The 4mat System

The 4MAT System comes from a study of learning styles by learning expert Bernice McCarthy (US). She noticed that people learn and take in information in different ways. Some people want to know why e.g. why are we doing this? What’s in it for me? Others like the facts question e.g. what is it we’re going to do? Some are more interested in the detail and how things will happen e.g. how does this happen? How does this work? And some want to know ‘what if' – e.g. What would happen if I did this?

4mat captures attention of all types and gives everyone what they want to know. It therefore provides brilliant structure for almost any communication or presentation in the following order:

  1. Why – the attention grabber – many people come to the why later on, by which time the audience has switched off
  2. What – the overview – getting straight to the point
  3. How – the detail – some people start with the how; confusing themselves and everyone else
  4. What if – painting a vision of the future – what the end result will ‘look like’ creating interest and desire

Some examples of the format system:

Example One:

Using the 4mat system to explain the 4mat system:

The Why:

Would you like to make a real impact and become a great and memorable communicator; gaining the interest and understanding of as many people as possible?

The What:

4mat is a method which will help people to learn and understand better. It provides a simple yet powerful framework for improving the impact of any presentation or communication.

The How:

You could use the 4mat system in so many ways; for presentations, written communications and reports, promotions, learning sessions and so on... Each style focuses on a different type of learner; people receive and assimilate information in diverse ways:

  • Imaginative (why?)
  • Analytical (what?)
  • Practical (how?)
  • Dynamic (what if?)

Using them in combination engages all types of learner. Conveying the ‘why’ first adds purpose, interest and excitement.

Putting ‘what if’ last reminds the recipient of the key points and reinforced desire.

The What if:

Imagine you used the 4mat system for every report, presentation and communication from now on. You would engage the recipient, provide clarity and gain the understanding and support of many people.


Example two:

Introducing It’s Never OK To Kiss The Interviewer

The why:

So many people today are dissatisfied at work, unsure where they want to be or just feeling unfulfilled – wouldn’t it be great if they could find the right path and do well in it

The what:

It’s Never OK To Kiss The Interviewer (INOTKTI) is a book by Jane Sunley that reveals many practical and useful tools and techniques for surviving, thriving and high-fiving at work.

The how:

INOTKTI explores the career superhighway from starting out and discovering purpose, desires and goals through securing the right role, starting off well and continuing along in the same positive and productive way.

The what if:

Everyone deserves to be happy and fulfilled at work and this book has the answers.  


Example three:

4mat Powerpoint