Storyworthy | Matthew Dicks

Summary of: Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life through the Power of Storytelling
By: Matthew Dicks


Dive into the world of storytelling with Matthew Dicks’ ‘Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life through the Power of Storytelling’. In this book, you’ll learn the essential skills and non-negotiable rules for crafting engaging stories. Discover how to integrate transformative moments and character development into your narratives, and how to utilize the present tense for maximum audience immersion. Understand the difference between anecdotes and stories, and explore the importance of remaining authentic and avoiding vulgarity. Get ready to enhance your storytelling abilities and captivate your listeners in ways you never thought possible.

Mastering The Art Of Storytelling

The power of stories in connecting people and how to become an effective storyteller.

Stories have always held an important role in human communication. In the book, the author stresses the value of storytelling and how it can be utilized as a powerful tool in connecting people. The book teaches people from all walks of life how to tell stories about themselves and their experiences. The author believes that storytelling helps everyone be a better communicator.

However, there are some non-negotiable rules to follow if one wants to be an engaging storyteller. The first rule is that a story shouldn’t just consist of a succession of extraordinary events. It should reflect some type of change happening to someone or something over a period of time. Without this aspect of change, stories become mere anecdotes with no lasting impact.

Moreover, it is crucial to cast oneself as the protagonist in the story instead of talking about someone else. This creates an intimate connection as the audience gets to hear the story from the person standing right in front of them and the story becomes more authentic.

The author stresses that telling one’s story requires courage as it involves hard truths and authenticity. Telling the story of others from one’s perspective can also be done effectively. The author’s experience working with the organization Voices of Hope to teach Holocaust survivors’ children how to tell the stories of their parents is an excellent example. These stories became engaging by grounding them in the children’s current lives while also including their parents’ experiences.

In conclusion, storytelling is a great art that everyone can master. The author believes that anyone can become an effective storyteller by following simple rules and expressing oneself through stories. With these skills, one can connect to people more meaningfully and effectively.

The Art of Storytelling

In “The Art of Storytelling,” author Dicks emphasizes the importance of passing the “dinner test” when telling a story. The “dinner test” asks, “Is this the kind of story I would recount to a friend over dinner?” If not, it’s probably not a good story. The way you tell your story to a wider audience should not differ from how you tell it to a friend. Avoid unnecessary gestures and poetical flourishes that can distract from the story. Also, refrain from starting with unnecessary dialogue. Your audience wants to feel like they’re hearing an off-the-cuff story straight from the heart, so do not perform your story. Instead, simply tell it.

The Power of Five Seconds

Exceptional stories are built on moments of sudden change and clarity, typically lasting just five seconds. These moments are often transformative and relatable to most people, forming the foundation of the most memorable and moving narratives. In the book summary, the author highlights that the primary goal of any good story is to illuminate this five-second moment as vividly as possible, delivering maximum emotional impact. The author uses a personal story involving a car crash to showcase this idea, where the transformative moment is not the near-death experience but the sudden realization of the author’s teenage friends showing up in the waiting room to encourage him as he went into surgery. By highlighting the relatable aspects of the story, the moment of loneliness and friendship, the narrative becomes more powerful and emotionally evocative. The book emphasizes how these brief, transformative moments are the key to creating compelling stories that connect with and move audiences.

Crafting a Satisfying Narrative Arc

To construct a satisfying narrative arc, identify the transformative five-second moment of your story. Then, look back over your life experiences and select the most illuminating moments from which to begin your narrative. The beginning of your story needs to be the complete opposite of its end. This opposition is vital because it helps to demonstrate change over time.

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