Captivate: Summary and Review
Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People by Vanessa Van Edwards
A grab bag of charisma techniques. This is not the first book I would start with, but there are some fun tips in here.
Most of these emphasize the “Unexpected” aspect from Made to Stick, but this is only one part of the SUCCES framework.
You can’t “fake it until you make it”, because peoples’ social radars are very finely tuned to detect when people are being fake. If you force yourself to enjoy something you don’t enjoy, or when you are faking it, the quality of your social relationships will deteriorate because most people can detect that you’re faking it.
The most e-mailed articles list on the New York Times: Thirty-five percent of the articles on the viral list promised a story. (The most effective headlines) “My Dark California Dream” or “Lady Gaga and the Life of Passion”
Instead of “I’m a writer”, try “I’m a professional people watcher”, and put fun visuals on your business card.
Use introductions to highlight people
Instead of “Vanessa, meet Dave”, try “Vanessa, meet Dave. He is killing it in the software industry and just had a hugely successful launch.”
Be a highlighter
- Listen with purpose: always search for the good
- Be the high point of every interaction by giving people a reason to remember you
- When you expect the worst, that’s exactly what you will get.
I would ask people, What’s your biggest challenge right now? and then connect them with at least three people who I thought could help. I would literally take out my phone, make the call, and hand the person my phone.
If someone mentions they went to private school growing up, don’t say, “Ugh! I hated those preppy kids. I went to good old public school.” Instead, note it and resume looking for something you do have in common. (You might say, “Interesting! Did you play any sports?” or “Wow, I didn’t know that, tell me more!”)
Don’t fall into the not me! trap; instead, find a way to say me too!
Non-standard conversation starters
Instead of “Should I ask about her book? How much I love her books?”, try “Do you like soup?”
|Working on any exciting projects recently?
|How are you?
|What was the highlight of your day?
|What do you do?
|Working on any personal passion projects?
|How’s the family?
|Have any vacations coming up?
|Where are you from?
|What’s your story?
|How’s it going?
|What are you up to this weekend?
|What do you do to unwind?
Alternatives to “how are you doing?”:
- What was the highlight of your day
- What personal passion project are you working on
- Have anything exciting coming up in your life?
- What’s your story?
- What brings you here?
- What do you do?
- How are you?
Little hits of dopamine
- Hand out lollipops with business cards that say “Learn how to not suck”
- Offer people hot cocoa instead of coffee.
- Have a bowl of Pop Rocks instead of mints.
- In your guest bathroom, put an R2D2 Pez dispenser and a gift book welcoming snoopers to the medicine cabinet
- Send people air plants instead of flowers
- Stop posting food pictures and sunsets on Instagram. Laura Izumikawa started posting pictures of her sleeping newborn baby dressed like different celebrities and characters like Jon Snow, Pikachu, and Beyoncé.
- Stop bringing casserole to potlucks. Whip up a recipe no one has tried before. Pinterest is a never-ending source of inspiration for rainbow cupcakes, Rice Krispies ice cream, and pickle potato chips.
Put a unique quote in your e-mail signature. Noah Kagan, creator of an e-mail and analytics software, has a funny sign-off on all of his e-mails: “Ps. Y u NO install the free SumoMe.com to get more e-mail subscribers?” The purposeful misspellings and play on a popular meme makes his ask unique and very clickable.
Spice up your job title. Quicken Loans has a “vice president of miscellaneous stuff” who helps with a little bit of everything. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt calls its receptionists “directors of first impressions” since they are typically the company’s greeters.
Instead of sending thank-you cards, send thank-you stickers—or pins, or lollipops, or popcorn. At the Be Sage wedding conference, they gave attendees coloring books and pencils to use during sessions and on the plane ride home. People loved them and shared tons of pictures of their creations on social media with the conference’s hashtag.
Vow of Silence
The first day was the hardest. I walked into my first networking event as a sweaty, jittery mess. What if I freaked people out? What would I do in those horrible long pauses of silent disgust? Can you get kicked out of networking events for not networking?
I completely panicked when a gentleman introduced himself. But I shakily held up my first card: “I’ve taken a Vow of Silence. I’m trying to become a better listener.”
To my delight and surprise, he laughed and told me how he had once lost his voice to laryngitis in college and it was one of the coolest and craziest experiences of his life. Then he spoke about meeting his wife a few weeks later. Then he shared his hope for his children. Then he asked for my card. I didn’t say a word. I didn’t have to. He just wanted to be listened to.
A Shocking News Story
Hard to Spell Names
Classic Books / Films / Shows