Buzzword Bingo: The PR Game You Should Avoid

I recently read aloud to Margie an email that had just hit my inbox, hoping she’d help me decipher some meaning in it. Instead, she laughed and declared the sender the resounding winner of “Buzzword Bingo.” What? How was it possible I had lived so long without encountering this magical term that so aptly describes a habitual, dizzying dialogue BuzzwordBingo2of empty catch phrases?

In case it’s unclear, let me assure you that Buzzword Bingo is one game you want to lose.

In a former job, I spent good chunks of my day removing the word “innovative” from copy that crossed my desk. If it’s innovative, do we really need to tell people it is? Won’t they just know? The truth: if we have to talk about how cool something is all the time, maybe it really isn’t.

It’s easy to fall into the buzzword trap. Trust me, I’ve been there. We can hear phrases so often that they slyly slip their way into our vernacular and then our writing. But it pays to objectively read your copy and make sure the adjectives actually mean something. The Who/What/When/Where/Why and How approach has been around forever because it works.

Please, if you must peel back the onion, shift your paradigm or align your synergies, do so privately. And acronym droppers, I’ve got my eye on you, too.

Related link: For a British humor take on business lingo overload, check out the Gobbledygook Generator over at the Plain English Campaign.

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