The Dad Mindset
The Dad Mindset Show
The Power of Good Storytelling

The Power of Good Storytelling

...and how it can make you a better parent

Best-selling author, teacher and award-winning storyteller, Matthew Dicks, has a unique skill for turning everyday moments into captivating tales. In this episode you’ll learn techniques to become a better storyteller, engage more with your kids, and slow down time (no, that’s not a typo).

‘Homework for life’ is the practice Matthew built up for creating story prompts for competing in storytelling competitions. Over time he realised this practice had so much more value though.

The idea is pretty simple, everyday you write down a single thing that happened that day that you think is noteworthy and that you’d like to remember.

From a parenting perspective, it could be anytime your kids say something that you want to hold onto forever or something your kids do for the first time, or the last time.

We all see these moments and think we’ll remember, but we forget most of them and this is why Matthew believes that this process will make it feel like time is not flying by. At the end of each year, instead of just remembering the 20 or 30 moments you normally would, you’ll have hundreds.

Keeping it short and easy is key, Matthew just has a simple spreadsheet with a column of dates and a column of one-line thoughts. I think this is genius because it’s easy enough to commit to, but it’s also effortless to scan over the list and recap hundreds of days in a glance—unlike a diary.

‘First, Last, Best and Worst’ is a game you can play in the car with your kids where someone suggests a word prompt and you tell a story from either the first, last, best or worst time that includes that word.

Another game like this is 3-2-1, where you get three word prompts, take a minute to think of a story and then tell a story involving that word for no more than 2 minutes.

These stories don’t have to be special, but you’ll find that you and your kids will share more with each other than you ever would have ordinarily.

To become a better storyteller Matthew’s advise is:

  1. Always start with location and action

  2. When you are surprised, your audience should be surprised. Don’t give the surprise away at the start

  3. Storytelling is good decision making.

If you say “I’m walking through a forest” people know you’re telling a story, which is one of the ways to get people to listen to you.

Also, don’t begin your stories by summarising what happens, it spoils the surprise. Think carefully about the point at which you were suprised and make sure that you keep that information hidden from your audience until to get to that point in the story.

If you're keen to learn more I cannot recommend Matt’s book, Storyworthy enough, it’s amazing!

Also, check our Matthew’s website for more about his other books, and YouTube to experience some of his storytelling on stage and learn more about storytelling.

Big hug


P.S. is the site Matt recommends if you want to randomise word prompt generation.

The Dad Mindset
The Dad Mindset Show
Hi, I’m Rich Bolus.
Join me as I explore insights from parents and experts as I apply a growth mindset to parenting.