Put that jargon to good use—play ‘Word Quest’ at your next meeting

Pick an accomplice, identify a few buzz terms, and try to be the first to use it. Bonus points if you get someone else to drop one. Some suggestions are included.

Looking for a way to make all those meetings less mind numbing? Turn them into a creative, brain-building exercise with a game I call Word Quest. The only thing you need to play is an accomplice. For Word Quest, you and your accomplice pick one clichéd, meaningless business term—such as managing expectations—and see who can be the first to use that term in a meeting. That person earns the most points. Bonus points are given if you get someone else (not your accomplice) to say the term in the meeting. Of course, you can give extra points for style when someone does a particularly good job working the term into the meeting. Get started with these terms and sample sentences: Deliverables Sorry I’m late. I’ve been actioning my deliverables. Core competency Writing is clearly not one of your core competencies. Manage expectations The project is already six months behind. Is now a good time to start managing expectations? Incentivize How can I incentivize you to proofread your own work? Ideate No one is leaving this meeting until we ideate about the new ad campaign. Reverbiagize We don’t need to rewrite the entire proposal. Just have Sean reverbiagize it. Throw under the bus Watch what you say to Casey in customer support. He would throw his own mother under the bus. Bandwidth I just don’t have the bandwidth to take on another writing project right now. Low-hanging fruit It hardly seems fair. Josh gets all the low-hanging fruit. Exit strategy My exit strategy is to sit close to the door. Drill down How can I drill down when I’m stuck in meetings all day? Elevator pitch Have we actually tested the elevator pitch in an elevator? Value proposition Let’s try to keep the “value” in our value proposition. Liaise You and I need to liase about that project after this meeting. Drink the Kool-Aid Send Sarah to that client meeting. She can persuade anyone to drink the Kool-Aid. And my personal favorite . . . Open the kimono We need to open the kimono and find out what’s going on in that department. What I find the most enjoyable about Word Quest is how easily these terms are accepted in meetings. Where else but a meeting room would it be perfectly acceptable to say something like, “It’s time to drill down, use our core competencies, and grab some of that low-hanging fruit”? Readers, care to share your own Word Quest terms? Laura Hale Brockway is the author of the writing, editing, and random thoughts blog impertinentremarks.com.

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