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Cues Book Summary & Review (What Can You Learn?)

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If you are tired of being underestimated, interrupted, or overlooked, Cues is the ultimate guide to improving your social interactions for the better. In this book, communication expert and bestselling author Vanessa Van Edwards teaches you how to convey charisma, power, trust, and likability in any situation. 

Cues is a detailed guide on what to do and what not to do to present yourself as charismatic in social interactions. Whether you’re interviewing for a job, pitching a business idea, or trying to win over a new date, this book translates science into plain language to teach you:

  • How to read other people’s cues
  • How to have a powerful presence and make people pay attention to you
  • How to send more positive cues and eliminate negative ones
  • How to use power words to communicate via email, text, phone, and IRL
  • Secret marketing tips for building your personal brand
  • Precise tips like where to look, how to stand, and what to do with your hands to make people trust you

If you love the tips in this summary, the book offers even more guidance, challenges, and tricks for mastering your cues in daily life. 

Unlock the Secrets of Charisma

Control and leverage the tiny signals you’re sending – from your stance and facial expressions to your word choice and vocal tone – to improve your personal and professional relationships.

Quick Summary: Cues by Vanessa Van Edwards

What makes someone charismatic? What is that special spark that makes some people more memorable than others? 

It’s all about their cues. The tiny signals we send with our facial expressions, body language, words, and vocal inflections have a tremendous impact on how others perceive us.

What are cues?

Cues are the powerful verbal, nonverbal, and vocal signals humans send to one another. They are social messages that convey hidden information about the people we are with. Cues can enhance your message or weaken it.

Cues include:

  • How you talk
  • How you stand
  • What emoji’s you use
  • Where you stand
  • How you say “hello” on the phone or video
  • Where you gaze
  • Your facial expressions
  • What you do with your hands
  • The colors you wear
  • The clues in your video backgrounds and at your desk
  • …we send thousands of cues every day. Every time you interact with another person, you send cues.

Some cues are subtle, while others are blatantly obvious. We can use cues to predict how others will behave while also sending messages about our own personality and trustworthiness.

Unlock the Secrets of Charisma

Control and leverage the tiny signals you’re sending – from your stance and facial expressions to your word choice and vocal tone – to improve your personal and professional relationships.

Introduction: The Signals That Are Secretly Shaping You

Have you ever had an incredible idea that nobody seemed to get excited about? Or have you ever had difficulty sharing your perspective with people? Knowing how to share your ideas, so people listen is a key social skill. 

Cues open with the surprising story of why every shark on Shark Tank denied entrepreneur Jamie Siminoff (founder of billion-dollar smart doorbell company Ring). Why? Because he sent the wrong cues. For example, he signaled insecurity and self-doubt by:

  • Using the question inflection when introducing himself: It sounded like “It’s Jamie?”
  • Giving a one-sided shoulder shrug when he mentioned the price of his product: This showed a lack of confidence in his pricing.

The key lesson from this case study is: A strong idea cannot stand on its own. It needs to be presented with strong cues.

As a self-proclaimed “recovering awkward person,” Vanessa Van Edwards confesses that she didn’t always know the “invisible language” of cues. It took her years of studying people, science, and social interactions to discover the “secret sauce” to building relationships and becoming a better communicator. 

Cues is a reference guide for the social signals humans send.

She grouped her discoveries about cues into four categories that form the foundation of this book:

  • Nonverbal Cues: Our body language, posture, gestures, and facial expressions.
  • Vocal Cues: Our cadence, pace, volume, and speaking tone.
  • Verbal Cues: The words we use in person, in email, in text, or on the phone.
  • Imagery Cues: The colors we wear, our ornaments, and the props we use in our homes, desks, offices, and photo and video backgrounds.

Watch our video below to reinvent yourself with Cues AMA:

Chapter 1: Cue for Charisma

Who is the most charismatic person you can think of? Oprah? Your dad? The CEO of your company?

Charisma is difficult to define but easy to recognize. Based on groundbreaking academic research, Vanessa narrows it down to this simple equation:

Charisma = Warmth + Competence

Scientifically speaking, warmth and competence cues create over 82% of our impressions of people. The key to charismatic people is finding the perfect balance between these traits:

  • Warmth: Can I trust you? Are you kind, compassionate, collaborative, and open?
  • Competence: Can I rely on you? Are you impressive, smart, powerful, and capable?

Some people are higher in warmth, which could mean they don’t exude enough competence. High warmth can manifest as:

  • People-pleasing behaviors
  • Perception of friendliness, but not impressiveness
  • A strong desire to be liked by others

Others are higher in competence but may come across as cold. High-competence people may be:

  • Smart but not super approachable
  • Difficult to read or relate to
  • Intimidating or not considered collaborative

Ultimately, charisma occurs on a scale. The most charismatic people move flexibly between the warmth and competence zones. The book dives into key charisma cues in the next chapters.

Cues. Chapter 1

Chapter 2: How Cues Work

Learning to decode cues gives you an intuitive superpower. Instead of solely relying on what people say or do, cues allow you to “read between the lines” to interpret social signals from other people. 

Fortunately, your brain naturally picks up on these subtle cues. Research guides us to do it more effectively. Then, you can use this awareness to sway social interactions in your favor.

Key Message: Your cues are contagious! Your emotions and behaviors trigger similar responses in others. 

Reading and decoding cues help you decipher:

  • What others are thinking and feeling
  • Their intentions
  • Their trustworthiness

At the same time, you can encode your cues to send social messages and portray yourself as more:

  • Charismatic
  • Powerful
  • Trustworthy
  • Engaging
  • Likable

Lastly, internalizing is how cues influence your internal emotional state, including your:

  • Mood
  • Productivity
  • Success
  • Social interactions 

The decoding > internalizing > encoding process creates a triangular loop Van Edwards calls “The Cue Cycle.”  

Decode, Cues Chapter 2

Action Step: The best way to know what cues you are encoding is to watch yourself on video. Record yourself on a video call or meeting while you are being as natural as possible. You can also find a video of a speech or toast from the past. Revisit this video throughout the following chapters to identify which cues you naturally encode. 

Part 1: Nonverbal Cues

Nonverbal communication can enhance or detract from the words that come out of your mouth. The first part of Cues is an actionable guide to using body language cues for more charisma.

Chapter 3: The Body Language of Leaders

You’ve probably heard the statistic that nonverbal cues affect 65 to 90% of our total communication. Sending (encoding) strong nonverbal cues is just as important as interpreting them.

Studies show that people who recognize non-verbal cues tend to earn more money. That’s because they are better at

  • Reading the emotions of others
  • Predicting others’ behaviors
  • Responding appropriately
  • Getting their ideas across

This chapter covers the five charisma cues you can use to be nonverbally captivating.

Charisma Cue #1: Lean Like a Leader

Leaning forward activates a part of your brain that increases your motivation. It is the fastest way to look interested and feel more engaged in what people say. The opposite of this cue (slouching or leaning back) is a Danger Zone cue because it sends the message that you are cold or uninterested. 

Charisma Cue #2: Open Body, Open Mind

Imagine if iconic images like the Statue of Liberty had their arms folded in front of them. They wouldn’t appear as powerful because a closed body signals close-mindedness. Leaders make a conscious effort to remove barriers (like crossed arms or a table), so they look more open. 

Uncross your arms, expose your torso (and heart), and push aside any barriers to show your charisma. 

Charisma Cue #3: Front Forward

Fronting is a tactic you can use to signal attention. Where you face is where your attention goes. Pay attention to your three T’s:

  1. Toes
  2. Torso
  3. Top (head and shoulders) 

The three T’s should face the person or thing you want to focus on. Angling your body toward somebody when they’re talking makes them feel important. 

Charisma Cue #4: Be Smart with Space

Seinfeld coined the term close talker or someone who doesn’t seem to understand personal space. Charismatic people, on the other hand, leverage space to encourage intimacy and trust. They know where to stand to make people feel comfortable.  

Pay attention to the different categories of space based on your relationship with a person:

  1. Intimacy Zone: The area of 0 to 18” from your body is reserved for people you highly trust.
  2. Personal Zone: Between 1.5 and 4 feet away is where most interactions happen. This is close enough to shake hands or have a conversation without feeling too close or vulnerable. On camera, you should aim to be about 2 feet away so you can see your head and shoulders.
  3. Social Zone: From 4 to 7 feet, professional interactions can comfortably occur between acquaintances.
  4. Public Zone: When people are 7+ feet away, we can see their full body and figure out their intentions before they approach. Showing their palms with a wave or exchanging a smile can signal safety to invite them closer. 

Charisma Cue #5: Engage with Gaze

A psychological study of over 15,000 participants revealed that most people struggle to identify negative emotions in people’s eyes. Understanding eye cues (furrowed brows, eye crinkles, or droopy lids) can help decode what people feel in a situation. 

A purposeful gaze also builds your connection with others.

  • Gaze with intent: Search others’ faces for clues about how they’re feeling. This encodes competence.
  • Gaze for oxytocin: Locking eyes, even for a brief moment, can produce oxytocin and create bonding. This encodes warmth. 
  • Avoid: Don’t stare someone down (creepy!) or hold eye contact with a conversation hijacker (they’ll think they should keep talking!)

Key Takeaways from Chapter 3: Whether you’re on a date or giving a big presentation, use these cues to appear more charismatic. People are more likely to be interested in you and follow your lead when you:

  • Slightly lean in to listen.
  • Keep your body language open. Avoid crossing your arms or “hiding” behind props.
  • Make people feel important by facing them with your toes, torso, and top.
  • Use space to your advantage. Back up when people appear uncomfortable and move closer when they invite you to shake hands or share a story.
  • Use gaze strategically. Aim to hold eye contact for 60 to 70% of a conversation.

Chapter 4: The Wow Factor

This chapter is all about the six warmth cues that build loyalty and trustworthiness to create the “wow factor” that makes people feel magnetized toward you. 

Warmth Cue #1: Time Your Tilts

A head tilt cue shows curiosity and interest. Tilting increases your likeability and nonverbally saying, “wow, tell me more.” It can encourage people to open up. 

Warmth Cue #2: Nod to Know

Emotions often reveal themselves through nods. A vertical “yes” nod is encouraging and agreeable, while a horizontal “no” nod is for disagreement. Nodding is an underused persuasion tool because it can change how people react to you. Nod “yes” for more yeses! 

Warmth Cue #3: Eyebrows Raise Expectations

If you’re looking for a nonverbal shortcut, an eyebrow raised quickly communicates:

  • Curiosity
  • Attention
  • Delight
  • Emphasis 

Warmth Cue #4: Savor Smiles

Smiling is, unsurprisingly, a pure warmth cue. However, the timing of your smile can enhance your attractiveness and effectiveness. A quick flash of a smile may seem ingenuine. Create more joy, sincerity, and bonding by using a savor smile: Allow your smile to spread across your face slowly. 

Action Step: Read more about how Dwayne Johnson uses the savor smile to be more charismatic. Then try a few mirror exercises from our guide, 9 Simple Tips to Smile Better (in any situation!)

Warmth Cue #5: A Touch of Trust

Research shows that this simple cue was correlated with which basketball teams won the most games in the 2008-2009 NBA finals—the teams that touched each other the most (back pats, shoulder bumps, head grabs, etc.) won the most games.

Subtle touch builds trust and makes people feel more trusting. Purposefully touch with:

  • Handshakes to introduce yourself
  • High fives to congratulate 
  • Arm or elbow touches to emphasize a point

Warmth Cue #6: Mirroring Makes You Magnetic

Wowing people is not about flaunting the highest energy possible. Instead, it is about meeting them where they are and mirroring their cues—noticing peoples’ gestures, facial expressions, voice volume, tone, pitch, and word choices. Match the positive cues to show that you’re on the same page! 

Key Takeaways from Chapter 4: Build more loyalty and trust with people by showing them you are warm and caring. In conversation, you can convey warmth with these cues:

  • Slightly tilt your head.
  • Nod “yes” more.
  • Raise your eyebrows when you’re intrigued.
  • Allow your smiles to form slowly on your face.
  • When appropriate, pat someone’s shoulder or high-five to add a touch of trust.

Chapter 5: How to Look Powerful

If you want to look more competent, use cues that signal power rather than insecurity. 

Power Cue #1: Powerful Posture

Competent people undeniably stand tall and look confident. Remember to check in on these 3 areas:

  1. Shoulders: Roll back and relax your shoulders downward. Don’t shrug them up toward your ears!
  2. Feet: Place your feet a few inches wider than your hips and angle your toes toward the person you are talking to.
  3. Hands: Check that your hands are relaxed and ungripped. When your arms hang loose, you can gesture and signal more openness. 

Power Cue #2: All Seeing, All Knowing

When you look at photos of celebrities nominated as “Sexiest Man/Woman Alive,” they have a common similarity: They have a slightly hardened lower eyelid or flexed lid cue. The narrowed eyes convey intensity and contemplation. Think of Tyra Banks “smizing.” 

Power Cue #3: Smart People Steeple

Bringing your hands together in a steeple gesture universally displays confidence. It’s like a power pose for your hands. Simply face your palms toward each other and gently touch your fingertips together like the steeple of a church.

Power Cue #4: Excel at Explaining

The most competent people use explanatory gestures to expand upon their verbal message. For example, you can:

  • Hold up your fingers while saying a number
  • Bring your hands close together to emphasize smallness
  • Hold your palms far apart to demonstrate something big
  • Motion toward your heart when talking about yourself
  • Gesture toward the audience to call them to action

Use nonverbal gestures to compound your confidence while speaking. Avoid wasting energy with meaningless jerks and motions. 

Power Cue #5: Palm Power

Did you know that an open palm can make people pay more attention to you? Show your palms to invite people to listen and believe in your words.

Power Cue #6: How to Nicely Get Someone to Stop Interrupting You

Do you need to nicely get someone to stop interrupting you? Highly competent people can control the flow of conversation with these subtle cues:

  • The Fish: Hold your mouth open about an inch to get someone to stop talking.
  • The Bookmark: If someone interrupts you, hold your hand or finger toward them when you need to pause. This nonverbally says, “Wait, I’m not done.”
  • The Anchor Touch: When someone is droning on and on, gently tap their shoulder to pull them out of a monologue. 

Key Takeaways from Chapter 5: You can use cues to create a powerful presence that makes you look and feel more confident. Competent people decode the emotional needs of others and encode more powerful cues to help them feel more comfortable.

Chapter 6: How to Spot a Bad Guy… and Not Be One Yourself

Danger zone cues are the red flags of communication. These subtle cues can signal lying, distrust, anxiety, insecurity, or other negative emotions. This chapter guides you through a video exercise to help you discover what cues you send when you are telling the truth, recalling an anxious memory, and when you’re lying. They may include:

Danger Cue #1: Distancing

When you don’t like something, there is often a subconscious urge to distance yourself from it. Often when someone tells a lie, they tend to:

  • Lean backward
  • Look away
  • Scoot their chair back
  • Turn away to check their phone  

This physical distancing is the opposite of charismatic cues like leaning and fronting. Don’t turn away; turn toward.

Danger Cue #2: Self-Comfort

When someone uses self-touch, it can indicate anxiety or insecurity, which detracts from your charisma. There are several types of self-comfort cues, including: 

  • Ventilation: A gesture that brings airflow to the skin to avoid nervous sweating (for example, lifting your hair or fanning oneself). 
  • Comfort Gesture: Rubbing your arm or touching your neck is a typical response when discussing anxiety-producing topics. 
  • Preening: Fixing your makeup and fidgeting with your hair or clothes are other preening cues that people use to try to make themselves look better when they’re nervous. 

Danger Cue #3: Block It Out

Blocking gestures are cues people use to protect themselves when they feel uncomfortable or vulnerable. You do not want to encode anxiety with these accidental blocks:

  • Touching the suprasternal notch (the dent between your collar bones)
  • Clutching an item in front of your body
  • Shifting eye contact
  • Covering your face

Danger Cue #4: The Signal of Shame

The shame cue happens when people touch their foreheads and look down. This powerful cue can signal nervousness and embarrassment. 

Danger Cue #5: Are You Okay?

Has someone ever asked, “Are you okay?” while you were casually relaxing? An RBF (resting, bothered face) can send the wrong message accidentally. Avoid these cues when your face is at rest: 

  • Anger: A furrowed brow from feeling confused or being in the sunlight can inadvertently signal anger. Relax your brows as much as possible. 
  • Sadness: Droopy eyelids and a mouth shrug (where the corners of your mouth turn down) 
  • Contempt: Smirking with one side of your mouth lifted is one of the most confusing facial expressions. Asymmetrical smiles typically signal scorn. 

Key Takeaways from Chapter 6: Congruence happens when our nonverbal and verbal cues align. Congruence creates authenticity! You want your verbal and vocal cues to line up with your micro-expressions and body language. Stay out of the Danger Zone by avoiding red flag cues like leaning away, self-touch, or the signal of shame.

Part 2: Vocal, Verbal, and Imagery Cues

Have you ever heard of a couple falling in love without seeing each other? Your voice has a powerful impact on how people feel about you, your work, and your passions. This section teaches you how to optimize your vocal tools like pitch, volume, cadence (rhythm), and breath.

Chapter 7: Sound Powerful

It’s not always what you say but how you say it. Studies find that even when words are “garbled” together, vocal cues like pitch and volume affect how patients perceive surgeons. Powerful vocal cues convey competence. 

Vocal Power Cue #1: How to Sound Confident

A nervous pitch causes your voice to go higher or even “crack.” You can use a more confident pitch by speaking in your lowest comfortable voice as you exhale.

Vocal Power Cue #2: Be Taken Seriously

If you want people to stop questioning you, stop making statements like they are questions! 

Pro Tip: To avoid the question inflection, imagine punctuation (like a period or exclamation point) at the end of your sentence. Instead of saying, “I charge $100 per hour?” sound more confident and competent by stating, “I charge $100 per hour.” 

Vocal Power Cue #3: Eliminate Vocal Fry… Forever

Vocal fry is when someone’s voice cracks, creaks, or sounds raspy. It can kill your competence cues and signal anxiety. 

Vocal Power Cue #4: Volume Control Shows Emotional Control

Expert communicators speak louder and vary their volume to highlight the most important parts of their message. 

Vocal Power Cue #5: Pause for Power

Verbal fillers can cause people to interrupt you more because they signal low confidence. Instead, use incremental breaths and power pauses to create more interest in what you’re saying. Replace filler words like “um” and “like” with purposeful pauses.

Key Takeaways from Chapter 7: Adjust the sound of your voice to sound more competent. The quickest tricks you can implement include:

  • Speaking on the lower end of your range. 
  • Clear your throat before you talk to avoid raspiness or “fry.”
  • Speak with a variable tone and volume. 
  • Pause instead of using fillers. 

Chapter 8: Vocal Likability

Vocal likability is like the personality of your voice. These vocal cues add warmth. 

Vocal Warmth Cue #1: Make a Memorable First Impression

On average, people judge your voice within 200 milliseconds of you speaking. Make it count by using a positive “hello.” Avoid answering the phone when you’re in a bad mood.

Vocal Warmth Cue #2: Sound Friendly

A friendly voice helps others feel a sense of reassurance and belonging. Warm-up cues are phrases that welcome and comfort people in your presence:

  • “Oh, it’s so good to hear from you!”
  • “Hello, friend! So happy you’re here.”
  • “What a lovely day outside.”
  • “What is good in your world?” 

Vocal Warmth Cue #3: How to Sound More Interesting

When listening to others, people tend to be more interested in those with vocal variety. The changing level of emotion adds spice to your speech. 

Avoid monotone by emphasizing the most important parts of what you’re saying. If you are scripting a presentation or speech, write yourself some nonverbal cue notes like:

  • Add smiley faces where you should smile 
  • Use “pause lines” to remind yourself to take a breath
  • Underline where you should speak louder
  • Circles to show you where to add emotion

Vocal Warmth Cue #4: Sound Encouraging and Inviting

Listening sounds are those nice “ooh’s,” “aah’s,” and “mhmm’s” that show us someone is interested in our stories. Use these non-word vocalizations as invitations to build warm rapport. You can also give a verbal nudge that you want to hear more by using encouraging words like “Wow,” “Tell me more,” “Interesting,” and “Really?”

Vocal Warmth Cue #5: Channel Your Charisma

Research shows that simply asking people to channel Steve Jobs while they’re talking instantly made them better speakers! They spoke louder, used stronger eye contact, and used clearer hand gestures. 

You can hack your speaking charisma with the same principle: Identify a “speaking role model” and channel them while public speaking. 

Key Takeaways from Chapter 8: Sound more welcoming by speaking with joy and encouragement. Avoid answering the phone or interacting with others when you are in a bad mood. Use warm welcomes, smiles, listening noises, and cues from your favorite inspirational “speaking role model” to exude a positive tone. 

Chapter 9: How to Communicate with Charisma

What do you call yourself? What do you name meetings? How do you define your business? Finding your power words can help you cue the right people. Most people are using boring words that unintentionally dial down their charisma. 

Step #1: Email Audit

So much of our digital communication is sterile and bland. Adding warmth and competence to your emails can make people treat you differently. 

Perform a simple email audit to find out how warm or competent you sound online:

  • Pull up your 5 most recent important emails.
  • Count how many warm words you use (e.g., “love,” “connecting,” “special,” and “together”)
  • Count how many competent words you use (e.g., “powerful,” “brainstorm,” “next level”)
  • Count how many charismatic words you use (e.g., “expertise,” “appreciate,” “regards”)

When sending an email, think more about how you want the recipient to feel.  

Step #2: Stop Being Boring

Upgrade your openers and closers. Instead of saying “Hi” or “Hello,” try “Good morning, team!” or “Welcome, I’m so excited you’re here!” Instead of “Bye” or “Talk soon,” use a clever tagline like “You can rely on us” or “Appreciatively, [your name].”

Step #3: Create Charisma

In general, society views women as higher on warmth, and men are perceived as more competent. Regardless of your gender, you can create charisma by using more warm words or more competent words. Use warm cues to respond to warm people and use competent cue words when interacting with competent people. 

Step #4: Inspirational or Informational

People who respond to competence want to be informed with:

  • Data
  • Case Studies
  • Research
  • Facts

People who respond to warmth wants to prefer inspiration, like:

  • Stories
  • Jokes
  • Metaphors
  • Social Proof

Step #5: Be a Verbal Chameleon

Subtly mimic the kinds of words someone uses so you can match their charisma style. If they tend to be warmer, compliment them with warmth-affirming phrases like “You always make people feel so comfortable.” On the other hand, you can validate competent people by saying, “You’re so interesting!” or “I knew you’d know what to do.” 

Key Takeaways from Chapter 9: Pay attention to the subtle details of your communications. The words you use in conversation, text, and email can all add to your personal branding and charisma. Replace boring introductions and bland descriptions with intriguing vocabulary that elevates your competence and/or warmth. 

Chapter 10: Creating a Powerful Visual Presence

Tap into the power of neural maps by sending visual cues that attract the right people.

Visual Cue #1: Elevate Your Prices, Your Look, and Your Brand

Visual metaphors make us associate certain people or brands with other recognizable aesthetics. For example, candy in a turquoise blue box with a ribbon might seem more expensive and fancy because it reminds you of Tiffany’s jewelry. 

Use this trick to match your personal brand or business brand with colors, fonts, music, and visuals that you’d like to associate with. 

Pro Tip: Interesting research found that people are more likely to bond over warm drinks than cold ones. If you want to come across as warm and inviting, try offering a steaming mug of hot cocoa or herbal tea rather than ice water. 

Visual Cue #2: Images That Inspire

Attract your target audience by strategically using images to support your message or your brand. Pay attention to:

  • Your background on video calls
  • The body language of people in advertisements
  • Hidden visual cues like the background on your phone or the picture on your business card

Visual Cue #3: Your Nonverbal Brand

How you dress and decorate your life instantly signals to people what you’re all about. Think about your bumper stickers, accessories, and social media pictures. Every subtle visual adds to your personal brand and affects how people perceive you. For example:

  • Carrying a backpack can signal more cooperation, while a briefcase signals competition.
  • Glasses signal competence and intelligence.
  • On dating apps, women rate men holding a cat as less masculine.

Visual Cue #4: Color Me Confident

Colors are the backbone of marketing for a reason. Use them wisely to appeal to your customer or build your personal brand.

  • Red=action
  • Blue=calm, productivity, trust
  • Green=go, eco-friendly
  • Yellow=sunshine, warmth, joy

Visual Cue #5: Cue That Bias

An unconscious bias is a social stereotype that activates a certain neural map you may not be aware of. Often these biases are harmful and engrained by society. Fortunately, we can make them work for us rather than against us. Vanessa Van Edwards points out a few ways she dials up the competence cues to counteract biases people may have about her appearance:

  • She uses more competent words.
  • She speaks in the lower range of her vocal capabilities.
  • She dresses more formally.
  • She portrays confident first and last impressions.
  • She adds competent visual cues to Science of People branding, such as the brain chemical drawings in the background of her videos

Key Takeaways from Chapter 10: Businesses use visual branding to convince us to buy their products. You can tap into the same marketing psychology by crafting your personal presentation to attract the people you want around you. Consider your clothing styles, colors, props and accessories, video backgrounds, and social media images. What message are they sending about you?  

Conclusion: Cues Best Practices

Whether you’re preparing for a virtual meeting, a prominent public speaking event, or a fun date, remember that your cues can instantly upgrade your charisma. However, it can be easy to overthink cues as well. Use these best practices to ensure that your knowledge of cues works in your favor. 

Rule #1: Expect the Best

Don’t use the knowledge of cues to scrutinize every interaction. Avoid jumping to conclusions about negative cues and give people the benefit of the doubt before judging them. 

Rule #2: Don’t Fake It

Even the most powerful cues cannot fake experience or expertise. If you aren’t competent, don’t force it. If you don’t feel warm toward a person, don’t force the warmth cues, or you may end up feeling like a phony.

Rule #3: Use the Rule of Three

This book has over forty cues to remember! Before you use them, practice the rule of three:

  • Decode each cue at least three times in a different situation
  • Encode each cue at least three times
  • Take notes on how a specific cue can help you with your unique goals

Key Takeaway: Competence cues help people take you more seriously and view you as credible. Warmth cues help people trust you and feel excited about your ideas. 

Decoding other people’s cues and encoding your own can transform your communication. But the real secret to cues is making them work for you. Learn more about which cues you want to send and how they make you feel. 

Unlock the Secrets of Charisma

Control and leverage the tiny signals you’re sending – from your stance and facial expressions to your word choice and vocal tone – to improve your personal and professional relationships.

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