An Interview on Emotional Intelligence with David Schneer PhD


Chloe Mepham BSc

In today's episode, I'm joined by a connection of mine who performs fascinating work. David Schneer PhD, please for the audience David, tell us a bit about yourself.


David Schneer PhD

Well, first of all, Chloe, thank you so much for having me. And good afternoon. So when we first met on LinkedIn, I was introduced to you as the CEO of Merrill research, and it is a very experienced company. We started it in 1986, and we specialise in new product development, and strategic communications, for larger, mostly larger companies. We started that company in 1986. And along the way, my specialty has always been qualitative research, and interviewing people like you're interviewing me now. And over the years, I became a pretty highly trained, nonverbal intelligence expert. And I just have so much fun teaching that I started a company, I am now the CEO of Merrill Institute which is a company I formed to teach people the body language techniques that I've been using in my research methodology.


Chloe Mepham BSc

Wow, that does sound like fascinating work, David.


David Schneer PhD

I split my time now between near where you are in the UK, and out here in Northern California, San Francisco Bay area.


Chloe Mepham BSc

Well, it seems like we have our first day of spring here in the UK today.


David Schneer PhD

Yeah, and amazingly enough, something we haven't seen here in California today, It's now raining. Yeah, something we rarely see is also thunder and lightning. We're getting that. Oh, god, it's a lot of us Californians that don't see that stuff every day. Of course, you guys get that every day in the UK?


Chloe Mepham BSc

We're used to it. But I always get shook by a thunderstorm. I have to say, our How are you with dealing with those?


David Schneer PhD

I love it. I love counting intervals between the next one. I used to do that as a kid growing up in the East Coast. I'm okay with it. It's the earthquakes that I don't like,


Chloe Mepham BSc

oh, yeah, I couldn't handle that. I certainly couldn't handle that. So tell us, David, what have you been working on recently?


David Schneer PhD

Well, in the research side, we've been working a lot in the area of security, and specifically around technology, security for families, and also voice activated products. That is something that is not going to go away. We'll be eventually talking to our products instead of typing into them. But on the body language side, we've been basically just working on getting the word out about our workshops and talking to people like you who are involved in around the area of emotional intelligence.


Chloe Mepham BSc

Why don't you tell us a bit more about your workshops? David?


David Schneer PhD

Well, one of the questions you asked me was what principles do you use in our work and basically, in body language training, we're using scientific based indications of body language and what they mean, the things that we're teaching people now are to recognise when somebody is in a state of comfort, and therefore an agreement or a state of discomfort, and therefore, not an agreement, or there's some issue there. And we teach people that a lot of these most of these reactions are involuntary. It is contention between our ancient frog brain our reptilian brain that controls our emotions, and the neocortex, which allows us to do things like write and speak, speak other languages, science, math, also allows us to lie. The frog brain and the reptilian brain does not allow us to lie. It just reacts. And so what we teach people to do is to notice that tension between the neocortex and the ancient frog brain. And, you know, basically determine when somebody is uncomfortable with either what you're saying or what's coming out of their mouth. That make sense?


Chloe Mepham BSc

Yes, yes. So that yeah, ancient fight or flight response, fight flight or freeze,


David Schneer PhD

That's right, I almost caught you there that fight or flight is not quite accurate. There's a third step there. And that's the step that really is controlled by the limbic system, the ancient brain. And that's our ability to sense danger and freeze. The reason reasonably freezes, it's we're doing situational analysis, this dynamic, we're waiting to see if that sound that we just heard is a threat. Now, if we didn't freeze, we would just be bouncing around everything and be giving ourselves away. And it would be very harmful to our survival. So we freeze, and then we determine whether we want to flee, or whether we want to fight. So we actually talked about that. But we, you asked about our workshops, it's a holistic approach. There are some organisations that will concentrate just on the face, the facial micro expressions, we do that, but we also concentrate on the rest of the body. Because if you ignore the rest of the body, you're really throwing away a lot of awesome information sources. We start with the face, because that's generally the first thing that you see when you meet someone is their face. And so it would make sense to talk about facial micro expressions, like sadness, happiness, fear, disgust, contempt, anger, or a poker face. And we teach people to recognise that, but the problem was just counting on the faces that we, as a culture, have learned to feign or fake emotions. And so in my household, for example, growing up, it was like, you know, wipe that smile off your face. Or, you know, I grew up in New York family, so not not a genteel British.


Chloe Mepham BSc

I've heard that expression before.


David Schneer PhD

It was, it was brutal, you know, it was like, you know, look like you're happy. And so I'm sure we've all tried to fake an instance when we're happy. We're not, you know, really doing that. And so we've all learned to be, you know, pretty good fakers. But it's much harder to control the body and everything in coordination. So we take a holistic approach.


Chloe Mepham BSc

Well, Wow, it sounds fascinating. What do you believe is the most effective way to increase emotional intelligence?


David Schneer PhD

Oh, to talk to more people like you. And to. And I mean, that truly, in that there are a lot of really smart people out there who don't break through because they have poor emotional intelligence. And so they do not have very good situational awareness, they do not understand how they're coming off. And neither do they understand how to come off in a way that is credible, and believable. And so talking about it, being aware of it. And then studying it is probably the best way. But really, with emotional intelligence, it's all about in my mind, keeping your mouth closed, and your eyes open. In fact, one of the best things to do if you're a microexpression if you're interested in that, and we train is we ask people to watch TV, and turn the sound off. You'll see another language when you do that, as the language of the body. So we teach people to practice it, and make it a part of their lives. And, and be aware of it, frankly,


Chloe Mepham BSc

yeah, awareness is so important. And like you say practice as well because it's a skill and like with any skill it needs to be practised in order to become like second nature. Yeah. So what do you think are the benefits of this method? I'm sorry. What do you think are the benefits of these methods like you said about awareness and practising?


David Schneer PhD

Well, you know, you the benefits are endless, really, it's obvious in, in my line of work when I'm interviewing people, and I can sense that what's coming out of their mouth is not what I'm seeing. And so I have to navigate and try and figure out why that is. And so, I've tried the question, Callie was


Chloe Mepham BSc

sorry, it's about what the benefits are. Yeah.


David Schneer PhD

And so that's easy for me to see the benefit of but what about other coaches? public speakers? Yeah. Human Resources, sales? For sure. Right? Is the person that you're talking to? really picking up on what it is that you're saying? Are they really interested? Are they just giving you a face saving way out? How do you know? And what do you do? Those kinds of things, even in personal relationships are called just being more attuned to your significant other, without even having to ask them just by looking at them for instance? Are they under stress? Are they happy? Managers, managers, you know, people generally don't leave their jobs, they generally leave poor managers. And there's a lot of really bad managers out there, they just really don't have the skills to interact with people. And see when people are overwhelmed. Or, you know, how to, you know, give positive emotions, and positive singles, you basically people want to be liked. And if you want to be liked, you got to work hard at it. Nobody likes a really sad, dour person. Nobody likes to be around depressed people. It's just what it is. People would rather be around people who are energetic, who are credible, who seem unique. And there are lots of things you can do to enhance that. So the benefits are, are endless. And, you know, it's interesting, I see a lot of communication coaches out there. And I don't see any of them with any kind of significant body language training. So we're reaching out to coaches to see if they're interested in perhaps upping their game. And if two thirds of communications is nonverbal, why is this not more than a curriculum? So we're working in education? Actually, so fantastic. Got a lot of things going on?


Chloe Mepham BSc

Yes, certainly. Sounds like you've got a lot going on there, David. So what's, what's coming up for you this year? What's next on the agenda for you?


David Schneer PhD

Well, you know, on the research side, we are continuing to work with our clients on a variety of new products that are coming out, both in the area of health care, office devices, and then some are helping with their communications, this pandemic is really altered the way people see things, buy things. And companies are trying to adapt to that and understand how their brand can be a better communicator in that way. So we're doing that. And I am on the body language side, I'm doing more of these. I'll be speaking to women and leadership coming up in a couple of weeks. Oh, fantastic by the folks at East Bay University out here in Hayward, California. And then I will be speaking at the LA CTO forum group of chief technology officers who are interested in this. And so just a slight primer, and each one of these talks an hour it doesn't give me much time, but I can leave you with some really interesting things in about an hour. So that's, that's what we're doing a lot of social media pushes. But that's just getting the word out.


Chloe Mepham BSc

Oh, fantastic, David. Well, it certainly sounds like you've got a lot to keep you busy.


David Schneer PhD

We do and we're grateful for it. And we're excited. It's just a lot of fun Chloe. So if you know, I would love to delve further into this. If this is of interest to your listenership. So let me know anytime if there are any questions or anything. I'm happy to answer. I want to get the word out.


Chloe Mepham BSc

I would love that, David. Well, we'll certainly keep in contact. And thank you ever so much for appearing on today's show. It's been really valuable.


David Schneer PhD

Quite welcome pleasure was all mine.


Chloe Mepham BSc

Thank you very much. You're welcome.


Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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