Ep 293: How to Read People with Vanessa Van Edwards | Recap Episode

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Vanessa van Edwards. One of the
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Sharpest, smartest personal brands that I think is in the marketplace and we’ve become pretty good friends over the last few years ever since sharing the stage together at global leadership summit a few years ago. And she is really, really impressive. And just the science of people is what her brand is all about. And it’s, it’s literally all, all of this about reading people and their nonverbals. And I just, I think it’s fascinating and I think it’s so cool how she’s taken such a specific tri like a specific skill set, you know, all the way down with a very specific type of communication and turned it into such a magnificent personal brand, built it on science and research and data and just, just a really great example and an awesome, awesome person. So this is a recap, obviously of my interview with Vanessa van Edwards, her new book cues is what we talked about.
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And I mean, just that idea alone of the, the title of the book that are, that there are social signals that we subconsciously send to one another is really powerful. And that’s of course what the whole interview, what her book, her whole book is about. And so I’m gonna, I’m gonna share with you a couple of my highlights and in this case, you know, there’s two big highlights, and then I’m gonna, I’m gonna teach you something that is a part of our curriculum at brand builders group, which I haven’t, I don’t think we’ve ever covered on this podcast. And it’s, it is game changer. Like this technique is the single, maybe the single most powerful technique that we have that we invented. This is our proprietary technique that will make you a master communicator. And I’ll, I’ll tell you what it is. That’s gonna be my third takeaway. But my first takeaway, which is just good to hear, and it’s edifying for what we do and what we teach and you go, how has she built nearly a million subscribers on YouTube, this great social media following she’s consistently selling all these books and built a, a tremendous speaking career. And she said two words aggressively helpful,
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Aggressively helpful. If
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You want to get people to pay attention
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To you, you need to be aggressively helpful. You have to be
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Relentless. You have to be intentional. You have to
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Be committed. You have to be dedicated. You have to be ruthless about the idea that your
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Brand, your media company, your platforms, your podcast,
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Your social, your YouTube, like your books, your, your, your blogs,
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Whatever you’re putting out into the world, your keynotes,
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Your, your
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Podcast interviews, like when you’re a guest in someone else’s show your webinars, your lead magnets,
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They have to be aggressively helpful.
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They to be useful, right? Albert Einstein says you don’t try. Don’t try to be a person of, of influence. Try to be a, a person of, of utility, like be valuable to other people. And that’s the secret. Like that’s the secret don’t hold back. As we say, around here all the time, save the best for first, save the best for first, give away your best stuff. And, and that’s what keeps people coming back. And so it’s just powerful. And again, edifying to have so many like guests on this show who have built huge personal brands that then come and tell us, Hey, this is, this is how to do it. And that’s why we do it is, is because we’ve learned from a lot of them over the years. And we continue to learn from them and, and we can, and we teach you those things, right?
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So how can you be aggressively helpful? How can you put out content that will dramatically change people’s lives, save the best for first, give it away, make a difference and watch how people show up and come back and share and invite friends. The second thing, which the second, my second takeaway is probably what I would say is my biggest takeaway from this interview. And it is not really what the topic of the conversation was about in terms of how to read people. This though was something I’ve never heard anybody say, at least not so clearly as Vanessa said it. And I almost didn’t ask her this question. And I said, but I, you know, I we’re watching the data of all these book launches, right? So we just, we just helped Tom and Lisa BIU with their book launch launch. We’re helping Eric ed Mylet with his huge book launch right now.
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We’ve, we’ve, we’ve, pre-sold tens of thousands of units. And so we’re watching all these book launches and, you know, I’m seeing Vanessa clock through every week with several hundred units. And it’s really impressive. It’s very, very hard to do, to sell consistently several hundred units. And so I asked her, I said, Hey, what’s your secret? Like, how do you do the long tail, right? Because we have all this, you know, we have a, a great strategy for how to do a book launch and all the presales and everything leading up to it in like the first eight weeks and, you know, keeping it going. I mean, we’ve got now, in my opinion, perhaps one of the best, if not the best book, launching strategy that there is in the marketplace. And, you know, we got a lot of the results to back that up and prove it with several best selling authors that we have helped.
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But this long tail long, you know, this long tail is something that I’ve always been super interested in and going man, like what you really want is not, you know, not just the big launch, you want the big launch, you want the big book launch because it lights the spark, right? Like it sets things into motion, but the true perennial bestsellers are these, you know, books that sell several hundred or even a few thousand units every single week for years. And, you know, other than writing a great book and, and hopefully having it propagate, there’s not that much that I’ve seen or heard or learned, or been able to reverse engineer about how to make that happen. And Vanessa shared this great secret, and this was like a light bulb for me. And she said basically that she sells books by SEO, SEO search engine optimization.
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If you’re not familiar with that term, now we teach SEO. That is a part of our, our curriculum and our, our high traffic strategies training, which is one of our, our phase two trainings. For those of you that aren’t members, we have 12 different topics that are 12 different training, you know, kind of like modules that are they’re each two days. You know, so our entire education takes 24 days just to like go through the full education. It’s, it’s a lot, it usually takes people three or four years to get through it all. But like, so we teach search engine op search engine optimization, but never in connection with selling books. And it’s so simple, right. But it’s so brilliant because you go, how do you create this steady, consistent, long tail sell through of a book? And you go, well, what, what force is there in the world that is steady and consistent and long term?
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And the answer is search people’s search behavior, they’re search habits. People are searching for terms on a very consistent basis. And if you can figure out what are the terms that people are searching for. And of course, you know, there’s lots of different tools for this, but one of the ones that we, the one that we use internally, which is also the one that sounds like Vanessa uses is called a refs, a refs. And it’s a tool that will tell you, you know, you could type in any term and it’ll tell you, this is how many times this term is searched every, every month on Google. And then you can also go to pages and see which, you know, how, which, how, which, which terms pages are scoring for et cetera, and, and what the average cost per click is. If you want to go out and buy one and what she said, which first of all, this was a tactical tip, which I did not know is that a HFS has a secret tab for YouTube, which is huge, cuz because YouTube is also a search engine.
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So that means that you can use this tool, which you might already have. And you know, MOS is another one Uber suggests is another one. Like they all, they all, you know, do a decent job of, of what you need to do. But AHS specifically since that’s what we use, I don’t know about the other ones, cuz she didn’t talk about it. But has this a tool that will tell you about YouTube search? So how often are people searching specific terms on YouTube? And then all she did was she made a list of all those terms. And then she created videos that were specific to those questions, which happen every single month, right? People are, are continuously like repetitively searching those terms. And every single month new people are on YouTube searching. And so she creates, she said for like every single book, she creates 20 videos that specifically address these common questions and those specific term search terms that people are looking for. And she creates videos for those where the primary focus of the video, first of all, is to add value, right. To be aggressively helpful. But the secondary vehicle is to promote her book specifically. Right. And all it doesn’t have to be overt. It doesn’t have to be a huge pitch. She’s just adding valuable content. She’s optimizing her presence in the PLA in the marketplace for terms and then suggestively and gently sort of referencing that what she’s teaching is coming out of her book.
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So genius, so simple, so actionable. So duplicatable, so something that we are going to do. I mean, what, I mean, that’s a huge, that’s a career altering that one idea like could be a career altering idea of just going, because if you, if you write a book that sells several hundred copies every week, like within a few years, that’s a lot of people that have read the book, that’s gonna change the trajectory of your entire career. Like this was a really big tip and not something that I have heard anywhere else. Like out of all the stuff we’ve read that we’ve looked at the courses we’ve been through the, the hundreds of authors that I’ve interviewed, no one has ever given me that tip. So that was a huge, huge tip and one that we are definitely getting into action mode on. So really, really brilliant and smart and simple.
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So I hope you pick that up and you know, if you’re not selling books apply this to anything, right. You’re selling mouse traps or you’re selling cars or you’re selling battleships, figure out what are the search terms that people are searching for, create VI videos specific to, to those queries optimize the video so that they come up for those, do an awesome video and then make a suggestive call to action to whatever your product of service is like. So we even teach that with content marketing, but just have never thought about it or applied it to a book like it’s, it’s so simple. And it’s like, how did I miss this? How have I never thought about this? Well, UN you don’t UN until, you know, you don’t know until, you know, right. But you go man, one little tip like that, SuperDuper powerful.
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The third takeaway was something that I’ve heard before. And so I wanted to share with you one of our favorite techniques, and this is something that I personally invented. You know, our team has polished over the years and, and is a formal part of our world class presentation, craft trainings. So the one of our phase three, or excuse me, the third training in our phase in our phase one curriculum is called world class presentation craft. And it applies very much to what Vanessa’s talking about here. And, you know, she said nonverbal communication is 69% of, of communication. And she was talking about how, it’s not the words that you say, it’s your facial expressions. It is your eyes. It’s the, your gestures, your body language, even the clothes you wear, the colors that are around you are all things that communicate in a very clear way.
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Although, you know, somewhat subconsciously to the people around us. And then she was talking about how our, our vocal pace and cadence is a huge component of that. And so I wanna go ahead and share with you one of our favorite techniques of all time and this, we call this the vocal variety matrix, the vocal variety matrix. And it’s very, very simple, but it’s extremely powerful. So if you were to create a graph where the Y the Y axis was energy, so high, you know, at the top would be high energy at the bottom would be low energy. Okay. and then the Y axis would be like speed, where you know, let’s, let’s say all the way to the right is fast. And all the way to the left is slow. What happens is you have this natural separation of these four distinct quadrants and each quadrant represents a different utility of your voice. And when you master this VO, the, you know, this vocal variety matrix, we sometimes call it the emotions matrix because each different quadrant communicates a different emotion. And it doesn’t matter the words that you say, right? So let me, let me, let me talk this out for you. Right? So for example, quadrant number one is somebody who talks like with high energy, which is often also the volume is very loud and very fast, right? And so you talk like this, and when you
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Talk really loud and really fast, what you’re doing
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Is you’re adding a
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Tremendous amount of energy and emotion and enthusiasm. It doesn’t matter what the words you’re gonna do. Like what the words are that you’re saying, don’t even matter. You’re creating this physiological change in the audience by just talking loud and fast with high energy and high speed that suddenly create excitement and enthusiasm
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And energy. Similarly,
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If I talk loud
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And slow,
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Has high energy, loud volume,
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But slow pace, regardless of the words that come
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Out of my mouth,
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You talk like this
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To create the emotion of respect, you’re commanding authority. You’re, you’re, you’re demonstrating your control, your credibility, your power. And then if I talk low and slow, low energy, low volume, and low speed, it creates a completely different emotional experience, a different energy, one of authenticity, vulnerability, honesty, transparency, connection, and trust. And then if I keep my energy low and I keep my volume low, but then I pick up my pace. All of a sudden I start adding suspense because just by adding, just by talking faster again, regardless of the words that I say, this, isn’t a matter of the words that we’re saying, we’re just talking about delivery here and here. This is what, this is probably the, the most underutilized quadrant of all the four quadrants. But this is somebody who just talks very low, but very fast, but it’s a mental game, right?
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It’s, it’s mental exercise that forces you to concentrate, to lean in, to create suspense, to be, to be sort of curious, to be preoccupied with like, what’s he gonna say? And like trying to keep up with everything that’s going on and, and notice that no one quadrant is better than any of the others, the magic here, first of all, is that it doesn’t matter what you say, it’s using the vocal variety matrix to determine how you say, because all of a sudden, no matter what I’m saying, this is loud and it’s exciting and it’s fast pace. And then all of a sudden I drop it way down.
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And I share the lesson that I learned from that story. And what this means for your life personally, is that you have to take this advice and you must go out and execute this behavior, this action. And then I can move on into the next story and set up the next story with back, you know, backstory on the characters and, and saving some time in my presentation by just sort of speeding along, keeping you mentally engaged and forcing you to have to listen, sit on the edge of your seat because of this suspense. And because of the, the way your mind has to be preoccupied with what I’m saying in order to keep up with how fast that I’m talking, but I’m moving through a lot of kind of insignificant details and trivial things just so I can set up the next story, baby. Cuz here we come, it’s getting exciting again.
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Bam, isn’t that amazing? This is one of the secrets that has shaped my career. I mean, it is one of the biggest things that we coach speakers on when we work with them in world class presentation craft, this is part of, you know, how I created a viral Ted talk and got inducted in the professional speaking hall of fame and you know, became a two time world champion of public speaking finalist, helping people with the art of speaking is one of the things that we do most frequently at brand builders group, both their message, but also the, the mechanics of their delivery. And that technique is called the vocal variety matrix. We’re sharing it here for you for free on this podcast episode. Usually those kind of things, you have to be a paying member to get access to, but I wanted to share that one just as a special bonus giveaway in honor of my friend, Vanessa van Edwards, because of how much content she shared and how much I love what she’s about and just applying one of the techniques that we teach very much to what she is talking about here in the science of people.
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So I hope you enjoyed that interview. Hey, share this recap edition with someone who needs to hear it. Somebody who you know, is, is trying to build their personal brand and, and the interview as always tell your friends. And if you can leave a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to the podcast that helps us tremendously, you know, we’ll share another ad for that here in just a second, but we really, really need that help. And that’s why we’re here every single week, bringing you the best of the best that we can from our friends and community, and also drop dropping in with our tips and recaps and highlights. So thanks for being here. We’ll catch you next time on the influential personal brand podcast.

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


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.