12 min read

Blog 12: Captivate by Vanessa Van Edwards – Book Review

This book will teach you how to interact with people in a more confident and charismatic way with some simple tools. The science of succeeding with People.

This book will teach you how to interact with people in a more confident and charismatic way with some simple tools.

The science of succeeding with People.

If you are interested in learning these soft skills, please read on!

Read till the end. There is a competition at the bottom of this blog!

What are my thoughts on this book?

Being charismatic is not something we are born with; it is a skill like any other skill; if you read or listen to this book and practise the skills, you will acquire some tools to add to your toolbelt, which will support you.

If you are someone that has some social awkwardness and anxiety, which is all of us at some time or another, this can hamper our career, limit our dating life, and generally hold us back. By learning and implementing these into our everyday life, we can start to see some changes. You cannot be charismatic all day long; this is impossible. However, you can be when you are in a social setting, regardless of whether these are people you know or not.

Working on your strengths and where you like to socialise is important. Find your thriving locations and socialise in that location if possible. However, you will be placed in different social locations, so be adaptive.

Are you a person who prefers to be social or likes to be on your own, or a mix of both?

Say no to things that don't serve you, so you can say yes when it counts. We do not need to do everything.

These skills you learn in this book could change your life if you decide to implement them in your life and daily interactions.

Traditional education concentrates on intellectual intelligence (IQ), and psychologist concentrate on emotional intelligence (EQ); in this book, Captivate helps raise and develop your interpersonal intelligence (PQ).

Book Summary

Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann / Unsplash

The use of your hands, posture, and eye contact to make a good first impression. It is not what you say, it is how it is said.

Your hand should be seen, don’t put them in your pockets when meeting someone. When you are in a meeting, keep your hand on the desk, not under the desk. This will allow people around you to trust you.

There are seven micro-expressions to look out for in people’s facial expressions: anger, contempt, happiness, fear, surprise, disgust, and sadness.

When people smile, it will come across their entire face; you will know a fake smile when you see their lips smiling; however, the eyes are not, and there are no wrinkles near the eyes.

Getting to know others better by looking for five major personality traits, the acronym OCEAN. These are openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Understanding these traits can help you assess those around you and make it easier for you to communicate with them.

Unique questions and different stories are amazing and actives the brain.

Who should read this book?

Photo by Shubham Dhage / Unsplash

These days it is all about networking; people make decisions about whether they like you in the first two seconds, even before you have even spoken. So, whether you are looking to meet the right people, hire the right employee, be hired by the right client, or meet the love of your life, you will need to improve your social skills. This book is a great starting point.

This book is for anyone that wants to learn the tools to have great interaction, it is very interesting, and you will definitely not find this boring. I have listened to this book on Audible a few times.

About the Author

Vanessa Van Edwards is an American behaviour investigator and a bestselling author.

There were numerous awkward experiences in her childhood, and then she founded Science of People, where she and her team studied the science of behaviour. She loves watching TED talks, Shark Tank and The Bachelor, where she analysis people's interactions and which ones are better and why. This is a fantastic study.

How the book changed me?

Teaching how to make a good impression through body language, showing your hands, standing up straight with your shoulders back and maintaining eye contact for most of the conversation. Offering how to share incredible stories, these are trigger, sparkling and boomerang stories.

Would you like to be closer to someone, ask the person for a small favour. Then see what happens.

Everyone likes people unafraid to show that they are vulnerable. Also, keep your hand visible; try not to put it in your pocket.

Our brain loves novelty and new conversation styles.

Try these sparks conversation:

· What is the highlight of your day?

· What personal passion project are you working on?

· Have anything exciting coming up in your life?

· What is your story?

· What brings you here?

· What do you do?

· Working on any exciting projects now?

· Have any vacations coming up?

· What are you up to this weekend?

· What do you do to unwind?

· What was the best part of your weekend?

If these are helpful, please let me know!

Trying using these words in future interactions to make yourself more charismatic and confident next time you are communicating, whether in person, via video call or email:

· Connect

· Collaborate

· Happy

· Love

· Great

· Captivating

· Excellent

· Creative

Top Quotes

All the below quotes are Vanessa Van Edward’s quotes from her book:

“Learning people skills will change your life…you will have more confidence, control, and charisma in all of your interactions.”
“Unique questions, unexpected stories, and uncommon occurrences keep us alert in conversation…being different wakes people up.”
“Having above average people skills is not being perfect. It’s not about never making a social blunder again. Rather, people who have great interpersonal intelligence leverage their vulnerability.”
“When you try to be the same as everyone else, it’s boring. When you try to fit into a mold, you become forgettable. When you try to be “normal,” you become dull. Just be yourself because no one is like you. If you’re a little weird, own it. The right people will like you for it.”
“Being a highlighter is about constantly search for the good in people. When you tell people they are good, they become better. When you search for what’s good, you feel great.”
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
“Whether we like to admit it or not, we decide if we like someone, if we trust someone, and if we want a relationship with someone within the first few seconds of meeting then.”
“When you produce dopamine during a conversation, you not only give your partner more enjoyment, but you are also assigned more significance, which increases your memorability.”
“Don’t try to impress people, let them impress you.”
“Vulnerability is sexy-it shows we are relatable, honest, and real.”

12 Hacks

At the Messenplatz in Basel, Switzerland
Photo by Noah Windler / Unsplash

Hack #1: The Social Game Plan

You take control of your interactions and develop your own Social Game Plan.

There are many different flavours of social charisma. There is no “one size fits all.”

Be you, do not try to be someone else.

Hack #2: The Triple Threat

Make a powerful first impression by hacking all three levels of trust.

The three items are to use your hands to reveal your intentions, take up space to display confidence, engage with eye contact to build trust, and use gaze to make connections.

Hack #3: Conversational Sparks

Do you want to make your conversation more memorable and add some conversation sparks, which are unique talking points?

There are three ways to do this; conversation sparkers are unique conversation starters, push hot buttons that light someone up and wake people up with an unusual or surprising action.

Hack #4: Highlighter

Bring out the best in people by highlighting their strengths.

There are two ways to do this, be a highlighter, give out praise and be a raver that lights someone up.

Next time you do an introduction, could you make it unique and exciting?

Hack #5: Thread Theory

Three steps in doing this, search for the threads, follow the thread and create ties.

Then, instead of pointing out your differences, find a way to say, “Me Too!!” We engage better with people who we have things in common with.

Hack #6: The Decoder

Spot the seven micro-expressions on their faces to uncover the truth.

They are:

· Anger

· Contempt

· Happiness

· Fear

· Surprise

· Disgust

· Sad

Hack #7: Speed-Read

Use the matrix to solve people’s Big Five Personality Traits.

They are:

Openness- how do you approach new ideas?

Conscientiousness- how do you approach getting things done?

Extroversion- how do you approach people in social situations?

Agreeableness- this trait is about cooperation, empathy, and emotional awareness of others.

Neuroticism- this explains how someone approaches worry and reactivity.

From the above information about yourself and your friends or co-workers, you need to understand your scores and traits, then practice guessing their traits or get them to do the quiz below. See if you can see the traits that can be complementary.

The link to the quiz:

Take Our Free Personality Quiz and See Where You Rank for the Big 5 Traits
What’s your personality? Take the quiz to find out how to find your Big 5 personality traits and what they mean.

Our brain loves novelty and new conversation styles.

For the Big Five Personalities, I got the following:

Open- high

Conscientiousness- high

Extroversion- high

Agreeableness- high

Neuroticism- medium

Share the above link with family and friends.

Once you have completed this, I would love you to share this on social media or email me directly here and tell me what you got!

Hack #8: The Appreciation Matrix

Uncover more layers of how someone expresses and feels appreciation. Think of this as you, them, and us. When speaking, aim for we-ness over me-ness.

Hack #9: Primary Value

Primary value is the underlying motivation that drives a person’s actions, decisions and desires.

Hack #10: The Story Stack

This is about sharing, telling, and hunting for captivating stories to capture imagination and attention.

There are three areas here; trigger topic, which is a safe, generic area. Sparking stories could make you and your audience laugh and groan and excellent follow-up conversation. Boomerang that you can tie it back to them with a question or inquiry about their stories.

Try to keep a stack story ready when you have social interaction.

These stories above have the following three elements:

-Start with a hook- an interesting question.

- Champion a struggle- people love to hear stories of overcoming challenges.

- Utilising provocative words- using words like perfume or coffee triggers a sensory response and makes people's brains light up.

See if you have three stories to add to the above, which will make your next interactions more exciting.

Hack #11: Own It!

Empower people by giving them buy-in, control, and ownership. Stop trying to micromanage people; they do not like this.

Hack #12: The Franklin Effect

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice, share vulnerability, or admit a weakness, they bond you to people.

When someone does something kind for you, they are likelier to like you. Asking friends and co-workers for honest advice about something will depend on your relationships; this should be done to the people you want advice from and are interested in what they say. Also, you could ask for a small favour, like borrowing a book or something else of theirs, and make sure to return it once you have completed it, with a thank you.

Hack #13: The NUT Job

When dealing with difficult people, try to understand them and transform their fear.

Use this hack to prevent difficult or uncomfortable interactions:

Step 1 Name

Step 2 Understand

Step 3 Transform

Hack #14:

Make people feel wanted, liked, and known.

Don’t impress people. Engaged them.

Let curiosity drive your interactions.

Napkin tricks to avoid sweaty handshakes. Try this next time you are out, grab a drink, wrap a napkin around your glass and hold your drink. Next time you meet and greet someone, your hand will not be sweaty.

Photo by Michail Dementiev / Unsplash

Course by Vanessa

Vanessa also has a course available if you are interested which I have completed and is great and such useful nuggets here, this is a 14-day course, link below:

Magnetic Charisma by Vanessa Van Edwards | Mindvalley
Master the hidden rules of human behavior, and gain the magnetic charisma to inspire, impact, and influence anyone and everyone

To Conclude

Photo by Emre / Unsplash

It is not what you say. It is how it is said. We are each day giving out verbal and non-verbal cues; if you can understand the people around you, your relationships in many situations will be much more positive. Think of your last interactions with people. Are those people better off from your interaction or worst off?

This is an important question to ask yourself.

The conversation should not be one-sided; even  on an interview it should not be a one-sided conversation; it should be more of a collaboration and conversation.

If you are interested in developing your presence, deeper your relationships and becoming a Master of Human connections, give this book a read or listen!

All people want to be heard and valued; think of this in your future interactions.

National Centre for the Performing Arts
Photo by Lan Ruqing / Unsplash

Collaborate with me:

Team building at RGB Parkour Tour back in 2014.

This is now available for purchase on print and a variety of other merch over in my RedBubble store. If you like the image, please consider making a purchase to help support me! :)

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Web: www.muktisantos.com

Instagram 3D icon concept.
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Instagram: www.instagram.com/wellnessofmukti

Facebook & Messenger 3D icons concept. Write me: alexanderbemore@gmail.com, if you need 3D visuals for your products.
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Facebook community: www.facebook.com/groups/501973713803012

Pinterest app icon in 3D. More 3D app icons like these are coming soon. You can find my 3D work in the collection called "3D Design".
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Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/wellnessofmukti/

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A Free 30-minute coaching call:

30 Minute Meeting - Mukti Santos

The above link is a FREE coaching call I can provide to assist you. I support busy mothers trying to meet you where you are at from possibility feeling:

· overwhelmed,

· confused,

· burnt-out

To feeling:

· confident,

· thriving,

· empowered,

· inspired

by learning to find consistency and flexibility with their wellness goals without adding more to their list.


If you see two changes I made on my website:


Email them to me, and the first person with the two correct answers, I will post you a gift!

Good luck!😊

A new blog coming out on Sunday 7th of May will be on how being more creative makes you happier so you can express and process emotions better.

When inspiration strikes
Photo by Tim Arterbury / Unsplash

We are all creative; this can mean different things to people. Each day we could invite some time for something creative, whether this is 5 or 60 minutes for this activity, or even longer if available to you.

These could include such things as dancing, singing, playing an instrument, writing a book or blog, drawing, colouring, painting, film, photography, puzzle, Lego, learning, visual arts, origami, web design and embroidery, but not limited to this list.

I appreciate your time in reading my blog; I hope you got some useful information from here, and you can start applying this to your life. Enjoy collaborating!

Have a lovely week!

Would love you to share what you are most excited about for the coming new week!

For me, it is not working this week, as I have the week off; I will be starting a new role on the 15th of May 2023!

All the best!




My goal is not about reaching everyone, it is about the right people! If you are one of these people, reach out to me by email or social media, would love to collaborate with you!

“Sometimes it takes only one act of kindness and caring to change a person’s life”.
Jackie Chan

Never underestimate any small act of kindness!