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You Can Say A Lot With Only Six Words

By April 28, 2010November 21st, 2017Best of Withisms, Communication, Storytelling

A year or so ago I heard a story on public radio about a book call Not Quite What I Was Planning. It’s a paperback book of six word memoirs written by people from all across the country. It’s grown into a huge deal. You can check out the website from Smith Magazine for more details.

The radio story really struck a chord for me because I love the idea of telling a lot with so few words. Now I often have board members and staff create short stories like these in the workshops and fundraising action planning sessions I deliver. I’ve found that people are amazed what can be learned from such a small number of words.

Six-word stories can be used as a headline in a newsletter article, in the subject line for an email you really want read, as the first line of a direct mail letter, on websites, you name it. And yes, less really is more.

Last summer at a Volunteers of America conference in Denver, Jim White from the Colorado affiliate office showed me his collection of six word stories. Here is one of them:
katiesteals28Apr10
If you remember that when people read something about your organization you want them to want to know MORE. . . then these stories are perfect and packed with lots of emotional connection for readers.

I encourage organizations to create a list of six word stories as a team building exercise at a planning meeting or board meeting. You’ll be amazed at how creative your team can be.

Here are a few 6-word stories to get your creative juices going.

First Ernest Hemingway’s famous story:
For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

From Life House in Duluth, MN an awesome organization serving homeless teens:
Homeless doesn’t have to be hopeless.

From the Ely, MN winter festival:
Shhhh! Winter in Ely is fabulous!

My own:
Creates compelling stories to raise millions.

What’s your six-word story that will cause people to want to learn more about you? Let me know!

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