Seven years ago, journalist Larry Smith and entrepreneur Tim Barkow founded SMITH, a little magazine obsessed with storytelling. At launch, it partnered with a quirky 5-month-old start-up called Twitter to power a reader contest: Tell us your life in six words and enter to win an iPod.
We all know which venture obtained the higher name recognition; nonetheless, the six-word memoir championed by SMITH has blossomed into books, events, t-shirts, comics, games, and ancillary publications. Millions of people have penned six-word memoirs, including Stephen Colbert (“Well, I thought it was funny.”) and Arianna Huffington (“Fearlessness is the mother of reinvention.”), among others.
Why do we mention this? Because at a time when companies are losing up to $4,100 per employee annually due to poor written communications, perhaps your senior team should try a variant: Distill your mission to just six words. Share. Discuss.
SMITH editor Rachel Fershleiser offers six tips to get started:
1. Be specific.
2. Be honest.
3. Forget the thesaurus.
4. Use your speaking voice.
5. Experiment with structure.
6. Stop trying so hard.