A man of many sexual exploits. Apparently. Maybe.

Happily, I have a thick skin. As an author of several books and a person who writes on the Internet in a variety of contexts, I receive a lot of less-than-glowing responses and reviews. These come in the form of online reviews, tweets, emails, and Facebook messages.

While a vast majority of my book reviews have admittedly been positive, some are not.

Some are downright scathing.

Many authors avoid reading reviews (or claim they do) as an act of self preservation. They refuse to look at their reviews on places like Amazon and Goodreads because the negative feedback can really hurt.

I’m not a supporter of this policy for two reasons:

  1. As an author, I write books with the intent of selling them to readers. Ignoring reviews amounts to ignoring your customers, and for me, that makes no sense. If my customers have a consistent complaint about my work, I want to know about it.

  2. If a negative review or a scathing comment is going to somehow impact my sense of self-worth or my psyche, I’m in the wrong line of work. Not everyone is going to love what you make, and some of them are going to say it aloud.

An added bonus to reading your reviews is you occasionally get the negative review that causes you to laugh, like the one I read yesterday for Storyworthy.

The person wrote:

__________________________________________

It is a great book and effective map for great storytelling. But too many references glorifying the man's sexual exploits for me though it could be worse.

__________________________________________

I loved this bit of criticism. First of all, I had never considered myself a man of many sexual exploits, so I’m kind of thrilled that I might be more exciting than I once thought.

And what does “it could be worse” mean? Does this person have knowledge of my sexual exploits and knows that I held back? Is he or she implying that I could’ve shared a lot more? And if so, what?

I also have no idea what this person is talking about. Does Storyworthy really contain a multitude of references glorifying my sexual exploits? I honestly can’t recall a single one, but maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I shared more sex stories than I had planned. Maybe I unintentionally overshared (which I’ve been known to do from time to time).

If you’ve read the book recently, could you let me know? I really want to know.

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Speak Up Storytelling #29: Matthew Dicks

On episode #39 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Matthew Dicks talks storytelling!

With report cards and parent-teacher conferences filling Elysha's week, she takes some time off from the podcast, shifting our format again. I'm going it alone this week. Rather than posting a re-run, we have some exciting new content for you.  

Hope you enjoy! 

In our follow up segment, Elysha and I talk about the cover release of my new novel Twenty-one Truths About Love, which you can see in the show notes. 

Then, instead of listening and critiquing a new story, I play three of my stories (chosen for a specific reason) with some commentary about the crafting of each. 

After listening, I discuss:

  1. The variety of chronological formats available to storytellers

  2. When to choose a specific chronological format for a story

  3. The strategies used to preserve and enhance surprise in a story

LINKS

http://speakupstorytelling.libsyn.com/matthew-dicks-trio

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

Subscribe to the Speak Up newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-speak-up

Speak Up at Space Ballroom on March 16:
Exposed: Lies, Secrets, and Indiscretions Revealed

STORYTELLING WORKSHOPS 2019

May 4: Storytelling workshop (beginner), CT Historical Society
May 18: Storytelling workshop (advanced), CT Historical Society
June 1: Storytelling workshop (master class), CT Historical Society
July 29-August 2: Storytelling bootcamp, CT Historical Society
August 17: Storytelling workshop, Taproot Theater, Seattle, WA 
October 25-27: Storytelling workshop, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Heath
December 6-8: Storytelling workshop, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health

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Speak Up Storytelling #37: Steve Brouse

On episode #37 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Elysha Dicks and I talk storytelling along with storyteller and guest host Steve Brouse! 

In our followup segment, we talk about how a listener is using Homework for Life to remain in communication with his son, who is completing basic training. We also review listener feedback on the epic debate over the description of telepathy in Maire Greene's story. 

In our Homework for Life segment, we talk about turning an unexpected snowball fight into a story that pushes back against conventional norms, and Steve Brouse shares his Homework for Life moment, combining two moments into a single idea for a story. 

Next we listen to Steve Brouse's story of a missed phone call and all that happened because of it. 

After listening, we discuss:

  1. The value of opening windows into worlds we might not otherwise ever see 

  2. Effective ways of teaching our audience about content needed to understand our stories (without bringing the story to a halt)

  3. When and how to use humor effectively in a story

  4. The way in which the crafting of a story can also be a discovery process for the storyteller 

  5. Managing emotions during the telling of a story

  6. Identifying and fully developing critical scenes in a story

Next, we answer a question about teaching storytelling to children. 

Finally, we each offer a recommendation.  

LINKS

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

Subscribe to the Speak Up newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-speak-up

RECOMMEDATIONS

Elysha:

  • Crashing on HBO

Matt:

  • Commissioning portraits of meaningful places for loved ones (via Etsy)

Steve:

  • Puzzles comprised of family photos (via Shutterfly)

 

Storyworthy: The Illustrated compendium

Someone far more creative and clever than I will ever be read my book, Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life Through the Power of Storytelling and created this amazing illustrated set of notes.

If you read the book, you’ll see how remarkably accurate these notes are. They truly capture the most important aspects of my instruction.

It’s really something.

Its also always an incredible honor to see someone engaging in something I have made in such a meaningful, personal, and creative way.

Makes me feel terrible for never building a diorama based upon a Kurt Vonnegut novel or never writing an epic poem about Ben Gunn’s life on Treasure Island.

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Speak Up Storytelling #35: Ophira Eisenberg

On episode #35 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Elysha Dicks and I talk storytelling!

In our followup segment, we hear from a teacher who is using Homework for Life in her classroom and a listener who had to do one of the strangest things I've ever heard of in a storytelling show.

We also get a little more information on Harry Belafonte. 

In our Homework for Life segment, we talk about how we're often in the middle of the story, and if we're patient enough, an ending will eventually reveal itself (as unfortunate as that ending might be). We also talk about choosing the structure of a story based upon the time frame of your story.

Next we listen to Ophira Eisenberg's story about a mysterious box in the closet.   

After listening, we discuss:

  1. Effective humor throughout the story

  2. Stakes!

  3. Echoing the thoughts of your listeners 

  4. Effective pacing in a story when the surprise is no longer surprising

  5. Specificity

Next, we answer a question about extending stories told on the stage to the written form.  

Finally, we each offer a recommendation.  

LINKS

Harry Belafonte on The Muppets

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

Subscribe to the Speak Up newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-speak-up

RECOMMEDATIONS

Elysha:

Matt:

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Speak Up #34: Chion Wolf

On episode #34 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Elysha Dicks and I talk storytelling!

In our followup segment, we hear from a listener who hosted an evening of stories at this home with great success. We also resume our debate about jokes within a story. 

In our Homework for Life segment, we talk about the process of taking a single moment from the week and crafting out the skeleton of a story, including the importance of recognizing, protecting, and enhancing any surprises contained therein.   

Next we listen to Chion Wolf's story about the biggest job interview of her life.  

After listening, we discuss:

  1. Effective transitions of time and space

  2. Telling stories in vivid, easily imagined scenes

  3. The power of effective inner dialogue

  4. The preservation and enhancement of surprise

  5. Effective ways of speaking highly of yourself

Next, we answer a question about ending a story early and leaving the audience hanging on unspoken, final details of a story. 

Finally, we each offer a recommendation.  

LINKS

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

Subscribe to the Speak Up newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-speak-up

This Is Going to Suck

RECOMMEDATIONS

Elysha:

Matt:

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Speak Up Storytelling #33: Bobbi Klau

On episode #33 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Matthew and Elysha Dicks talk storytelling!

In our followup segment, we thank our listeners, including American military personnel from around the world who have been reaching out to us this week, as well as those listeners kind enough to rate and review Speak Up Storytelling during this past week.

We went over 100 reviews and rating this week!

In our Homework for Life segment, we talk about how a simple but powerful statement from a stranger can be enough material for a story. 

Next we listen to Bobbi Klau's story about the search for the perfect gift. 

After listening, we discuss:

  1. Pacing, both as it related to authenticity and the ability of the audience to follow a story

  2. The power of humor at the top of a story, particularly when it demonstrates honesty, authenticity, and self-deprecation to your audience

  3. Telling stories in scenes

  4. Strategically humorous moments in stories vs. a joke placed within a story

  5. Kurt Vonnegut's philosophy on short stories

  6. The hazards of cultural references

  7. Avoiding the de-activating of your audience's imagination when you need to provide your audience with information

Next, we answer a question about the difference between stories that end in a moment of emotional resonance vs. a light-hearted observation or decision and a question about the role of EQ vs. logic in storytelling.

Finally, we each offer a recommendation.  

LINKS

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Wire Tap with Jonathan Goldstein: https://bit.ly/2W5pZbz

"Deformed Cow and the Moonlight Deer": https://bit.ly/2Do8OKS

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

Subscribe to the Speak Up newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-speak-up

RECOMMEDATIONS

Elysha:

  • Workplace lunch clubs

Matt:

Speak Up Storytelling #31: David Ring

On episode #31 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Elysha Dicks and I talk storytelling!

In our followup segment, we talk about two emails received related to Homework for Life, including a sample of Homework for Life from the 1800's!

Next, we talk about finding and collecting stories in your everyday life using "Homework for Life." We talk about the value of waiting to tell a story, the possibility that you are in the midst of a story, and the way that some stories can stretch across decades. 

Next we listen to David Ring's story about a trial, a possible death penalty, and a hit ordered on his life.

After listening, we discuss:

  1. A great first sentence

  2. The way that choices about description and leaning description in a certain direction can help tell the story

  3. The power of contrast in description

  4. "Nonfiction" in storytelling

  5. The appropriate absence of humor in storytelling

  6. The elimination of "I remember..." from stories

Next, we answer questions about using Homework for Life to recapture recorded memories and the differences between personal narrative storytelling and the telling of folktales, fables, fiction, or informational text. 

Finally, we each offer a recommendation.  

LINKS

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

Subscribe to the Speak Up newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-speak-up

RECOMMEDATIONS

Elysha:

Matt

Speak Up Storytelling: Chuck Fedolfi

On episode #30 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Elysha Dicks and I talk storytelling!

In our followup segment, we talk about upcoming dates (including a workshop in Seattle this summer) and my weekly storytelling newsletter. 

Next, we talk about finding and collecting stories in your everyday life using "Homework for Life." We talk about fusing a moment of realization onto an ongoing experience to illustrate that realization clearly for an audience. Essentially to create a story.   

Next we listen to Chuck Fedolfi's story about his dog, Boo, and the inspiration derived from Boo's struggle.

After listening, we discuss:

  1. The effective use of time shifts in storytelling

  2. Getting and keeping a story moving 

  3. Turning a potential anecdote into an meaningful, moving, story of vulnerability and heart

  4. The power and hazards of ambiguity

  5. Ways to improve a moment of surprise

Next, we answer questions about the difference between telling stories formally and informally, the ways that my Homework for Life spreadsheet is structured, and the writing of effective storytelling pitches. 

Finally, we each offer a recommendation.  

LINKS

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

Subscribe to the Speak Up newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/subscribe-speak-up

RECOMMEDATIONS

Elysha

  • Commemorating important events in your life via Christmas ornaments

Matt

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Speak Up Storytelling: Christina Fedolfi

On episode #29 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Matthew and Elysha Dicks talk storytelling!

In our followup segment, we talk about an error in a previous podcast, upcoming show and workshop dates (including a workshop in Seattle this summer), a Pulp Fiction secret revealed, and more.  

Next, we talk about finding and collecting stories in your everyday life using "Homework for Life." We talk about the C-A-B-C format for storytelling and how it can be applied to a simple moment with a father and son. 

Next we listen to Christina Fedolfi's story about mishaps and adventures while preparing for a big bike race. 

After listening, we discuss:

  1. The effective use of humor in this story in particular 

  2. The B-A b-C format for storytelling 

  3. Creating a mental schema to assist an audience

  4. The power of setting a scene at all times

  5. Ways to improve and enhance a moment of surprise

Next, we answer questions about storytelling and Homework for Life with children, the gender gap in storytelling, and remembering the details in Homework for Life for the future. 

Finally, we each offer a recommendation.  

LINKS

New York City Public Library appearance registration

What Was Inside the Glowing Briefcase in Pulp Fiction:
https://bit.ly/2V5AZFs

Momento app: momentoapp.com

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

RECOMMEDATIONS

Elysha:

Matt

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Speak Up Storytelling: Erica Donahue

On episode #28 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Matthew and Elysha Dicks talk storytelling!

In our followup segment, we talk about upcoming Speak Up events, offer insight on Tasmanian Devils, respond to some listener emails about PTSD, and apologize for failing to record a new episode last week.  

Next, we talk about finding and collecting stories in your everyday life using "Homework for Life." We talk about the value of finding "worsts" in your life, then we talk about how to apply perspective to your Homework for Life in an effort to find more stories. 

Next we listen to Erica Donahue's story about attending college in rural Virginia as a fish out of water.

After listening, we discuss:

  1. The effective use of details in a story

  2. The broadening of stakes

  3. The power of contrast

  4. The avoiding of thesis statements

  5. The value of the slow reveal

Next, we answer questions about effective transitions and how and when to tell stories involving trauma. 

Finally, we each offer a recommendation.  

LINKS

New York City Public Library appearance registration

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

Your geographic opposite: 
www.antipodesmap.com

This Is Going to Suck:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3J4Q5c1C1w

RECOMMEDATIONS

Elysha:

Matt:

Speak Up Storytelling #4: Sam Carley [rebroadcast]

The combination of Hanukah and an injury (happily not too serious) to our son's foot has made it impossible to record a new episode for you this week, so please enjoy this rebroadcast of one of our most popular episodes ever.

Elysha and I will be back next week with a brand new episode. 

_____________________________________

On episode #4 of Speak Up Storytelling, Elysha and I talk storytelling!

We talk about about finding excellent stories in your everyday life using my strategy "Homework for Life" and the importance of transformation in storytelling. 

Then we listen to Sam Carley's story about a challenging bus ride through an Indian desert with the possible girl of his dreams, followed by commentary and critique, including:

  1. The ideal arc of a story

  2. Describing human beings in stories

  3. Limiting unnecessary description

  4. Advancing time in a story

Next, we answer listener questions and offer recommendations.  

LINKS

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Speak Up storytelling: http://speakupstorytelling.com

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

RECOMMENDATIONS

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy:
https://www.netflix.com/title/80160037

Evernote:
https://evernote.com

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Speak Up Storytelling: Kathy Binder

On episode #27 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Matthew and Elysha Dicks talk storytelling alongside storyteller Kathy Binder. 

In our followup segment, we talk about upcoming Speak Up events, respond to listener comments, and offer another shout-out to our fans down under. 

Next, we talk about finding and collecting stories in your everyday life using "Homework for Life." We talk about a single word (spoken on episode #26 of this podcast) can amount to a Homework for Life moment, and how that might be used in a story (including how to frame the story)

Next we listen to Kathy Binder's story about breaking down on the Taconic Parkway on a frigid, winter night with a newborn. 

After listening, we discuss:

  1. The effective use of humor in storytelling

  2. The beauty if a story's imperfection

  3. Coincidence stories

  4. The preservation of surprise

  5. Maintaining important ideas throughout a story 

  6. Nervous as a part of public storytelling and speaking

  7. The importance of stating stakes early 

  8. Techniques for shortening stories

Next, we answer questions about hints to winning Moth and other competitive storytelling events and the responsibility of the storyteller and the audience. 

Finally, we each offer a recommendation.  

LINKS

New York City Public Library appearance registration

Homework for Life: https://bit.ly/2f9ZPne

Matthew Dicks's website: http://www.matthewdicks.com

Matthew Dicks's YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/matthewjohndicks 

Subscribe to Matthew Dicks's weekly newsletter: 
http://www.matthewdicks.com/matthewdicks-subscribe

The Robbery: https://bit.ly/2DWczc2

The Promise: https://bit.ly/2zGe4au

RECOMMEDATIONS

Elysha:

Matt:

Kathy Binder

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I’ll be speaking at the NYC Public Library Main Branch alongside storyteller Erin Barker… join us!

I’ll be appearing at the main branch of the New York City Library on Wednesday, December 26 alongside the great Erin Barker to talk about my book Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life Through the Power of Storytelling.

About the event:

We are always telling stories. In communicating with family and friends, we are constantly narrating events and interpreting our personal feelings and actions. We make choices about what to emphasize and what to gloss over. We tell stories to entertain, express ourselves, and make sense of the world. Elementary school teacher, author, and award-winning Moth storyteller Matthew Dicks believes everyone has a story to tell, and has tips and techniques for narrators of all stripes on constructing, telling, and polishing a tale. He will be in conversation with writer and editor Erin Barker, two-time winner of The Moth's GrandSLAM and the artistic director of science storytelling organization The Story Collider. 

The event is free, but register here to guarantee yourself a seat.

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Get Storyworthy for less than a dollar!

I am excited to announce that Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life Through the Power of Storytelling is being featured in a special 99-cent Autumn eBook Sale, which offers 12 amazing eBooks, from bestselling authors like Shakti Gawain, Don Miguel Ruiz Jr., HeatherAsh Amara, and more, for just 99-cents each (in the US only), from now until Thursday 11/15!

Order here! http://www.superbooksale.com

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Speak Up Storytelling: Jenny Steadman (with special guest Danielle Dnes)

On episode #25 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Matthew and Elysha Dicks are joined by storyteller Danielle Dnes to talk storytelling!

In our followup segment, we talk about upcoming Speak Up shows and messages received from around the world. 

Next, we talk about finding and collecting stories in your everyday life using "Homework for Life." Danielle recently reached the 100 day mark in her Homework for Life and shared it with Matt and Elysha. We poke through the 100 days to find some stories that Danielle didn't initially see upon first glance. 

Then we listen to Jenny Steadman's story about the pressures of playing golf with her grandfather and his pals. 

After listening, we discuss:

  1. Effective character and location descriptions

  2. Planting seeds early in a story that will sprout later

  3. The best way to repeat a laugh line throughout a story

  4. Pacing and pausing 

  5. "The curse of knowledge" in storytelling

Next, we answer questions about a storytelling improv game that we use in workshops and is detailed in Storyworthy. We even play a round to demonstrate. 

Finally, we each offer a recommendation.  

If you haven't rated or reviewed Speak Up Storytelling on Apple Podcasts, PLEASE do! Reviews and ratings help others find our show.

Speak Up Storytelling #24: Erin Barker

On episode #24 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Elysha Dicks and I talk storytelling!

In our followup segment, we talk about upcoming Speak Up shows and messages received from listeners from around the world. 

Next, we talk about finding and collecting stories in your everyday life using "Homework for Life." We talk about the value of preserving memories for future storytelling but also because throwing away memories is something we all do every day but inevitably regret later on.  

Then we listen to Erin Barker's story about finding her love for learning thanks to a man with an axe. Erin is a two-time Moth GrandSLAM champion and the Artistic Director of The Story Collider whose stories have been featured on PRX's The Moth Radio Hour and in The New York Times-bestselling book The Moth: 50 True Stories.

After listening to Erin’s story, we discuss:

  1. The effectiveness of a clear story arc

  2. The difference between a funny story and a funny story with real heart and meaning

  3. The humor of specificity

  4. The power and inherent strength demonstrated in authentic, honest self-deprecation 

  5. Embedding learning within a story

  6. Chekov's gun 

Next, we answer questions about starting stories with the word "So" and the economics of storytelling. 

Finally, Elysha and I each offer a recommendation.  

If you haven't rated or reviewed Speak Up Storytelling on Apple Podcasts, PLEASE do! Reviews and ratings help others find our show.

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Speak Up Storytelling #23: Laura Terranova

On episode #23 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast, Elysha Dicks and I talk storytelling!

In our followup segment, we discuss a brand new rule for The Moth's StorySLAM series. We also talk about why storytelling is a superpower and the many doors that being an effective communicator can open for you. 

Next, we talk about finding and collecting stories in your everyday life using "Homework for Life." We discuss the possibility of incorporating Homework for Life into a daily to-do list, discuss Homework for Life advice from a listener, learn how a child is now doing Homework for Life, and review how a moment that didn't seem like much initially might be storyworthy after all. 

Then we listen to Laura Terranova's story about finding herself in a hospital bed, unable to communicate to the outside world.

After listening, we discuss:

  1. Elements of an effective beginning

  2. Outstanding transition strategies

  3. Character building throughout a story

  4. Elements of an effective ending 

  5. The power of a name in storytelling

Next, we answer questions about the dangers of dominating conversations when you have many stories to tell and how to handle the moment when you thought you were funny but the audience did not. 

Finally, we each offer a recommendation. 

If you haven't rated or reviewed Speak Up Storytelling on Apple Podcasts, PLEASE do! Reviews and ratings help others find our show.

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Many jobs with one important thing in common

It's been a strange and busy weekend for me.

On Friday night, my wife Elysha and I produced an unforgettable Speak Up storytelling event at Infinity Hall in Hartford. Our near-sellout audience enjoyed what might have been our best show ever, headlined by United States Senator Chris Murphy who told a fantastic story about an embarrassing moment he experienced while serving as an intern for Senator Chris Dodd. 

In addition to producing the show, I told a brand new story about one of my most embarrassing and shameful parenting moments ever.

On Saturday my DJ partner, Bengi, and I worked our last wedding of 2018 at the Webb Barn in Wethersfield. I coordinated their ceremony and reception, served as emcee for much of the evening, and played music for a bunch of happy and excited guests.  

On Sunday I traveled to Groton, MA to serve as minister at the First Parish Church of Groton while their full time minister was on vacation. In addition to delivering a sermon on faith, I also delivered a children's sermon, read poems and prayers (one that I wrote myself) from the pulpit, led the congregation in song, and even pulled the enormous cord that rang the church's famed Paul Revere bell, calling all to the service. 

I did everything a minister would do with a little help from the worship coordinator and musical director.

After lunch with the parishioners, I taught a storytelling workshop to interested members and some folks from the community before heading home and discovering that the DVR failed to record the Patriots game.

Quite the weekend. 

It seems like an bizarre combination of roles to jam into a three day period - storyteller, producer, wedding DJ, minister, teacher - but in truth, all of these roles rely on the ability to communicate effectively to a large group of people. The jobs may have been different, but in each case, the skill set required was essentially the same.

Speak. Connect. Engage. Entertain.  

I say in the last chapter of my book, Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life Through the Power of Storytelling, that storytelling is a super power, and I wasn't kidding. Being able to tell a good story and engage an audience can open up all kinds of doors for you.

It can be the difference between being heard and remaining silent.

This weekend it meant sharing a stage with a US Senator, dancing the night away with a couple on their wedding day, and climbing the pulpit to tell a story and deliver a message on the age old struggle for faith.  

I was also able to help six other storytellers tell their best stories on their biggest stage of their lives and teach a group of folks in a church basement how to begin their own journey into storytelling.

Learn to tell great stories. It truly is a super power. You never know what doors it may open for you.

Speak Up Storytelling #22: Q&A catch-up

Episode #22 of the Speak Up Storytelling podcast is now available for your listening pleasure. On this week’s episode, Elysha Dicks and I talk about finding excellent stories in your everyday life using my strategy "Homework for Life." We discuss how a moment can not only be storyworthy for the stage but might be useful in many other contexts in life.  

Next, we break format. Rather than listening to a story and critiquing, we decided to clear out the mailbox by dedicating this episode to listener questions.

We answer questions about:

  1. Telling other people's stories

  2. Storytelling etiquette

  3. Homework for Life best practices

  4. The verbal detritus than can sometimes accompany storytelling

  5. The importance of stories being relatable

Then we end the podcast from a remarkable clip from a popular Netflix series. 

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