Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality

“Virtual” is a word that is over used, misunderstood and misused.

In the simplest definition virtual means “almost but not quite”. Another word for virtual might be imitation.

Hence virtual leather is not leather but might look like or feel like the real thing. A virtual disaster is not a disaster. A virtual success is not a success.

When the boss asks if you are ready to present your report and you answer “I’m virtually there.” The boss knows that you are really saying that you are not ready yet.

When you ask you kids how they did on their exams – they tell you that “I virtually aced them.” You know there are some problems.

When you ask your doctor, “How do my tests look?” The doctor responds with, “You are virtually in perfect health”. You know it’s time for a serious conversation.

When you ask your spouse, “Do you love me?” And the response is “I virtually love you.” You know it’s time for counseling or divorce court.

But some people seem to like the word virtual and are using it.

Virtual Teams
What does that mean? Teams that look like and smell like teams but are not really teams? Apparently “virtual teams” is the phrase used to describe teams who are geographically dispersed. Are they really teams or just sales people on the road that occasionally touch base with head office? Are they really teams or are they just wandering minstrels that some head office wants to call teams?

Virtual Assistants
Not really my assistant but virtually. This group of entrepreneurs is providing assistance to other entrepreneurs. So what makes these virtual assistants virtual? I think it is that they pretend to be your full time assistant. So does the word virtual in this case mean pretend, phony or part time?

Sounds like outsourcing to me. Why not skip the phony title of virtual and just call it outsourcing?

And then there is the oxymoron of virtual reality. That’s like saying cold hot, bumpy smooth or fat thin.

Those phrases make virtual sense.

George Torok
Canadian Business Speaker
Toronto Business Speaker


1 comment:

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