Enough people have asked me to reproduce an article I wrote a few years ago about BS Bingo that I’ve decided to do so. Here it is.

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; all of 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               client-focused

            at the end of the day                           paradigm                         leverage

            solutions                                              synergies                         vision

            results-oriented                                   branding                          excellence

            grow… (revenue, or 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.