I’ve been looking for a podcast like this one for a long time. I never knew what form it would come in or what shape it would look like, but here it is. I’m not a huge podcast listener. Outside of the first Serial, I’ve never had one where I anxiously await for the next week. Most of my podcast listening has been one offs from places like The Knowledge Project, This American Life, No Laying Up and suggestions from Stitcher.
I stumbled across Matthew Dicks, a 38-time Moth StorySLAM winner and 6-time GrandSLAM champ. Matthew and his wife, Elysha host a podcast titled: Speak Up Storytelling. The best way I can describe this podcast: it’s like College Gameday Meets Storytelling.
Elysha and Matt (and sometimes a guest) will analyze “game film” — or in this case, a 3-7 minute story told by a someone they know or discovered. Many of these stories come from The Moth community.
Matthew shares a few concepts that resonate well:
First, human beings change through micro-transformations. The aggregate of the small decisions we make lead to a change in culture or priorities or eventually major outcomes, however one wants to describe it. Stories around these micro-transformations are often the best because they are the most relatable.
Second, good storytelling takes incredible discipline and practice. So much so, Matthew advocates the dauntingly titled “Homework for Life” exercise. Which is fitting because he’s also a teacher. In reality, the homework is simple but still takes quality thought. The exercise revolves around taking a few moments to write down two to three sentences about what made your day different than all the other days you have lived. Some might view this as a journal. To me, a journal is more of a stream of consciousness, write what-is-on-your-mind exercise. Homework for Life revolves around the meaningful or memorable moments from your day. From these moments, great stories, or pieces of stories begin construction.
I just learned about the Speak Up Storytelling podcast but it’s by far and away my favorite. I’ve been doing Homework for Life for a few weeks now. After reviewing the sheet tonight, I can vividly remember each moment and context, where I was, and more from the few lines I wrote.
Am I better story teller? Not yet, but I’m putting the process in place for that skill to grow. As we all become content producers, whether it’s through Twitter, Instagram, or the dinner table, great story telling is a timeless skill worth crafting.
Give them a listen. Make sure you get to the story part of the podcast, and hear their analysis, it’s really well done.