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About the Author
Matthew Dicks is the internationally bestselling author of the novels which have been translated into more than 25 languages worldwide.
When not hunched over a computer screen, Matthew fills his days as an elementary school teacher, a storyteller, a speaking coach, a blogger, a wedding DJ, a minister, a life coach, and a Lord of Sealand. He has been teaching for 21 years and is a former West Hartford Teacher of the Year and a finalist for Connecticut Teacher of the Year.
Matthew is a 39-time Moth StorySLAM champion and 6-time GrandSLAM champion whose stories have been featured on their nationally syndicated Moth Radio Hour and their weekly podcast.
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About the Book
Whether we realize it or not, we are always telling stories. On a first date or job interview, in a sales presentation or therapy appointment, with family or friends, we are constantly narrating events and interpreting emotions and actions. In so doing, we make choices about what to emphasize and what to leave out. We frame and explain in order to amuse, rationalize, or just plain vent.
Matthew’s wonderfully straightforward and engaging tips and techniques for constructing, telling, and polishing any story shows that anyone can learn to be an appealing storyteller; that everyone has something story worthy to express; and, perhaps most importantly, that the act of creating and telling a tale is a powerful way of understanding and enhancing one’s own life.
BIG IDEA 1 (4:02) - You don’t need a big or interesting life to tell good stories. The emphasis of the book is on the idea of five second moments - the small everyday scenarios that create significant transformation in your understanding of yourself, your life, family or friends. You just need to know what you’re looking for and seek out those five second moments.
Matthew also emphasizes that anecdotes aren’t always great stories. These are stories that doesn’t always have meaning or make sense. One of the biggest take away in this book is the idea of homework for life - at the end of each day writing down in a diary a five second moment from that day. These can be passing things that maybe don’t mean anything at that time but when you look back, you start to see the threads and themes of your stories.
Matthew has been doing this for this for many years now and he’s been able to find those moments with meaning. He has had a very interesting life but the real story is what happened before, during or after those big moments that gave meaning to them.
BIG IDEA 2 (7:58) - Stories must be sticky. This is the technique of telling a story. They are the stakes, the elephants, the breadcrumbs, the backpacks and the hourglasses. These elements are the science behind the art of storytelling - how the story was crafted versus just telling them and creates the difference between a story and anecdote. This is what makes the story compelling.
Another important consideration is using humor in the story. However this cannot be overdone because if people are too busy laughing they might miss the shift, change, the moment where you turn or that magic ‘aha’.
BIG IDEA 3 (10:56) - The power of ‘but’ and ‘therefore’ in stories. This is another technical aspect of storytelling which joins together, creates tension or moments of conflict. This also prevents the ‘and then… and then’ effect when telling a story and creates a more polished, interesting story.
The good thing about this book is that you can apply this in other written work or communications; emails, presentations, sales pitches etc. This technique is literally just using ‘but’ or ‘therefore’ more often by thinking about what is the causation of things and the momentum that created movement from one event to another.
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