Productive Flourishing
Productive Flourishing
Vanessa Van Edwards: How to Succeed With People (Even/Especially If You’re Awkward) (Episode 157)

Vanessa Van Edwards: How to Succeed With People (Even/Especially If You’re Awkward) (Episode 157)

Today’s guest, best-selling author Vanessa Van Edwards, joins Charlie to talk about human interaction and succeeding with people. You might think that someone who writes about people is a raging extrovert, but that’s not always the case. Vanessa refers to herself as a “recovering awkward person.” In today’s episode, she and Charlie talk about how much they actually prepare and set themselves up to be comfortable in social settings, rather than leaving it to chance and charm.

Key Takeaways:

[3:05] - Vanessa shares a little bit of her background, moving from being a socially awkward person to someone who is writing books about winning with people. She talks about two different types of awkwardness: an inhibitive awkwardness that causes you to shut down around others, or an awkwardness that causes you to overcompensate when you’re around other people. She believes both are born out of fear, and it’s important to know which way your social fears will manifest themselves.

[5:27] - Charlie defines himself as an ambivert, depending on the context. In a comfortable environment, he may appear as an extrovert, whereas in less familiar environments, he tends to be an introvert. Vanessa shares her personal experience with this at the World Domination Summit and what she did over the course of several years to make herself more comfortable in the context of this conference.

[10:30] - If you’re an ambivert (or an introvert), it can be helpful to have some go-to questions that you can ask when you approach people in a social setting. Vanessa talks about preparation for events and conversations, and making plans that provide structure for the course of an evening or help to guide an interaction. Charlie recommends asking questions that don’t require too much personal vulnerability, but still allow the conversation to flow.

[15:00] - When Vanessa was doing networking experiments for her book, she found that some questions really attracted extroverts, while the same questions could push an introvert into fear. The specific question in this case was “What’s your story?,” but regardless of the question, you have to be sensitive to how people will exhibit their social fears.

[18:50] - If there is a question you don’t like being asked, you can prepare an answer that you’re comfortable with so if someone asks you, you can keep the conversation moving and gravitate into more comfortable territory.

[20:50] - The swan effect is where something appears easy, comfortable, and graceful on the surface, when underneath there is a lot of work and preparation required to maintain that appearance.

[25:07] - It takes time to get to the place you want to be, whether it’s in your business or a relationship, and that’s okay. Both Vanessa and Charlie can speak from experience that it takes a lot of hard work and not-so-glamorous preparation to get on the path to where you want to go.

[29:12] - Before Captivate, Vanessa had written three books that didn’t do so well. Her first book was self-published and self-promoted, and she used her baby-sitting money to publish it. This one actually did relatively well, but gave Vanessa a little bit of a false sense of confidence. The second book was also self-published, but didn’t do as well. With her third book, she went with a traditional publisher, but there was no public response.

[33:45] - It took five years for Vanessa to come back from this rejection of her book, but the fourth book was a turning point for her. During this time she wanted to blame other people, but she realized that she wrote the book based on what she thought the publishers wanted, not for her or her current readers. When she asked herself what she could write just for her and her readers, that’s where she found a pivot point.

[39:07] - In Charlie’s writing experience, the book proposal was often a difficult obstacle to tackle. One of the worst ways to try to write a book is trying to write it to how someone else wants, rather than in a way that’s magical to you. Vanessa talks about the model for a platform that most people feel they have to follow. There’s a window in which you feel confident enough to write about a topic and be successful, but the idea is not yet stale to you. That’s the ideal window you want to be in.

[44:18] - There are three options for publishing. You can self-publish, or if you go with a traditional publisher you can either get a small advance where the company has little stake in the game, or a large advance where there’s something in it for the publisher. In the case of a large advance, they may be more willing to help with marketing and support. You want someone to have their name on the line for you at the publishing house.

[48:10] - Create the types of things that you want to consume. Just because you can create something, it doesn’t mean you should.

[49:55] - How did Vanessa become emotionally prepared enough to go with a traditional publisher for her fourth book? She had advocates on her side who gave her confidence in herself and encouraged her to write what she wanted. She also felt that not having a book was preventing her from being able to help people.

[54:45] - Vanessa found her business and personal sweet spot by adding structure to different areas of her life. It takes time to develop these things, but the payout is worth it.

[56:35] - Vanessa’s challenge for listeners is to pick one event or meeting that you’ve been dreading, and come up with a purpose for it. Think about how you can set yourself up for success to achieve that purpose, and see if it changes the apprehension surrounding the interaction.

Mentioned in This Episode:

Productive Flourishing

Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People

The Science of People

Productive Flourishing
Productive Flourishing
Productive Flourishing (formerly the Creative Giant Show) explores how to do the work that matters to become your best self in the world. Host Charlie Gilkey and occasional co-host Angela Wheeler take listeners on a deep dive into the lives of leaders, changemakers, creatives, and entrepreneurs who are thriving in life and business by doing work that matters. Listen in to see how they cultivate meaning, success, and happiness as well as their approach to productivity, business, health, and the challenges (yes, even the deep, dark ones) that show up in their lives.