about us

Our Story, Mission, Approach, Principles, and Quirks

This is a rather comprehensive About page. We suggest you watch the video below first and then scan through the rest of the page to really understand what we are doing and why.

  • The Quick Summary

    The Nonverbal Group is a behavioral research and education company founded in New York City in 2009. We conduct large scale studies on human behavior and are using a wide range of technologies to systematically deconstruct and improve human communication.
    Our work revolves around cultivating three interrelated, but fundamental, skill sets for individuals and organizations.

  • Skillset #1 – The ability to read and interpret the nonverbal behaviors of others.

    Every moment, people are communicating volumes of information through behavior. They are displaying their intentions, emotions, and desires and the average person completely misses it. This is NOT looking for someone to cross their arms or noticing when someone breaks eye contact. This is about establishing reliable frameworks for interpreting behavior and expanding one's capacity for deduction in real-time. It is about seeing the world in high-definition and experiencing all the life-changing benefits that come from being more aware of human emotion and intention.

  • Skillset #2 – The ability to increase the awareness, control, and effectiveness of your own behavior.

    Right now, as you read these words, do you have a good idea of how you are actually perceived? What conclusions do others make when they view your behavior? Most have no idea because it's something we rarely get unbiased feedback on. Using video cameras and various research methods, we increase an individual’s awareness and control of their behavior to function in alignment with how they wish to be perceived.

  • Skillset #3 – The ability to uncover the mechanisms driving human behavior and perception.

    This is the engine for all behavioral change. In order to change our behavior, we need the tools to dive deep into our own psychology and confront everything that is preventing us from being the most powerful version of ourselves. In order for a team to operate more cohesively, you need to see the hidden social dynamics governing its architecture. We help individuals and teams discover what drives transformation and behavioral change.

Our Experience
  • We conducted the largest behavioral study ever performed on poker players. An extensive 7-year process involving the recording, tagging, and analysis of thousands of hours of video. We manually coded and analyzed over 550,000 individual blinks, 25,000 hand gestures, and more, during Project BEYONDS TELLS, which you can learn more about it here.

  • We have run hundreds of workshops on diverse topics including Behavioral Awareness, Dynamic Presentations, and Leadership) in our NYC offices and around the world.. Participants ranged from Fortune 500 employees  to Army and Navy military members, FBI Counterterrorism agents (and everything in between).

  • We developed dozens of behavioral frameworks for reading, modifying, and controlling nonverbal behavior in forming foundational training models to enhance interpretation and refinement thereof by hours of video exposure.

  • We have worked with CEO's, entrepreneurs, and executives in crafting a customized style of behavioral leadership. There is no one perfect style of communication, and we have found the most effective communication training revolves around developing awareness and an increased  sensitivity for ranging communication styles. To this effect, we have developed a data driven system of recording, deconstructing, and reconstructing behavioral traits to shine a light on blindspots and encourage radical changes over time.

  • We pioneered methods for utilizing machine learning and natural language processing to more effectively record, code, and analyze human behavior, and we are currently building the largest archive of coded human behavior.

  • Finally, we are big believers in leveraging innovative technological advancements to streamline our process.

Our Founder

My name is Blake Eastman and I am the founder of The Nonverbal Group.  My entire life has been dedicated to Psychology and Nonverbal Behavior and I have started several companies fueld by my passion to better understand human behavior.  Here are some highlights.

  • I was an adjunct psychology professor at the City University of New York for 6 years where I taught General Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and Group Dynamics. My academic roots are in forensic psychology with an emphasis on psychological testing.

  • I played poker professionally, and am the founder of School of Cards, the first brick-and-mortar poker school in New York City. The range of my experience as a poker educator is quite wide - from teaching players the difference between a straight and flush, to constructing higher level strategies in combating some of the toughest games, and players, in the world.

  • I spent 3 years traveling the world and actively explored the cross-cultural differences in behavior and communication between them.

  • I am constantly trying to expand my perspective and am always on a specific path for education and personal development. For example, currently it is physics.

Our Origin Story

In 2007, I was doing a corporate engagement when I was asked the question, “Why did you start this company?” I gave the standard answer, and immediately after someone in the audience said, “Why did you REALLY start this company?” It was an incredible question, and one which had me really pause and think. Here is the answer:

Ever since I was around 10 years old, I could remember going through a process I now call "spidering". For example, if my mom didn't answer her phone. I would build a web of thoughts’ about all the reasons why she didn't answer the phone. These thoughts were often catastrophic and not grounded in reality. She was stabbed, shot, an asteroid hit her, etc. These moments would cause extreme anxiety for me that would only go away once I knew she was safe. However, until I found the reason why, my mind would be in a constant state of movement sourcing all of the reasons why she wouldn't pick up the phone. [To all of you reading this right now laughing because you do the same thing. Welcome to the Spider Society : ) ]

“I was good at hiding it, but I spent most of my youth in this persistent state of external analysis. Paying attention to people relaxed me. It made me feel safe and in control.”

-Blake Eastman

When I started Junior High School, this same exact process somehow got applied to social interactions. I would think about the endless ways a social interaction could go bad, leading to a great deal of social anxiety. The only way to calm myself down was to watch people and interact with them. If I thought someone was mad at me, I had to know why. How did I get that answer? Interactions and careful observation. I also had this belief for most of my life that people were going to randomly attack me. I don't know where it came from but no matter where I was, I thought someone would hit or mug me, etc. I calmed that down by paying careful attention to my surroundings. Between the ages of about 12-25, I was hyper-focused on my situational and interpersonal awareness. Looking at me you would have absolutely no idea anything was wrong. I was good at hiding it, but I spent most of my youth in this persistent state of external analysis. Paying attention to people relaxed me. It made me feel safe and in control. If you watch people all of the time, you are going to get pretty damn good at reading people.

The problem is “people watching” is a flawed game. Although my confidence in my abilities was high, I couldn't know if my "reads" were correct. So, I came up with ways of finding out. If I saw someone looking at me with a slightly menacing and angry disposition, I would walk up to them and try to figure out if that was just their face, or if they were genuinely angry at me. In a graduate class on experimental psychology, I started to realize that there was a much more efficient way of doing this. Record people and ask them; and while it took several years, that is exactly what I ended up doing.

I was teaching Psychology at the City University of New York, but playing poker professionally for pretty much my entire income. In 2009, I took some of that money and set up my first "study" on Super Bowl Weekend. While most of America was watching football, I was  conducting my first behavioral study known as THE BLIND DATE. I rented out a restaurant in NYC, and hosted a series of 10 blind dates recording the participants from multiple angles. I then spent the next several months breaking down the footage. It was in those months analyzing the video that was conceived.

With video and a systematic process for interpreting behavior, everything became so clear. You could see the exact moment where a participant was offended, attracted, bored, challenged, intrigued; and you could predict the success of the date based on an individual’s ability to read and actively respond to their date’s subtle or overt behavioral signals.

Three years later in 2012, I opened our first office in the West Side of New York City. Since then, I have led classes for thousands of people, worked with some of the largest corporations in the world, coached some truly amazing people, and have done a lot of very weird and cool projects including conducting the largest behavioral study on poker players.
Note: This a general summary. In a lot of my content I will tell more aspects of this story.

Our Objectives

  • To create the tools required to accelerate awareness


    Every second, people convey massive amounts of valuable information through behavior. The average person doesn't have the tools to tap into this stream of awareness. We are building the next generation of social tools enabling people to do that.

  • To serve as a platform for what is possible

    People are capable of making dramatic shifts in how they communicate and live their lives. We aim to be a platform for documenting that transformation..

  • To enrich human understanding and cognitive empathy

    Every individual has a unique story. There are reasons why people are sometimes perceived as assholes. If you can learn to separate the experience from the person, you can develop greater empathy and connection

  • To provide data driven paths for self development and growth

    Technology drives efficiency. With large behavioral data sets, thousands of students, and an empirical approach, we know what paths work and why.

  • To satisfy an intense personal obsession.

    We find human behavior to be one of the most fascinating puzzles imaginable. The Nonverbal Group is taking the practice of "people watching" and putting it on steroids.

  • To create as many "Aha!" moments for our audience as possible

    Ever read a book, watched a video, or taken a course that completely shifts how you view the world? We want to create the type of content that is a catalyst for paradigm shifts.

  • To change the world. One person at a time

    When you become more aware of your own behavior, and those of others, you become a catalyst for change. Our aim is to create a world with more confident, aware, and compassionate people.