Jul 19

Dear Blog Readers,

I would like to respond to a comment from Theron regarding this post addressing the notion that only 7% of communication is verbal. In my post, I offered a thorough, research-based explanation of those communicative acts that compose the remaining 93% of communication (yawning, bodily noises, dancing & singing, and thumb wrestling).

Theron writes, “What about kissing? Don’t we also communicate through touch? I think your percentages are flawed.”

Ignoring the fact that the information contained in my blogs is never flawed and always fact-checked through a variety of rock solid methods (only one of which includes asking myself if I think I’m right, and it always turns out that I do), Theron has, coincidentally, stumbled upon an insignificant point here.

It’s hardly even worth mentioning.

But the frequently quoted “Only 7% of the message is communicated verbally” is, it turns out, a misquote. In fact, this myth is based on the research of Albert Mehrabian, who was investigating only the communication of attitudes, and he himself observes that obviously in the communication of specific messages, such as physical relationships or technical information, 100% of the message is verbal.

That is to say, allegedly, if I am giving you directions over the phone to my apartment for my fabulous party tonight (which I’m not, because you’re not invited), I will not successfully communicate my location through the exclusive use of facial expressions nor via a delicately-placed bodily noise. Supposedly, verbalizing the directions will be the most effective means of conveying my apartment’s position in space.

So, Theron, while I acknowledge your comment, I have to point to the above evidence that has mounted against your kissing claim. I absolutely cannot explain technical information nor give specific directions while kissing you. In fact, I daresay that kissing you would make verbal explanations even harder, as kissing tends to utilize the mouth, which is the very member allotted for speaking. Therefore, Theron, while I hate to prove you wrong in front of all of my Readers, you can kiss me or you can speak to me but you cannot do both simultaneously without running the risk of choking.

Moreover, I must point out that there is really no need to communicate through kissing when we use the act of thumb-wrestling, as described in this post, which satisfies our human need for touch through more sanitary means. Thumb-wrestling also carries a low level risk of choking as opposed to the simultaneous speaking-kissing effort described above. As I believe passionately in practicing “safe communication,” I may be recommending to my Readers in the future that abstaining from more traditional communicative acts in favor of frequent thumb-wrestling should be implemented worldwide.

I hope that this additional information has enhanced my Readers’ understanding of communication, kissing, and the risks involved in each. For more information, please order my elaborately-entitled book, “Communication: Should It Be Permanently Discontinued And Should Thumb-Wrestling Take Its Place, Or Is There A Way To Safely Reconcile The Two?”

–Troi out

Jul 10

Dear Readers,

Have you ever tried on a pair of jeans in the store that looked just so good that it was worth all tlhe money in your checkbook, as well as your credit card, your other credit card, your laundry machine quarters, your snack machine PMS emergency quarters, and the pennies under the mattress that you were saving to put toward your next 1/8 gallon of gas; but upon arriving at home you find that the jeans don’t look quite so good in your mirror? Thus sending you spinning into a panic about how you could have possibly gained 10 pounds in the short car ride home from the mall??

Me neither. But it happened to my friend.

She told me the other day that upon a recent trip to the Gap there was something stretchy going on. And I’m not talking about the type of jeans. I’m talking about the distorted, funhouse-esque mirror image reflected back at her, an image that was stretched to nudge unsuspecting consumers into admiring their taller, thinner reflections, thereby increasing their likelihood of buying the product!

I know, I maintain a sentiment of shocked disbelief as well. After all, I imagine the companies marketing their brand are too virtuous to resort to such cunning deception.

So I decided to investigate my friend’s preposterous claim by doing some investigation, Troi-style.*

*Investigation that is Troi-style is like sushi that is rotary-style. Quick and affordable but not as good.

I hopped on the internet, typed “mirrors at Gap store distort body” into Google, and I took the first result that pertained to my topic as undeniable fact. This result was this blog site in which the author contends, “…There is more trickery, department stores have a little something called the “skinny mirror”, and it distorts your image in the mirror to give the allusion of flawlessness.”

In keeping with my topic, I will attempt to resist the temptation to make an allusion to the fact that the writer spelled “illusion” wrong.

The SKINNY mirror!! I KNEW it!! Evil upon evil!! But why??! Why would they DO this to us???!

The answer is simple: There is a little thing called the “thigh-space continuum.” Perhaps you’ve heard of it. And as we get older, the thigh-space continuum begins to shift. Let me simplify this complex concept for the less scientifically-inclined readers in the audience. When we are younger, our thighs take up less space. As we get older, they slowly begin to take up more space. This is due to the shifting thigh-space continuum.

When the shift nears completion, rendering the average adult woman’s thighs so large that they no longer fit into the tiny space allowed by the brand name jeans designed for small children and actresses being spoon-fed carb-free shakes by their nutritionista-of-the-hour, these adult women stop buying brand name jeans. Instead they begin to favor the Geriatric Jeans. These are the formless, shapeless jeans that are the equivalent of a burlap sack made out of denim.

But department stores don’t WANT this! To make the most profit, they need women on both sides of the thigh-space continuum to buy their brand-name jeans! Therefore, they must buy these “skinny mirrors” about which the abovementioned blogger writes, so that no matter where we exist on the thigh-space continuum, we look POSITIVELY FABULOUS in the dressing room. Who cares how we look once we’ve returned home, as long as we’ve taken off the tag??

Thank you to my anonymous friend (I mean, she’s not anonymous to me. I know who she is. But you don’t.) for alerting us all to this serious problem afflicting department stores. It is truly the mirror image of exactly what’s plaguing this consumer-driven society and its members caught in the shifting thigh-space continuum.

–Troi out

Jul 3

Dear Reader,

You may have recently heard that words only comprise 7% of communication. You must be worrying about what we do to communicate the other 93% of what we want to say. As a speech-language pathologist, or as I call myself, “Communication Expert,” I am delighted to have the opportunity to enlighten you regarding the percentages of each modality of communication that we use in a given conversation.

41% yawning.
Yawning may indicate fatigue. The average American gets less than seven hours of sleep per night, yet research indicates an ideal amount is closer to eight hours. Bats sleep twelve hours a night, and they have some of the sunniest personalities of anyone I’ve ever met. Christian Bale is very amicable. To sleep more like a bat, try hanging yourself upside down from a heavy overhead fan. Make sure that the fan is off first.

Yawning also sometimes communicates boredom. A well-placed deliberate yawn communicates the same message that the words “You are the most boring professor in the history of academic excellence and I want my money back for this class immediately” would also communicate, if one were not concerned about the consequences.

28% bodily noises.
These often communicate that one has eaten too much. For a comprehensive list of bodily noises and their specific communicative functions, please contact The Ex.

21% dancing and singing.
This type of communication works best if you’re in a musical, or in any movie that was produced before the 1960s. It can communicate happiness, pleasure, disappointment, sadness, fear, or psychosis.

7% words.
When we string these words together in a coherent manner, this is referred to as “talking.” Sometimes “talking” is important, such as when you need to communicate something urgent, such as “Don’t hang upside down from that ceiling fan yet, it’s still ON!!”

3% thumb-wrestling. (Can sometimes be interchanged with arm-wrestling.)
Nothing says “I’m tough!” quite like thumb-wrestling. A thumb-wrestler knows what he or she wants out of life and isn’t afraid to go for it with only one digit. Having been born with misshapen thumbs that resemble ping-pong paddles, I can personally attest to the silent but strong “I’m tough!” message that I’m sending each and every time I challenge an opponent to thumb-wrestling.

And there, Readers, are the most prominent forms of communication that you will witness, conveniently adding up to 100% of all communicative acts. I hope that this resolves some of your questions. If any questions remain, please ask me, and I will answer your questions through the highly useful communicative acts of yawning, dancing, and thumb-wrestling. I”m sure you’ll get my drift loud and clear.

–Troi out