Next Gen. Game Changing. Collaborative. Disruptive. What do all of these words have in common?
2. No one knows what they really mean.
3. They are used incorrectly.
So, in the hopes that they will either a) not be used ever again or b) will be used correctly (and sparingly!), here are the dictionary definitions:
Next Gen: pertaining to the next stage of development or version of a product, service, or technology.
Game changer: a newly introduced element or factor that changes an existing situation or activity in a significant way.
Collaboration: working with at least one other person to do a task and achieve shared goals.
Disruptive: to destroy, usually temporarily, the normal continuance or unity of something.
In a recent #ExpoChat (a twitter chat), the use of “Next Gen” was the topic. After an hour of very smart, opinionated (and occasionally wise-cracking) conversation, we came up with two conclusions: Next Gen is not easily defined with respect to the exhibition business; and it should never be used again.
Is having a networking area on the showfloor Next Gen? A video wall or a Twitter wall? Use of social media? Offering package space including drayage?
Or is Next Gen something innovative that came from something Game Changing but will soon be The Norm?
Before you let the next press release using “Next Gen,” “Game Changing,” “Collaborative” or even the obsequious “Disruptive” go out, please make sure your marketing department defines the term—otherwise, it just looks like they are using the latest buzzword instead of a thesaurus.
What buzzwords are bugging you?
Stephanie S. Selesnick is president of International Trade Information, a longtime global exhibition industry specialist helping U.S show organizers increase international participation in their exhibitions and a well-known speaker and trainer. Follow her on Twitter at @stephselesnick.