Cues Book Summary - Cues Book explained in key points
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Cues summary

Vanessa Van Edwards

Master the Secret Language of Charismatic Communication

4.5 (528 ratings)
15 mins

Brief summary

Cues by Vanessa Van Edwards explores the art of reading others' nonverbal communication to improve social interactions, build stronger connections, and achieve success in personal and professional relationships.

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    In 2013, Jamie Siminoff went onto the show Shark Tank to see if he could win over investors for his product. His company had, in fact, already done over a million dollars in sales. It was well on its way forward and just needed investment to turn it into a multi-million dollar business. Chances are, you’ve at least heard of his company— Ring, best known for doorbell cameras.

    In 2018, Jamie Siminoff sold Ring to Amazon for over $1 billion. But five years earlier, each of the investors on Shark Tank turned him down. While there are many reasons you might get a rejection when you clearly deserve an acceptance, the culprit most likely lies in your unconscious behaviors.

    So, let’s break down Jamie’s cues to start. During a demonstration of his product, he knocked on the door and one of the Shark Tank hosts asked who was there. Jamie said his name, but he said it with a rise in voice at the end, making it sound almost like a question. This was a signal of uncertainty and lack of confidence. Furthermore, Jamie failed to recognize and respond to cues given to him by the panel. For example, when he mentioned his million dollars in sales, Marc Cuban’s mouth turned down in an upside-down smile, or mouth shrug. It’s an unconscious signal that the listener either doesn’t connect with what you're saying, doesn’t care about it, or doesn’t believe it.

    Jamie was missing a crucial component for success: charisma.

    Charismatic communication comes down to two things: warmth and competence. The most successful people have the right blend of both, which leads them to be likable and respected, the two of which add up to trust. If you find yourself in this position, you’re probably doing well and have a good grasp of how to achieve your goals confidently.

    The rest of us fall into one of several categories. We may have warmth and no competence, making us well-liked around the office but meaning we get passed over for promotions or left out of important meetings. We may be all competence and no warmth, resulting in high achievement but few invitations to networking events or social gatherings, possibly to the detriment of our own advancement. Or we may be floundering altogether, lacking in either warmth or competence.

    Cues are the physical or verbal signals that tell others whether we can be trusted. Learning cues consists of two parts. The first is being aware of your own cues; the second is being aware of cues from others. This awareness in your professional conversations can help you get more wins whether you’re seeking a promotion, pitching an idea, or just networking.

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    What is Cues about?

    Cues (2022) is about the signals we send unconsciously and how they affect the way others perceive us. The book is geared toward improving your professional life by managing the cues you send and responding appropriately to the ones you receive. 

    Who should read Cues?

    • Professionals looking to achieve their goals
    • Those interested in the science of communication
    • People who want to improve their professional relationships

    About the Author

    Vanessa Van Edwards is the national best-selling author of Captivate and Cues. She is an international speaker and founder of Science of People, where she teaches science-based strategies for reaching professional goals. 

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