I recently had the privilege of hearing Larry Smith, founder and editor of SMITH Magazine, speak about his inspirational Six-Word Memoir® project. It debuted nearly 10 years ago with a simple and compelling directive: condense your memoir into six words and submit it to SMITH Magazine. At the time, there wasn’t a website; submissions were sent directly to Mr. Smith’s email. In the first weekend alone, people from all walks of life generated thousands of submissions. It seemed Smith was on to something.
Since then more than 700,000 short life stories have been shared through Six-Word Memoir and its younger cousin, SMITH Teens. From classrooms to boardrooms, celebrities to everyday folks, churches to synagogues, Six-Word Memoirs have become a powerful tool to catalyze conversation, spark imagination or break the ice.
At the conclusion of his discussion, Smith challenged me and a roomful of marketers to share in our own six words why we do what we do. Inspired, I quickly jotted down a few:
Mom of two works for toys
Learning new things ignites my brain
Winning pitches, high fives all around
Solving clients’ problems makes all worthwhile
My colleagues make me belly laugh
Confining ourselves to just a handful (plus one) of words compels us to focus on the true meaning of what we aim to communicate. In other words: Just six words, choose them wisely. Try it: you’ll find it liberating.