Buzzword Bingo! A game of chance…
Okay, well, this isn’t going to be THAT exciting. But it will be meaningful. So bear with me through my loose gaming lingo so you learn a little bit about buzzword bingo! The object of this game is to AVOID letters… and some associated words. Whether you are browsing around the Internet doing research, visiting social media regularly, popping open the Twitter window to get a flavour, even looking around in your local bookstore business section, or if you are a small business owner or a business professional (coach, marketer, other) … beware the buzzword bingo!
Remember in post-secondary school when you would get your paper slammed by your instructor if you used cliches?
Or, remember Pee Wee Herman’s WORD OF THE DAY, where you laughed hysterically over the bzzzzz when a common word was mentioned?
Words or statements that are overused become foundation for ridicule at worst, or meaningless at best. Somewhere in between is a string of uninspired words, devoid of original thought (by anyone except the first dozen or so who used the expression).
Now, all expressions and words, before being popularized, had greater meaning. And even when popularized, they continue to be create communication commonality and even help build community. They can help emphasize a point and can substantiate original thought. They can help us seem like we completely understand what we are saying. And often we do.
But here is your caution, whether you be a business owner or a business professional, avoid using common words and expressions without great thought or else they will simply be placeholders for when we cannot express our own thoughts and feelings in clever, creative and meaningful ways that resonate truly.
Now let’s consider today’s world of buzzwords. Take your average cliche and compress it down to a single resonating word that you begin to hear everywhere… and you have a buzzword. Like cliches, when overused they begin to lack clever, creative original thought. They also get watered down and lost in translation of original meaning in many cases. A single word, without descriptors, are left open for interpretation by entire industries, so that those who can use it with strength are left being compared to those using it without a clue how powerful a single word actually is.
Are you now ready for buzzword bingo?
- S. Anyone have an S? Letter S!
- A. We’re looking for an A. Letter A!
- M. Letter M!
- E. Last but not least. Letter E!
Anyone have a bingo? If you have letters S.A.M. and E… SORRY! You might be losing at winning your uniquely branded voice in a blizzard of buzzwords that are making you seem the SAME as everyone else. Yawn.
Buzzwords to avoid for the rest of the year unless you REALLY, REALLY mean it, own it, demonstrate it:
S for success and secrets: Secrets to Success. Really? There are no secrets. How can there be a secret? Only YOU can even describe what success actually means for YOU… so how can anyone hold a secret to discovering what’s within yourself. Success — define it and you will find it.
A for authentic: Authentic does not mean only showing your ‘best self’… and trust me, some authenticity experts don’t seem authentic to me because they are too polished, perfect, robotic in their perfection. If you are using the term authenticity, define it for yourself, but be sure it has a flavour of being brave and trusting that sharing your reality (the good, the bad, the ugly, the profane, the funny, the nasty, the kind, the soft, the goofy, etc) is the best way for you to make a difference, make a connection, move mountains of perception, prejudice, perfectionism out of the way so that only reality is left… allowing you to do your job, not manage people’s understanding of what your job is.
(Here is a taste of some great use of ‘authenticity’ in Kimberly Englot’s new FREE e-book “Dump the Junk (and be happy)” through her Center for Authentic Self Development. She’s a gal that gets it!)
M – for marketing: Marketing is an activity and it is a profession. It is not social media. Social media and online “marketing” are part of what should be your overall strategic plan or guiding activities that connect you with a customer universe. Don’t be confused about what marketing is, and what a marketing professional is, for it is becoming an online buzzword that can cost you thousands of dollars if you hire someone who is not ‘really’ knowledgable about the big M of Marketing. And if you are a professional, be sure for the sake of our industry, that you are demonstrating your marketing skillset clearly or you will be lost amongst those claiming to do what you do better.
E – for expert: Expert. What does that really mean? It scares me how quickly people can label themselves social media experts because they use it alot, or marketing experts because they run a business fairly well, or coaching experts because they connect with people. Or coaches being marketing experts or haven’t trained to be marketers. Or any professional calling themselves a coaching expert without training. Expertise is most often experience based. But an EXPERT is one who not just ‘knows what they know’, but someone who knows how to make it useful for you in an effective, affordable, meaninful way. Do your homework!
When you express yourself, strive for original thought to represent your business, brand and meaningful customer connections. If you need to use buzzwords, remember mean it, own it, demonstrate it.
So now are you ready to play buzzword bingo with me? Share your comments below about these or any other buzzwords you see floating around that you think are overused, losing their meaning, or used inappropropriately. What’s your WORD OF THE DAY!