What is Buzzword Bingo?


We all know that bingo has been an incredibly popular game all over the world for quite a long time, but did you know that this game has even been brought to the corporate world?

Not only has it gone to the corporate world, but this new version of bingo is now being used as applications on iPads and iPhones. Why would this type of bingo become such a big deal? Well, Buzzword Bingo was created to have fun at corporate meetings. Not only have fun, but also in some way, it prevents presentations of corporate leaders from becoming dull and repetitive. Somehow, it has become a criticism of the corporate jargon, but it has also become a proactive tool to help communication become easier and more productive.

So what is Buzzword Bingo? Buzzword bingo is a game played during meetings with cards featuring buzzwords. A buzzword is a word or phrase used to impress or one that is fashionable (such as “incentivize,” “outside the box ,” “push the envelope,” and ” wave a dead chicken “). In this game, instead of using numbers like in regular bingo, you use the buzzwords. A buzzword bingo card typically features 25 squares, five down and five across, including a free “bingo” square somewhere on the card as a bonus. In Buzzword bingo there are a few rules. Participants mark words and phrases on the card as they are spoken during a meeting; the first person to mark five terms in a row is supposed to jump up and shout “Bingo!”

Now, in some cases, employees have to play this game hidden from their bosses. Even though there are companies that use this game to promote a more relaxed and efficient environment, there are more repressive workplaces where a player might have to notify other players that he or she has scored through some clandestine means, such as specific gesture or a text message. A player may not speak a buzzword term in order to mark it off. However, tempting one’s colleagues to elicit buzzwords from them is widely considered acceptable and even admirable behavior.

Buzzword Bingo was created in 1993 by Tom Davis, who is one of the founders of the company SGI. It is said that the idea occurred to Davis after he saw a number of jargon terms on a blackboard in a colleague’s office. David wrote a buzzword generator program and printed out cards full of phrases like “step up to it,” ” intellectual capital,” and ” paradigm shift.” He passed the cards out to employees with a note: “The ball’s in your court.”

And from there, the rest is history…