The Improv Is No Joke Podcast

Welcome to the Improv Is No Joke podcast hosted by Peter Margaritis, AKA The Accidental Accountant and author of the book 'Improve Is No Joke, Using Improvization to Create Positive Results in Leadership and Life'. This podcast series is also available on iTunes, Google Play and Stitcher.

Ep. 80 – Boyd Search | Transforming Corporate Culture in a Changing Profession: Transparency, Trust, & Leadership

Boyd Search is the President & CEO of the Georgia Society of CPAs. Our conversation centers around how he approached changing the organization’s corporate culture, and the impact that the George Society is making on its members, associates, and the profession.


On Boyd’s first day as CEO of the Georgia Society almost seven years ago, I was actually his first new paying member – and I am still a member because his changes haven’t ticked me off yet!


So how (and why) is Boyd transforming the culture in the Georgia Society of CPAs?


  • Boyd’s first action as CEO wasn’t actually a big change or initiative – he took time to learn about the stakeholders in the association so that he could better make a plan for the future.


  • “As the world has changed, and as time becomes a more precious commodity, associations have, by and large, become more staff-driven.” The association hasn’t increased their staff, but existing staff positions now have new responsibilities, which means they’ve had to hire new staff or learn new skills.


  • “When you get to change in an environment where your hair isn’t on fire, it’s a lot more fun.” The change isn’t necessarily easier when it’s not an emergency, but it can be more fun.


  • Changing the culture has been a gradual process, and it’s only been possible because the leadership within the organization wanted change – that buy in from the leadership is extremely significant, whenever you’re approaching a big change within an organization.


  • There are a lot of things impacting the profession. We tend to undervalue or underestimate the amount of change that needs to happen, particularly from the curriculum perspective. The George Society has taken some time to have “conversations with smart people,” in which they spend time talking to their stakeholders over dinner (That’s right, more listening!). They found a theme: things are changing so often and so fast that no one is sure where the dust is going to settle, so they should continue with an incremental approach to change.


  • “There’s no question that the profession is going to face significant changes… but the reality is that there’s going to be tremendous opportunity for those who are in the business of providing validation, verification, and trust.” We need to figure out how to leverage those things, both for the good of the profession and the interest of public trust.


Download this Episode MP3.



Production & Development for Improv Is No Joke by Podcast Masters

Ep. 79 – Ryan Parker: Adding Value to Your Organization (as You Grow as a Leader)

Ryan Parker is the President & CEO of Endicott Clay Products and the newly installed chair of the Nebraska Society of CPA’s executive board.


Our conversation focuses on the process of adding value to your organization as you grow your career, what you should be thinking about if you aspire to be a leader within your organization, and the challenges of replacing a seasoned CEO.


Before we get to that, check out these images of the beautiful tiles at Yale Medical Center, mentioned in the podcast:



How can you add value to an organization & grow as a leader?


  • Some work is necessary, but doesn’t add value. “When you’re in a public accounting role, the trick is to really become an advisor. A consultant pays the pills, but it doesn’t generate revenue.” When you turn that corner and become an advisor, in any industry, you start to create work for your organization.


  • Many people in technical professions understand their job, but they don’t necessarily have a comprehensive understanding of the business or industry: sales, marketing, human resources, regulations, and daily operations all matter. You need a complete understanding of a business if you want to be a trusted business advisor.


  • “A lot of times, being a trusted business advisor really boils down to having conversations about people, pricing, or customers that nobody wants to have.” You have to be willing to ask questions that are difficult but, in the long term, matter a great deal.


  • “You have to be willing to go out on a limb and embrace change and the unknown, and it doesn’t come easy. But if you’re not willing to embrace it, you’re going to fail… The easiest thing ever is just to react to a situation. The second easiest is when you just respond. The absolute hardest is to initiate it.” Once you can initiate change, for your own personal self-development or for the company, you can start to become what you want to become, as a professional.


  • Find a mentor that you hold in high regard, whether they are in your organization or outside of it. Find out how they climbed the ladder, the values they embraced, what level of work they’ve taken on, and be honest with yourself: is that what you really want?


  • “If you really want to become an executive or a partner within your firm, do whatever is needed when it comes to understanding all of the issues – don’t leave a stone unturned… You’ll be surprised at how many times you pick up the stone and look underneath of it and there’s an opportunity.”


  • Accept failure as a learning opportunity – not as a punishment. If you want to grow, you have to constantly push yourself past your comfort zone, and sometimes you will fail in the process. That’s okay. So, what have you failed at today?


Download this Episode MP3.



  • Connect with Ryan: LinkedIn |

Production & Development for Improv Is No Joke by Podcast Masters

Ep. 78 – Jay Sukow: Teaching Improv to Businesses, Actors, and Everyone Else

Jay Sukow believes that the world would be a better place if everyone took just one improv class – and I agree! Jay is trying to make that world a reality as the Founder of Today Improv, where he teaches improv to actors, businesses, and everyone else all over the world.


Jay is also on faculty at M.i.’s Westside Comedy Theater and The Second City Hollywood, and co-host of the ImprovCast with Jay and Landon.


In the 80’s and 90’s, there wasn’t a lot of understanding about what improv was. However, after years of people like Jay working with the public and businesses, people are starting to accept and understand why improv is so beneficial in both business and life.


“Be the improviser that you want to play with; be the person in your business who you want to work with.”


When Jay and his ensemble go to work with a business, they don’t claim to be business experts – but they are experts in communication, working together, being part of an ensemble, focusing on the team first, and using information.


His goal is to get others to implement those skills within their business, or their lives, and make it a habit. And one of the most valuable skills and habits that you might learn in one of these Improv classes is Yes, And.


Because in your professional world and your personal world, you will have to say Yes, and you will have to say yes to things that you don’t want to do or else you will lose something – so learning how to say yes, in a constructive manner, is a very valuable skill.


Often times, we are struggling because we aren’t accepting something or making excuses. When we use Yes, And, we aren’t trying to find a quick way out of a problem or an acceptable way to make an excuse. We are saying before I shoot this idea down, how could it work?


“You have to accept failure. Your failure is going to help us succeed in the long run, but we’re so focused on immediate results that we don’t allow ourselves that space.”


Download this Episode MP3.




Production & Development for Improv Is No Joke by Podcast Masters

Ep. 77 – Colin Blalock | It’s Not What You Say That is Heard: Why Reading Body Language is Fun & Profitable

Colin Blalock, a shareholder with Jones and Kolb, is a CPA with a very unique set of skills: Colin has developed a talent for understanding the nonverbal messages that people are saying. That’s right – He has developed the ability to read body language, and he has delivered a number of conference presentations on this topic.


The importance of reading body language is underscored when you understand how people are interpreting your message: 7 percent is what you say, 38 percent is how you say it (the tone of your voice), and 55 percent is silent body language.


But a lot of us don’t take the time to think about our own body language, and that limits how effectively we can communicate with others – or understand what they’re really communicating to us.


Colin’s Challenge & Body Language Cheat Sheet


For the next 30 days, when you get up in the morning, read this cheat sheet – the 13 keys of body language – and try to identify these things during your day. What you see, and learn, will absolutely blow you away.


You can download a PDF document of this cheat sheet by clicking here.


Key #1  – Initial Meeting

  • Plan
  • Flash/return flash
  • Eye contact
  • Smile

Key #2  – Spacing

  • Personal space
  • Correct distance

Key #3 – Conflicts

  • Unknown male/female (standing and sitting)
  • Standing vs. sitting
  • Avoid deep armchairs

Key #4 – The Handshake

  • Pressure/length
  • Limp wrist
  • Dominate (counter)
  • Get together
  • Submissive
  • Glove
  • Double touch
  • Shoulder grip

Key #5 – Appearance

  • Glasses
  • Best face forward

Key #6 – Cooperation/Acceptance

  • Head tilt
  • Eye contact
  • Smile
  • Speaking to a group – contact


Key #7 – Power Plays

  • Control time/space
  • The stare – counter
  • Where you sit

Key #8 – Reading Others

  • Watch for leakage
  • Read my lips
  • Furrowed forehead
  • Buy signs
  • Watch the feet
  • True smile
  • Copying stance/gestures

Key #9 – Common Lying Gestures

  • No single sign
  • The nose knows
  • Gravity defying gestures and happy feet

Key #10 – Watch the Hands

  • Touching objects
  • Palms up/down

Key #11 – What about the Eyes?

  • Audio (side to side)
  • Calculating (down and left)
  • Emotional (down and right)
  • Deception (up and right)
  • Recalling (up and left)

Key #12 – Common Barriers

  • Arm fold
  • One arm fold
  • How to break the barrier

Key #13 – Practice!


Download this Episode MP3.


Click to download the full Transcript PDF.



Improv is no Joke – Episode 77 – Colin Blalock

Colin: [00:00:00] There is a muscle that flexes underneath your eyes when it’s a real smile. And if that muscle isn’t there, it’s a fake smile. It’s a smile for the camera. So if someone is smiling and telling you they enjoy what you’re saying and it’s a fake smile, you just need to know.

Intro: [00:00:30] Welcome to Improv is no Joke podcast, where it’s all about becoming a more effective communicator by embracing the principles of improvisation. Your host is Peter Margaritis, the man whose name is pronounced like a cocktail but spelled like an inflammation. Peter is the self-proclaimed chief edutainment officer of my business, the Accidental Accountant. Peter’s goal is to provide you with thought-provoking interviews with business leaders so you can become an effective improviser, which will lead to building stronger relationships with clients, customers, colleagues, and even your family. So let’s start to show.

Peter: [00:01:13] Welcome to episode 77. And today my guest is Colin Blalock, who’s a shareholder with the accounting firm of Jones and Kolb since 1986 located in Atlanta, Georgia. Colin’s practice concentration isn’t tax controversy, Entrepreneurial businesses and individuals. His prior experience includes working with the examination division of the IRS. Colin’s a member of the AICPA, the Georgia society of Certified Public Accountants, and the Atlanta alumni of revenue agents. Colin is as a past president the Georgia society of CPAs and the past chair of the Gulf Coast tax exempt governmental entities IRS Advisory Council. He currently serves as a trustee of the Georgia federal tax conference. He is very active in his community serving on the board of directors of the fowler YMCA and the finance committee at his church. Colin has developed a unique but effective talent of understanding the nonverbal messages that people are saying. That’s right. He has developed the ability at reading body language and has delivered a number of conference presentations on this topic. That is the topic of our discussion. And let’s get to the interview! Colin first thank you for taking time out of your schedule to spend some time with me talking about this talent that you have developed over time as in reading peoples body language. So first foremost thank you for being my guest today.

Colin: [00:02:45] Well my pleasure. It’s fun and it’s something that I think accountants especially but all professionals need to know what’s going on with their body language and what they’re telling people without saying a word.

Peter: [00:02:59] Yes. Those non-verbal clues say a lot. I’ve known you for about what seven eight, ten years something like that. And I remember when I first met you you were telling me about this talent that you were developing and you spoke at conferences and stuff and I remember watching the TV show that was only on for a couple of years called Lie to me, and I started getting fascinated by what you had developed. And and then watching this show was which was one of the writers or the person they counseled was an FBI individual who’s an expert and body language and came up these micro movements that really hint on what a person is actually saying versus the words coming out of their mouth.

Colin: [00:03:49] That’s right. The program was based on a book by Paul Ekman. It was lie to me. Paul Ekman’s book was Telling Lies and it’s probably the hardest book I’ve ever tried to read but just about every book is written on body language references him and his research and what he was doing. One of the things that people ask me is how did you get started in this?

Peter: [00:04:14] Yeah that was one of my questions.

Colin: [00:04:18] Haha. Let’s go there for a second to get into the body language part of it. It’s about almost 14 years ago now. My wife was a schoolteacher and she was given a gift certificate. And I was waiting on her to spend her gift money and I was up at the front of the bookstore looking at the bargains sell books and I really didn’t want to get a novel. I wanted something that I could just read pick up put down and there was a book there it was called The Secret Language of Success: Getting What You Want by DAVID LEWIS. And I opened it up and I read a paragraph or two and I said that’s interesting. And I thumbed through the book a little bit more and how you know this is. It’s different. And I decided to buy it and I did for $4.98. And I went home and started reading it and I went in the next day and within about two minutes I said I saw that. That’s in the book. And so I would limit myself to 20 pages a night and I’d go home and read 20 pages of this book and come back in and see if I could see in my office. I did not tell anybody in my firm that I was reading this book. And about a little over halfway through the book I met a potential new client. And within about 30 seconds I knew it was going to be a good meeting and I was able to put him at ease and I picked up that client. Two weeks later I met with another client that was a first client, was a male client, very reserved. The second client was a very successful female client. And I approached them differently based on this body language book I was reading. Well I have now read I think 19 books on body language.

Peter: [00:06:14] Wow.

Colin: [00:06:15] And just about every book has something different in it. I’ll give you a couple of them that I’ll say them now, but at the end I’ll make sure people get an opportunity. The secret language of success by David Lewis you can still find on Amazon. It will cost you more to have it shipped to you than the book cost. I think it was a dollar twenty seven The last time I’ve looked at it but it’s still a good book. And accountants love that book because there’s thirty one rule. And accountants love Rules. And if you go through those 31 rules, you’ll be on your way to understanding body language. There’s another very good book called the definitive book of body language by Allan and Barbara Pease, and it comes up through some time in 2007. And it talks about people and what happens. It has President Clinton in there. It has a lot of the information that was in that TV program we were talking about. I love that program by the way. A lot of the program was excellent. If you are in a leadership position and if you are dealing with committees, there’s an excellent book called The Silent Language of Leaders: Why Some people lead and nobody follows. It’s by Carol Kinsey Goman. And it’s just an excellent book. But those are three four. There’s one if you’re single call Let me see your body talk. It’s a fun book but I’m not going to get into that one at all.

Peter: [00:07:54] Hahahaha. I’ve read a couple of books on body language and I think one was what everybody is saying.

Colin: [00:08:02] Yes. by Joe Navarro.

Peter: [00:08:03] Yes I think that’s one of them that I’ve read and another– I too like when I pick up these books I start reading and I get I get fascinated and then it’s something that you can immediately apply that same day in assessing a person when they’re approaching you, which I find you know extremely fascinating. I think the hard part is developing that habit of constantly keep it in the forefront of your mind.

Colin: [00:08:28] Well, when you realize that people pay attention to the 7 percent of what you say, 38 percent of how you say it (the tone of your voice), and 55 percent of silent body language. It is what you’re giving them that you’re reading that you don’t quite honestly most people don’t even know they’re reading it. The 38 percent on the tone. You can say thanks a lot or Thanks. a lot. Same words but just the tone of voice changes. But when you add that to the body language is the body language that person is presenting is in agreement with what’s being said how they’re saying it. I tell people quite a bit. When was the last time you’ve talked to somebody? And they say the right thing and they smile and you walk off and say I don’t know what it is. I just don’t like that individual.

Peter: [00:09:28] Hahaha.

Colin: [00:09:28] That’s because their body language is not in agreement with what they’re saying and how they’re saying it. And you just don’t feel comfortable. The other thing we need to realize is that there’s different customs and the things that are used in the United States may not be used in other places. So when we’re talking about body language when I’m talking about body language I’m talking about dealing with people in the U.S. with U.S. Customs. And there’s some examples that we will hopefully get to the difference between the U.S. and other areas. I think Will Rogers said it best. He said never miss a good chance to shut up.

Peter: [00:10:14] Hahahaha.

Colin: [00:10:14] And if you’ll just be cognizant of what people are doing, they’re going to tell you where they are and tell you more than you will ever need from verbal communication.

Peter: [00:10:27] Exactly. And I think you the gentleman who did this. A lot of research in Sir Albert Mehrabian. I think that’s how you pronounce his last name was basically saying that when people are when you’re delivering any information they don’t realize that it’s a first thought or vision is your body language, and then everything else comes after that. And but I think a lot of us don’t take the time to think about our own body language. I sat down for a while and we’ll go down this path here. I spoke at the Georgia society CPA’s annual convention and you were in the audience that day and I went up to you and said why don’t you do me a favor why don’t you critique me and give me some feedback after the fact. You remember that?

Colin: [00:11:14] Yes I do.

Peter: [00:11:15] Do you remember what you were thinking?

Colin: [00:11:18] Not completely. I don’t know. haha

Peter: [00:11:23] Hahaha. I do. I do remember one thing that you did tell me and I share this with– you told me that I come across very honest and.

Colin: [00:11:33] The truth plane.

Peter: [00:11:36] Yeah. And what’s that. What’s the truth plane?

Colin: [00:11:38] Boy yeah that was one of the things I learned two things I do remember. The truth plain is an area around your heart and when people are honest and they are passionate about something they will be they will have their hands out in front of the heart and explaining to people and saying Here I am. I’m telling you the truth. Here it is. As they get excited and if they show more excitement about a topic, their hands will raise up over their head. Now if you do that the whole time you’re not going to get people to listen to you. But when you get to a point that you really wanted people to understand your hands will go up over your head. When you’re sitting there telling them this is the truth. This is something you need to talk about your hands were in agreement with what you were saying. You also could tell by the way that you looked at people, you made contact. It was not that are you watching me. It was did you understand, because you were looking for feedback from them and I saw both. So all three of those things with you in your presentation.

Peter: [00:12:53] Well I I I appreciate that and thank you for it. Well before I ask that question. I didn’t realize I didn’t realize that– I knew I had I just had because I was Greek and Mediterranean that I had some like big hand gestures and I’ve always been told that I had some big hand gestures. But I’ve never– I don’t remember my hands. I have to pay attention next time and I forget when my hands go a little bit higher over over my chest and over my head. Wow that was interesting. So was there anything that you saw that you what you need to improve on that?

Colin: [00:13:28] We can do that off line.

Peter: [00:13:34] Hahaha. I gave you an opportunity.

Colin: [00:13:36] Oh I know. I’m not going to shoot the messenger.

Peter: [00:13:40] Haha. So you started down this path. And like you said you’ve developed this talent this loved one and know I know you speak at conferences and stuff. You’ve already kind of sure what benefits that’s come to you from being able to do this. And I assume that you’re much more cognizant when you’re presenting on how your body language has coming across, as well as your reading that audience because you’re looking for feedback from them. And all of this is being processed in the back of your mind and it’s almost like second nature to you. Correct?

Colin: [00:14:11] Well yeah. Well actually it’s there all the time. You do it you just don’t know you’re doing it and all I’m trying to do when I’m talking to people is give them the opportunity to say hey this is the way I’m coming across. This is the way I can get my point across. This is the way I can get people to understand what I’m doing. You are talking about the presentations I had. I was invited to speak at Georgia Southern University. They had the 50th anniversary of accounting and I was the first guest lecturer and I did the body language presentation. The thing I did not know is that one of the forensic professors, one of the teachers one of the professors the taught forensics, had given his class an assignment. They had to evaluate me. What was I doing right, What was I doing wrong, What made me believable not believable? What did they think about it? He sent me 43 evaluations of my presentation. I have never had 43.

Peter: [00:15:19] Wow.

Colin: [00:15:19] And it was quite interesting and his comment was Colin, for somebody that did a really nice job, let me know and I’ll give them extra credit. And if somebody really missed it, let me know because I want to find out what the deal is. And there are a couple of people that just amazing job talking about the way I was talking and the way that I did the presentation. One young lady said I noticed that he was very relaxed because he was standing around talking with people and he had his hand in his pocket. And you know I thought you know that’s a pretty nice observation. I said what would have been even better is if she had noticed that the other five people I was talking with also had their hand in their pocket. And I was mirroring showing them to be accepted by the group, which is one of the things that you learn when you go through the body language. But she did pick it up that I was relaxed and I was, but I was relaxed because I was mirroring showing the people being accepted by the group.

Peter: [00:16:23] Interesting.

Colin: [00:16:26] It really as I said like you were saying the more you get into this the more interesting it gets. When I first meet somebody, I can normally tell within the first 30 seconds whether they’re an introvert or an extrovert. And why does that matter? Well it matters because if they are an introvert, you’re going to have to pull things out of them. If they’re an extrovert you’re going to have to corral back down to get him to focus on what you’re doing. They haven’t said a word and you already know which way you go.

Peter: [00:16:57] Hahaha. Yeah.

Colin: [00:16:57] And it’s easier to manage a meeting if you know what you’re doing and how you’re doing it when you walk in the room.

Peter: [00:17:06] So what signals do introverts project?

Colin: [00:17:12] OK. Here’s the thing and again this is general rule because there’s something called an ambiavert that you can be both, like ambidextrous. I tell people to hold their hands straight out in front of them, palms up, and you look straight ahead and then look down to the left and down to the right in your hands, without moving your head just with your eye. One way will feel comfortable, One way will not. If you look to your left hand that’s comfortable, you’re an extrovert. If you look to your right and it’s more comfortable, you’re an introvert. And so when you shake hands with people and they look down that first time, you can tell whether they are an introvert or an extrovert. They haven’t said a word.

Peter: [00:18:03] OK so I shake hands with my right hand. But what am I just.

Colin: [00:18:09] Just hold your hand straight out in front you palms up. When you’re looking straight ahead and you look to the left you look to the right one way you feel comfortable. You know the one way it’s not as comfortable.

Peter: [00:18:20] To me it’s the left.

Colin: [00:18:21] The left is an extrovert. You’re an extrovert.

Peter: [00:18:26] Mhm.

Colin: [00:18:26] Which I already knew that you’re an extrovert. And the reason I’m saying that you’re an ambiavert… I have some people that are very shy on a social level, but you put them in a business situation and they can be an extrovert. So it depends on where they are what they’re doing and what’s going on, whether they are an introvert or an extrovert. I was telling you about the guy that I was that I met potential client that brings up another thing and I don’t know if your audience knows that you’re a flasher or not.

Peter: [00:19:00] Beg your pardon? haha.

Colin: [00:19:05] Peter, you are a flasher. Can you get help? .

Peter: [00:19:11] Hahaha. Apparently I need you. Hahaha.

Colin: [00:19:14] You may need to.

Peter: [00:19:18] So how am I a flasher? haha

Colin: [00:19:22] I’m talking about eyebrow flashers.

Peter: [00:19:25] Haha.

Colin: [00:19:26] And when it’s a friendly call, when you walk up to somebody and you say hi you flash your eyebrows. aAnd if it’s a friendly call on their part, they will flash back. If you’re mad, you don’t flash. If you’re uncomfortable, you don’t flash. So that potential new client that I was talking to you about and I said I knew almost immediately this could be a good meeting. He flashed. I flashed.

Peter: [00:19:51] When you flash your eyebrows, is that when you raise them?

Colin: [00:19:57] Yeah, you raise your eyebrows.

Peter: [00:19:57] OK.

Colin: [00:19:58] So you’re the top of your head. Your forehead furrows.

Peter: [00:20:03] So that’s a flash.

Colin: [00:20:06] Now here’s the thing. You’ve got the flashes at the right time. You need to flash within six to 10 feet. If you do it as you approach somebody, if you do it too soon, they miss it, and they don’t know it’s a friendly call. If you do it too late, when you’re standing right in front of them and you flash, they say wait a minute did I spill something on my shirt, my pants unzipped, something happened because that’s when you get that type of flash. If it’s between six to 10 feet, it’s a friendly call and you’re accepted. And you need to flash back unless it’s not friend call. I tell people if you ever go into a store to return something that you don’t like and you can’t find anybody to help you. You know why? You’re not flashing. They go to the back and check on inventory and want somebody else helping you. So if you want help you flash first. Then they come out talking to you and then you return your merchandise and you’re OK.

Peter: [00:21:08] Oh my God it’s hi my name is Pete and I’m a flasher.

Colin: [00:21:12] Yeah exactly. My momma doesn’t know I’m a flasher, but I am.

Peter: [00:21:19] But I am. Oh my. I am going to keep that. I’m going to be very cognizant of that.

Colin: [00:21:25] Oh it happens all the time. It happens all the time. I went in front of a group and you know the people really really really nice it was that high energy meeting. I said I was told this place was full of flashers.

Peter: [00:21:41] Hahahah.

Colin: [00:21:41] And I wasn’t sure I wanted to come in and everybody there started looking around. But it’s the eyebrow flash. So you know again it’s just something you need to be aware of.

Peter: [00:21:55] Oh that is that’s that’s great. I am. I don’t remember I don’t know if it was you or read it in a book or somebody told me they said if you have a social event and you’re talking to somebody across from me you, just glance, briefly, at their feet because the feet will tell you if they are engaged or not. If their feet are pointing directly to you that means they’re engaged. If their feet are pointing either to the left or to the right, you’ve got to cut them loose because they want to run.

Colin: [00:22:26] They’ve got to run. Absolutely. That is if you’re joining a group, you can tell whether you are invited into that group … if they rotate the torso their body and they say Hi how are you, they’re making small talk. You’re not part of this conversation. On the other hand, if they want you to be part of it, they will step towards you and open up and you will have a triangle. And it’s not saying that they don’t like you they don’t love you, you’re just not part of that conversation. So you need to go and come back later or find somebody else who likes you. I have people walk by my office and they will say hey Colin we need to talk about such and such. I look at their feet. If their feet are going on down the hall, they are just telling me we need to talk about something, but they don’t want to do it right now. If they’re standing in my doorway with their feet facing me, they’re saying hey we need to talk about this now. And people don’t realize they’re doing it.

Peter: [00:23:29] No they don’t. I was actually a colleague I was talking to her and I looked down and saw her face and I said I know you need to go. So why don’t we pick up this conversation a little bit later? she looked to me and said How did you know? I said your feet were point that way, your weren’t pointed at me.

Colin: [00:23:47] Exactly.

Peter: [00:23:48] So you can tell her introvert or extrovert, you can tell the sincerity through flashing. And when you go to the department stores whatever we want to turn something make sure that you’re flashing six or 10 feet in front of somebody. So they will wait on you versus the other. So I got one for you. I assume that she’s been in a number of with a client and the IRS agent.

Colin: [00:24:14] Oh yeah.

Peter: [00:24:15] I imagine you’re sitting there assessing the agent a vast majority of the time trying and trying to get some clues or something on what they’re about to ask or what their thoughts are or anything that you can describe in that manner?

Colin: [00:24:31] Well yeah the whole thing is are they buying what you’re selling, or what you’re saying, or are they not? Are they telling you the truth or not? But there’s four or five things I tell people I’m sort of like a mosquito in a nudist colony. I don’t know where to start. There’s so many things that can go for at one time.

Peter: [00:24:53] Hahahaha.

Colin: [00:24:53] Here’s some examples. You don’t stand directly in front of– an unknown male will not stand directly in front of an unknown male. Psychologically that’s wrong. That gets back into the fight freeze or flight.

Peter: [00:25:08] Right.

Colin: [00:25:09] Now they say it doesn’t, But it does. I mean it’s been proven. Paul Ekman and his research, several other people. The whole thing is can I beat him, can I outrun him, or do I need to freeze and just not be there? None of those are good. So when you’re talking to an unknown male, you step to the side. One side or the other. Doesn’t matter. And you’ll see tension go away. An unknown female, you don’t want to be beside her. You want to be in front of her. Beside an unknown female is an area of trust. You’ve got earn that. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a female and a female or a male and male. If you don’t know the female, it is directly across. So if you want to remove some of the tension, if I have a revenue agent and it’s a female revenue agent, I sit across the table from them. If it’s a male, I sit besides them. You see tension go away.

Peter: [00:26:19] Wow.

Colin: [00:26:20] It helps in communication. You haven’t said a word. The second part of that is if you want to intimidate and dominate while they are sitting, you stand.

Peter: [00:26:32] Mhm. I can see that.

Colin: [00:26:33] What happens if you’re in your desk and you’re working at your desk or sitting in a office table or wherever a conference or table and somebody that’s unkown walks in? What’s the first thing you do? You stand up. And then you ask them to sit.

Peter: [00:26:50] Right.

Colin: [00:26:51] But if you’re in a situation where you can stand while they’re sitting, then you get into an area of intimidation, domination. Part of it it does if you or if you’re telling the truth. Paul Ekman is quoted quite well in this and several other people also went on their research. There’s not one thing that says aha you’re doing that so you’re lying. What you have to do is benchmark it. And when I say benchmark it, how did they act normally, is there a change when you get into a specific area. One of the things they will talk about is that if you ask somebody a question and they look up and to the left, they’re doing memory. They’re trying to recall what what you are asking them. If they are making it up they will look up into to the right and it’s imagination.

Peter: [00:27:47] I’ve heard that I’ve heard that one before.

Colin: [00:27:50] Yeah. And I did this presentation at Georgia State University to their accounting class one year and my daughter who was working at Georgia State in science at the time she and her fiance came to the class. And so I walked up to another young lady in the class. It’s like when your dad says where were you at 2:30 in the morning that night, and then they watch your eyes. I never looked back at my daughter. I finished my presentation. I’m on my way home. I hadn’t been in my car five minutes when my phone rings and it’s my wife. She said I just heard from your daughter. I said really, how’s she doing? She siad great. So the first thing out of her mouth is mom, has dad been reading my body language for the last eight years? And my wife said yes. She said damit I should have read the book and read the book.

Peter: [00:28:44] Hahahaha.

Colin: [00:28:45] So there’s a lesson there. But again you have to you have to benchmark people. Another thing that I did not know and I found out why I’m a terrible poker player. When you lie, your eyes dilate. You can’t help it.

Peter: [00:29:03] When you when you lie when or you bluff, your eyes dilated.

Colin: [00:29:10] Yeah. Your pupils get bigger and when people are looking at you they’re not really looking at you trying to stare you down, they’re trying to see if there is any of those micro changes, i.e. your pupils expanding. They did a study that had some really good poker players and played professionals, and the professionals just beat them like a drum like 87, 89 percent. They put glasses on the really good poker players so they couldn’t see the eyes and it dropped to like 82 percent just by taking the eyes out. Another another item: if you lie, the vessels in your nose itches and you rub your nose. Somebody say well it’s just allergies, but you didn’t rub your nose before and we get in this area and you start rubbing your nose. It’s called the Pinocchio syndrome. Former President Clinton rubbed his nose twenty six times in four minutes on the Monica Lewinsky.

Peter: [00:30:15] [in Bill Clinton vice] No I didn’t call. No I did not. I rubbed at least 30 times.

Colin: [00:30:24] And then question is how do you know? it was videotaped! I counted it!

Peter: [00:30:30] Yeah.

Colin: [00:30:31] Twenty six times in four minutes. He didn’t rub it afterwards. Now that’s in the book with Barbara and Allan Pease, the definitive book on body language. That’s just interesting, interesting stuff. And it’s not what they say, it’s it’s how they act. The other thing that they talk about is if somebody is telling a fabrication, they will not touch things. They will not physically touch things. If people believe in what they’re saying, they will touch that. The best example was the New York senator that was trying to get the firemen covered after 9/11. He was in Congress and he was talking about it was the right thing to do. He started beating on the desk saying it’s the right thing to do and we need to do it and we need to do it now. He was banging the desk. He believed what he was saying. Just an example.

Peter: [00:31:22] Wow. So what about the handshakes? I’ve heard this. When you when you shake someone’s hand, if you come in high on top then you’re going to want to dominate the conversation. If you shake shaking your hands your palms are up, that means you are being subservient, per se.

Colin: [00:31:44] There are seven different handshakes. OK. And every one means something different. The hand on top is the dominant and it’s not saying I will dominate the conversation it’s I’m dominating you and the bigger man right. I am the man that’s in charge. You’re not. And everybody knows people that do that.

Peter: [00:32:05] Yes.

Colin: [00:32:06] And I don’t know which of the 19 books I have to go back and look and see if your listeners are interested. There is a book that talks about how you counteract that. And there’s one not so nice way and one nice. The not so nice way is when they come in on top. You come on top of them and you grab them above the wrist. You say you’re not dominating this. I am. That’s not the way to win friends and influence people.

Peter: [00:32:32] Right.

Colin: [00:32:34] That’s just not the way to do it. The way to do it is. And I know people don’t admit to watching Dancing With The Stars but this is the Dancing With The Stars move. It’s something you have to practice. But you take the hand you go… as you take the hand you step in between his two feet and with your left foot and with your right foot you step to the right of him to your right. And when you end up you’re going to be even in a even business handshake. And he didn’t know why. But you’re not he’s not dominating anymore.

Peter: [00:33:17] Hm.

Colin: [00:33:17] Now it’s something you have to practice.

Peter: [00:33:19] Yeah.

Colin: [00:33:20] One of my managers when they and one of our presentations is one of the schools she says let me do the handshakes. I said OK. So we got this one dominant power to counteract it. She stepped from the right foot and then she was hooked. There was no place for her to go. I said then what do you do? Well she just tucked under his arm and did a dance move and said Well now we’re going to dance. I said that may do it but I doubt it. But if you practice it you can do that. But the submissive one you know that sounds bad but it’s really not. I use the missive quite a bit. I have people that come in and they’re getting beat up by the IRS. They don’t want me to dominate the situation. We’re not into this together. they’re the One that’s getting beat up on. I’m here to serve. So I’d give them a submissive handshake saying hey this is a friendly call. I’m on your side. I have a banker friend. He’s a former banker and he’s a consultant but he was a banker and he always does the submissive handshake. And I finally got to the point when he comes up I just look at it, and he’ll turn it up straight. We’ll do a business shake and go from there. And he says it’s just a bad habit I’ve gotten into. And I said no it’s a good habit, you just need to know when to use it. The thumb to thumb straight ahead handshake is the business handshake. The question that I have on that is how hard they squeeze, and how many times do you go up and down with the with a handshake.

Peter: [00:34:52] OK.

Colin: [00:34:53] And I’ve had some women that have almost taken me to my knees saying by gosh he’s going to know that I’m in this for business. And I know that. I mean you know here’s my rule of thumb. Return the pressure. So if it’s medium you didn’t medium if it’s firm and firm if it’s light to light. The reason I’m saying that I have a real good friend of mine is an attorney. He has arthritis in his hands. He hates to shake hands with people, and if he gets somebody that gives him a vice grip he doesn’t hear anything anybody says for the next three to five minutes because he’s got tears in his eyes and his hands are hurting. So your return the handshake. You go up and down about three times and you should be done. You get out.

Peter: [00:35:37] But what if you get the person who likes to go up and down five six times?

Colin: [00:35:41] Well then you know again you relax your hand and they know that they’re going to get a handle pump handle. They’re not. It’s not part of the deal. The scariest one that you get is and this is the limp wrist. And that’s what I call. I thoroughly enjoy showing this in presentations. But I call it the dead fish.

Peter: [00:36:06] Yes.

Colin: [00:36:07] What do you do with a dead fish? Because people would really just like to rub the stuff off on their Shirtsleeve and go away. You can’t do that. And my recommendation is if you get a dead fish, you got to live with it. If you’re fast enough you say I’m sorry, I missed that. Grab there hand with the other hand your left hand. Put it in the right place. Shake and get out. If you can’t do that, if it surprises you or you’re not able to do it, realize you’re going to get a dead fish at the end and be ready for it. And go ahead and react. And if enough people do it maybe that individual will start saying hey maybe there’s a better way to do this. But that’s another issue. Couple of other hand-shakes real quickly if it’s somebody that you know, you will double touch. You’ll shake their hand and you’ll either pop them on the elbow or on the forearm. You don’t do that on the first introductory meeting. They don’t know you you’re not a friend. If you really know somebody you’ll shake their hands and pop a show. That’s when ladies hug. You don’t do those on the first meeting. It sets the wrong tone, the wrong wrong direction for the meeting.

Peter: [00:37:28] Right.

Colin: [00:37:29] It’s just something that you need to need to be aware of. But you can help establish a meeting. Is it going to be combative? Are you into this together? Are you there to serve? Are you there to dominate? What do you do? And it all starts with the handshake. Right after you see them and flashed and see which way they break their eyes. Now one other thing that you do, if you want to throw somebody off, and this this is sort of fun to do and some people do it not on purpose. And some people do it on purpose. It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking or they are talking. In the middle of one of the sentences, cut your eyes to the left to the right. Horizontally. If you cut your eyes to the left or the right, it will take them out of their thought process, it will take them out of the conversation, and tey’ll say what’s wrong, what’s gaining on me? And they will turn and look to see what’s coming. And all you did was cut your eyes. And it completely throws them off balance.

Peter: [00:38:30] Wow. That one I never knew about.

Colin: [00:38:32] Try it try it tonight. It doesn’t matter who’s talking. All you gotta do is cut your eyes. I do. I did a PowerPoint for my presentation and I had one of my administrative people working with me. So I went out to make sure she could read my writing and said Jodi do you have any trouble with this? Well I was going to ask you one thing. She cut her eyes. I said what’s wrong. She said Did it work? I said did what work? She was on that slide show. She said I just wanted to see if it really work.

Peter: [00:39:02] Hahaha.

Colin: [00:39:02] I said yeah it really worked.

Peter: [00:39:05] Hahaha. So I will say that I have a 17 year old son and I have forgotten some of this stuff. I’m going to keep a close look. Keep a close eye on his eyes going forward.

Colin: [00:39:19] Yup. But again you’ve got to benchmark it right to make sure you’re doing it right. The other thing I know teenagers is smile. If you smile at the right time at the right place, it makes sense. And it will encourage and help the meetimg. If you smile at the wrong time it sends the wrong message.

Peter: [00:39:43] Right.

Colin: [00:39:44] If somebody is there telling you about a serious issue they have and you’re smiling, that doesn’t go well, and the best example is you saying a teenage boy. Sitting down with a teenage son and you’re trying to explain to him something he should have done differently. And then he breaks out in that little smile.

Peter: [00:40:01] Yeah.

Colin: [00:40:01] Well what you really want to do is take a 2×4 and just pop him upside the head, and when he woke up the smile would be gone. He’d listen to you and you could go from there. When I was doing this presentation and I did the as if I was hitting somebody off of the chair and the young man come out of it where he said Mr. BLALOCK you’re a golfer aren’t you? I said yeah how did you know. So and you know when you talk about knocking the teenage boy off the chair, you rolled your wrists just like you do when you’re driving.

Peter: [00:40:37] Hahaha.

Colin: [00:40:37] I said you know what if you keep this up you got to really good at that. Because I didn’t realize I was doing that, and that was my body language.

Peter: [00:40:44] Oh wow. Wow.

Colin: [00:40:45] So yeah it’s everywhere it’s everywhere.

Peter: [00:40:49] It’s just being aware that it’s everywhere. So when you’re doing a presentation, and when I talk when I talk about public speaking stuff and there’s always somebody doing this. In every class I’ve ever been, there’s always someone sitting there in the chair with their arms crossed across their chest.

Colin: [00:41:07] Yeah.

Peter: [00:41:08] Now I tell them it’s one of three things the body’s telling me. One I’m not buying the baloney that he’s selling. Two, this is a comfortable way to sit. Or three, it’s just freaking cold in this room. It’s usually one of the three I tell everyone I know, but if I see the whole audience in a defensive position I’ve said something, I’ve done something, and I have to fix it.

Colin: [00:41:33] Either that or you can see your breath in the room and it really is cold. Again that’s when you get back to the bench working. I’ve had people that I was talking with about other things and I could tell they were defensive. They say no I’m just I’m just cold. That’s when you know you say we’ve been here for an hour and you haven’t been cold until the last three minutes when we’ve been talking about this. Because that is a defense I don’t like what you’re saying I don’t agree with what you’re saying. Here’s the question: how do you get them out of that? How do you get them back into it? It’s hard to do when you’ve got a group, but if you’re on a one on one, hand them something. I had a client of mine that was on one of the ships in Pearl Harbor. He sold insurance and he sold more insurance than anybody ever seen in my life. And he would carry a picture of his house in his suit coat pocket. And when somebody would be defensive, he said have if I ever showed you a picture of my house? And he would hold it out and then he talked about how it’s out in the country and how relaxing it was whatever. Somehow he’d work it back into the conversation. But when they uncrossed their arms to look at that take that picture, they’re fair game again. And he sold them.

Peter: [00:42:51] Wow.

Colin: [00:42:52] So you hand them something. The other thing is crossed legs. When they cross their ankles, they’re uncomfortable. Here’s the trick. Here’s here’s a challenge. Next time you go to the dentist, see how long it is before you cross your ankles.

Peter: [00:43:09] Within minutes of sitting in the chair.

Colin: [00:43:11] Absolutely. As soon as they pull out the sharp instrument my ankles cross.

Peter: [00:43:15] Yeah.

Colin: [00:43:17] And it’s a defensive position. I was I was in a meeting or talking about a very touchy item and we got something that was really crucial to the person we were talking to. All of a sudden he crossed his ankles. And he’s no longer open to the discussion. He’s very defensive and we have to figure out a way around it. One other thing when I’m on the defensive the book on the secret language of leaders, when you’re working with a group, watch the lips of the people in the group. If they start pressing their lips together, compressing their lips, that’s anxiety. They are uncomfortable with what’s being said. If the corners of the mouth go down, they’re even more upset. If they start having a pursed lips like they’re going to kiss somebody, it’s time to stop the meeting because they want to say something so bad and they know it’s going to come out so wrong. They’re doing their best not to say it. So that’s when you say OK guys let’s take a five minute break. Check your email. Get something to drink whatever it is. And then you go and you talk to that one individual and you try to understand what area they’re talking about where they are. I when I was the chair of Georgia Society of CPAs we had some really tough issues we addressed. And I had that happen to me twice. Took the break talk to the people just not saying what’s wrong just padding them out. And then I went back in and I knew what the topic was, but I didn’t pick that individual picked up another individual of the people that either had some concern about it or had was really in favor of it. And I say let’s talk about that a little bit more. What do you think about… And I just get it started. And within about 20 seconds that individual had the problem started talking, and we got it all ironed out that rather than people walking away feeling like they were not part of the discussion they were not heard that they had concerns that wasn’t addressed, it got addressed. And it was all watching the lips. It’s scary.

Peter: [00:45:28] Wow. It’s scary yeah. It’s scary cool. It really is. And I’m going go back. I do have the book the secret language of success. I looked it up on Amazon and said you’ve already purchased this book back in 2011.

Colin: [00:45:45] Hahaha. So it made an impression on you I guess what you’re telling me. Thanks. Hahahaha Yeah you need to read it.

Peter: [00:45:52] I need to reread it. I bought it. I remember when I saw the cover oh I remember reading that. It said back in 2011 so obviously it’s been awhile. I need to go back to reread it as well as if I could ask. You said there’s 19 books. If instead of you know listing them here, could you send me an e-mail with that and I’ll make sure that we put that list in the show notes that if anybody wants to go in and look for him they can go to my Web site and to this episode and be able to pick those out?

Colin: [00:46:19] Yeah. What I have done there’s about seven of them that I like.

Peter: [00:46:21] OK.

Colin: [00:46:22] I didn’t… The other ones said the same thing. I like the way the other people said it but you know with those four or five that was talking about immediately or earlier. What I can do is I’ve got those five or six with a little synopsis of this is what this book is about.

Peter: [00:46:40] Oh OK.

Colin: [00:46:41] And you know if this is if this interests you you might want to look at this. The neat thing about that the secret language is access to the Thirty-One rules because they basically cover everything we’ve been talking about and I give people a cheat sheet, and I can send you that too.

Peter: [00:46:55] That would be great.

Colin: [00:46:57] And if you print it out front back, it will go on one page, and I tell people read that every day before you go to work for 30 days, or school wherever you go, for the next 30 days when you get up. Read that and see how many of them you see. And it will absolutely blow you away.

Peter: [00:47:16] Well I’m going to take you up on that. I am going to add to that I obviously I’m fascinated by this discussion. I’m fascinated by body language and what we are saying nonverbally and that’s that’s what people pick up on. And the ability to do what you have done is to understand that and turn that into a tool, and dealing with people, dealing with audiences, dealing with situations – having to come up work for it for the benefit of you organization, and what you do. I just find it extremely. And I’m like I’m overwhelmed.

Colin: [00:47:53] Well thank you. I you know I have I thoroughly enjoyed it. And I think has really helped people with it. I want to say one more. I don’t know how much time we have. But the thing I was talking about earlier with my hand in my pocket and mirroring people.

Peter: [00:48:07] Right.

Colin: [00:48:08] I call it “copying people for fun and profit.” One it’s fun two it’s profitable. And the fun… I love it when the holidays come and somebody has an open house. I will go stand at the food table and lean on the table and nibble on something. And within about four or five minutes I have two or three other people leaning on the table talking to me, and I’ll turn and walk off. I can’t believe it works like that but it works like that. If you’re talking to a small group, guys take either hand and put it in your pocket and within about a minute or less somebody else will have their hand in the pocket and then somebody else has their hand in a pocket and you’ll have two or three people with hands. Ladies normally stand with their arms crossed because it’s comfortable for them, and they’ll either put the right foot forward or the left foot forward. Whichever foot you put forth, the other people will put forth. That’s the fun part.

Peter: [00:49:05] Hahaha.

Colin: [00:49:05] Now for profit. You go into a meeting and an individual sitting there he leans forward to say something. You lean forward to hear it. He leans back, you lean back. He puts one hand on the table, You put him on the table. When they leave the meeting they say you don’t know what it is but they really did understand what I was doing. Well now I was copying you so you would accept me. But there’s there’s more to it than that. If you think it’s important enough that you’re going to lean in and tell me something, I’m going to lean in to make sure I hear it. Does that make sense?

Peter: [00:49:40] Yeah.

Colin: [00:49:41] Now if I’m leaning in and you lean back and I still stay there leaning, that can make the person uncomfortable because why are you leaning in? If he’s relaxing, you relax. It makes common sense. People do it. They don’t understand it. But if you do it for business, it helps the communication. I was dealing with with an IRS agent and she had an excellent point, and she leaned in to make her point. I leaned in to hear it. We started talking about it and I started explaining why I was doing what I was doing. She leaned back. There was no reason for me to stay leaned in trying to convince her. She was convinced. Once you sold, stop selling. I leaned back.

Peter: [00:50:23] Interesting.

Colin: [00:50:25] It is. It’s amazing. But it’s people.

Peter: [00:50:30] It’s and that’s the business that we’re in. We’re in the people business.

Colin: [00:50:34] Oh absolutely. And you got to have credibility. If you don’t have credibility, it doesn’t matter.

Peter: [00:50:37] Right.

Colin: [00:50:38] No matter how smart you are. If you can’t communicate it, it doesn’t matter.

Peter: [00:50:42] Exactly. You have to communicate in a manner that some can understand both verbally and nonverbally. That congruity.

Colin: [00:50:50] Exactly. If the nonverbal doesn’t follow the verbal, they don’t buy it.

Peter: [00:50:55] Right. You know what you and I could carry this conversation on probably for about an hour and a half or two hours and I’d just be sitting here being schooled the whole time, which I do thoroughly enjoy this topic, but I do want to be conscious of your time. And can’t begin to thank you for spending this time with me and my audience because I mean when people listen to this they’re going to have so many takeaways.

Colin: [00:51:19] Can I do one more?

Peter: [00:51:21] Of course you can! OK. It’s your time. I just want to…

Colin: [00:51:25] I know but I this is one of those things is you know — again trying to tell everything you want to cover in a short period of time. You need to put your best face forward. You know you have a good side and a bad side. Or, some of us, like us, have a bad side or worse.

Peter: [00:51:44] Hahaha.

Colin: [00:51:44] What’s your good side? How do you know what your good side is? You could probably look in some pictures and you’ll see some pictures she really like. And if you look closely they’re all the same side. It is the greatest distance from the corner of your eye to the corner of your mouth. Nobody’s face is symmetrical. If you ran a line through the corners of your eyes and the corner of your mouth they would not be parallel. One side will get bigger one side will get smaller the side that gets bigger is your best side. How do you measure that? I found dental floss is the best way. But before you use the dental floss tonight, put it in a corner of your eye take it to the corner of your mouth and see which ones the longest. That’s your best side. You want to put people on your best side. So if you’re sitting down with an unknown male, don’t put it on your bad side. Put him on your good side. If you’re standing with a group, you want the majority of the group on your good side. If you’re in a situation where you can decide or determine where you stand, stand on your own. When John Travolta first went to Hollywood, he would only about the cameras to take his picture. His profile from one side. It was his good side. And quite honestly right now I don’t think John Travolta has a good side, but he has so much money he doesn’t care.

Peter: [00:53:11] Yes exactly. Hahaha.

Colin: [00:53:14] But if you know what your good side is, play to your strength. The last one it when someone smiles at you, is it real or fake smile? How do you know?

Peter: [00:53:25] Crow’s feet.

Colin: [00:53:26] There’s a way to tell. There is a muscle that flexes underneath your eyes when it’s a real smile. And if that muscle isn’t there, it is a fake smile. It’s a smile for the camera. So if somebody is smiling and they’re telling you they enjoy what you’re saying, they agree with what you’re saying, and it’s a fake smile, you just need to know it.

Peter: [00:53:49] The muscle under your eye…

Colin: [00:53:51] Yeah. Right. Right below your eye. They easiest way to do it is going to the mirror and smile like a smile for a camera. And then think about something that’s really neat. Think about sometimes you really liked your son or think about puppies or think about something and you will see that muscle.

Peter: [00:54:10] OK.

Colin: [00:54:11] It is there.

Peter: [00:54:17] And I always said look you know when you tell a real smile it’s looking if a quarter of their eyes that have crow’s feet. You know when they’re laughing versus that fake laugh you don’t see that those wrinkles in the side of one’s face near the eye.

Colin: [00:54:33] That’s true on laughing. But on the smile itself, there is muscle and muscle that constricts right under the eye socket on both sides. It’s there. I’ve been absolutely amazed seeing it.

Peter: [00:54:49] I’m going to definitely do the dental floss thing today and I’m going to check for that and for that muscle in my eye.

Colin: [00:54:57] You can always tell when your tell your spouse you’re home and she says I’m glad you’re here. Look see how she’s smiling, and is it a fake smile.

Peter: [00:55:05] Hahaha. So does the muscle underneath both thighs does it flex itself, per se?

Colin: [00:55:13] Yes. Yes. It’s part of the muscle group that makes the smile. There’s about seven or eight other things that we can talk about. Glad ot do that another time.

Peter: [00:55:27] Oh I’d love I’d love to have you back on for another time to talk about body language, like a little recap from this and then bring in those new items. Definitely, we will do that. We’ll get to that sooner than later.

Colin: [00:55:40] Well it’s fun. Like I said I will send the books and the cheat sheet. It’s an interesting, interesting topic.

Peter: [00:55:52] It is it’s it’s it’s it’s it’s it’s re-invigorated me to go back and start studying this again because I know I did. After our first meeting you were talking to me about this and I’ve kept some of this stuff in the back of my lab and I’ve forgotten a lot. And I’m going to go back and start start revisiting this information because I do find it so fascinating and I do use it more when I’m doing a presentation trying to read their body language make sure my body language is in sync, but I need to use it in other business environments. We’ll just go with that.

Colin: [00:56:28] Right. Yes. Right. It’s fun and profitable.

Peter: [00:56:32] Yeah fun and profitable. Colin, thank you so very much. I appreciate your time. I appreciate your knowledge and I’ll send you some dates maybe we can record something before the holidays and get it out first part of next year.

Colin: [00:56:47] Sounds wonderful.

Peter: [00:56:51] I would like to think Colin again for sharing his knowledge about the importance of understanding one’s body language and giving us those wonderful tips and techniques to work on and think about as we need to all better develop our ability to read those nonverbal signals. Before I close, I would like to take a moment to talk about the first five episodes of this podcast are now qualified for CPE self-study credit in the NASBA category of personal development. Those interviews are with Clarke Price, former CEO of the Ohio society of CPAs. Mike Sciortino, author of Gratitude Marketing. Tom Hood… Well you’ve been introduced to him and you will be introduced to him again. Ed Mendlowitz, who’s a partner at Withum, Smith, and Brown. And Karl Ahlrichs, who’s H.R. professional at Gregory and Appel. These episodes are located on the MACPA-BLI self-study Web site and they are mobile friendly. Create an account and purchase an episode. You can listen to them on your daily commute or while working out, or even at your desk! When you’re finished, take the review and final exam on your mobile device or your computer. It’s that easy. While all Improv is no Joke podcasts are available on my web site, only those purchased to the MACPA-BLI self-study Website are eligible for CPE self-study credit. This is not nano-learning – this is self-study learning. You can get detailed instructions by visiting my website at and clicking on the graphic: Listen, Learn, and Earn improvs is no joke podcasts on my home page. I hope you enjoy this exciting and flexible new way of receiving CPE credit. And please take a moment to subscribe to my podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play so you won’t miss an upcoming episode. Also if you’ve been enjoying this podcast, I would greatly appreciate it if you take a few moments and leave a review on iTunes. Thank you very much for taking the time to do that. Now November is National Diabetes Month and I’ll be donating 20 percent of all paperback and audiobook sales from my web site to the juvenile diabetes research foundation. Each Improv is no Joke: Using Improvisation to Create Positive Results in Leadership and Life that is purchased from my website is personally signed. The book retails for $14.99 and the shipping is free. To order go to and click the available now icon. In addition, you can download improvs no joke audio book for 14.99 so you can listen on the go. And remember 20 percent of all sales in the month of November will be donated to juvenile diabetes research foundation. Now I’m in the process of writing my next book with the working tieless financial storytelling and I’m previewing content on my social media. So connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram. In Episode 78, my guest is Jay Suko, who is a professional improviser and we discuss the role of improv that it plays in today’s business world. Remember to use the principles of improvisation to help you better connect and communicate with those in your organization and in your life. And thank you for listening to this episode.

Colin’s Favorite Body Language Books:

    • Telling Lies, Paul Ekman
      • Extremely hard to read, but many books use his research.
      • Unless you really like Calculus I would pass.
    • The Secret Language of Success, David Lewis
      • First book I read, 31 rules provides a good foundation;


  • The book cost $0.01 and shipping is $4.24.  Accountants love rules and there are 31 Rules to follow.  Note: three books below cover many of the same points.


  • The Definitive Book of Body Language, Allan and Barbara Pease
    • Excellent book and discusses issues up through former President Clinton;
    • Entertaining and useful.
  • What Every BODY is Saying, Joe Navarro
    • Real life experiences working with soldiers captured in the Gulf Wars and how the same techniques are applied to interactions today;
    • Works with Fortune 500 companies now;
    • Addresses benchmarking.
  • Let Me See Your Body Talk, Jan Hargrave
    • Very good book for singles;
    • Explains social interactions.
  • The Silent Language of Leaders, Carol Kinsey Goman
    • Excellent book if preside over meetings or need to get a consensus from a group on issues;
    • Explains why some people “lead” and no one follows.


Production & Development for Improv Is No Joke by Podcast Masters

Ep. 76 – Dr. David Brobeck: How FUN Increases Engagement & Retention

Dr. David Brobeck (AKA The Problem-Solving Professor) is a professional speaker and a professor of graduate education at Walsh University. His current academic focus is researching various means to enhancing teaching and learning based on neuroscience. Regardless of the endeavor, David believes learning should be fun – and I agree!


In this interview, Dr. Brobeck shares tips and techniques we can use to make learning fun in order to increase the audience member retention rate, whether we’re presenting, teaching, at work, or at home.


Dr. Brobeck starts every presentation with a slide saying, “If you’re not a fun person, you may hate the session.” He then goes on to explain that, even if you’re not fun, you might want to fake it because the brain can’t tell the difference – and we know people learn more and retain more when there is humor involved.


If you look at the traditional lecture style of speaking, there’s no engagement. It’s just boring data. It’s just not connecting with them, and it creates boredom.


This positive or negative reaction to stimuli, whether genuine or faked, is controlled by our body’s limbic system. Amy Cuddy, a professor at Harvard and TEDTalk presenter, talks about how this system releases endorphins and cortisol into our brain, and how that affects retention.


Laughter releases endorphins, and we learn more when we have endorphins being released in our brain. Conversely, cortisol is released when we need to protect ourselves. So a stressful or boring classroom can actually cause the brain to start to protect itself, and then you don’t learn as much.



You also need to let the brain shift tasks occasionally, if you want it to process and retain information. Dr. Brobeck implements a simple tool called the QRST method:

  • Question – The presenter / teacher / boss poses a question related to the information they are presenting.
  • Reflect – The audience is asked to reflect on this question for 10-30 seconds.
  • Share – They are then asked to pair up and share their thoughts on the question with another person. After 30 seconds, the presenter gets everyone’s attention and tells everyone to switch so the second person can also share their thoughts for 30 seconds.
  • Team – After everyone shares their thoughts with someone else, the presenter asks people to share what their partner told them.


Another powerful and fun presentation tool is storytelling. When people hear a good story, they equate it to their own life – and they climb inside that story with the storyteller, and they start to live with that person. So we remember experiences better when we feel like we’ve had them, and some stories are so powerful that we never forget them.


Download this Episode MP3.



Click to download the full Transcript PDF.



Improv is no Joke – Episode 76 – Dr. David Brobeck

David: [00:00:00] I tell students if I can’t show you how whatever the concept is doesn’t fit your job, call me out on it because I believe I should do that. I was a theory-based superintendent, but I converted it all to practical language people can understand.


Intro: [00:00:23] Welcome to Improv is no Joke podcast, where it’s all about becoming a more effective communicator by embracing the principles of improvisation. Your host is Peter Margaritis, the man whose name is pronounced like a cocktail but spelled like an inflammation. Peter is the self-proclaimed chief edutainment officer of my business, the Accidental Accountant. Peter’s goal is to provide you with thought-provoking interviews with business leaders so you can become an effective improviser, which will lead to building stronger relationships with clients, customers, colleagues, and even your family. So let’s start to show.


Peter: [00:01:06] Welcome to episode 76 and today my guest is Dr. David Brobeck, The problem-solving professor, who is a professional speaker and a professor of graduate education at Walsh University in North Canton Ohio. Raised in the shadows of western Pennsylvania steel mills. He holds a bachelor’s from California Lutheran University and a master’s and a doctorate from Kent State University. His current academic focus is researching various means to enhancing teaching and learning based on neuroscience. Regardless of what endeavor, David believes learning should be fun. Let’s get to the interview and learn about the tips and techniques on how we can make learning fun in order to increase the audience member retention rate. However quick note: during the interview David refers to the QRST method, and this stands for question, reflect, share, and then team. Share with the group. So with that being said let’s get to the interview. David thank you so very much for being a guest on my podcast. I am so excited and looking forward to our conversation today.

David: [00:02:24] Peter it’s my honor to be here.

Peter: [00:02:25] David we go back as members of the National Speakers Association. But I remember the first time I saw you I was in Philadelphia at the National Speakers Association annual convention and I said in your breakout session on whole brain teaching techniques, which really opened my eyes as big aha moment about there’s there’s a lot more to the classroom than just lecturing. And I always kind of had a feel for that in teaching the at Ohio Dominican. But you did some things in a very different way. And if I remember correctly you have this belief as I do that learning should be fun.

David: [00:03:07] Well I have a slide in every presentation I do that if you’re not a fun person you may hate the session. Then I explain to them you might want to fake it because the brain can’t tell the difference with fake fun and real fun. But we do know people learn more when there is humor involved, and has to do a hormone release and some other things in the brain function.

Peter: [00:03:27] So you’re a Professor at Walsh University. How did you find this as your passion as far as your research?

David: [00:03:34] I started on early when I shifted from K-12. I was a 35 year veteran of teaching English for 17 years. I was a middle school principal. I was school superintendent in Ohio and then I was hired by Walsh to teach graduate school. One of my grad students I used to challenge them in their capstone course to come up with something that I might not know about and surprised me. And she did a presentation some thing called whole brain teaching. I went on and saw a couple of videos and I was fascinated because it reminded me of two areas: coaching, where coaches often will use different callback and chant techniques, and sometimes in church, and churches will often use something where there is an audience response, whether it’s say amen or some sort of Liturgy where things are repeated. So the school sent me to Louisiana college for the National Brain conference that summer. I met Chris Biffle, the California professor who invented these techniques. And then we started to apply it to the classes we’re teaching because it works. Which opened up the door for me to then continue to study the brain and learning.

Peter: [00:04:44] Well I want to say that I’ve become more fascinated with with the brain and you were in the session when John Mogador came to our NSA chapter meeting and was talking about the brain and how it functions. Obviously you’re well versed in this was my first indoctrination into it really from an audience perspective, and understanding how that audience brains work. And I’ve become so so fascinated with this. Yeah I’ve I’ve read the book Brain Rules by John Medina and in part I want to interview you to learn more about how an audience member — because any time we present anything, we’re transferring knowledge, we’re transferring information. And in my world of accounting, data is pretty boring. And if they’re not looking at the slides, they’re reading the reading the email. But we just– we’re not engaging that audience members brain and helping with that level of retention. So I’m I’m looking forward to your thoughts, your techniques that you use to help increase retention in an audience member, as well as keeping them engaged.

David: [00:05:52] There are some consistencies about the human brain that don’t change from a human being to human being. We’re hardwired for certain things. Every baby is born knowing how to nurse. The police catch people because human beings have patterns of behavior that caused them to do certain things. All of that being said, we also have a lot of studies… I happen to study psychometric … genetics. Many people know Meyers-Briggs or the DiSC system and even the Native Americans used to look at the human brain as having four types of thinking preferences. So when we understand that and we’re talking to an audience, they may be looking at their phone which is a mistake for one reason because the human brain cannot multitask. We we hear that they are all based they’re really good at multitasking. Well they tend to be better at task shifting not multitasking. And the best example of that is if somebody is on the telephone talking when they’re driving and suddenly an ice storm comes up in the cars swearer swerves they stop talking because now the brain is out of automatic mode and is having to concentrate on being able to control the car. So we have certain automatic things and that’s why people think well yeah I can do two things at once. Well you can but you can only do it in certain circumstances. So when you talk about an audience, and you’re trying to engage them, then we need to understand there are lots of different types of thinkers out there – and I’m not talking about learning preference, I’m talking about thinking preferences. So how can I tap into that so that I can make sure that I can touch each audience member? And that becomes then the challenge of the presenter.

Peter: [00:07:29] So how do you how would you assess an audience? Me when I went for a speaking engagement to try to get an idea who who’s in my audience. The composition of it. And most of my most of my presentations are to accountant CPA. So I have an idea. So how should I be structuring that conversation? I like to call it a conversation versus a presentation in order to increase that level of retention for that type of audience member.

David: [00:07:57] Well first of all we know that the greatest professional speakers out there – the Zig Ziegler’s and the Lou Heckler’s – and these people that are fabulous storytellers. Ragini Robertson comes to mind. They all use humor and ways to engage the brain and people remember story better than they remember facts – but most of us don’t have that skill set. So what we need to do is remember that we have to have a structure there, because people expect that. They want to know where we’re going and there has to be a way of doing that. If we present facts — When I was at the session that I did at NSA in Philadelphia in 2013, I did hint at a sheet that said brain facts. I did not list the sources on it but I just listed the facts and I had one person say “Well this has no value. There are no sources.” Well I know that person has an interest in analytical information that I needed to go back and provide data. I got his email address I went back and I gave the source for every site on the handout and I sent it to him. We know people in there liked to engage with each other. We know there are some people who are not. So how can we provide an avenue that we can stop at some point in time and let people talk to each other? The human in the classroom for example we know that allowing students or in this case an audience to talk to each other is one of the ways the human brain processes information, sorts it, and determines that it’s meaningful, because when we switch the speaking function Suddenly we’re at a different level. And then finally the big picture you have people in there that are highly conceptual and want to have a vision. And somehow you touch on that as well. So if we’re we’re organized, we’re making sure we support our our information with back up. If we give people a chance to interact and we give them a big picture, we pretty much touched on the major components of each person in the room.

Peter: [00:09:51] Wow ok I get that. But but with what… Why do something– you brought up laughter. And I tell the story of how I got into the tax side of accounting vs the auditing side of accounting, and it came in my graduate program because my tax professor made me laugh. My tax professor tried to make tax accounting fun, while my auditing professor was just boring us to death with all these facts and it wasn’t fun. What is it in the brain that when we laugh or some some emotionally charged event – what is it that happens at that point in time?

David: [00:10:28] Well if you were to interlock your fingers to the inside and open it up and wiggle them that’s how I demonstrate – this is the inner workings of the limbic system of the brain. The limbic system is an emotional area. There’s a professor at Harvard University, Amy Cuddy, who has more of the most watched ever TED talks. She talks about endorphins and cortisol being released from her brain. Laughter releases endorphins. I had a student just quote the movie Legally Blonde because the attorney says she couldn’t have killed him because she exercises and exercise releases endorphins and happy people don’t do bad crimes. Same concept. When you laugh you’re releasing these endorphins. We learn more when we have endorphins being released in our brain. Conversely, cortisol is released when we need to protect ourselves. So a stressful classroom that you fear failure or you fear the professor or it’s boring you to death can actually cause the brain to start to protect itself, and then you don’t learn as much. So it’s the limbic system that causes the reason that laughter you liked it better, and also why you remembered more.

Peter: [00:11:34] OK so cortisol. It’s a defense mechanism.

David: [00:11:39] Cortisol is a hormone.

Peter: [00:11:41] Yeah but it makes the–

David: [00:11:43] Yeah so, in the Cuddy study, what she did. They they took the body language and they compared the Wonder Woman pose with hands on hips.

Peter: [00:11:52] Right.

David: [00:11:52] Or the victory pose with hands over head and signaling a touchdown. Then they had people cross their arms cross your legs and sit and for two minutes and they were observed then they actually gave out energy that was not as positive. People who were crossing your arms are not viewed as quality candidates as those who stood in power poses. Which all goes back to you can control the release of hormones in your body, which is one of the reasons I go back to if you don’t think it’s funny, pretend, because the brain doesn’t know the difference between fake laughter and fake humor and fake enjoyment and real enjoyment. A la nightmares and happy dreams.

Peter: [00:12:29] OK. So if obviously if I if I want the class to be more engaged, I want them to to release the.

David: [00:12:38] Endorphins.

Peter: [00:12:38] Thank you. Endorphins. Does dopamine come into this and all?

David: [00:12:44] Yeah it’s the same type of thing. It’s a positive hormone. I mean they had a study that they did – they showed people scary faces and then they had them sniff oxytocin, which simulates social interaction and support from other people, relational. And they found that the scary faces didn’t frighten them any more. Once the human brain had a chance to socialize another brain. Our brains are highly social. Human beings like to socialize. If it’s it sometimes when you know you sense something from a family member. Women seem to know what each other is thinking. College roommates will often start to menstruate at the same time – I have four daughters. That is a common thing at my house. If they’re all living together all their bodies will go on the same cycle. That’s all brain based. And I don’t know why that was done that way or how or what, but it is factual that those things happen.

Peter: [00:13:42] So we have the ability in the classroom to try to enhance some of that hormone release in our audience. If we know the positive effect it will have. And I would assume that if we if we find ourselves going down the path that we can see that the defensiveness of the protectiveness that we need to change our delivery method in order to help increase learning. Is that a fair statement?

David: [00:14:11] Yeah. Again you just see the greatest speakers out there do all these things. They have emotional connection to the audience. They they have a way of you know maybe the audience turns and talks to each other. You mentioned John Mollet. I felt validated he was there because what I do is different and a lot of people don’t do that and trying to convince a classroom teacher or a college professor to try these things is much more difficult actually than trying to convince a professional speaker to do it. But it does work. I’ve given the example if you ever listened to Martin Luther King Jr. speak – he was very much a whole brain speaker. He would say things and the audience would start repeating with him. He’d have them repeat things he said. Some people say well that was the preaching style. Well it might be but it’s still a speaking style that is effective at getting people to remember what you’re talking about.

Peter: [00:15:05] So that also goes with repetition as well. And I’m trying to remember – I mean 2013 was a long time ago but I was in your class and I know… my colleague Jennifer Elder really took a lot of what you did and was applied it in the classroom. I tried some things and I’m trying to remember what were some of those techniques that you. You taught that day.

David: [00:15:28] Well one of the things that that I do is for example we use gestures. I’ll make a gesture that seems to fit. When I teach a legal and ethical class when I teach the 14th Amendment, which is due process, I take a gesture which I touch my heart and I say life I raise my hands as I’m holding a torch to say liberty. Then I put my hands together and I have my thumbs chase each other and pursuit of happiness. I have the students repeat about three times and I pretty much know at the end of the semester they’ll all remember exactly what that is. And the symbol of the gesture I use for the 14th Amendment is my hands going back and forth as if to tip the scales. That’s one of the things we did. I also I probably don’t remember exactly but I probably taught something that I called QRST. Where I asked a question, I asked the audience to think about the question for a certain amount of time – say anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds, 30 seconds is long. I then asked them to share information with one other member. I told my Exactly how much time I would give them to talk, which maybe is 30 seconds. I then used a neurotransmitter break called an off switch where I say a switch and then the audience – you can ham it up by reaching for the sky like you’re pulling down a big switch and you say switch. Then the other person has the exact same amount of time, and we process up with that. Now the purpose behind that from the brain and learning point, and I did this actually I know what you do. I had a roomful of government finance workers at their national convention a couple of years ago. But the idea is by giving a timeframe, we’re going to touch everybody. First of all reflective learners need time to think – just because somebody is a great jeopardy player doesn’t mean they’re the smartest person in the room. It means they can respond quickly. Many brilliant people process and need time. So I give them time to think. They get equal amounts of time to talk and we do that because the introverted learner likes to know exactly what the time frame is and so does the structured person. And oftentimes in a group setting one person starts talking doesn’t stop when they’re asked to switch. The neurotransmitter break is kind of like the phone ringing right as you’re getting ready to lift the punchline of a good joke. And equal time means that then they can process out. I’ll do another thing or if I call in the audience they will say Would you please tell me what your partner said, rather than asking a person to volunteer. That’s safer for people. But here’s the real key. Sometimes people don’t volunteer. I was working with a group of pharmaceutical sales rep last year and no one ever asked to tell me – they said or their partner said. But it doesn’t matter because the brain processes it. They don’t have there we have to tell anyone. They don’t tell you. They just need to tell somebody else. So if you have if you have an audience share and you say would somebody like to tell me what your partner said or would you like some of your ideas, And no one volunteers, move on. Because their brains already done the work. Many people have no need to tell you what everybody is thinking or what somebody else is thinking. They don’t need to share it with the group. Which means if you’re an audience of a thousand where you can’t call people, you don’t have to. Simply give somebody a chance to know you if you’d lectured for 10 minutes if you talked you said you know turn to your partner and tell your partner something… and give them some time to think. The most incredible thing you’ve been thinking about for the first 10 minutes. Give them time to think about it. They sort it. Give them 30 seconds 30. So in the course of two minutes you’ve done a break where each person had a chance to express something. They know and they’re always talking about takeaways and the speaker and make an action plan. But frankly, if you don’t give people to use the talk, that which you said early, and if they’re writing down notes, they’re not listening because you can’t do both.

Peter: [00:19:23] Right so the thing that caught on the earlier story was you were with a group of pharmaceutical reps and nobody said anything, which to me surprised me.

David: [00:19:32] They were quiet. Well I already had a breakdown of the group. So I knew that the group as a whole was introverted at about 75 percent of the people in a room of 30. There was only one actual extrovert identified in a whole room. So I knew they were going to be reluctant and it’s OK because when I actually had them write down some things, then they wrote it down and they wrote down stuff that was brilliant and what they got from it. But if you study Susan Kane, who wrote a book called Quiet, if we try to force an introvert into speaking we’re crushing them. So if they want to speak they can, if they don’t that’s OK too.

Peter: [00:20:20] I was going to say because the pharmaceutical sales reps that I know can’t stop talking so that’s what kind of threw me for a loop there.

David: [00:20:25] This group I think they were. They process it… They’re on the inside. They’re not in the field.

Peter: [00:20:31] Oh OK.

David: [00:20:32] They work for the company. They’re the ones that process this stuff. Maybe a sales rep was a bad a bad term but they are the ones that make sure everything’s on line and they get the information needs to be gotten to the people in the field and to make sure the accounts are done right and whatever the processing is done correctly. They’re the financial backbone of the company.

Peter: [00:20:52] Now that makes sense. I get that. But I do– And you brought this up you said you know after 10 minutes had them do some type of exercise. Have them converse have them write things down have them reflect. I do remember that being in your session and I do try to do that. I find myself at times forgetting ,and full transparency, but it might be 20 minutes later and I’ll have them do a little exercise where they’re conversing with one another and asked to reflect and think about something. Because I guess it goes to your point if we continue– if we take that old lecture style and we’re just talking at that audience and not having them engage with each other, it’s just boring data. It’s just not connecting with them and it creates this boredom.

David: [00:21:44] Correct yeah. And the other part is you don’t know if they’re getting it or not. You can watch… I mean I’ve had people stand and do the share. Can you stand and share. And I told them at the beginning I know some of you won’t be comfortable with this. I hope you’re sitting by somebody you like, and if you don’t have a partner, I would ask that, during the share, say out loud what you’ve been learning. Even if it’s quietly, please say it out loud. Just don’t sit and think about nothing. We know that works too. There’s a process in the brain that when you verbally say something, you’re activating different parts. People listening might be interested. There’s a YouTube video called The Glass Brain Project. It’s out of the University of California at San Francisco. The researcher… an MEG helmet that reads brain wave activity. And he had his wife blink her eyes and open and close one hand. They recreated it into showing exactly how much of the brain fires in those two simple activities. The brain is a powerful thing. It’s not a muscle, but the neurons allow us to grow and have things happen. I just had a cousin. He’s 31 years old who had brain surgery. We’re waiting for the report. But when he’s recovering he’s not permitted to multitask. If he’s watching television no one’s a lot of talk to him. If he’s even going to talk to me, he has to turn the television off. If he wants to talk to people, he has to either lying down or sitting. If he gets up to walk, he’s not allowed to talk. Or watch television. So all of this is to minimize how much is going on because the brain does so many things on simple activities.

Peter: [00:23:24] Wow I would have never thought that, with a brain injury… well let me ask this question. I am I’m a believer that we cannot multitask but someone once said they were a drummer in a band, and said that you can only multitask when using both hemispheres of the brain versus one hemisphere, and he equated it to when he would play the drums. Is that– is he just blowing smoke?

David: [00:23:53] The old thing about that we only use 10 percent of our brains that is false. Roger Sperry was the researcher who first identified our hemisphere of the brain. Now we have you know words and things form on the left side and artistic on the right side. Actually I just got a new slide at the brain summit and the neural pathways and lateralzation… the corpus callosum is the part of the brain in the center that connects the two halves, which by the way bad news for you and me is that the corpus callosum on men is smaller than that of a female brain.

Peter: [00:24:27] Oh.

David: [00:24:28] Which does account for the reason women sometimes can task shift more easily than men can. But no he wasn’t doing it on one side of the brain. When he was playing the drums, when he was learning the new piece, new thing, learning a new new tap rhythm a new whatever it was going to be. My guess is he didn’t do a lot of talking to people. Then once he got the piece down, then it was different. When I was first learning to play the guitar, as soon as I would try to sing a note my hands would stop. I was like my hands just stopped. Well I was functionally trying to do two thinking processes simultaneously. Once I learned a piece from the guitar well enough to play it, then the playing part became the automatic and the singing harp became something I had to work out.

Peter: [00:25:17] Oh ok. I get that.

David: [00:25:18] Tap your head and rub your stomach simultaneously. Little kids have a hard time doing that.

Peter: [00:25:23] Right.

David: [00:25:23] But it’s yeah… his whatever he was doing the drums when he was actually trying to learn a brand new piece, then it took one I doubt seriously he was multi multi tasking. Because I watched a music teacher one time talk to the kids about doing stomp. He played one piece on his left hand another piece in his right hand. His was a third group. And he talked to them during the entire thing.

Peter: [00:25:47] Wow.

David: [00:25:48] I said How did you have four parts your body going simultaneously. He said practice. OK. Looking back on it I see exactly what it was.

Peter: [00:25:59] He mastered one piece then studied the piece.

David: [00:26:03] You know he grew up… he was an African-American who grew up in a church that everything was done by ear. And you had to learn to do things that way or that wasn’t can happen. He was actually a director of bands at Howard University for a while and he’s a jazz musician and all those things come together. But yeah four different things happening simultaneously. One person.

Peter: [00:26:24] Wow. That’s pretty incredible. And I have shared with you that I’m in the process of writing a book with the working title right now, Financial Storytelling. I’m trying to find a way in this book to help those who tend to teach more technical topics, like accounting or taxation or even architecture or engineering, and getting them away from the way we learned many years ago to a more engaging type of a classroom. And the techniques that we all have talked about should go a long way in that development. But I I’ve always found that we learn from what we see. And when I first started teaching, I learned from my previous teachers and their methods. And it wasn’t really till I joined the National Speakers Association and saw different styles and techniques that were completely opposite… Then my my my my world opened up to a new way of delivering information. How does that– how do you get that across to somebody who has been doing something over a number of years? Say 10-15 years a way, and you show them that they can be more effective in the classroom if they apply some techniques, but they’re reluctant to do so – is it because of the risk because of fear or just because of the hard work?

David: [00:28:04] Well the research on it says that people are comfortable in the status quo. The reason that you for example professional speaker is because their income is based on their ability to attract audiences to hire them. So it’s not as risky for them to try a technique if you know you saw Chad Hyams yesterday and the certain things he does that are highly engaging. And how does he do that? We’ve seen Jeannie Roberson and how she uses the story. I remember Jeannie said that she got her storytelling technique from the Andy Griffith Show, Barney Fife specifically, and using using physical movement the way that Barney Fife did. I remember watching her and going back and watched the old Andy Griffith Show and going doggone it there it is. So there’s that element to it. But you know I I’m looking at I mean I had a professor ask you know about getting a higher rating on his feedback form for students. So when I sat down we did an analysis of how he teaches. It was a hundred percent lecture. He started the beginning of the class period the lecture till the end and the technique I taught him was every eight minutes stop and do that. QRST. Have the students talk to each other. Check for understanding because if they’re not getting what you gave them, you got to reteach it. Rather than finding out on the test exam on Friday or the following Thursday or whatever day it is, you have a chance to make the assessment then. So in teaching we call that a formative assessment. Somehow we try to figure out whether they’re getting it or not. That’s one of the reasons it’s important. What you’re saying too is if people understand the power of the story. I teach school law. Now that could be a boring class. When I had it, we had to memorize laws. But I teach it based on experience as a school superintendent and teacher and I tell stories of people who messed up. And the students are like that can’t possibly be true. Yeah, well, I can’t make this stuff up. You know and I have them look up court cases of really weird things that have happened and they’re dumbfounded by– almost like social media. How dumb can you be thinking I can text what I want and nobody’s going to know. No? You’re creating an international permanent record. So it’s the same thing. What you’re asking — why would people why don’t they change? If they’re still getting an income, would taking the change risk losing any income and they worry or are they just comfortable and they don’t have to do anything new and that makes it easier?

Peter: [00:30:30] As you’re describing and talking about this. My son who’s 17 and waited and finally got his learner’s permit. We put him in top driver so he had like 24 hours of in-class classroom and then we’re going to do the eight hours of driving. And I took him his first day of class and the room was on the second floor of Building and it was the old individual desks like you see in an elementary school or something. The room was beige. It just didn’t have this feel for it. I went oh my god my son’s will get thrown out of class or he’s just going to be bored and not remember anything. And when I picked him up I said so how was it. And he went it wasn’t that bad dad, which shocked me for one. And two I said why wasn’t that bad. Because you told a story the whole time. What do you mean he told you stories the whole time? Well instead of like talking out of the book you know there was a concept or something that he would tell these real life stories that kept their attention. He had to go through six weeks of this driving school on a Sunday from one to about five o’clock and never complained once about going and always left remembering. To the power store, even that you know like a driving school.

David: [00:31:58] The other thing that happens the story is go back to neurons, we have mirror neurons. Mirror neurons are why when you watch a movie you cry even though it’s two dimensional. It’s being done by actors. We cry or laugh at a movie because we have these neurons fire when we empathize with other people and we see other things going on. So when people are hearing stories, they’re also equating that to their own life because they have had things that have happened to them – and they climb inside that story with the storyteller, if they’re good, and they start to live with that person. So we remember experiences better and we’ve had them, and you know and some stories are so powerful that we never forget them. For whatever reason you know it’s sometimes there’s just something that’s incredibly powerful like people remembering where they were when 9/11 happened or I remember where I was… I’m old enough that I was in school when John Kennedy was assassinated. And my brother was graduating college. Wet get up in the morning to go to the store and we heard that Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated. I remember exactly where we were in all three of those events.

Peter: [00:33:01] Yeah I use that example as it relates to 9/11 because I can tell you exactly where I was, what was happening almost vividly through that whole process of the Stephen Covey event that Franklin university was sponsoring. And I walked out in this restroom there these people hovering around this small portable TV with antennas. What are you watching this? Well it looks like a plane hit the World Trade Center. But didn’t really… you know I was thinking like a little Cessna. And then as I was coming back more and more people start gathering around and people started going into the bar. They had a TV on and I can vividly see that and I can remember walking back into the auditorium and Covey is getting the news of what’s going and the news is starting to travel. And that’s what 17 years ago. And I can still vividly see everything from that day and probably a few days after that.

David: [00:33:58] Well yes. Those are events that triggers certain things on our brain. And that’s why a really well-placed good story when you’re teaching has such a powerful impact. We’re converting like many colleges to teach online now. And what students tell me because I will sometimes run hybrid where they come to class now and then is that man if you come to class — they’ll go on the online like those zoom sessions and say you’re really missing a story. Or will you tell that story about… and it’s different talking to a computer than it is telling a story to a live audience.

Peter: [00:34:31] Right. And if we could do more storytelling to live audiences when we have that opportunity that that level of retention does increase.

David: [00:34:43] Sure and even in accounting. Let’s see if you’re out doing whether it’s accounting auditing or taxation. You start telling stories of some idiotic thing a person did to get in trouble. People hear that.

Peter: [00:34:57] Yeah.

David: [00:34:58] Why would no why would somebody have done that. Why did that treasurer think you could not have to file these reports whatever it might be. You talk about investigations and here’s how to keep yourself out of trouble. I mean a good story is much better than oh let me give you the factual data of how you need to file a such and such form.

Peter: [00:35:17] Well I wrote an ethics course that I’ve delivered this year and the feedback that I’ve gotten from it because I use real life examples. I talk about I talk about Enron, I talk about Wells Fargo and some recent events. And the majority have said something along those lines. I love it that using real world examples than just theory that’s out there because it is part of storytelling. And they they tend to stay awake. And my my my my evaluation scores keep going up.

David: [00:35:51] Correct. And it’s the same thing that I try to do with my teaching a class. I tell students I can’t show you how whatever the concept this doesn’t fit your job, call me out on it because I believe I should do that. I was a theory based superintendent but I converted it all to practical language people can understand.

Peter: [00:36:10] So what type of organizations do you consult with? Who brings you into to study this or get this information?

David: [00:36:19] Mostly I work with schools at the K-12 level and I work with one pharmacy group. I’ve done talks to rotaries and other places. It’s it’s interesting with my background because I was considered a business superintendent for ability to save money and you know keep people’s healthcare from knocking him out of business. But that doesn’t always translate into working with business I’m OK with that. I can help teachers at all levels better understand how to interpret just what students are going through. I teach brain theory too. I’m working with two studies right now at Walsh. One in our doctorate physical therapy program and we have a study going on with the professor who used to have who used to have the highest F rate on campus.

Peter: [00:37:02] Haha.

David: [00:37:02] And he brought me in and I did some coaching of him as students. We applied some of the tools that are that are brain based. And the first time he did it the lowest grade he had was one d. Everybody else was higher than that.

Peter: [00:37:17] Wow.

David: [00:37:18] Which I think also helped him get tenure. And we’re now back in doing another cohort in his class to see you know just get him thinking about it because our preferences often drive us to think other people feel the way we do. But if I can understand where a person is coming from – not their learning preference but how they think about things. Now the need of a student or an audience member to have a tight outline and know exactly when the time’s going to be. That’s important to some people but for somebody who is a visionary they might think you’re putting handcuffs on them. So I need to I need to do both of those things somehow to get to both groups. So I do teach that to people. That’s what I did with the pharmacy group I worked with. And you know how to work with their colleagues because they had two things they had going was hurting them from a business standpoint. 87 percent of the people in the organization have a structural preference. They just wanted to hit deadlines and get it over with and they didn’t have enough conceptual thinkers, and then they were quiet so they never brought something up. The point being, in a business, if they had a deadline of Friday, they liked finishing it on Monday, but then wouldn’t consider new information at all. I said well what’s the critical point? And someone said thursday. So somebody come in with an idea on Wednesday do you look at it? And they said not if we’re done. Which then became a challenge of the organization. So you’re hurting yourselves, you’re losing money, while for them and they were profit-share organizations, like we were losing money. Now we were able to work through that. There comes a time when you listen to somebody who is flexible to change because it can help you. And always being done first is not necessarily the best thing that’s out there. Sometimes being done first hurts you because you don’t consider something new that comes along could help you.

Peter: [00:39:11] That’s very well said. I wholeheartedly agree. And before I forget to ask. How can people… if somebody in my audience wants to contact you, What’s the best way that they should contact you?

David: [00:39:23] I’m ever on the N.S.A. Ohio Web site. My email is pretty easy it’s DocBrobeck at gmail dot com. And I’m always willing to talk to people about how this works and I love it. It’s what my research work is and I’ve been committed to helping whoever it is learn and retain more information for my whole life. This is my 43rd year of teaching and I’ve been speaking professionally for 12 years. It all ties together. I see myself as a teacher who speaks.

Peter: [00:40:01] I used you as an example yesterday about your evaluations and how being a member of NSA and seeing these different things really have helped you in the classroom to a VIP member yesterday questioning would this help me at work and the stuff that they do.

David: [00:40:19] Well yeah there’s… I can’t remember the last name. His first name was Joel. He talked about success comes in cans and he had he was old school. He was showing how you use transparencies an overhead projector. Didn’t use PowerPoint. But he had a structure that he like how he laid out his events. I’ve used that use as a classroom teacher. I’ve used that and every presentation I’ve done, whether it’s an NSA type presentation or I’m speaking to an audience of college professors. I go right down through that thing exactly how he taught it. And when I got hired at Walsh they said that might have been the most structured demo lesson we’ve ever seen. Well it all came off NSA Ohio.

Peter: [00:41:03] Wow. How long ago was that do you remember?

David: [00:41:05] Well we were at the Crowne Plaza.

Peter: [00:41:07] Oh.

David: [00:41:07] In Columbus so it’s been a while.

Peter: [00:41:10] It’s been a while. I was trying to look up his name and see if we can find that information.

David: [00:41:20] He was he was older then because I turned 64 this year. And I just don’t remember – can’t remember his name. Shame on me. I think it’s because I’m getting old.

Peter: [00:41:33] You don’t look 64 my friend. I hope to look as good as you do when I’m 64. I say I tell people I’m the body of an 80 year old in the mind of a 35 year old. So that gives you some idea.

David: [00:41:46] Joe Weldon is his name. I just looked it up. The keynote speaker has his line is success comes in cans.

Peter: [00:41:56] OK cool. I’m glad you did that. Thank you so very much. David thank you again for taking time. I’m fascinated by our conversation which makes me want to continue to learn more and more about how the brain interacts, and ways that we can engage that classroom. I think in today’s day and age, it’s a must that we begin moving in this direction. And I can’t thank you enough my friend.

David: [00:42:21] You’re welcome Peter.

Peter: [00:42:26] I would like to thank David again for spending time on this episode talking about the brain and how we can make learning fun and engaging. Before I close, I would like to take a moment to talk about the first five episodes of this podcast are now qualified for CPE self-study credit in the NASBA category of personal development. Those interviews are with Clarke Price, former CEO of the Ohio society of CPAs. Mike Sciortino, author of Gratitude Marketing. Tom Hood… Well you’ve been introduced to him and you will be introduced to him again. Ed Mendlowitz, who’s a partner at Withum, Smith, and Brown. And Karl Ahlrichs, who’s H.R. professional at Gregory and Appel. These episodes are located on the MACPA-BLI self-study Web site and they are mobile friendly. Create an account and purchase an episode. You can listen to them on your daily commute or while working out, or even at your desk! When you’re finished, take the review and final exam on your mobile device or your computer. It’s that easy. While all Improv is no Joke podcasts are available on my web site, only those purchased to the MACPA-BLI self-study Website are eligible for CPE self-study credit. This is not nano-learning – this is self-study learning. You can get detailed instructions by visiting my website at and clicking on the graphic: Listen, Learn, and Earn improvs is no joke podcasts on my home page. I hope you enjoy this exciting and flexible new way of receiving CPE credit. And please take a moment to ssubscribe to my podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play so you won’t miss an upcoming episode. Also if you’ve been enjoying this podcast, I would greatly appreciate it if you take a few moments and leave a review on iTunes. Thank you very much for taking the time to do that. Now November is National Diabetes Month and I’ll be donating 20 percent of all paperback and audiobook sales from my web site to the juvenile diabetes research foundation. Each Improv is no Joke: Using Improvisation to Create Positive Results in Leadership and Life that is purchased from my website is personally signed. The book retails for $14.99 and the shipping is free. To order go to and click the available now icon. In addition, you can download improvs no joke audio book for 14.99 so you can listen on the go. And remember 20 percent of all sales in the month of November will be donated to juvenile diabetes research foundation. Now I’m in the process of writing my next book with the working tieless financial storytelling and I’m previewing content on my social media. So connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram. In episode 77, My guest is Colin Blalock, who’s a shareholder with the accounting firm of Jones and Cobb in Atlanta, Georgia. Now our conversation centers around why the audience focuses on your body language, then your words that you are saying, to see if they are concurrent. So remember to use the principles of improvisation to better connect with your colleagues, your peers, and your family.




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