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Alpha Talk, 2017

By Chuck Violand

February 27, 2017

With political climates in the U.S. and around the globe moving toward “straight talk,” or saying what’s on your mind, I thought now would be a good time to pen another edition of Alpha Talk—my ongoing effort to remove confusing terms from the English language. I recently discovered the examples below on a trip to the west coast.

Circumferential Reduction. The ad in the flight magazine told me I needed this, and there’s even a treatment for it. I’m a slow learner when it comes to these types of things, so obviously, I had to look it up. It’s the same thing my internist has been telling me for years, but in a slightly different way. Why not just tell me that I need to drop a few pounds? Offering suggestions on how I might do that, without having to be treated, would be helpful as well.

Going to the next level. I don’t understand where this level is that people never seem to reach, but always seem to be moving toward. I’ve looked high and low, but still can’t seem to find it. If so many are in search of the next level, I wonder how it continues to be so elusive. Better still, how do people know when they’ve finally arrived there?

Some years ago, I considered solving this problem by changing the name of Violand Management Associates to The Next Level. I figured if so many people were searching for it, I might as well give them a place to buy it. Why hide that fact, right?

Nomophobia (no-mobile-phone-phobia). I promise you, I’m not making this up. According to a survey conducted in the U.S. and U.K and published in Scientific American MIND magazine by Dr. Carol W. Berman, about 70 percent of young adults feel so attached to their mobile phones that they admit to feeling anxiety or even panic when they are separated from them. Apparently, they view their device as an extension of themselves.

Unlike Dr. Berman, my personal research into this subject occurs mostly while driving my car or walking through airports. My observations amply confirm that the subjects in my study group are not at risk of suffering the debilitating effects of nomophobia. They may, however, fall victim to auto accidents or tripping when exiting the moving walkway.

In true entrepreneurial spirit, some businesses have capitalized on this condition by creating vacation ventures designed to take customers to remote locations out of cell phone range. Brilliant! This is clearly designed for those who enjoy living on the edge.

HiPPO. I always thought hippos were animals found in Africa. Little did I know it was a business term meaning Highest Paid Person’s Opinion. I don’t know about you, but I can think of some very highly paid individuals whose opinions aren’t worth the minimum wage. Whether through inheritance, birth, or just dumb luck they’ve ended up in highly visible positions, earning enviable salaries. Some notable examples would include professional athletes, movie stars, and politicians. This doesn’t automatically make them any smarter than the rest of us; just more visible and sometimes opinionated.

Rather than all this beating around the bush, we’d save a great deal of time if we engaged in Alpha Talk and simply said what we mean. I suggest we all try doing so.