Here are the basics, Buzzword bingo (also known as bull£!@t bingo) is a bingo-style game where participants prepare bingo cards with buzzwords and tick them off when they are spoken during an event, such as a meeting or speech. Perhaps it was Mark Twain who coined the first buzzterm, when he described the process of doing the most difficult task of the day first by telling people to ‘Eat the frog’.
The goal of the game is to tick off a predicted number of words in a row and then yell “Bingo!” (or “Bull£?@t!”).
The game is generally played in situations where audience members feel that the speaker, in an effort to mask a lack of actual knowledge, is relying too heavily on buzzwords rather than providing relevant details. Business meetings led by guest speakers or notable company personalities from higher up the pay scale are often viewed as a good opportunity for buzzword bingo, as the language used by these speakers often includes predictable references to arcane business concepts, which are perfect for use in the creation of buzzword bingo cards.
An important part of the game is having enough courage to actually yell “Bingo!”. In order to avoid the reprimands that would likely result from doing so, participants may resort to looking at one another and silently mouthing the word “Bingo”.
An alternate variation requires the person who has achieved bingo to raise his or her hand and use the word “Bingo” within the context of a comment or question.
The game now known as Buzzword (Bull****) Bingo was invented in 1963/64 by Peter Calver when he was a pupil at Brentwood School, in England; it was inspired by the catchphrases and mannerisms of a schoolmaster who taught Ancient Greek, and played by Calver and fellow pupils during lessons (at the time it was known as “Cluer Bingo” after the schoolmaster).
The concept was popularized by a Dilbert comic strip in 1994, in which the characters play during an office meeting.
One documented example occurred when Al Gore, then the Vice President of the United States, known for his liberal use of buzzwords hyping technology, spoke at MIT’s 1996 graduation. Hackers had distributed bingo cards containing buzzwords to the graduating class…naughty naughty!
Here is an example of a small Buzzword Bingo card:
|User-Centric||Synergise||Blue Sky Thinking||Incentivise|
|Run with the ball||Let me run this past you||Helicopter View||Going Forward|
|We want to work clever||Broaden the skills matrix||Key performanceIndicators||Deep Dive|
|Granular||Mind Shower||Joined Up Thinking||Staff Retention|
So now you know the rules, are you brave enough to play?
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Some buzzwords to play with…
Content Social Media Sustainability Transparency Literally Guru Utilise Robust Ping Big Data Seamless Moving Forward The Cloud Offline
Any noun used as a verb, eg: ‘To Ballpark’
Bandwidth New Paradigm Synergy
Low Hanging Fruit At-the-end-of-the-day Win-win Game changer Push the envelope Net-Net Proactive Rock star 30,000 feet level
Out-of-the-box-Experience Resonate Deliverable
Double Down Bleeding Edge Herding Cats Flounder Synchronise the exertion scale 110%
If any readers have heard of any new ones, or ones that they really cannot stand, send them to us at The Bulletin. We’d love to loathe them with you.