Read people with facial coding. You can use it on Zoom.

About this episode:

facial coding read people“Even a person born blind emotes the same way as you or I. [It is hard-wired into the brain] and the face is the only place on the body where the muscles attach right to the skin.”

– Dan Hill, Ph.D.

It is hard enough to be face-to-face with another person, to read their facial expressions and determine what they are truly thinking and feeling.

And, you have likely discovered how much harder that process becomes when we are on Zoom.

read people with facial coding

What do these facial expressions really mean? CLICK THE ABOVE IMAGE for Dr. Hill’s decoded answers.

Our guest this week, Dan Hill, Ph.D., is here to help us relate. He is a world-recognized expert on facial coding and the author of several books including Famous Faces Decoded.

Dr. Hill explains how we can use facial coding to better understand what others are thinking, especially to read people on Zoom, and to use that insight to make our engagements with them more meaningful. What is more, he cites examples of “famous faces” he decoded, such as disgraced financier Bernie Madoff and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, to understand what [they] were truly communicating through their facial expressions.

We also discuss how he decided to make this study of people the meaningful work of his career.

In this episode, Dr. Hill:

  • Defines facial coding. Starts at 3:20
  • Explains the non-verbal hinderances of the Zoom setting. Starts at 9:57
  • Offers the benefits of leveraging facial coding. Starts at 13:43

About our guest:

read people with facial coding

Dan Hill, Ph.D. is founder and president of the consultancy Sensory Logic, Inc. He received a Masters in Creative Writing from Brown University and a Ph.D. in English from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Further, Dr. Hill earned Facial Action Coding Systems Certification from the Paul Ekman Group. He lives and works in St. Paul, Minnesota.

EPISODE DATE: May 8, 2020

Social media:


Faces of the Week Blog

Famous Faces Decoded (Book Page)

LinkedIn Profile

Image credits: Facial expression composite, 2014, D.A. Smolen; Zoom session, Fillipo Bacci for iStock Photo; portrait, Dan Hill, Ph.D.