book covers cues

A 5 Minute Overview Of


Master the Secret Language of Charismatic Communication

About the Author

Vanessa Van Edwards is a behavioral investigator, columnist, and keynote speaker. She is Lead Investigator at her own consulting company, Science of People. She has given keynote presentations at companies like Google, Intel, Facebook, and has served as corporate spokesperson for Dove, American Express and Symantec. Vanessa Van Edward's TEDx London Talk on the science of charisma has been viewed more than 2 million times. She also writes columns for Entrepreneur Magazine, Huffington Post, Forbes, Business Week and CNN, and is a graduate of Emory University.

The Main Idea

Having brilliant ideas is great, but ideas never stand alone. Before they are ever actioned, ideas first need to be presented, discussed, understood, and agreed upon. Whenever you communicate your ideas, you will also be sending out cues that influence whether or not your ideas gain traction.

So what are the best kinds of cues to be sending out? People tend to respond most positively whenever they receive charisma cues. This is not the backslapping kind of charisma. Rather charisma cues follow a straightforward formula:

To communicate your ideas influentially, master how to send the right charisma clues as well. Project the perfect blend of warmth and competence, to signal trust and credibility, and you increase your chances of success.

My goal is to make these normally invisible signals visible, whether it's in person, on phone calls, in video calls, and even on email and chat. Armed with the knowledge of how cues work, you will be able to amplify your message and increase your impact. And you'll never be underestimated, overlooked, or misunderstood again.
Vanessa Van Edwards

The Four Channels of Communication

1. Nonverbal cues. Nonverbal typically accounts for 65 - 90 percent of total communication. To project charisma, watch your body language, your gestures, and pay attention to your grooming. You also have to control your facial gestures astutely.

2. Vocal cues. Charismatic people sound powerful. To use your voice to send charisma cues, have vocal likability. Build trust with your vocal charisma.

3. Verbal cues. To make your emails, profiles, and other written materials more impactful, inject lots of charisma cues into what you write. Be verbally engaging, and project warmth and competency.

4. Imagery cues. The clothes you wear, your office environment, and even the desk you use and the colors you wear send cues, whether you want them to or not. Make sure your image oozes charisma. Make people sit up and notice.

Key Takeaways

Charisma is a blend of warmth and competence. Send out the optimum blend of warmth cues and competence cues and people will just naturally conclude you have charisma.

No matter who you are or what you've achieved, balancing warmth and competence is key to your success. If you can't showcase your warmth, people won't believe in your competence.
Vanessa Van Edwards
We want to work with people who are both friendly and productive. Dial up your warmth and competence to always be in the sweet spot of the Charisma Zone.
Vanessa Van Edwards

Summaries.Com Editor's Comments

Do you have charisma? You might assume you have to be a Steve Jobs clone or an outgoing backslapper to answer "Yes", but behavioral investigator Vanessa Van Edwards begs to differ. She notes that in the vast majority of business settings, people will respond positively to you when you send out what are called "charisma cues". The formula for these cues is actually quite straightforward: Warmth Cues + Competency Cues = Charisma Cues. In other words, project the right blend of warmth and competence, and people will consider you to be charismatic.

She also points out studies have shown around 82 percent of the impression you make on other people will be the result of them asking two questions: (1) Can I trust you? and (2) Can I rely on you? When you send out warmth cues and competency cues, people can answer both those questions positively. That, in turn, makes them more likely to respond positively to what you're saying. As she notes: "You can have the best content in the world, but if it's not shared with the right charisma cues, it doesn't land. We're always on the lookout for people who hit the sweet spot of both warmth and competence".

Very interesting book. Has some great suggestions on how to sell your ideas.

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