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Home » You are Contagious: Vanessa Van Edwards (Full Transcript)

You are Contagious: Vanessa Van Edwards (Full Transcript)

Vanessa Van Edwards

Here is the full transcript and summary of behavioral investigator and author Vanessa Van Edwards’ TEDx Talk: You are Contagious @ TEDxLondon conference. She is the author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People.

Listen to the MP3 Audio:


Vanessa Van Edwards – Behavioral Investigator & Author

Hello, my name is Vanessa, and I am a recovering awkward person.

This is me at the peak of what I like to call my plaid vest phase. Luckily, my years of social awkwardness led me to a fascinating career trying to figure out how people work.

So, what I didn’t realize is that many years ago, I would do an experiment that led me right on this stage in front of you here today.

My lab researchers and I were curious about TED Talks. We wanted to know: Why do some TED Talks go viral and others don’t?

So we embarked on a huge experiment. We analyzed thousands of hours of TED Talks, looking for patterns. I wasn’t sure if we would find anything, so we were analyzing body language, hand gestures, vocal variety. We even looked at outfit choices, which made today particularly pressure-filled.

And very quickly, there was a pattern in the data that made me curious. And after we coded more and more TED Talks, we realized there was a pattern.

Now, before I tell you what that is, I have a personal question for you, which is: when you see someone, what part of the body do you look at first? You can just call it out. What do you look at first when you see someone?

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