Buzzword Bingo: When Words Get in the Way

Cut the crap. Stop using buzzwords. Say what you mean, not what feels fancy. Distract with your words, and they won’t hear your message.

Leaders use buzzwords to …

  • mask insecurity
  • sound like leaders because they worry that they aren’t)
  • enhance credibility
  • as a substitute for substance
  • fill space
  • distract
  • feed their buzzword habit

I’m working to “peel back the onion” in this “value-added” post on my “world-class” blog by taking a “60,000 foot” look at buzzwords. Yuck.

Buzzwords Backfire

Buzzwords backfire. Real leaders don’t sound like everyone else.

True story

The meeting was only a few hours in and someone texted “bingo.” A wave of silent smirks circled the conference room. Texts of laughter. The team was playing Buzzword Bingo (see link, I hadn’t heard of it either)  at the expense of a leader. It’s a terrible game. Don’t play it. But it’s a sign.

Be yourself. Speak from your heart. Tell your truth. Find your own best words.

2 Ways to Crack the Buzzword Habit

Don’t tempt your team to create their own game. Create meaning not schmaltz.

1. Be Clear

  • Identify key messages
  • Pause before spewing
  • Find unique alternative phrases

2. Be aware

  • Make your own card, and play against yourself
  • Record and listen
  • Ask a friend
  • Be yourself