Are you baffled by buzzwords?

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a New York Times article written by Marilyn Katzman…

I admit it: Jargon makes me crazy. I’ve always had a low tolerance for the stuff. Perhaps my intolerance is what turned me into an editor?

I recently enjoyed a New York Times piece on the subject of jargon by Marilyn Katzman. (Thanks for pointing my attention to the article, Russ Skinner.) Headlined “Baffled by Office Buzzwords,” the piece outlines the author’s experience  with words like bilateral, bandwidth, decks and deep dives.

Here is my favourite graf (oops, buzzword???) paragraph from the Katzman piece:

When I repeated some of these terms to friends, I was amused to learn that an actual bingo game had been created for secret use in business meetings. Some clever or bored souls came up with the idea of creating a series of cards with grids containing frequently mentioned corporate terms. Every time someone says one of these corporate-speak words in a meeting, you are supposed to mark your box. If you actually complete a line, you are to stand up and call out “Bingo!” I dare you. Here are some of the terms found on the cards: quality vector, knowledge management, drill down, strategic fit, smartsize and right shoring.

I’d love to play bingo this way at some of the meetings I’ve been required to attend.

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