Scott Rouse is a behavior analyst and body language expert with a focus on healthcare. He holds multiple certificates in advanced interrogation training and has been trained alongside the FBI, Secret Service, U.S. Military Intelligence, and Dept. of defense. Scott speaks to and trains healthcare professionals, showing them what these problems are and most importantly how to fix them.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
When I was little we lived in a tiny town called Louisa Kentucky. For a while, my Dad was the only Doctor in the whole town. And once or twice a week my Mom would come to school, which we lived right next door to, and bring my little brother, and pick up me and my sister. Then we’d walk just a few blocks down to this old hospital so we could have lunch with my Dad.
One day we were having lunch with him in his office which was just a large closet-sized room. The waiting room was visible from his office and you could see all of the waiting patients from there. We were eating and talking and I looked out into the waiting room and I saw two boys from my first-grade class. Billy Elkins and Robert Bellamy. And I asked my Dad why they were there. He said, “Well, hang on just a second, let’s take a look at them.”
He looked at Billy and Robert for a couple of minutes and he said “Robert has an earache, and his mother has been up with him all night.” And I said, “How do you know that?” My Dad said “Look at Robert. See how he’s got his hand on his ear and his face is all frowny looking?” And I said “Yeah…” My Dad said, “That tells me his ear hurts.” If you were 8 years old or older, that would more than a bit obvious. But at 6 years old, it was hidden in plain sight. Then he said “Look at Robert’s mother. See how her hair is a little messed up and she doesn’t have any makeup on like she usually does? And see how she’s yawning?” And I said “Yeah…” “That’s how we know she’s been up all night with him.” I couldn’t believe it. I thought my Dad was magic.
After that, I said, “What about Billy?” My Dad said “Billy’s not sick. He’s fine.” And he said it with a confidence I wasn’t familiar with. So of course I asked him how he knew. “You see how he’s looking at that comic book? Dangling his legs off the bench? His eyebrows are waaaay up. In just a minute, his mother is going to say something to him and his face is gonna change. Those eyebrows will turn into a frownie-face. And he’ll look sideways up at her and he’ll say something, and her face will turn into a frownie-face, then she’ll put her arm around him and pat on him. Then his eyebrows will go back up and his legs will start dangling again.”
Not 2 minutes late everything my Father had prophesied came true! I almost fell out of my chair. I could not believe it. At that point, I knew in my heart that my Dad knew something about people that not everybody knew. And I wanted to know what it was and how it worked and I told him I wanted to know how to do that too. So, he started teaching me that secret right then and there.
He explained why Robert had his hand on his ear and looked sad. He explained why Billy’s Mom had on makeup and her hair looked good and why Robert’s Mom looked tired and sleepy. He explained that Billy was dangling his legs and he was bored because he didn’t have anything on his mind, like the pain of an earache or stomachache. He also explained why Billy had to “change his face” so his mother would believe he wasn’t feeling well. That’s where my fascination with human behavior began, and it hasn’t stopped since. Not even a little bit.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
That nobody, other than your Mother and Father or husband or wife, could possibly care less about what you’re doing RIGHT NOW. Nobody. Nobody, outside of those people, gets up in the morning wondering what YOU are doing. They wonder and worry about themselves and their families. Not you. There’s a lot of power in truly understanding that.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
I did an entire TedX Talk on that specific subject. I’m in the body language and human behavior business. The one thing that irks me beyond reproach, is someone who claims to be a “Body Language Expert” and can’t tell you where their information came from. Or what studies they’ve read. Or what studies they’ve done or been a part of. Those people Google information and then go out and teach and train people with all the vigor and verve of a Professor at Yale, MIT, or Harvard. And the information they’re using is outdated, invalid, and or incomplete.
In my line of work, I train people who could get killed if I give them bad information. So I have no room whatsoever for those who claim to have valid information, and they’re just parroting what they’ve heard and not researched it to find out if it’s valid or not.
For example, when someone opens their training with “The 7-38-55 Rule of Communication”. They will tell you that Albert Mehrabian did a study that proves communication is 7% the words you use, 38% the tone of voice you use, and 55% of communication is body language. I heard about that in the ’80s and I called Professor Mehrabian when he was a professor at UCLA. I asked him about that study because it sounded odd to me. He told me, himself, that it was wrong. Somebody had taken the results of two of his studies and somehow put them together and began telling everyone he had come up with this nonsense.
So when someone pulls that out and starts leaning into how important body language is, it’s all I can do to stay calm. It’s nonsense because we have to speak a different language in a country that doesn’t speak our language. Theoretically, if the 7-38-55 Rule were valid, you’d just have to grunt and play a very short game of charades to order lunch at a restaurant or explain what the problem is with your car to a mechanic in a foreign country. I’ll stop there. I can feel my face getting hot.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
One of the darker times in my life was when I found out I had thyroid cancer and had to go through the healthcare system where I was treated the same way sheep or cattle get treated. To make a long story short, I came out on the other side of that with enough experience and information that enabled me to create training for Doctors and Hospitals that is changing the way our healthcare system treats patients. It’s called “The Patient Engagement Loop”. And it employs some of the training I use with Law Enforcement and the Military, as well as some of the same training I use with entrepreneurs, attorneys, and celebrities. It’s my main focus now.
When people go to the doctor, they don’t feel good. They’re scared. They’re wondering if they have cancer, if their cancer is back, do they have diabetes, are they gonna take my foot off, am I gonna go blind, will my child live, is my wife dying, and thousands of other things are running through their minds. When they get treated like cattle? They have no problem whatsoever suing their doctor and their doctor’s friends back into the stone age. And there are some really simple, extremely easy protocols that can be put in place, from the human behavior aspect, that can nip all of that in the bud. Figuratively as well as literally.
I wouldn’t trade that experience, as horrible and scary as it was, for anything. Because now, I’m helping doctors and hospitals, make thousands of people just like me, in the same position I was in, feel like they’re cared about, listened to, seen, and worried about. And from a monetary standpoint for the Doctors and hospitals, The Patient Engagement Loop makes the number of malpractice cases plummet. It’s a win-win for everybody involved. Except for malpractice lawyers. They hate me.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
Having a loving family. From my wife to my parents and my brother and sister. That’s where I get confidence, and a feeling of importance, and it’s where I “cash my chips” when I have success doing something.
What is your morning routine?
I get up at 5:45 AM. I ask Alexa to start the coffee. My wife and I make sure we spend the first hour of the day together drinking coffee and talking and goofing around with our dog, Hattie, and watching the local news. Then I’ll take a shower, go downstairs to my office, check the calendar and email, prep for whatever is there.
Depending on what day it is my business partner Greg Hartley and I get on the phone at 8 AM to make sure there’s nothing we need to add to or change in our online course, BodyLanguageTactics.com. After that, we’ll answer questions in, and tend to, our membership site, BodyLanguageMembership.com.
After that, I make sure I’m not missing anything new in the neurological or human behavior world. That’s phone calls and emails to doctors, other experts in my field, and/or universities doing research (most of them hate me because I call every day).
Then I check our video stats at The Behavior Panel on YouTube, read any new research paper or documents I’ve run across, and then read at least three chapters of whatever book on human behavior it is I’m reading.
If I’m doing training or have a speaking gig or a court date that day, I’ll still get up at 5:45 with my wife and then head to where ever it is I’m going; airport, police department, military base, courthouse, hospital, etc.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
Meditation. It changed the game for me. I’ve done the Anglican Meditative style for years. I use the Headspace app as well.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
I have three of those small legal pads. I believe the size is 5”x8”. I get them from Amazon. One has “Today” written across the top on a piece of orange tape. On that one, I have written everything I’m gonna do that day. I make sure I do at least 5 of those things. That means I’ve had a productive day. These “things” are outside of what I have on my calendar for that day; phone calls, zoom calls, etc.
The second one has “Notes” written across the top on yellow tape. If I need to take notes during a phone or Zoom call I use that pad. If I get an idea about something for training, I use that pad. If I think of something that needs to be done that week or month, I put it on that pad.
The third pad has blue tape across the top and it says “This week”. I make sure the end of the day, I put all of the relevant “things” from my Notes pad that needs to be done that week on there. If there’s something on “This Week” that must be done this week for sure, it goes on the “Today” pad. At the end of each day, anything that hasn’t got a line through it on “Today”, goes straight on to the next day’s list on the “Today” pad.
So when I go to my office every day, I know what needs to be done that day, and what needs to be done before the week is over.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
Outside of the Bible, the one I’ve found myself returning to over and over, and it’s probably my favorite book of all time, is called The True Believer by Eric Hoffer. It’s a social study of why some people are fanatics about everything from politics to music. My father gave me a copy of it when I was in the 8th grade. I kept it in my office for years, but I gave it to a soldier I trained last year. After I finished training one day, he kept asking questions about behavior and psychology that this book had all the answers to. I wanted him to get that same buzz I got from that book. And I wanted him to get it from the very same book I got it from. Anyway, Eric Hoffer worked on a loading dock and wrote books. That’s it. And his writing was so potent and sticky for me. Even as a kid in junior high I knew there was something special about what he was writing about. Yeah, I’m gonna say it’s my favorite book.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
There’s something my Mom always said, and still says, that stuck with me and I think about it every day. There was a guy in my class in high school that was really mean to me. I told my parents about it, and my Mother said “Be nice to everyone. You never know what they might be going through at home.” Of course, she was right. I found out years later that his parents left him alone for weeks at a time and he was raising his sister and brother all by himself. So I’m glad I was nice to him even though I didn’t want to be. And now, any time someone is rude or seems like a person who hates the world, I try my best to be nice. Because there’s no telling what they may be going through at home. You may be the only person that’s been nice to them that day, that week, or that month.