Part of the Business terms glossary:

Buzzword bingo is a game played during meetings with cards featuring buzzword s (such as "incentivize," " outside the box ," "push the envelope," and " wave a dead chicken ") in place of the numbers of traditional bingo cards. 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.

Buzzword bingo is a simple game with 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!" In more repressive environments, a participant may notify other players that they've scored through some surreptitious means, such as specific gesture or a text message. A player may not speak a buzzword term in order to mark it off. However, baiting one's colleagues to elicit buzzwords from them is widely considered acceptable -- and even laudable -- behavior.

Tom Davis, one of the founders of SGI , invented buzzword bingo in 1993. According to legend, 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."

Buzzword bingo is becoming increasingly popular wherever meetings are held around the world.

This was last updated in November 2006
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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