A Friday game for all to enjoyThere’s nothing we like more at We Love Local Government Towers than a good game on a Friday afternoon. Okay, perhaps we like biscuits a little more, but games are a very close second. With that in mind, here is a very simple game which can be played today at no additional cost to you or those around you. It’s easy to play, and can be amended to suit your own needs very easily.

Below is a list of words or phrases which we are getting a little tired of hearing thrown around meetings, usually by someone attempting to sound more clever than they actually are. Some or jargonistic, others are simply meaningless, but all have a special circle of our own hells reserved for them.

But words themselves are not evil – it’s how they are used that’s the problem, so we want you to use them for good rather than evil. Simply print them out and take them with you into your next meeting – the more people in it the better – and use as many as you can. They must be used appropriately and without others noticing; oh, and the only way to win is to get them all in during a single meeting.

Good luck!

  1. Pushing the cash envelope
  2. Localism
  3. Streamlining
  4. Lean
  5. Transformation
  6. Let’s take this offline
  7. That’s not in my JD
  8. Efficiencies
  9. Synergy
  10. Holistic
  11. Discussion in-the-round
  12. Predictors of Beaconicity
  13. Low hanging fruit
  14. Value-added

Do you have any words or phrases of your own that you’d like to add to our little hate-list? Tell us below or tweet them using #wordsihate

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25 Comments on “Bingo!”

  1. DSO Says:

    Diarise, as in “Let’s diarise a meeting!”

    Quick win

    Robust. Everything is robust. Synonym Finder suggested ‘lustful lusty’ as an alternative. If you mentally slot that in every time you hear someone in a meeting promote something as robust, meetings become so much more entertaining, e.g., “I assure members that this is one lustful planning application.”

    Going forward

    At this moment in time

    Blue-sky thinking

    “To be honest…”: it gets so overused by some people that I wonder if they’re not being honest whenever they *don’t* say it.

    Leading from the front. Where else would you lead from?

  2. LG Worker Says:

    Fit for purpose.

    We’ll have a working group on that.

    Spending to save.

    Where’s the teas and coffees?

    Any acronym which only the person in that service understands (eg. LIP, CDRP, CYP ect.)

    Lets have a summit on that (This just makes me think of Mountains and so assume they mean they want the meeting about that subject up Ben Nevis or Scafell Pike – admittedly I would go to such a meeting)

    In the current climate.

    Sorry I’m late, I got delayed by the lifts.

  3. E9to5 Says:

    @DSO diarise is a crime beyond words!

    I don’t like hearing staff being named as ambassadors (“meet John, he’s our new real nappy ambassador”). If it’s part of your role you probably don’t need a diplomatic title.

    I’m also not sad to see the back of place-shaping (I think it’s finished with?), just another great phrase that councils can categorise any project which needs added attention. See also: localism.

    Now to carefully select a meeting that bingo might work in- and try to avoid shouting House when completed.

  4. localgov Says:

    I managed to get the following sentence out without a hint of a smile and found some nodding heads in response:

    “I think we need to touch base and strategise this a little more; let’s identify a window and diarise some face time to bump heads, throw a few thought grenades around and plan an action path.”

  5. Ed Hammond Says:

    I used the word “granularity” in a meeting a while ago to see if anyone emitted an appalled groan – got away with it though, and will continue to use it in meetings semi-ironically until somebody formally protests.

    Some other favourites –

    Sustainable (particularly “financially sustainable”)
    Substantive (as in “I wasn’t able to get a substantive response”)
    “Push-back” (which apparently isn’t what South Africans call a bicycle)
    Transition (used as a verb)

    I should say that I use all of the above words and phrases, regularly. I have also started to say, “I’ll Gantt it up” instead of “I will put together a plan”. Again, this is mainly to be ironical, like.

    More and more people now use the word “customers” when they mean “residents” or “service users” (which I appreciate are equally jargony). .

    I’m surprised to see “predictors of beaconicity” – I’d have thouvght that would be very old hat these days.

  6. Publicworkerman Says:

    The two worst:

    ‘What’s the direction of travel’ (Or, ‘what are we doing?’)

    ‘We need a narrative’ (Or: ‘why are we doing this?’)

  7. localgovalso Says:

    Roadmap – Fine for international peace processes, not so much for your two page plan on how to migrate the printers into double sided.

    “This must be a community thing” – for Pretty much anything which is new/different/ something the person talking about it can’t be bothered to think about today

    “There’s a risk of commercial sensitivity” – For when someone can’t think of a valid reason to mark a study as confidential.

    Pretty much every other word in the local plan of your choice.

  8. Aine Says:

    ‘So, in terms of next steps…’ Which inevitably includes ‘discussions with key stakeholders’ and someone ‘having a conversation’ with that director while I ‘have a conversation’ with this one.

    And then we’ll ‘need to put some time in’ in the future to look at risks and other factors.

  9. Roger White Says:

    Thanks for the great reminder of local government linguistic infelicitudes, not to mention your correspondents’ additions.
    In a blatant piece of self-promotion you may wish to check out my Jargon Bin at It’s not confined to LG (far from it) but does include some old favourites as well as some new excrescences. Go forward with a cohort of like-minded practitioners as I source optimal metrics for ongoing transformation. Or whatever.

  10. I do love a spot of meeting bingo. And it’s all the more amusing as we wouldn’t (or shouldn’t!) use the language so many use in meetings to communicate with people outside of them.

    Let’s communicate in Plain English with everybody. It’s not dumbing down to make things easy to understand.

    My own personal favourtie is ‘facilitate’. Makes me want to run my nails down a blackboard a la Jaws. Can’t we just help instead?

  11. Going Forward Says:

    Remember when an action plan just had to me ‘smart’ (and never, ever, ever was)? Well now it has to be smart and crunchy. I’ve no idea what it means but it’s someting my boss uses regularly. And it always makes me giggle when someone says we need to do a ‘quick and dirty’ response on some issue that’s, oo-er, popped up.

  12. martin Says:

    a colleague wants a seasonal worker or student “with suitable skills to design social media model for us ” – I think he wants a Facebook page

  13. Recently listening to a housing tenant, who’d been brought on to a scrutiny panel, pushed through intensive training in how the organisation ‘thought’, and was reporting back to a meeting of other tenants on how the new scrutiny panel would operate.

    She’d been conditioned to come out with some gems, but what stuck in everyone’s mind was ‘lightbulb moment’ and ‘performance dashboard’. One of the tenants asked an officer what the latter meant and the officer struggled to come out with any explanation and her voice gradually trailed off to leave the room in silence.

  14. Alex Says:

    RE. ‘Ambassador: I was recently an ambassador for the Academy of Sustainable Communities but I never once got to host a dinner party with copius amounts of ferrero rocher.

    In a similar vien, I hate the way we have to have ‘champions’ for everything. I always imagine the person flying around, clad in colourful spandex. Not always a good thing.

    Rather than be on the look out for buzz-phrases that mean nothing, I suggest you invent your own. A while back, members of our team used the phrase “knock the data monkey out of the tree.”

    No one questioned it for a second.

    I also regulalrly block out free time on my diary using “TLA Meeting” (three letter acronym) – although I think people have cottoned onto that one now.

    • Krin Says:

      I’m going to grab those two, very useful. My colleagues who approve audit reports may especially appreciate the moneky phrase.

      I currently block out time in my diary for “AS meeting”, A and S being my two friends who work nearby. Also at my previous employment a colleague and I would block out an hour for “cross-team alignment and knowledge sharing opportunitiess” or whichever malarky we could come up with at the time. A very tongue-in-cheek way of indicating we were going to have lunch with each – during our allotted lunch break.

  15. “We need to be going forward” makes me laugh as though anyone’s aim would be to go sideways or backwards. I also hate the ‘toolkit’, e.g. “social media is just another tool in the communicator’s kit”. And they look really smug while saying it like they’ve just invented something revolutionary.

  16. Ian Curwen Says:

    One that drives me mad is ‘linkages’. Simply becuase I’ve never heard it used when the word ‘links’ couldn’t have been.

  17. Jules Says:

    I have recently been working on the 2012 games and how they may benefit my LA. My job title, when I can keep a straight face, is Olympic Champion. Not bad for someone who someone who’d rather eat a doughnut.

    But its not just us. My private sector HR exec friend constantly refers to cadance. I have no clue what she’s going on about.

  18. […] are the teams that have predictors of Beaconicity (see, it can go in a sentence!) but are too busy to fill in the […]

  19. […] July, we sent a break up letter to our job and asked staff to join us in a little bit of council Bingo, but the stand out post was one discussing the complex and often misunderstood issue of mental […]

  20. Tone Says:

    ‘Leverage’ when used as a verb – in my ’96 edition of the Oxford dictionary, it’s classed as a noun!

  21. […] tongue in cheek perhaps, but perhaps not far off the mark), as well as starting the biggest game of bingo in local government history.  That being said, sometimes having a strategy is a good idea, as long […]

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