One-Liner

Imagine if you wrote and directed a major motion picture like The Matrix, and then saw your entire 2 hour and 16 minute film boiled down to this one-line summary:

A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.

As the creator, you might be annoyed by this reductionist oversimplification. But as a potential movie goer, you’d probably appreciate it.

Why?

Because when trying to decide how to spend the next two hours of your life, having a clear and concise one-liner that lets you know what you’re in for is extremely useful.

The one-liner is not meant to explain everything about the movie. It’s meant to attract the kind of people who would enjoy the movie (and repel people who wouldn’t).

Here are some more movie one-liners... can you guess the movies? (Hit reply and let me know your guesses!)

  1. A 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent thirty years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, an eccentric scientist.
  2. After a space merchant vessel receives an unknown transmission as a distress call, one of the crew is attacked by a mysterious life form and they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun.
  3. An archaeologist and adventurer is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before Adolf Hitler’s Nazis can obtain its awesome powers.
  4. A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where a sinister presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from both past and future.
  5. In the distant future, a small waste-collecting robot inadvertently embarks on a space journey that will ultimately decide the fate of mankind.
  6. An NYPD officer tries to save his wife and several others taken hostage by German terrorists during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.
  7. A man must struggle to travel home for Thanksgiving with a lovable oaf of a shower curtain ring salesman as his only companion.
  8. A human soldier travels from 2029 to 1984 to stop an almost indestructible cyborg which has been sent to execute a young woman whose unborn son is the key to humanity’s future salvation.

Here’s the thing...

If the marketing people at a movie studio can boil a hundred million dollar movie down to a one-liner, you should be able to do the same for your business.

Remember:

You don’t need to explain everything about your business. You just need to say enough to attract the people you want to work with (and repel the ones you don’t).

Yours, 

—J

P.S. If you are having a hard time coming up with a clear and concise description of what you do, you might want to watch the webinar replay: How To Tell People What You Do