Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Captivate by Vanessa Van Edwards

I just started a job doing customer service and since my people skills are not the best, I borrowed this book to see if there was anything I could do to improve it. Turns out that this isn't really about customer service, so there's not much that I may be able to use, but I found it interesting.

Captivate is divided into three sections: the first five minutes, the first five hours, and the first five days. It takes you from how to make a good first impression, to how to read people (and here I thought microexpressions were basically used in that one TV show), and how to interact with people of different personalities. Tips in the book include:

- Be memorable by highlighting people's highpoints
- Build a sense of connection by emphasising on your commonalities
- Get people to do assigned work but delegating the work by skills and assigning people to tasks that they're good at.
- Don't be afraid to ask for advice or show yourself to be less than perfect.

There's a personality test on the site linked to the book, and I took it took. Unfortunately, neither the book nor the guide gave an interpretation key, but if I'm not wrong, I'm high neuroticism and extraversion and slightly low openness, agreeability and low conscientious. In other words, I'm a worrier, very talkative, not very good at working in groups and can be seen as sloppy and unreliable. How accurate that is, I have no idea. I have found that the results I get from a personality test changes depending on my mood when I take the test and I have no idea if this is different from the rest.

Overall, I think this is an interesting book. I'm not sure how true it is, given that some have called the accuracy of studies in the field of social psychology into question, but it's definitely food for thought. Perhaps I will reread this in the future and see if there's anything more I can glean from it.


  1. My husband works in customer service and customer service is prioritized in my job as well. It's too bad this book wasn't more focused on that aspect, although it does sound interesting.

    1. Yes, it's a pity! It's more for general people skills - though tips on defusing an angry customer would definitely be useful!


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