I did clean up.” “This isn’t clean.”


LEWIS HOWES: “Not the way I wanted.”




LEWIS HOWES: So has you and your partner, your husband, do you guys complete opposites in that space then or are you—


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: He’s much lower conscientious than I am. 


LEWIS HOWES: So how does that work?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: We figured it out. For example, we figured out what needs to be changed and what doesn’t. So for example, I like an organized sock drawer. My husband doesn’t care if he’s wearing whatever on his feet. So we have, after many months of being like, “Did you date your socks? Did you fold your socks? There’s socks are everywhere.” I was like, “You know what? That is his drawer, we do not share drawer any longer.” He has his side, I have my side. So instead of trying to change him and to teach him how to have a better sock drawer, I was like, “No, that’s a waste of both of our—it’s not it’s not real to who we are. I’d rather have us optimize, say that’s his, this is mine.” That’s a really small example and very concrete example.


But there’s bigger ones as well. For example, if you are talking about a friendship or how you’re going to raise children. Someone who is high conscientious is going to want to break down all the details and plan for every eventuality. Or someone who’s a big picture person is going to be like, “Let’s meet the kid and let’s see what we think.” Those can be major value differences. So instead of getting angry then we’re trying to convince them to be more like you, big idea or detailed, the better conversation is, “Why don’t you want to pre-plan?” Or, “Why do you think that going by the seat of your pants is better? Where is the value there?” How can we pick this based on actual strength and not power-wired. So then it’s a very different kind of conversation to have. Those are the three things, the ones I would focus on, is how organized someone is, how big of an open adventurous someone is, and how much of a worrier someone is.


LEWIS HOWES: It’s okay if they’re opposite of both poles for all those things with you but you just have to figure that out. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Optimize them. By the way, if you’re single, I think one of the things to think about is what is your ideal personality match? I know this is a crazy way to think about dating. Most people don’t think about this but like—


LEWIS HOWES: It’s where all the stress comes from. 




LEWIS HOWES: All that pain and suffering in a relationship comes from this. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yes. I think a really fun—maybe this is me and this is my idea of fun—I think a really fun conversation you can have in the beginning of a relationship, the first few dates is like, “So I read this book or I listened to this podcast on personality. Are you a big idea person or a detailed person? Are you a morning person or you’re a night person?” Those kind of conversations early are so much better than when they normal come out which is on the first fight. 


LEWIS HOWES: As opposed to just having this chemical attraction and being like, “Oh, we love each other.”


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Right. “We’ll figure that out.” And then remember that people will free trade. That they will optimize during the lust phase. So you don’t actually know [inaudible]. This happened to me recently. I hired a developer. In his interview process, he came across as very high conscientious. He sent  [inaudible], he sent the proposal. I was like, “Great, this is wonderful.” Because I work well with other high conscientious people. But he optimized for me during the interview process


LEWIS HOWES: Of course. He put his best foot forward. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Of course. So I didn’t ask the right questions which should have been. “So over the course of this eight-month-project, how do you like to work? Are you a weekly check-in kind of a person?”


LEWIS HOWES: “Eh, I kind of like to check in once in a while.”


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Then I would have immediately found out. And then I wouldn’t been like, “Shoot. He’s a do it as he do it kind of guy.” But I didn’t know to ask those questions. So I think in the beginning of all relationships, the best thing we can do is don’t let the lust overcome us. 


LEWIS HOWES: In personal relationships, in business relationships all that, yeah.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: And I’ve seen in dating profiles he will put their MBTI in dating profiles sometimes.






LEWIS HOWES: In dating profiles?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I’ve seen it. I have seen it in dating profiles.


LEWIS HOWES: People are obsessed with that stuff. Someone always tells me what I am but if forget it. I can’t remember.




LEWIS HOWES: I think so. Maybe.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yeah, maybe. But Myers-Briggs, remember, is not scientifically based. Because also, we do change overtime slightly. It’s hard if you have one label, like if you’re just E, it gives you very little room. I don’t like that. 


LEWIS HOWES: There’s another personality test with four quadrants. Have you seen this?




LEWIS HOWES: Is that what it is? Where it’s promoter, supporter, analyzer, controller. Have you seen that?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I think that that’s DISC but I’ve seen that one, yes.


LEWIS HOWES: Promoter, supporter, analyzer, controller. You go through a quiz of figuring out which quadrant you’re the highest at. So you’d be—I’m a promoter-controller. I’m first of promoter, I’m like a big idea, I’m passionate, I’m excited. “Let’s go, let’s do this.” I like to be in control, I have all these things. And then it’s support, analyze. It’s kind of like the top 4. But really, I’m like, very close to almost all of them. like all of them are pretty high. So I’m almost very spread out. The true leaders, I hear, is what they say is like, “You want to be at the top-end to each quadrant to connect to an analyzer. Is there an analyzer? You want to be able to be analytical with them. If they’re a promoter, you want to be promoting with them. If they’re a supporter, you want to be in support with them.” So you’re always meeting someone where they’re at, not try to have them meet you where you’re at.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: So it’s like a flexible leadership style. That is the same thing with emotional intelligence.


LEWIS HOWES: This is emotional intelligence. It’s what it is.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yeah, it’s the exact same thing with that. Also, like, expressiveness. For example, from a non-verbal perspective, if someone shows up and they’re super bubbly and super excited and the other person’s kind of calm, it’s a mismatch.


LEWIS HOWES: No, you got to meet them where they’re at.

VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yeah. You got to meet them where they’re at.


LEWIS HOWES: Maybe a little bit ahead, try to get them to that space. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I think matching and mirroring is an interesting way to think about interactions. Especially in like, phone calls. We’re doing a bunch of research right now in vocal power, and which you think of vocal power probably all the time because a lot of people are listening. There’s an interesting anchor study here where they looked at doctors, and they found that doctors who record 10-second voice tone clips—so, “Hello, my name is Dr. Edwards. I work at Children’s Presbyterian Hospital and I specialize in oncology.” Something like that. They took those clips and they warbled the words so you couldn’t understand the words that were being said. So was, [unintelligible]. They asked people to rate those clips on intelligence, warmth, competence. Imagine this for a second: you hear a clip of gobbledygook—


LEWIS HOWES: How could you rate it?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Exactly. How could you, but people do. They found that the doctors who got rated the lowest in intelligence and warmth also had the highest rate of malpractice lawsuits.


LEWIS HOWES: Wow. Just based on confidence and voice. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Somehow we don’t sue people. We don’t sue doctors based on their actual skills. We sue doctors based on our perception of their skills. How they show up, how they sound. It does not have to do the verbal. Remember how at the very beginning I was like, “Whatever you say in those first few seconds is actually not as important as what you’re showing up as.” We even catch that on the phone. So your vocal power—how you say “hello?” What’s interesting is the biggest mistake people make—tone, cadence, and pitch. Also another one is people will hold their breath while they answer so they go, “Hello?” That’s the highest end of my vocal range. I’m working very hard right now to keep my vocal range in the lowest possible range because—


LEWIS HOWES: Much more calm and relaxed.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: It’s much more calm, it has a better resonance point. So if you hear yourself going on a little bit higher on your range, the best thing you can do is actually speak on the out-breath. So if you hear the difference—so I’m going to make myself go tense. So when I get really excited and I tense my vocal cord, I sound a little bit nervous, little bit more like a child. Now if I speak on the out-breath, it forces the words out, it relaxes my vocal cords, and it makes me sound more resonant. The best thing you can do is actually answer on the out-breath. 


LEWIS HOWES: You’re like a voiceover actor.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: All these careers I can do.


LEWIS HOWES: It’s funny, my brother told me that he read in some science project or something where research on—when he’s on the phone, he smiles when he’s saying goodbye. He’s like smiling in the last 30 seconds. He says, “People can feel that on the other side.” Yes, okay. That’s absolutely right. There are 16 different kinds of smiles that can be detected from voice tone alone. What’s interesting is we’re—on our vocal study that we’re doing right now—we haven’t published this research yet but it’s super interesting. We found the preliminary results.


We had the same people record “hello” with different body language expressions. And we also have the new micro expressions. So happiness microexpression, anger microexpression was when you pull your eyebrows together, harden your lips versus sadness microexpression is that’s when you pinch your inner corners together. And we had them record “hello.” Then we had people in our lab, or participants, and you can go play if you want. Listen to these clips and rate them on warmth, competence, and charisma. The same person will get totally different ratings based on how they are holding their face and their body.


LEWIS HOWES: Crazy. So how you hold yourself on the phone matters. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS:This is the same thing we’re talking about earlier which is like, “Whay do you want to infect?” If you answer the phone sad and anxious and distracted, not only do people perceive you as sad, anxious, distracted, they catch those emotions too. 


LEWIS HOWES: So what’s the best thing that people should do before they answer the phone?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Out-breath. So not holding your breath in. If you can take one or two deep breaths before you answer, it will relax your vocal cord. You’re like picking up, “Who is it?” You add a couple deep breaths and then, “hello?” That’s the first thing you can do. It relaxes your vocal cords.


LEWIS HOWES: So you just say hello. Or if it’s a friend, you like, “Hey, what’s up good looking?” 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Either one. I like that, that’s a compliment. I like a compliment anyway. So like, “Hey, this is Lewis.” “Hello.” “Hey buddy, what’s up?” So one or two deep breaths.


LEWIS HOWES: So it doesn’t matter what you say, it’s the energy and how you’re saying it. Just like when you’re meeting in person. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Exactly. So breath, yes. Breath. I’m not cool.


LEWIS HOWES: you are cook.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I cannot do a fist bump like that. Can we just wave at each other? That’s way more comfortable for me.


LEWIS HOWES: Hey, guys!


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Hey, guys! Yeah, so out-breath is actually the most important one if you can do it. The second one would be to try to actually just be as expressive as they are. So you say “hello,” and they’re like, “Hey, what’s up?” That match is like an instant “I’m with you. I’m on the same page.” Especially for business.


LEWIS HOWES: Okay. I want to get to the final part of talking about lying and how you can tell someone’s lying. 




LEWIS HOWES: You don’t have much of this in the book.

VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I don’t have very much of this in the book.


LEWIS HOWES: Why don’t you have this in the book?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: The reason is because I think this is one of those evil superpowers because it is very powerful. The science behind lie detection is very concrete, it’s not a guessing game. We do know a lot about what happens to people when they lie. The problem is, amateur lie detectors do worse than people who don’t know anything about lying. Always my worry is like, “Oh my gosh, if I give someone a little bit of information, I actually make them worse.” So for example, in the biggest study on lie detection that was done, we can spot lies with 54% accuracy.


LEWIS HOWES: So they’ll flip a coin?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Exactly. It’s terrible. By the way, police officers don’t—so can you guess there’s one group that did better on this. It’s not police officers, it’s not doctors, it’s not teachers—




VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: No. I actually wish it was kids. They actually didn’t test kids because that’s a whole different IRB process.


LEWIS HOWES: Who was more efficient and see if there’s a lie? Someone’s lying, is that what you’re saying? In the group?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Mhmm. Prison inmates.


LEWIS HOWES: That makes sense. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Right. As soon as I read it, I was like, “Yeah.” And they joked that [inaudible] section it takes one to know one. So that was very [inaudible] of me. 


LEWIS HOWES: Can’t steal from a thief.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: All those things. Yes, exactly. The same thing happens with lying. So the problem is the moment you give an amateur liar, like someone, amateur tips, their ability goes below 55%. It gets even worse.

LEWIS HOWES: They don’t know. Yeah.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Because it’s like you need the whole system. But I think there’s a couple things that if you are interested in this thing or in this idea, this topic, here’s a couple things that you want to start with. There are things that can immediately help you spot lies in your life. Are you ready?


LEWIS HOWES: Let’s do it.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: The first thing that you want to look for are incongruencies. In interactions, it’s very easy to control our words. Anyone can say anything. What you’re looking for is incongruencies with the body or voice tone. So for example, if I were to show up and be like, “I’m so happy to be here today.” You can hear it. Our body language has 12.5 times more weight than our words. So with liars, what you’re looking for is leaks. Leaks or incongruencies. A very common one is in Western cultures, and up and down nod, a vertical nod means “yes,” and a horizontal one means “no.” So an incongruency would be?




VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Right. Exactly. For people who are listening, I’m shaking my head opposite so it would be—”So, did you take the cookies from the cookie jar?” “No.” So that’s a leak. That’s the minute we often see where we’re seeing some kind of incongruency. Other big kind of incongruity is microexpressions. This is something that I do talk about in the book. It’s sort of the first step to lie detection is learning how to read faces. The most important facial expression to recognize, this is the most powerful one is the expression of contempt. So contempt is a one-sided mouth raise. Smirk. 


Dr. John Gottman, he analyzed thousands of couples in his love lab looking for patterns in marriages. He found that couples who showed contempt towards the other with 93% accuracy would get divorced in 30 years. I mean, you don’t hear stats like that very often. So contempt is a really interesting one. You see it a lot on Meyers. Because if someone is truly happy about something or very excited to see you are happy to be there, there’s no reason they’re going to show contempt or the smirk. It often will come out either because they’re actually not happy with what they’re saying or they hate having to lie.

Liars hate lying. We did a big lie detection experiment. We had people play two truths and a lie with us, and we analyzed their videos. So we actually analyzed their cues. Liars hate to lie. We don’t like the feeling in our body when we lie. It feels really inauthentic. Sometimes you’ll see see a liar who will make contempt because they’re like, “Boy, I really don’t want to have to do this.” And they hold their mouth in that side. Contempt expression because they really don’t like it.


The two things I want you to look out for if—if you’re starting to see it, that means you actually have an eye for it is contempt when there shouldn’t be contempt, any kind of incongruencies like that negative head nod. Or when someone says something but doesn’t actually mean it. You start with those two steps and [inaudible] increase your abilities. 


LEWIS HOWES: Your lie detection capabilities. I like it.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: But you use your gut. You use your intuition for lie detection.


LEWIS HOWES: You feel it. You’re reading everything, just kind of like you reading the guy sweating and smelling, and you’re like, everything combined. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Exactly. So actually, that is more important—that’s the most important thing intuition.


LEWIS HOWES: The eye contact as well, you know. Someone’s not looking at you and they’re—


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Tip, if you like face-to-face, not on video—so liars typically look you in the eye more because they want to see if you believe them. 


LEWIS HOWES: Ah. Want to see if you believe them? No way.




LEWIS HOWES: Why don’t you want to try to do that so you could try to just  act like you’re telling the truth?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: So either one, really good liars actually make more eye contact.


LEWIS HOWES: Want to see if they’re like, “I don’t believe you.”


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Right. So for example, a really good liar is, “I’m going to deliver this to you and hope you don’t—” And they’re trying to see, “Did they believe me,  are they making any facial expressions? Can I convince him?” So actually, looking away—shifty eyes is just a sign of nervousness. A truth-teller can be nervous too. There’s all these weird myths. Also you want to guess the mode of communication that has the highest amount of lies. Your choices are face-to-face, emails, IM, or chat, like text. What do you think has the most amount of lies?


LEWIS HOWES: Text, it has the least amount. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Nope, it is phone has the most amount of lies, and the reason for this is because—


LEWIS HOWES: Oh, I think I know why.






VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I bet you got it right.


LEWIS HOWES: Well, I don’t know. I was going to say anything, it’s not recorded.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Ah, yes. That’s it. That’s the answer.


LEWIS HOWES: But text is like, you got proof or something, you can go back to it. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: That’s exactly right though. That’s why so phone has the most because there’s no paper trail and you don’t have to lie to someone’s face. It’s real easy to turn your back and be like, “Yeah.” Whereas email and text has a papertrail and face-to-face has a [inaudible]. So all these interesting things about lying that we have misconceptions or we don’t think about them. By the way, if you’re doing a lot of business on the phone, if you’re doing a lot of coaching on the phone, you really have to be careful. I have a lot of students who are life coaches, they work with a lot of students, and I do a lot of phone consulting.


What the problem with that is if it has the most amount of lies or we’re talking about hidden emotions, if you’re working as a coach, you really have to spot those hidden emotions. You have to think about what are ways we can either bring the video to this like do video chat or do in person. Or at least say, “Hey, I’m taking notes on this call. I’m going to send you a summary after we hang out.” That actually brings the amount of lies down to email level because you’re telling them, “I’m going to commit this to black and white. I’m going to commit this to paper.” 


LEWIS HOWES: They feel like is trustworthy. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Exactly. So whenever I do negotiations—I do a lot of phone negotiations when I’m doing corporate events. I always say my assistant’s on the line, so third person ready to hear.


LEWIS HOWES: Who’s taking notes.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: [inaudible]. “My assistant’s on the line, she’s going to be taking some notes for us. And don’t worry, she’ll send the full summary on afterwards. Please confirm that we got all the details right when you get it.” I have caught so many little lies. Because my assistant will take notes, very good notes, and then we always send it back and we say, “Please review these notes and please send us [inaudible] that they all look good to you that we got everything right.”


LEWIS HOWES: What do people say?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Well, the lies that we’ve caught is they’ve overestimated amount of people, overestimated a budget, they’re not the actual decision-maker. So when we reply back with that email, they have to say, “I am so sorry I mentioned 5,000 but I actually think it’s going to be a little bit closer to 3,000.” Because they know that we’ll have it in writing if anything has changed. So protect yourself in the business world by adding that in there. That’s a really important strategy for getting more [inaudible]. 


LEWIS HOWES: What about negotiations?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yes. For negotiations, the biggest thing here is actually vocal power. Yes, because because we sue doctors based on our perception of their skills. The same thing happens to negotiations. We value people on our perceptions of their skills.


LEWIS HOWES: Perception of their skills.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Our perception of their skills.


LEWIS HOWES: And that comes through vocality.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yes because when you go to a negotiation, you’re not thinking about what you’re thinking about. “What are my assets, what are my value points, what other things am I doing?” Those are all the important—but the very first impression especially how you ask your number is the most important thing. So for example, if you are quoting a price—this is the hardest part of negotiation someone says—how much do you charge, what do you cost. And you say—question flexion. “I charge $10,000.” 


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, it’s not good.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: You are begging them to negotiate with you. You’re basically telling them, “I’m not sure of this number and you shouldn’t be either.” So first is just making sure that you are saying not asking. So make sure that you’re going the downward inflection. So the question flexions when you go up at the end of your sentences, that’s very very—


LEWIS HOWES: [inaudible].


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Versus going down at the end of your sentences. So when you have a number, you have a skill that you’re going to share, think about the verbal ahead of time. But with vocal, you want to to deliver that in authoritative voice tone. So for example, like President Obama—


LEWIS HOWES: If he said, “How would you say $10,000?”


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Ah, here’s the bad way first. I would like to do negative practice first. :It will be—I’d love to work with you, I think we’d be a great partnership, and it will be $5,000.” That’s the bad way. The good way is, “I’d love to work with you I think would be a great partner, and the cost would be $5,000.” It’s just [inaudible] at the end. It’s a finality. It’s like saying, “This is my cost and I know how much I’m worth.”

Now, if you don’t know how much you’re worth, we can have a different discussion about that. I want you to own your worth. Your time is valuable, your skills are valuable. You spent years learning to do what you do. So you have to be able to price that well.


LEWIS HOWES: If your worth is only [inaudible] pay  as well. So if you can’t convince or enrol someone, then back it up with results. You know you may get it but [inaudible] so you’ve got to do a [inaudible].


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I may don’t have a perception of your value in that way. So the first thing is the downward inflection, the second thing is volume. When we’re really nervous, we will lose volume. Remember how when  we’re excited, I go up. So sales [people?], I do a lot of sales trainings. They’ll do this thing where on the point they’re most nervous about, their weak point or something they’re lying about or a number, “Ah, yeah we’d love to work with you. I think it’ll be really great. The cost will be $5,000.” Again that’s a social signal of, “Ah, this person doesn’t really want to charge that. I’m going to ask for less.”


LEWIS HOWES: I think it’s when you’re calm and comfortable when you speak about it. That’s going to come across well.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: And practicing saying your hardest points. Go through that practice [sheet?], the notes you take before a meeting, and practice saying to another human—not your mirror. “Here’s my rate.” Or there are other things [inaudible]. [inaudible]. A timeline or a skill level or maybe other competitors you think might be able to beat you. Make sure that you were practicing those comments with authoritative voice tones or volume. 


LEWIS HOWES: So people feel comfortable and confident and—


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: And they catch it. And you infect that feeling. 


LEWIS HOWES: For me, it’s so easy. I get a lot of email inbound requests for speaking, and I never want to jump on the phone with anyone because it’s exhausting that I’m having these conversations. So people will say, “I love the book.” I literally reply with one sentence. I’m like, “I’m $35,000, just let me know the dates and I’ll see if I’m free.” That’s about all I say. Sometimes, they’ll asl, like, tell me more about what it is. But [inaudible] just like, “Here it is. If I’m free, I’ll let you know but tell me the days.”

VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: And typically, someone who is emailing you should already know that you’re going to have a high value. That’s also a part of your brand. You’re very direct. If you want to know about you, you have a podcast I can listen to, you have a book that [inaudible]. So it’s also about how do you position your numbers. So yes, you can give a lot of information. There’s different kinds of proof. There’s three different kinds of proof. There’s social proof, so that would be “We’ve had 15 events in the last 6 months or whatever.” There is a qualitative testimonial proofs. This is like, the CR person or the salesperson says “Lewis was the best speaker I ever had,” and there’s credibility proof. So media mentions, published book, bestselling author. 


Now Lewis, you have those. You have all three of them because you have a book that’s on your website, you have social proof, you have podcast. So you don’t need to necessarily go and prove that. However, if you don’t have a website or if you don’t have those obvious buckets filled, you need to make sure that you are hitting all three of those proof buckets in your response. If you don’t have a book or podcast or anything like that, your email back should be: “So great to hear from you,” first mention of social proof: “I’ve done events for groups like yours in the past. They’ve done really well. I think we did three different group last year.” Social proof number one. Second, “attached to this email, I have a deck with an overview of topics as well as some testimonials from some of our previous groups that have really enjoyed us. And then here are my rates, please let me know dates.” And then at the bottom, any professional credibility mentions. So are you certified, are you a doctor, have you been in any media? Those [inaudible] will be at the very bottom. That way, you’re very subtly hitting those three proof buckets, and they’re very important in negotiation.


LEWIS HOWES: I love it, I love it. Is there anything that you want to share that we haven’t shared? 




LEWIS HOWES: Before we wrap it up.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I would say that the last thing—and this is something that I tried to make a big point in the book. I don’t want to hit people over the head with it, but I don’t think I got it as well as I wanted which is I don’t think you should ever pretend to be something you’re not. Again, I don’t believe in fake it till you make it. I think that you’re better off spending your time instead of trying to be the lovely extrovert is trying to find out what is your unique brand of charisma. Like, what is your flavor? The more time you can spend on that before trying to emulate someone else or trying to dial up something that isn’t natural to you is a much better place to be. That’s where happiness comes from, and I think that’s what people mean when they say authentic. So anything I have said today on this interview or anything that you’ve read, try to figure out what’s your unique take on that. Go make me prove my worth. If I said something [inaudible] to you, go make an experiment. Go up to 50 different people in x 50 days and see if you can try out  a conversation [inaudible] if that works for you. If you could find your unique flavor and you can treat it like an experiment, you can never fail. Because experiments never fail.


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, that’s cool. I didn’t experiment when I moved to New York City as well because I was like, “I want to meet some new people, I don’t know anyone here.” I called it the “Red Rose Project.” Can you guess what it was?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Did you give five roses to people?


LEWIS HOWES: I did. Everyday, I bought roses and I would give them out.  Here’s what I would signal: I gave them out to girls. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Were you only trying to meet girls?


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, I was.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yeah. You were about to say no.


LEWIS HOWES: I’m not going to lie, I’m not going to lie.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Don’t lie, you can’t lie.


LEWIS HOWES: No, I was trying to meet guys too but this specific project was for dating girls, take girls on a date. It only lasted four days because I met a few different people and—




LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, it worked. But a couple of times, it didn’t work. 




LEWIS HOWES: I thought I was so screwed. I’m a nice guy, I’m disarming, I wasn’t this weird douchey dude or whatever. I thought I was a good nice guy.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Well, leading with the rose was pretty good.


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, but I remember I went into one girl and she ran from me. I was like, “Oh, my god.” I was like, “Okay, this did not work. But she’s also kind of like a little moody and—I don’t know. Anyways. But most people over there, like, “Oh, thank you.” They were like, “Can I take them back?” [inaudible]. I didn’t ask for anything either. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: You just gave it to them?


LEWIS HOWES: Just gave it to them, yes. And I would see what would happen.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: And What happened?


LEWIS HOWES: I was just smiling, just saying, “I wanted to give you a rose today,” and I would walk away.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Did you meet people? Did you make [inaudible].


LEWIS HOWES: I did, I did. I met a few people, yeah. But it all lasted for a few days and then I was like, “Hell…”


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: So here’s a challenge to everyone listening. I love that. Is there a project you can do for five days? Okay, first, for my introverts listening, for my lovely introverts, maybe for you it’s something small. Maybe it’s as small as texting a good friend a conversation started that you heard today, Just with your good friends. Deepening a relationship you already have. Maybe if you’re a little more ambiverted, it’s asking a new colleague to lunch. Or asking a friend to lunch you haven’t been to lunch with. And then for my extroverts, maybe it’s the Lewis Challenge which is go buy roses or go buy lavander—[inaudible] the streets of New York with my—we did little bouquets of lavander for everyone and just told them to have a great day. Maybe it’s something like that. Like buying lavender, buying a rose…


LEWIS HOWES: See what happens.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: And just see what happens. See what it’s like when you get butterflies in your stomach and you have to approach someone. Take a 5-Day Challenge from today because I think that we can hear all this stuff as knowledge, we’d keep it at the back of her head and makes us feel good, but turning into action is how we actually have behavior change. 


LEWIS HOWES: Make sure you guys go get the book “Captivate: The Science of Succeeding With People.” I’m telling you, it’s a game-changer. I highly recommended it. 


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: You’ll like Lewis’ chapter, chapter five. Reverse-engineered Lewis’ success. 


LEWIS HOWES: It’s good, it’s good. Final couple questions. If this microphone was connected to 8 billion people right now and they had headphones on and you had 30 seconds to share a message that they would hear from you—every human in the world would hear this message in their language, and this was your message to the world, what would you say?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Okay, hold on. It doesn’t start yet, it didn’t start yet. I would say there is one person in your life you’ve been meaning to reach out to. There’s probably one person in your life who you’ve been holding something back or worried about or you’ve been trying to fix something with them, and it’s scary to fix things. Reach out to that person and actually work on fixing it. Ask them the question you’ve been waiting to ask them, bring up the thing you’ve been too afraid to bring up, and try to mend that relationship. Because those broken things really weigh us down. There’s a lot of potential and fixing whatever is broken in that relationship. So go talk to that person. 


LEWIS HOWES: It’s great, I like it. A lot of healing there. Yeah, healing, yeah. This is called The Three Truths. So if you can only share three truths, and then your book would be gone and all your videos you’ve ever created and no one would have access to anything else except for these three truths, that’s all they would have of you for all time. What would be your  three truths or three lessons that you would share with the world?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Vulnerability is sexy, own your weirdness, and your confidence is contagious. Hopefully we touched on some of those today.




VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, great. Okay, good. Those are my thesis statements. 


LEWIS HOWES: Pretty good. I want to acknowledge you for a moment for continuing using your awkwardness to help other people, to help yourself to not feel so awkward and feel all so alone. Because I know you felt that way for many years, and I’m sure sometimes you still feel that way. So I want to acknowledge you for constantly pushing your discomforts to stretch yourself to help yourself and to help so many people that listen to your work, that read the book, that watch the videos. I want to acknowledge you for all that.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Thank you. For my awkward people listening, you are not alone


LEWIS HOWES: Exactly. I don’t know if I have asked you this the last time, so final question is what is your definition of greatness?


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: I think we did but I actually like revisiting this question because I think that definition can change. On the brink of a book launch, I would say greatness is not the success of that book launch or hitting a list although all those things would be great. Actually I think the real greatness was being able to put my truths into something and have it be so kindly accepted by others. That feels like the best feeling in the world. I think that’s what greatness is.


LEWIS HOWES: Love it., get the book “Captivate.” Vanessa, thank you so much.



LEWIS HOWES: I appreciate it.


VANESSA VAN EDWARDS: Thanks, everyone.


LEWIS HOWES: There you have it. I hope you enjoyed this one all about understanding how to maximize and learn about human behavior so that you can optimize your business, your relationships, and your life. If you enjoy this, please share it out, I think this is going to be a big episode because this is what is needed in building your business and building relationships, and getting a career, a job that you want. These are the skills and the tools that we all need. Those soft people skills. They’re going to help you relate better and make a lasting impact. So make sure to share it out,


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