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From the Board

I confess. I’ve been through the five-step program, but it’s no help: I’m hooked on phonics, or more accurately, phonetics. As you can tell, an obsession with diction is the crux of my addiction. The other half of my “disease” is the controlling use of syntax. Recognition and acceptance of the problem is the first step, and I readily admit I love to manipulate words.

The fifth step is channeling the addiction into a productive purpose (that doesn’t necessarily mean a nymphomaniac should become a prostitute): I used to be a “pungent” (a guy who makes acrid puns), now I’m a business communicator. I make no apologies; I began this column by telling you I wasn’t cured. 

Maybe you don’t enjoy words at play, but surely a love of words at work was part of your motivation to enter this profession. The desire to capitalize on our communication skills is probably the common bond that brought us into the field and subsequently, IABC. If you attended the right college for the right reasons, you felt at home because your classmates had much in common with you. In a similar way, I feel a bond with other IABC members, because I know that you are “word people,” too. You’ve also dealt with many of the same challenges and problems as I have in my jobs. You also have pet peeves about abuses of grammar. 

Of the half-dozen associations with Portland-area chapters that serve professionals engaged in persuasive communication, IABC is the only one with members who primarily do similar work to what I’ve done and what I want to do. My dues are due this month. Having the comfortable fit I’ve described doesn’t alone justify the expenditure when I have to dip into my own finances. To make my dues pay, I’ve got to use my membership. In that sense, professional association membership is somewhat analogous to AAA, medical insurance, and service contracts: it’s extremely valuable when you need it, but taking advantage of the included services makes it profitable.

Board members, Tami Boardman and Paul Nickell, extolled the benefits of IABC membership in the past two issues of Ampersand. I know they’re right, because I read Communication World (often within months of publication), attend meetings, judge awards, network with other members, and apply for jobs listed on our web site. Much of the personal and professional growth I gain from being a member comes from my contributions to the chapter. We all benefit from the participation and volunteerism of every member. I have to, because IABC doesn’t offer a cure for phonetics addiction. So, if you’ll excuse me, I think the sixth step in the treatment program must be to stop writing. 


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