Do you ever wonder if business buzzwords have rubbed off on you to the point where you use them almost without thinking? Or have you somehow found a way to successfully survive in the corporate world without succumbing to its mind-numbing lingo?

Here's a quick and easy quiz to help you figure out just how much you know about buzzword meanings, and if shock therapy is in your imminent future. (There's an answer key at the bottom)

1. Double click down

a) Identifying "next level" details

b) Working hard online

c) Double checking your work

d) The much anticipated sequel to N'Sinc's "Digital Freedom" as part of their reunion tour

2. Ecosystem

a) Bio-dome for suits

b) A way to refer to business interdependencies and organizational infra-structure

c) Companies who specialize in mitigating global warming

d) Birds, bees, rivers, lakes, clouds, and all of that nature stuff

3. Abandonware

a) Strategies that have been overhauled and left behind

b) Unclaimed Tupperware that's been left in the department kitchen refrigerator

c) Systems that are no longer supported by their creator

d) Work uniforms that are no longer used

4. Thought leader

a) The person in the office who spends the most time thinking

b) Industry leading ideas

c) The most caring person on the team

d) Brainstorming

5. Pivot

a) A basketball move in the low post

b) A new French term for being en vogue (pronounced pi-vooooh)

c) A shift in focus (e.g. pivot to new business opportunities, career pivot)

d) When a business strategy changes too frequently

6. People adoption

a) A new term for change management focused on getting people to adopt new systems

b) Company programs to provide additional benefits for employees who adopt children

c) A misdirected attempt at a catchy new title for a company's leadership mentor program

d) New term for talent acquisition in the not-for-profit industry

7. Singing from the same song-sheet

a) We are all saying the same thing

b) Doing the same thing over again even if it isn't working

c) Being boring and repetitive

d) Karaoke in the office

8. Hit the ground running

a) Expecting a person to be able to get started quickly without a lot of ramp-up time

b) Making up a missed deadline

c) Doing your best Usain Bolt impression at the company talent show

d) Getting so excited that you jump on the ground

9. Build a straw dog

a) Make an outline

b) A placeholder

c) Build something to be knocked down

d) Scarecrow's best friend

10. Dovetail

a) Link, connect, or integrate well

b) Aligning your thoughts

c) A feather from the tail of the Holy Spirit

d) A Ducktales spin-off


1.a 2.b 3.c 4.b 5.c 6.a 7.a 8.a 9.a 10.a

Now the fun part. If you got over 7 correct answers:

You are a hardened business buzzword criminal

The bad news is that you actually know what many of these terms mean. Within the last six months, there is at least a 73% chance that you have said something to the effect of:

"For this paradigm shift to take hold, we need to build a straw dog we can use to socialize this so everyone can get their arms around it thus allowing us to generate the critical mass needed to ensure that we're all singing from the same song-sheet ultimately allowing us to hit the ground running on this organizational change."

If you haven't said it already, 43% of you really liked the sound of what you just read.

If you got between 4-6 correct answers:

You get away with a "Buzzword Misdemeanor"

You seem to have been shielded from complete business buzzword brainwashing but still may over-use a few of the more common corporate buzzword terms.

Stop the madness now so you don't become a hardened buzzword criminal living the rest of your days in Cell Block C with a cell mate who wants to make sure you and he are "singing from the same song-sheet" if you get caught in your prison escape.

If you got fewer than 3 correct answers:

You are a Plain-Speak Superhero

When was the last time you took a quiz where not knowing most of the answers gave you an "A"? Your lack of knowledge about what these terms mean can only mean one really important thing: You speak in plain English.

People at work probably like talking with you because they can understand what you are saying. Some may even ask you to translate for others when they abuse business buzzwords. But just because you have successfully managed to avoid getting buzzword grease all over yourself doesn't mean your job is done.

Others in the business world need your help.