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Nonverbal Communication with Dr. Stephen Furlich

George Grombacher June 29, 2023

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Nonverbal Communication with Dr. Stephen Furlich

LifeBlood: We talked about nonverbal communication, how much of our communication is nonverbal, the different types, some principles to be aware of, and how to improve upon yours, with Dr. Stephen Furlich, Associate Professor of Communications.      

Listen to learn some simple tools to immediately implement to become a better communicator!

You can learn more about Stephen at TAMUC.Edu

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Dr. Stephen Furlich

Episode Transcript

eorge grombacher 0:01
Well, I’m left let’s just George G. And the time is right. Welcome. Today’s guests are on a powerful Dr. Steven Furtick. Dr. Steven, are you ready to do this?

Dr. Stephen Furlich 0:09
Yes, I am. Thanks for having me on. George,

george grombacher 0:10
excited to have you back on. Dr. Stephen is an associate professor of communications at Texas a&m. He’s an author, his newest book is nonverbal epiphany steps to improve your nonverbal communication. Steven, welcome back on, tell us a bit about your personal laughs more about your work? And what motivated you to write the new book.

Dr. Stephen Furlich 0:31
Thanks. So I’ve taught nonverbal communication for over 10 years at the university level. And I haven’t found a book that met all of my needs. So therefore, I thought I might as well write my own for my class, but then one of the things that academia tends to overlook is the general public as well, what can people actually use it? So to try and address both different audiences? Students from an academic background? That’s what I tried to do I have over 700 Different sources cited so that there is credible research that goes behind it, but what some practicality that people could use in their lives as well. And that’s one of the big things that was missing was the application, how can people actually use it. And then another thing is that I haven’t found any books as well, I tried to do in each chapter, I have an activity at the end, that people can actually apply and use what they just read over that chapters topics. So each chapter ends with a different activity that you use in real life. Because one thing sets I want the reader to take away with is to improve their nonverbal communication, both the way that they display their behaviors, but then also to understand other people’s nonverbal behaviors better as well. And so you first start out with some sort of background information, but then through application that you learn and improve your skills. So for today, I thought I’d talk briefly about some basic principles everyone should have in mind. And then some specific behaviors are a bit more universal. That applies to pretty much everyone, regardless of culture, or context. And then a little bit related to finance. And then if we still have time, some persuasion as well.

george grombacher 2:21
I love it. And I was telling you, sir, before jumping into it, I’m just curious, is unknowable the percentage of our communication that is nonverbal? So that’s a great

Dr. Stephen Furlich 2:31
question. There’s different estimates out there. But I would challenge your audience, to sort jokingly, to find any credible source that says it’s less than 50% of overall communication. So there’s various estimates, I haven’t found anything really credible, that’s under 70%. And it goes up to like 93%. So somewhere in that range, so I would throw a number on around 80% of our overall communication is nonverbal.

george grombacher 3:01
Don’t know what I would have guessed, I probably should have guessed upfront,

Dr. Stephen Furlich 3:06
I should have asked you that.

george grombacher 3:08
I probably would have said between 30% and 50%.

Dr. Stephen Furlich 3:13
And there’s a lot of areas, a lot of areas that people just don’t even take into consideration like chemo signals, and the different types of body odors that we tend to emit, communicate to other people’s will our emotional state, but also when it comes to like relationships and data. More so for the female she saw sniffs out the mail, with a chemo signal. She wants DNA that’s different from her DNA to reduce those recessive, detrimental types of genetics that everyone has the most of the times are not expressed. And she does that through smelling the different chemo signals that’s emitted. So for example, it’s been found in various studies, that you could lay out five different T shirts that a person was wore for several days, and then the female can sniff out the woman could sniff out and pick out which ones are a partner. And then a different study can pick out which ones are baby as well. So there’s a lot of subconscious that people don’t pick up on and reactions as well, that I’ll go into as well that people don’t even consider.

george grombacher 4:25
Well, that’s that that’s absolutely fascinating. Certainly, we can all think to times where we smelled somebody that either smelled bad or their their, their cologne was too much. It’s too much perfume. So that’s obviously conscious. But then there’s so much from a subconscious level that’s happening to

Dr. Stephen Furlich 4:42
or maybe you just in a dating relationship, whatever, where people have a great connection online, and then they meet in person, it just doesn’t fit. And maybe that’s part of it because there’s not genetic match that has been sort of played out through the chemo signals given off.

george grombacher 5:03
Fascinating, I didn’t mean to sidetrack you. No, no, that

Dr. Stephen Furlich 5:07
was good. So I guess I’ll start out with just a few principles that probably everyone should keep in mind to have a more accurate understanding of nonverbal communication of other people and more. And this is why I think in our society as well, that people lack self awareness that they don’t really understand how they’re coming across, and how other people see them as well. So when we’re just slight sidetrack, going on, in your view, meet with clients are whatever else, instead of looking down on your cell phone, carrying your cell phone in your hand, maybe carry a newspaper instead, or a periodical that’s related to that industry. And that may be what set you apart, that you’re more serious about the meeting, as opposed to being sidetracked about something else. So non verbally what that communicates

george grombacher 5:57
interesting, just, I’ve, it’s so basic, to me, but the idea that how you present yourself to the world matters. So the clothes that you wear the way you carry yourself. And I feel like sometimes we’ve we’ve we’ve forgotten that. But what an interesting thing that that is just carrying your cell phone, if you carried something that’s germane to what you’re about to do, that makes more sense.

Dr. Stephen Furlich 6:23
Maybe for you Wall Street Journal, or, you know, an Investor’s Business Daily, or you know, some term. So here’s a few different principles I think most people should keep in mind is they tend they Okay, so the general public tends to think that my nonverbal behaviors are a reflection of my emotional state. That’s true. But what they don’t understand is that your nonverbal behaviors can actually create your emotional state as well. So there’s been numerous studies have found that so one is where they had two different groups and one group, what’s your emotional state terms of happiness at the moment, and they would just sit there with their normal facial expressions, and the second one, they would hold a pin in their mouth. So when you have a pin in your mouth, what’s that do that sort of creates an artificial smile. And they found out that group to write in a much more positive and happy experience having a pin in their mouth, as opposed to just normal facial expressions, because a creative smile, and that nonverbal behavior created the emotional state. So if you’re feeling more negative during the day, just by simply smiling, that could change your emotional state, having more open posture that could change your emotional state as well. Here’s something that’s as been around for a little while. But the Bolat is something else that I tried to do throughout the book that very few nonverbal communication books do is bring in biology as well. So Amy Cuddy, cu TT CUDD, why she did numerous studies. And on this as well how your nonverbal behaviors can change not only your emotional state, but your physiology as well. So I’m having a power pose, where you have your legs more wide open, and your hands on your hips and your elbows out, she found out that haven’t that prior to a job interview, that decreases not only your cortisol levels, which is your stress hormone levels, but also increases your testosterone levels. And they had two different conditions. Before a judge’s of interviews, and condition, one, just do what you normally do prior to and walk into the interview. conditioned to you do the power pose without the judges seeing you do it. And then you do their interview and condition to during the power post, you’re more likely to be hired. And you’re rated much more positively as well by doing that power pose prior because it reduce your stress hormone level of cortisol and increase your testosterone level. So you felt more confident before him. So your nonverbal behaviors created your emotional state and change your physiology as well.

george grombacher 9:20
I think that that’s fascinating and certainly know it to be true. Is is the flip side true. If I’m just sort of kind of hunched over that’s going to potentially have the opposite effect.

Dr. Stephen Furlich 9:32
Yes. So that would increase your stress level and probably decrease your testosterone as well and probably feel less confident with what you have to say as well and people pick up on that and that’s what they found as well by those judges that never even saw this happen prior to. So before a presentation meeting with clients enter the whatever that power pose itself, and other types of behaviors can help create the emotional state.

george grombacher 9:58
Is it known Has it been thought about studied just the average Americans posture, how it’s changed over time. Obviously we’ve we’ve we’ve we’ve gotten heavier.

Dr. Stephen Furlich 10:11
Ah, there are numerous things that I cover in the book in terms of posture itself. And I haven’t looked at in terms of time and how it may have changed. But that’s a good point with us being hunched over the majority of the day versus walk in uprights doing factory work 50 years ago. So the posture itself, I haven’t looked into, here’s something that’s interested in what has on that note what has been seen as attractive, a lot of it has stayed relatively consistent. But as changed the nuances, so for example, the female body structure of hip to waist ratio, so that the waist itself and the hips are point seven. Okay, so the hips are wider than what the waste is, the waste is point seven, that particular body ratio has stayed consistent over decades, but the body frame has increased in terms of attractiveness. Previously, back in the Marilyn Monroe days is still point seven. But then more recent times, what’s attractive is the more thinner type of body type of the ratio has stayed the same. Where you have the hips are a bit wider for the woman. And the waist is a bit and more

george grombacher 11:46
is that based on like the the the actual physical characteristics of people that are models or used in advertising.

Dr. Stephen Furlich 11:55
The studies have been done in terms of showing various pictures of people, and then what keeps coming up over and over as the most attractive. So that ratio stays consistent. But the body frame itself can change. And that depends upon society. So back in Marilyn Monroe’s day, wherever that was, like the 50s, or whatever, food probably wasn’t as abundant. Back then, so was sought after in terms of attractiveness was someone who had more access to food, grass food is much more abundant now. But the quality of food isn’t as accessible now as what’s. And that’s what sought after is what’s that healthier type of look? Got it. Nice. So a few other principles that someone should probably keep in mind is, and this is something that’s often overlooked, is just don’t rely upon one nonverbal behavior, I think a popular culture, people think of because someone rubbed their nose or lying or not making eye contact or whatever, but you want to look at a multiple, different nonverbal behaviors. And you’re always putting together individual pieces of the puzzle for the overall puzzle of what someone’s meaning is, in, in that line, the context. So what’s the situation? What’s the relationship of the individuals, that’s the topic being discussed? And you want to have some sort of understanding of how, as a person normally communicate some sort of baseline. And then if they change from that, in terms of, let’s say, eye contact, people vary in terms of their duration of eye contact, some people hold it longer than others. So what someone’s normal, and then if someone breaks from what that normal is, that’s probably something to make note of, is there deception being taken place, and they found that people often maintain eye contact longer when they’re trying to be deceptive, deceptive than what they normally do, because they know that that’s one of the things that people are looking for. And then lastly, one thing that people probably want to keep in mind is that nonverbal behaviors are usually more accurate portrayal of what someone’s truly communicating, and that people tend to believe nonverbal behaviors much more so than what’s being said as well. So it goes both ways. People believe it more and usually is more true, or as well.

george grombacher 14:14
I think that that certainly makes sense. Nice.

Dr. Stephen Furlich 14:17
So those are just some basic principles to keep in mind. And then what I think a lot of times people have interest in, what are some of the specific behaviors that I can use identify on a daily basis. And I thought that may be the next area that I would go into how to dress great. So some of the different specific behaviors, these tend to be more universal. So there’s a biological component to it, that it’s not really a choice. It’s not really by culture. And it’s something that we do for there’s two primary drives behind our nonverbal behaviors for the most part. It’s reproduction. So pests are genetics and then also survival. So to make sure that we’re not knocked off by another species clubbed over the head previously, and that may be why people have speech anxiety is because of a crowd of people are surrounding you, then that’s some sort of threat. Because maybe it’s a threat to you as well previously, you know, generations ago, and maybe that’s what stayed with us, those who viewed it as a threat were able to survive, and those who just stood there and looked around, got clubbed ahead. And they’re, Brian stores burger got taken away, or their wife or whatever. So one thing that meeting with clients or other people that has been universally found, once a friend from foe, so on that no friend from foe, the eyebrow flash, so and less than a second people, when you meet someone, usually have eye contact first, and then your eyebrows, raise and close like that Just quickly, at the very beginning when someone you like or someone who you see as being friendly. So what’s that do that helps to open up your visual understanding of the other person, so you get a very visual field of the other person’s face. And it’s more of a friendly type of nonverbal greeting. So you can actually train yourself and that’s when the activities at the end of that chapter to recognize the eyebrow flash of other people to see who’s friendly toward you from foe is one thing, maybe someone who just comes across you or they’re really asking you for direction on the street, or do they have something that furious. And then secondly, you definitely train yourself to do it artificially as well, because people view that as more favorably and positively with other people.

george grombacher 16:42
That is fascinating. And I have pretty active eyebrows, Steven, but I’ve never thought about when they go up or, or meeting somebody that I’m annoyed with. It’s like, oh, this this person, again, probably I’m not doing the eyebrow thing.

Dr. Stephen Furlich 17:00
Probably your eyebrows are doing the opposite and more of a scowl and or lowered as they have raised. If it’s someone you’re not too happy to see. But you can train yourself as you want it to to have the you know, more positive foot with them.

george grombacher 17:15
No, I’d rather people know.

Dr. Stephen Furlich 17:18
Okay. So here’s the information do as it as you will. Here’s something that prior to Corona and you and finance probably use quite a bit after Corona Aiono, the handshake. So one of the things I cover on there are the different meanings of the handshake. So it first began two generations ago, where it’s much more have you placed your hand on other person’s forearm, because you usually wore those long cloaks, and you want to make sure that didn’t have some sort of dagger underneath, pull out and jab you with and then evolve more into the hand itself. And then different types of handshakes, communicate different things. And I have different pictures to illustrate that as well throughout the chapter. So for example, depending upon what your attention is, again, if you want to have a bit more of, I’ll throw the pan out there, that bar and more of a power in the display, then you want the person on your left side. If it’s going to be side by side, that way you reach across your body is the shake your hand. And what’s that do that naturally places your palm down, naturally places their palm up. So when you have your palm down, that’s a power handshake, their palm up is more about vulnerable and more of a submissive type of handshake. And that goes back probably for our ancestors as well. What’s that do that exposes that very vulnerable type of vein in your wrist, that if someone cuts that it’s very difficult to stop that from bleeding. So even a face to face, if you have your palm down, and their palm up, that gives you more of a power edge if it’s just symmetrical, and both have these palms parallel to each other, and that’s more neutral. And then if someone gives you maybe a power handshake, where they have their palm down, and you’re forced to have your palm up, then maybe do a light touch on the top of their hand or on their shoulder. And I have some pictures of that so that you take back the power and it’s not someone trying to bully you. And then again, the intensity of the handshake. It’s well if it’s very intense, and that’s more of a power play as well.

george grombacher 19:44
I think we’ve all experienced that. For sure. It’s one of the most annoying things when somebody kind of grabs your hand and sort of turns it down. Like okay, buddy, stick it easy,

Dr. Stephen Furlich 19:52
and it’s pretty funny. I don’t think I have to pitch her out but everyone could pull it up on YouTube. When President Trump met with the North Korean leader, how Trump kept touching him on the shoulder kept doing the power handshake, Trump always had them on his left side. And then also he would lead him. So Trump would stay in there, and then have his hand out the show which way that Kim Jong Il should walk. And that’s controlling his behavior, you’re telling her to do what to do where to go. So trying to establish the power, and then also go into a smile, a real smile from a fake one. Just some specifics how to tell the difference. The real smile is longer to create. Smart, symmetrical, you have Rach cheeks, but probably one of the most telling is you have those crow’s feet. So you have more of the wrinkles around the sides of the eyes when it’s real. If it’s fake, you do not and you show more of your upper teeth, and you don’t show your lower teeth for a real one. So I go through the detail that to tell the difference between real one a fake one, I have a head tilt, people tend to have a more positive experience with the person who has a head tilt, they come across as more friendly. And again, maybe ancestory that exposes your neck, and the vulnerability of that vein, that’s another one that’s difficult to shut off, if that’s to get sliced. But other people see that as you’re showing some vulnerability to them. And just having a simple head tilt they see as more of a friendly interaction with the other person and radius more positively. When you communicate with someone or personally having a triangle, so what’s the eye contact, you don’t want to break away from too much. But yet, you don’t want to stare at them too much. So what I suggest is you do a triangle, and you look at both eyes, and then you break down to their mouth so that you keep facing the other person and you don’t look away. But yet you don’t just keep staring with them as well. So sort of an upside down triangle is a mouth. And then one more thing, and I have a whole list of them. But just one more thing, I’ll go into Klein, pupil dilation, you can actually tell and the Chinese hundreds and hundreds of years ago, Chinese jewelry dealers caught on this pretty quickly. So then they start wearing sunglasses, that when someone finds something of interest there are people’s tend to dilate. So when you first have a stimuli that comes into play, your pupils dilate really quickly, less than a second. And if there’s something that you like they stay dilated, and if it’s something you dislike, then it becomes contracted. So if you’re looking at maybe in finance, different plants that someone is looking at A, B and C, their pupils dilate on B, they’re most interested in B than they are from A, B and C, same thing. It’s been found that women, their pupils dilate when they look at babies, and then attractive males and females, more so with attractive women. And then lastly, I’ll just touch on this, just to relate it back to finance that what’s been found in nature itself, and, and nonverbal communication. And it’s been found in the human body art history product, how you create a product logos, the golden ratio, and the one to 1.618. And how different proportions are different distances, or different, maybe price changes, or whatever else how they’re related to each other. And this has been found to be visually appealing. And it’s been found as beauty. So let’s say you look at someone’s face. And studies have been done with this look at someone’s face or products, those that have more proportions of maybe the nose to the eyes, or the width of the mouth, or whatever else that have more of the Golden Ratio proportions of different features from each other of the face, or the product actually activates the area of the brain that is responsible for beauty. So the areas of the brain that accesses beauty itself activates much more so when it looks at the golden ratio than something that is not the golden ratio. Nice. So with the Fibonacci numbers, you start out with 01 and then you add the previous one to get the next one zero and one is one one and one is two, two ones three, and go on to infinity. And you can divide any number by the previous one to get to some sort of derivative of one to 1.618. And you could if you’re doing technical analysis of price changes it’s been found decades ago when it’s more natural trading, regardless of what it is if it’s an equity a stock or a commodity or currency or a bond follows these types of price movements and patterns with larger trends, the 1.618 and then smaller trends you retract on, that’d be the one and then you go back to the larger trend, this and the other so you could help time price movements by identifying larger or smaller trends by that golden ratio itself.

george grombacher 25:21
And love it. Steven, thank you so much for coming back on. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage and where can they where can they get their copy of nonverbal epiphany steps to improve your nonverbal communication?

Dr. Stephen Furlich 25:34
So the easiest way is to go on to Amazon, and to go to the books category and then just type in my last name for Ilitch fu R li ch, and then it pops up there. So it’s paperback it’s ebook the books only 995 audiobook at this time of year the audiobook seems a bit more popular people traveling and vacations and stuff like that.

george grombacher 26:00
Well, if you enjoyed this as much as I did, show Dr. Steven your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas. Pick up your copy of nonverbal epiphany steps to improve your nonverbal communication on Amazon. Just go to Amazon Go to books enter into the search for Lich fu R li ch and you will find it next good Steven. Thanks, George. I enjoyed it. And until next time, remember, do your part. Doing your best

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