When I do strategic messaging or storytelling workshops, one of my favorite exercises is having people create four-word stories.

I’m looking for them to succinctly and accurately say what their companies make or do…in four words.

If you can nail what you do in four words, it is so much easier to connect with people. They quickly get what you do and, hopefully, what you do matters to them.

four-word storiesYou’re not making people work or ask additional questions to figure out what you do. In a fast-moving world, people don’t have the time or interest to work; they want instant gratification.

The four-word exercise begins with some examples. I show them the logo for Tinder, for example, and ask people to suggest a four-word story. As you can imagine, it generates a lot of, well, interesting answers! For what it’s worth, my politically correct answer is “It’s how people meet”.

Once they understand the concept, people are given a few minutes to develop their four-word stories. While not everyone creates a killer story, it’s always great when some people create a four-word story that resonates.

Their immediate reaction is surprise and delight. It’s like they’ve discovered something magical that will drive their businesses forward.

What’s your four-word story? To create one, get together with some friends and make it a game. It’s a lot of fun and, who knows, maybe you will land upon something amazing.


I work with B2B technology companies looking to generate more high-quality leads. Through strategic planning and tactical services, I help clients drive brand awareness and customer engagement.

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