RV: (00:06) Hey, brand builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for tuning in to listen to this interview, we are so excited to bring you this information and wanted to let you know that, Hey, there’s no sales pitch coming. From anything that we do with this is all our value add to you and the community. However, if you are somebody who is looking for specific strategies on how to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and we offer a free call to everyone that’s interested in getting to know us and is willing to give us a chance to get to know them and share a little bit about what we do. So if you’re interested in taking us up on a free strategy call, you can do that at brand builders, group.com/summit. Call brand builders, group.com/summit. Call. Hope to talk to you soon on with the show. RV: (01:03) I am so excited for you to meet Vanessa van Edwards. We shared the stage at what I believe is the largest speaking event in the world is the, it’s the biggest one that I know of. It’s called the global leadership summit, and we got to share the stage. And you know, most of you know, I’m, I’m a nerd for technical speaking and built my career coming out of Toastmasters. And she got up and talked about her book captivate and some of the concepts that she studies as the she’s the founder of a company called the science of people. And her book is called captivate, the science of succeeding with people and she analyzes and studies body language and interpersonal communication and human behavior and relationships. And it was just so practical and applicable to everybody. The audience went nuts. I was, I was also tracking book sales. RV: (02:02) So I haven’t shared this with everybody. I was watching book sales with there’s three different tools that we’re using to monitor that. And I was watching Vanessa’s book, which was selling apparently from what we could tell was the top selling book from all the speakers who were there, which is exciting and also a little bit nerve wracking since our book was also for sale. But pretty sales. You got presales. Yeah. I’m I’m I’m sure. I’m sure. So anyways, the other thing to know about her in addition to being this bestselling author she’s very much into data, which I love and, and research and science and analyzing you know, her craft, but she’s also spoken obviously at the global leadership summit. She’s spoken at South by Southwest Google, Facebook, and she has a Ted talk as well. That is called, you are contagious. That also is gone viral. So she’s got over a couple million views on that within just a few years. So anyways, you’re, you’re talking to a pro and I was like, gotta have her, you guys are gonna love her. So welcome to the show, Vanessa. VV: (03:14) Thanks for having me. I’m so excited to talk and dive in. RV: (03:17) So I want to start with your actual work, like what you actually teach, because it’s super relevant to our audience. And you know, we’ll put a link to your Ted talk. You are contagious in the show notes. But can you give us, you know, a little bit? So, so a lot of our audience speaks all of our clients speak. We teach them that the spoken word is the number one marketing tool. There is. So whether it’s free webinars or free speaking, like I spoke for free 304 times, that was how I started my career. In that we eventually turned that into an eight figure business all by speaking for free. But you study a lot of, you know, a lot of your craft relates to speaking and you analyzed Ted talks. What are some of the things that you learned from the viral Ted talks, the successful Ted talks and then the not so viral ones? VV: (04:16) Yeah. You know, I was really intrigued as a speaker on why some Ted talks go viral and others don’t. And what I, when I was searching on the Ted website, I typically watch a Ted talk every day at lunch. I found that there were Ted talks, you know, like Simon Sinek, Tedtalk has millions of views. And I noticed, and I noticed when I was on the website, that there was a very similar talk that came out the same month of the same year. It was released the same on the same year on ted.com, a very similar topic, both 80 minutes, long excepted. Simon’s had millions and millions and millions of views. And this other top had less than 40,000. And I wondered why these were both experts, relatively unknown experts before their Ted talks, by the way. Sure. But something about Simon’s talk, it made it explode. It went viral. And so we decided to analyze thousands of hours of Ted talks. We looked at every Ted talk in 2010 and we split them up based on view count. So the most popular Ted talks versus the least popular Ted talks, RV: (05:19) You looked at weight, you looked at every Ted talk since 2010 in 2010. Oh, in 2010. Wow. Okay. VV: (05:30) I’d still be doing that. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And also by the way, this was maybe four or five years ago now. So we looked at every, to every Ted talk that was released in 2010, where there’s a limited number that go on ted.com and we didn’t know what we would find. Right. We were looking at all the variables. I was looking at color of clothing. I was looking at entrance. I was looking at smiles. We actually clocked the number of seconds that they smiled. And we found that the biggest difference, the biggest you could actually see it when you put these talks side by side, was that the most popular Ted talkers used an average of 470 gestures, 465 gestures to be precise in 18 minutes, whereas the least popular Ted talkers by view count, use an average of 272 gestures in 18 minutes, almost half. VV: (06:21) And when I looked at this, I realized there were sort of two things happening. One is hands show trust. They show intention. We like to see hands, right? The moment we can see someone’s hands. We feel like we understand them a little bit more, but the second thing was even more important, which was when we know our content exceptionally well. We can actually explain it on two tracks. We can explain it with our words, but we can also explain it with our gestures. And so the very best Ted talkers, it was like they had a two track talk, they had the verbal talk and they had the gesture talk. And what was amazing about it was that it allowed you to have sort of these memory hooks when someone said they had three ideas and they held up the number three, the brain would actually wait, you’d wait to hear all three. And that would also help you remember those three. So I think what was happening is that the really memorable, amazing Ted talks just make it easy to be understood. RV: (07:22) Interesting. And so would you say that Bernay Brown and Simon Sinek and you know, Jan pink? Yeah, sir. Ken Robinson, do they all pass that test or are some of ’em outliers? VV: (07:38) No. Everyone passed the test. The only kind of odd outlier in our data that we looked at was Jamie Oliver. So there is no, yeah. The chef. Yeah. Yeah. So what’s really interesting is most really charismatic speakers. They use hand gestures in a purposeful way. So if they’re talking about something big, they show you how big it is, beach ball big, or is it, you know what ball would this be like? RV: (08:06) Like a Sumo, a Sumo, VV: (08:10) How big is it? Or is it really small and little and just between the two fingers. Whereas Jamie Oliver, his talk is so passionate that he’s actually just making gestures for no reason. He’s just shaking. So that one, I found a little distracting. Now he had a lot of gestures cause he was literally just, he would walk off, he was pacing the stage and just kind of move in his hands. That was the one exception where I thought, Hmm, I think that we, we like the purposeful gesture, the distracted gesture, make someone look out of control. So whenever I teach hand gestures, I like to teach on a spectrum that purposeful is what we’re going for. Jazz hands is not what we’re going for, or even I created some hand monsters in my career and I feel very bad about this. So I taught this research and a couple of students in one of my classes, they thought that I meant like modern dance. So I saw their speeches after my class. And then they came on like this today. I want to talk to you about a big idea. And the sun is going to come out. I mean, it was like, it’s bitsy spider, you know, RV: (09:21) Dan just like interpretive dance, like full VV: (09:24) And so purposeful is good, but like we’re not talking modern dance. I think that with Ken Robinson and Bernay Brown and Simon Sinek, they probably didn’t script out their hand gestures. And I don’t think that we should necessarily either, but we should be so comfortable with our work that we’re able to understand it and explain it visually. RV: (09:43) So gestures. So that’s really interesting. Cause it’s like, what you, where you saw the pattern, wasn’t the type of gesture or like, yeah, it wasn’t like the type of gesture. It was the volume of gestures. And basically twice as many. So that, that, that tells us that that humans are, are nonverbal, which we kind of, we know instinctually, right? It’s like, of course we’re nonverbal. So for an audience of people who are speakers or aspiring speakers or potentially speakers in addition to gestures, are there any other big kind of salient discoveries that you would point to and say, Oh my gosh, if you are speaking a lot, here’s another thing that you really need to know. Like you can’t miss this. And I know, you know, in captivate you talk about voice and you talk about facial expressions. Like in the book, you go through a bunch of different ones, but w VV: (10:43) For many speakers, the book I’m going to give it to you. RV: (10:46) Yeah, yeah, yeah. Give us one. That’s not in the book VV: (10:48) Book. Is there, if you want to read it, that’s great. But I want to give one, that’s just for speakers. Cause I love talking to audience and speakers. So one thing that I noticed not only in the Ted speeches, but also in working with students is the really, really powerful speakers use the stage as a content aid. And this is a really advanced technique, but once you get it, I think it’s, it’s like you can immediately apply it, which is you want to know where you’re going to plant. And that’s really important. Where are you going to deliver your first line or your first impression? So your first impression happens either the moment the lights turn on at the moment you walk on stage, the more purposeful you all are with that plant. Like I’m going to walk right to the center of the stage that makes your walk more purposeful. I noticed that speakers who don’t have a plant, they kind of wander onto stage. They kind of wander and they’re a little awkward and they, then they don’t quite plant. They kind of, they kind of pivot back and forth. Whereas Vickers who walk out to that plant, that’s one of the reasons why that Ted talk red circle carpet is so brilliant is it just gives speakers. A piece of confidence is this is where you stand. RV: (12:00) Can you explain that? Not everybody knows about what the red dot mean, like what it is. VV: (12:04) Yeah. So in Ted talks, one of the secret ways, I think that they’ve had so much power with their videos is they have a small red circle. And I think that every franchise of Ted talk, they have to have a red carpet on stage or the requirement. And they even have a measurement that they like it to be. And it’s actually a brilliant Lee measured carpet. I think of the red, that circle carpet when I speak without it, like when I just do regular speeches because it’s a plant. So you have someone who walks right out on the stage, they plant in that red circle and then you’re not supposed to leave that red circle. So they really don’t like you to leave it for the cameras, for the lights. I think that Mel Robbins and her Ted talk, she not only left her circles, she actually walked out into the audience was very fair. VV: (12:51) It was a very, you know, avant-garde move and she wasn’t supposed to do it, but I think it worked for her. So the first thing is to know where you’re going to plant have an imaginary red carpet for yourself. And then you want to use the stage as a transition for your content. So for example, okay, I tend to deliver right in the middle. I typically go right to the middle when I speak. And then when I’m talking science or background, I typically go to the left side of the stage and I plant and I deliver the stuff. RV: (13:21) When you say the left side of the stage, are you saying stage left or the audiences left stage left? So to the right, the audience is right stage left. Okay. VV: (13:33) So I, I stand there and then when I’m pivoting or transitioning topics, I literally show the audience. I’m doing it with a physical movement. And then by the end, they know when I’m on the right side of stage, I’m usually telling a story, I’m doing something fun. I’m leading an interaction when I’m in the center of the stage, I’m delivering something super important. And I usually save my super important takeaway challenges. Remember this for the center of the stage and my science and background the other side. And I’ve noticed that it helps people as they take notes. I’ve noticed that helps with attention. I’ve also noticed you have certain people, you know, very warm people who like the stories better. And so everyone needs moments where they’re going to tune out and audience is going to tune out. I would rather it be based on their learning style, but not based on their learning style, I’d rather choose it. So what I’ve noticed is very warm people who love stories and examples, they perk up when I get to the right side of the stage and my science heavy, my high competent folks, my data heads, they perk up when I get to the left hand side. And usually everyone perks up for the middle. So it’s a, I, that’s one of the really big things that I think excellent speakers do to help their audience. RV: (14:48) Yeah. That’s, what’s interesting about, you know, using the stage, but in Ted talks, you can’t because of the red dot, but they force you to plant and be powerful by having that confined space. I think yeah, that’s super interesting. Is there, is there anything you did on the marketing front related to your Ted talk that made it go viral? Like VV: (15:10) Oh yes. So I, I really, you know, it’s a little, it’s a lot of pressure when you study Ted talks that go viral, then you give a Ted talk pressure. You have to then give a viral Ted talks. I was very nervous about it. And the first thing was the title and I argued with them about this, by the way, like we went back and forth on this a lot. Now it’s kind of funny because it’s your contagious, which right now in our current state of the world, it’s getting a lot of use for a different reason. So that ended up working in a different way. And you’ll notice that there’s a lot of comments, recent comments where people are like, I really felt this talk was about something else, but I really liked it. So anyway, in the beginning I wanted a command. I wanted a title that was a command. RV: (16:00) I have a bunch of people worried about contracting COVID that are buying the captivate book and just sitting at home, reading it. VV: (16:08) It’s okay. It’s perfect. Actually, captivate sales have been up a lot in COVID. And so I want, I wanted a command. I wanted to have like a you or like a personal pronoun. So I really wanted to have like a, you are contagious or you are confident or you can do it or you are powerful. I wanted something that was a command because I noticed that a lot of the Ted talks that were out there weren’t, they were very intellectual. They were very much like the future of leadership or how thinking will change the future of humanity. Like, there are a lot of like, talks like that, which is fine, but I just wanted to be a different rant. I wanted to have a different thing. So I wanted to use the word you, I knew that. And I wanted RV: (16:54) I analyze titles by the way or only the gestures and like the actual presentation. VV: (16:59) I didn’t, I did, we didn’t formally analyze titles. No, I should. I, that would be fun. That would be a really easy one to do actually with like just put them all in a big spreadsheet, look at them. That’d be super interesting. So yeah, so that, and then once it came out, not only did I share it, of course, across socials you know, YouTube has been a big driver of our business. I’ve been on YouTube since 2007 when people thought it was like, you know, a joke. And one thing that we’ve learned is playlists are really important. So we did a huge campaign on the backend to get my Ted talk, not embedded in websites that I didn’t care about as much, but to get it on people’s playlists. And so we reach out to influencers, but also just friends who watch a lot of YouTube videos and ask them to put it on a relevant playlist with other videos that we thought people would like along with our sock, with the right search engine title. VV: (17:52) So for example, I reached out to a friend of mine who has a podcast, and I asked him if he would add my video to his playlist called human behavior hacks. And he was like, sure. And then it was immediately placed contextually. So I know on YouTube, your best, you have two options for your, for your game. One is search and YouTube search is very different than Google search. We use a tool called H refs. And so when I’m titling my blogs, I use H refs for Google when I’m titling my YouTube videos and my keywords, I use H reps for YouTube because they have very, very different search. And so I knew what kind of YouTube search that I wanted for the video, but I also knew what I wanted it to be related to. So the second thing that you really like for you to, to elevate your game is watch this next or when your video is listed alongside another video. And so it’s critical to have YouTube algorithm know what other videos people would like. And so I had a list of a hundred or more videos that I thought were the perfect audience for my Ted talk. And so very quickly we were able to scale and we got thousands and thousands of views and then millions of views based on, I think, the placement of relevant videos. RV: (19:12) So when you found a hundred, a hundred videos, a list of a hundred videos that you thought were like your perfect audience, did you just reach out to those people? Did you reach out to those people at all? VV: (19:23) Not typically. Actually a lot of them were other Ted talks, but I wanted to be on the same playlists as those videos. So for example, like if I really liked Allan Pease LMPs is a wonderful author about body language and he has a great Ted talk. He also some great stage talks that have millions of views. I didn’t need to reach out to Allen because his videos are living out other people’s playlists, but I did want to get on to people who listed Allen’s video in their playlists. Does that make sense? So how did you, RV: (19:55) How do you know who, which people have Allen pees on their playlist? VV: (20:00) You can see it. So when you watch his video, you can see, it’ll say like, this is recommended for you. And then you can see that it’s actually within someone else’s playlist. RV: (20:09) Interesting. So just on the video itself, which is like a video you’re probably watching, cause you’re interested in it anyways, you would just go, Oh, okay. I see like other this other recommended video lives on, so, and so’s channel. And so that person is featuring this kind of content. And then you, so it was more like you didn’t contact Alan, you contacted the person that had Allen’s video on his channel VV: (20:33) And they never get contacted. Allen gets contacted all the time. Plus Allen doesn’t own his YouTube, his Ted talk. So it’s not even on, he couldn’t even control if he wanted to. So I don’t need to bother Alan with that. He’s a busy guy, but some of the people who created these amazing playlists who love looking for relevant videos on body language or human behavior or psychology, those are my people. And I love reaching out to them. And they’re also thrilled when I reach out to them. So that’s how we’ve grown our YouTube channel quite a bit since from the beginning. RV: (21:04) That is fascinating. What a super awesome tip. Well, and this is kind of what I wanted to get into as well was a little bit about how, how you’ve built such a great business, because it’s like once you, you know, have a bestselling book and you’re speaking at GLS and you have a viral Ted talk, like you’re checking off a lot of the marks of like pretty big time personal brands, which is, which is super exciting. Clearly the Ted talk has been huge. Is that how GLS found you? Do you know, did you ask him? VV: (21:36) I didn’t ask them. I think that they just knew about me from YouTube. I think they found me from YouTube. So I dunno if that was my Ted talk or other YouTube videos that I had. But that’s where they came to me from seeing those videos. RV: (21:49) Yeah. I mean, it’s interesting to me, to this day, the number one cold way that we book high paid speaking engagements is someone will say, I saw your video on YouTube VV: (22:00) A hundred percent, same as in here, RV: (22:03) Which is crazy. Cause you, you, you know, it’s almost like people put YouTube and Twitter in the same category in terms, and it’s like, they’re completely different, like completely different purposes, completely different audiences. Yeah. VV: (22:14) Yeah. And the way I like to think about it, and this is what I, what I try to talk to my students about is Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and even LinkedIn, our social media platforms, YouTube is a search engine. And that’s how you have to think about it. It’s yes, it’s relatively social, but it is a search engine. So you need to think about it just like you think of Google, you just study your keyword, just like you do for Google. You need to think about your content, like little mini blogs. RV: (22:44) Yeah. I mean, and that’s the other thing like literally is that content on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, the older it is the less valuable it is on YouTube and Google, the older it is the more valuable it is. Like it’s, it’s a complete inverse. That is such a, it’s such a key distinction. I, YouTube is something I’m loving you talking about this. Cause I feel like I’ve ignored you tube, like my entire career. And then, you know, we had a few thousand subscribers and then when we exit our last company that was gone. So, you know, like we had, we’re starting all over and YouTube is the one that I’m going, this is the one that we have missed the boat on. This is the one that drives like real big time revenue, big time credibility. And it sounds like you agree with that. VV: (23:36) Yeah. I completely agree with it. And the good news is you got time, you know, it’s still the wild West on YouTube. I think. I actually think it’s less tapped even than online courses. You know, I got into YouTube in 2007. It’s older. I got into my first online course in 2011, 2012. And even now I feel like online courses, a little bit tapped. I mean, there’s just a lot of opportunity there, but RV: (23:59) Launching an online course, VV: (24:01) Launching teaching, hosting. Yeah. Online courses, you know, like some of the boat has sailed, but like it’s, it’s an, it’s an existing ecosystem, right? Like it exists. You can tap into it, but you really got to work. It YouTube, I think is a lot of low hanging fruit. I think you have time, even though it’s an older, it’s an older beast, the way that people, the amount of video that people are consuming. And the, the bond that you build with people when they watch a video is incredible. And as a speaker and as a, as an influencer, someone who wants to change behavior or change minds, it’s like, you’re getting permission to go into someone’s bedroom, email box, you get to their desk, not as intimate, a YouTube video, you get into their bedrooms, even a podcast, you maybe get to their kitchen or their gym, but a bed is usually YouTube. I don’t mean that in a, in a weird way, but like, it’s so intimate when you’re with someone and you’re sharing a story that they really feel like, wow, I know her. I cannot tell you how many times I’m walking down the street and people are like, I love your YouTube. I feel like you’re my friend. No. And that’s, that’s a very special thing. RV: (25:08) Yeah. I mean, that’s interesting. So Mike, Todd was one of the other speakers with us. Did you get to see his speech and tell us, yeah, I loved it. I thought it was so great. And so AIG and I are watching his sermon series on relationship goals and we either watch it in bed or the living room couch. But to what you’re saying, both of those are that’s where you, that’s very intimate, that’s intimate a space and at different locations. And I’ve never really thought about that. I’ve always thought about the podcast being right in someone’s ear, which is very intimate. But you know, you, you don’t make a date to listen to a podcast, but you will sit down and like, alright. Or have you ever seen the show? The chosen on YouTube? Oh my gosh. It’s incredible. It’s a, it’s a TV series. That’s only available on YouTube and it’s free, but it’s like, we make a date to sit down and watch something on YouTube. VV: (26:02) Yeah. I think that that’s the difference, right? Like when I am listening to my podcasts, I am always doing something else. And even if I wasn’t doing smells, I begin to sweat. I fold clothes. I do laundry. I clean up the toys in the living room. Like I’m always, I’m like, it’s a thing where my hands are free. Not with YouTube. I’m going to watch a video. It’s my ears and my eyes. And there’s not much else I can do. I have to be locked in with you. And so it’s just a much more intimate and fulfilling experience. There’s a reason I haven’t done a podcast yet. I mean, maybe I will one day, but it’s because I also know that I, the biggest, so in our business, our revenue is sort of split between speaking online courses and then a little bit like ad revenue. And we don’t do any paid search. We only have organic search. And I know that the best way for me to sell courses is to get organic YouTube search that turns into an online email subscriber. It then turns into a, a buyer of our video course. And so if I want to sell a video course, the best way for me to do that is being on video. RV: (27:03) Yeah. So let me ask you that. This is so awesome. Okay. So when you say organic YouTube search, most of that is just basically like optimizing your video as a blog post on YouTube. So you’re showing up in search and then in the description, you’re driving people to a lead, a lead capture, which is gonna then nurture like a lead magnet. And then that will nurture them for the course. When you do, when you sell courses, do you do mostly like a video? Do you do mostly like video sales letters, like a video funnel, like yeah. Three videos and then buy on the fourth video or do you more like a one long webinar kind of thing. VV: (27:44) So we’ve tested all of them feels like all of them we’ve tested the three videos to a purchase. We’ve tested a webinar to a 60 minute webinar to a purchase, which so 20 minute webinars, no purchase. We’ve tested a six email written series. We’ve tested, sneak previews, we’ve tested an audio training. The one that doesn’t work very well is three videos. We have too much dripping in the funnel too much, too much loss when we find that when people want it, they want it. So we don’t want to make them wait. So the best thing that we found is either an audio training for 60 minutes right away, or like a webinar for 45 to 60 minutes right away video. RV: (28:23) Yeah. Interesting. Interesting. well, where should people go if they want to connect with you and like learn more, obviously they can get the book captivate, which is awesome. We’ll put, we’ll put a link to your contagious. You are contagious, Ted talk, where else Vanessa, if they want to learn more about all the stuff you do. VV: (28:41) Yeah. If you want to see our funnel and action I recommend going to science of people.com/join. That will be whatever our latest in is. And so you’ll be able to see if he, you go to that, like sometimes it’s our likability training, which is the audio training, which also eventually converts into our big course or you’ll get our one of our webinars. And so that’s a really good way to get kind of acquainted with some of our materials and our free courses. But also if you are interested in sort of the funnel of the backend of how we build rapport and build relationships and teach to sell, you can all see it that way as well. Love it. RV: (29:17) Science of people.com/join. You can go there. We’ll link that up in the show notes, Vanessa, thank you so much. You’ve been so generous and like tactical and just is such, such actionable stuff particularly for personal brands. So we wish you very much the very best VV: (29:34) Gosh, I’m so grateful. Thanks for featuring my story and thanks everyone for listening. [inaudible].