the podcast recap episode with aj & rory vaden

Ep 115: Top Secrets to Effective Speaking with Vanessa Van Edwards | Recap Episode

While many see public speaking as an art, Vanessa Van Edwards has reduced it to a science that can be taught. Today we recap key insights from our conversation with her on what you can do to be a more effective speaker. Our first takeaway, we talk about how hand gestures can build trust with your audience and how your body can be used to convey your message.

After touching on Vanessa’s data-driven process, we discuss what she did to make her Ted Talk go viral. We review her actionable steps before focusing on an important lesson — that how you use the stage can either diminish or empower your presentation. We then chat about the benefits of standing and delivering your message versus intentionally moving across the stage.

Our last takeaway centers on why you should get your content on YouTube, a recurring theme among our latest episodes. Tune in to hear how you can level up your speaking game, along with specifics on what YouTube can do for your brand.

Listen to the episode below

Key takeaways from this episode

  • How hand gestures can establish trust with your audience.
  • Appreciating the research underpinning Vanessa’s conclusions.
  • As a speaker, how you can use your body to structure your talk and convey information.
  • Why speaking is a science that can be analyzed and taught.
  • Exploring what you can do to make your Ted Talk go viral.
  • How you can use the stage to enhance the power of your presentation. 
  • A reminder that you should get your content onto YouTube.
  • How the value of YouTube content can increase over time, unlike other platforms.

Tweetable Moments

“There’s a formula for making your Ted Talk go viral that has little to do with your Ted Talk itself and a lot to do with how you make sure that people see it.” — @aj_vaden [0:08:08]

“One of the most tactical ways to enhance the power of your presentations is to plant your feet solid, look people directly in the eye, and deliver a message.” — @roryvaden [0:09:26]

“People don’t just listen with their ears. They listen with their eyes.” – @aj_vaden

About Vanessa Van Edwards

Vanessa Van Edwards is the national bestselling author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding With People, which has been translated into 16 languages. As founder of Science of People, Vanessa researches human behavior, communication and the science of relationships. Her innovative work has been featured on CNN, NPR, Fast Company, and Entrepreneur magazine. Her YouTube videos and viral TEDx London Talk have been seen by over 30 million people. For over a decade, Vanessa has been teaching science-backed people skills to audiences around the world, including SXSW and MIT, and at companies including Google, Dove, Microsoft, Facebook, Comcast, and American Express. 

Links Mentioned

Vanessa Van Edwards on LinkedIn —

Vanessa Van Edwards on Twitter —

The Science of People —

Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People

Global Leadership Summit —

Jason Dorsey Episode —

Meaghan Connell and AJ Yager Episode —

‘You Are Contagious’ —

Cavett Robert —

Mike Todd —

The Chosen

Brand Builders Group Consultation Call —

Take The Stairs —

[Inaudible] And we are back with another recap edition of the influential personal brand podcast. Today, we are breaking down the interview with our new friend, Vanessa van Edwards, who we shared the stage with at the global leadership summit, which was awesome. And I’m actually really curious to hear AJ’s top three takeaways because this was, you know, really into the science of delivery. I feel like in presentation mechanics. So why don’t, why don’t you kick us off? Oh, my honest, my first feedback was literally like the first part of the interview. She talks about her research and her book, captivate sales, which she said that hand gestures show trust. I was like, wow, Rory Vaden is the most trustworthy person on the planet. This is great for you. There is, there’s a future for you As a speaker, I can do it. I could do it. I was literally laughing out loud because just about after every podcast recap, I’m like, what is with you and the hand gestures. And then I realized I do the same thing monitor. I’ll just like blow for where you guys can see. But Rory is like literally hands coming, all the places all the time. And I’m like, wow, you’ve got a lot of trust going for you. Apparently, other than you always, you always make fun of me for my facial expressions. Those, those are different because no, it’s not the exaggerated ones. Those are entertaining. It’s the ones, his facial expressions are very expressive, very negative. My neutral looks very Negative. True. It’s true. So anyways, I just thought that was really fascinating and the fact that they actually watched every single Ted talk that was released in 2010 and compared all these things. And I really appreciate the data that goes into some of these findings, because if you just listen to them without, you know, the data driven back on her, like but I thought it was really fascinating and really interesting in terms of just like the fact that you use your hands shows like the passion and emotional involvement, but then the cues that it relates back to the audience of, you know, simply saying, Hey, there are three things that we’re going to discuss in this recap today, you make this visual connection with the verbal conversation, that there are three things. And I thought that was really fascinating. And just really a great reminder of like, people don’t just listen with their ears. Right. They listen with their eyes and I love that whole concept. So that was my first takeaway. But mostly you hear so many I’m sure Rory was sitting there going. Yep. Yep. I, I, yeah. I thought that the whole way that she said that your gestures are basically a second talk. Yeah. There, what did she say? You’ve got to, she said you have two different like content delivery. Yeah. Two scripts. It’s like the words out of your mouth. And then, and then your gestures are like a whole second one. So I love that. And then the other thing is I was so excited and Vanessa and I nerded out after the interview was over because y’all, I did this, this was how I got started with in the world championship of public speaking for Toastmasters, I took 20 years of championships speeches, which was 200 speeches, analyzed them, graphed them, dissected them, and fact on what was the, we, I don’t know if we’ve shared this story. This is what, yeah. We weren’t even dating a year. So it was like six months in maybe So on my birthday the first year that AJ and I were dating you, what did you tell me? We could do anything. I wanted anything you wanted. She told me we could do anything I wanted, honestly, Because we were also living long distance. And so I was with you on your birthday. I’m like, whatever you want to do I’m game. And so I said, we’re going to spend the whole day watching world championships speeches from all the Toastmaster competitions. And you were such a trooper, babe. I was, but I will tell you that’s the last time that I’ve ever said whatever you want, but no, it was actually, it was mostly pretty good, but you know, I was like, we were like watching videos from like the late seventies and early eighties at the time. And I’m like, do we really have to go 20 years, Mark Brown. That was the day you fell in love with Mark Brown as a physical person from his speech. But so anyways, just for you, like the takeaway for me was this reminder that there is a science to this and, and all the things that we teach at world-class presentation craft are based on a science, a study, the research of, of these kinds of things. And if you’ve either been to that event or you, you know, you’re like me and you sort of nerd out about those things, I was just excited. Cause Vanessa seems like another great resource for people that really love the science part of, I don’t know, here I am using my hands. I can’t, I can’t stop it. I can’t stop it. The hands they just go. They just, they just go. So, yeah. So that was gestures. What was your second? My second one was really, I, this was so thoroughly fascinated around this whole concept of how do you make a Ted talk go viral. And again, what I love so much about all of this is that it’s not just ideas, right? This is like there it’s very, data-driven it’s data specific it’s research research. I love that. And I think that, to me, it goes back to one of the recent interviews we had with Jason Dorsey around like information and data is your new competitive advantage. And same thing. We had another interview with Aja Yeager and Megan canal. I’m just like data matters, right? Those insights that you gather really matter. And talking about the titles. And so she was very specific and how she really wanted to create a title that was like a command statement that you are something right. So her title of her Ted talk is your contagious. She talks a lot about how this a little bit different right now during COVID, but again, it’s just like really putting thought and intention into what would people search? What would people be attracted to? How are people gonna find me? And then I thought this was just so fascinating and I’ve really never heard anyone talk about it. The way that she did is the intentionality put behind getting on people’s playlists on YouTube. So just very definitive focus and intention on making sure that her YouTube strategy was intact, which will lead to my third point in a second. But just the whole concept of, you know, there’s a formula for making a Ted talk go viral that really has not as much to do with your Ted talk itself and what you do to make sure people see it. Yeah. Th that thing about the YouTube playlist was cool because everyone wants to like reach out to the speaker, but she is like, I’m much more interested in reaching out to the person who has a playlist that nobody ever reaches out to, but they have like these really popular playlist. Yeah, that was super cool. Another tactical thing for me, that was just a good reminder, which I actually never realized the brilliance of what Ted did with the red circle. You know, if they do this red circle, the speaking, the dot and you have to stay within the dot. And normally when you take like presentation skills classes, they teach you to use the stage. We talk about that at presentation, craft of different sections of the stage. I mean different things, but one of the big risks is that especially non-professional speakers or early speakers, they have this shifty stance where they’re just always sort of like waffling back and forth and just wandering the stage like meandering aimlessly. And it really takes away from the power of stand and deliver, which was like classic sort of like 1970s 1960s, I think of like more Utley or Cavett, Robert just standing there with a microphone and just like delivering. And that is, that is one of the most tactical things you can do to enhance the power of your presentations is to plant your feet solid, look, people directly in the eye and deliver a message, right. Not just wandering around because you heard, Oh, you should use the stage, but locking your feet on those key moments in those key points. And that was just a good reminder for me to get back to the basics of like, yeah, I need a lock. I need a lock in place every once in a while. So that was super Tactical. Same time she talked about the importance of intentional gestures. Yeah. Not just, you know, using hands for the sake of using hands, not knocking the microphone, but for the sake of like, where are you going to place these and what impact does that have? Same thing. Same thing goes for using the stage, Go to a location plant deliver, go to another location, plant deliver. Don’t just take it back and forth. Yeah. So that was, that was really good reminder. Yeah. I love that. So then my third and final point was just a great reminder again, which I just keep hearing more and more about this from so many people that we interview on the podcast is like, get Joe self on YouTube. And I just feel like this has been this recurring theme that you don’t hear all the places, but we have heard it repeatedly. Over the last 12 months from all of our guests coming on of, you know, YouTube is still a little bit the wild wild West, right? You’ve got affordable advertising still on YouTube. You’ve got amazing search abilities on YouTube. You’ve got the ability to emotionally connect. It’s all video driven. We already know the data around video and how that’s going specifically with the emerging generations with gen Z. And I can’t even imagine the one after that where video is the most intimate aspect. And I loved what she said. It’s like, if you’re selling a video course, then you should be on video selling your video course and no better way to be on video than on YouTube. And just like just little things that you’re like, you know, innately, but you’re like, Oh yes. The so those were just really great, but I think, I mean, everyone who is listening, if you listen to this podcast on a recurring basis, then you have heard multiple people talk about the importance of YouTube and the growing importance of YouTube if for a personal brand or for anyone. So I think this was just another, you know, kind of like, Yeah, we’ve never, I’ve never placed, I think I’ve missed the boat on YouTube, which I talked about. Yeah, there’s still time. But, but I, like, I just have never realized just the power, the magnitude of everything that YouTube is. And there were two things about YouTube, cause this was my third takeaway too, that like YouTube is King. It’s like King of the social media is other than podcasting. But I, I think number one is that YouTube, unlike the other social media platforms, the longer the video has been around, the more valuable, Right, totally opposite opposite, totally Instagram and Twitter and Facebook, which is constantly pushing stuff down in the feed. Which is true about a blog and a website also because it’s, it’s like everything, Google, that’s the case. It’s like a fine wine with age. It gets better with all the other social platforms older is, is gone. And then the other thing, remind me, I can’t actually, I can’t, if this was recorded, did we talk about the power of being in the living room and watching the video because you and I are watching the mic, Todd. Yeah. And also we talked about the TV series, the chosen chosen. So we’ve got this emerging kind of like thing happening with it is to, yeah. I mean, we link it to our TV and that’s what we want, Literally sitting down to watch church to watch sermons, to watch. But that is where we watch our, most of our church sermons specifically this year. That is yeah. And, and sometimes, and sometimes in your bedroom, right. Like We don’t, but people do. And I just think that’s really a great reminder of like this isn’t like this literally is where people are watching TV series, they’re watching sermon series. So why wouldn’t they also be getting all their content there? And the fact is they are, but you just don’t hear a ton of people talking about it, but you’re going, Yeah. And we’re doing it. We’re, we’re ramping up. We’ve been, we, we recorded our first set of YouTube ads. Last week. They’re not live yet, but we’re going to be running those. And you know, we’ll report back to you on how those work. But anyways, Vanessa van Edwards, my fellow speaking research nerd. I’m so glad to have met. Yeah. What you have created right here. Yes. And now I am empowered. I am empowered for full head gestures Meaning, but so anyways, check out the interview. Thank you for being here. We hope you get in practical takeaways. That’s what we’re aspiring to do. We’re grateful for you. Have a great one. We’ll catch you next time on the influential personal brand.

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