For decades now I’ve been concerned about the deteriorating quality of business presentations, most of which fall far short of meeting acceptable standards of cohesion and clarity. The main reasons for this are that the presentations are poorly planned and the speakers are not adequately trained.
Another major contributing factor, though, is the insistence by business speakers to rely too much on trite phrases and worn-out clichés, which may have been clever or appropriate at one time, but through overuse, have become not only useless but damaging. Speakers who rely too much on trite phrases and worn-out clichés are not seen as clever by audiences but rather are seen as too lazy to take the time to find the right words with which to deliver a clear message. This is where BS Bingo comes in.
I didn’t conceive BS Bingo, I only wish I had. (If its originator sends me proof thereof I will be happy to credit him or her.) Here’s how BS Bingo works.
Before attending your next business presentation or meeting, draw a five-inch by five-inch square and divide it into columns -- five across and five down, forming 25 one-inch-square blocks. Write one of the following words or phrases in each block:
basically, best practices, bottom line, core competencies, revisit,
ramp up, out of the loop, benchmark, value-added, proactive,
think outside the box, verticals, co-ordinates, going forward,
tipping point, I want to share with you tone at the top,
touch base, ahead (behind) of the curve, having said that,
at the end of the day, paradigm, leverage, solutions, synergies,
vision, results-oriented, branding, excellence, grow (whatever
Check off the appropriate block when you hear one of these words or phrases. When you’ve checked off five blocks horizontally, vertically or diagonally, stand up and shout “Bullshit Bingo!”
It will have a salutary effect on the occasion. And who knows, perhaps you’ll have struck a blow for better business presentations.