1. Find your 5-second moment 

All great stories tell the story of a 5-second moment. And the purpose of a story is to bring that moment to the greatest clarity possible.


Your 5-second moment should be a realization about something in your life. 


EX: In Raiders of the Lost Ark… The 5-second moment is when Indiana Jones finds faith when he needs it most. It’s a story about a scientist who finds God.

Start opposite of the end. 


  1. Start opposite of the end.

Once you have your 5-second moment, ask yourself: “What’s the opposite of that moment?” The beginning of your story should be the opposite of the end


This is what creates an arc in your story. 

EX: • I once was X, but now I am Y. • I once thought A, but now I think B. • I once felt 1, but now I feel 2. Stories must reflect change over time.


  1. Raise the stakes

Stakes are the reason people lean in when you speak. 

  • What does the main character want? 
  • What is at stake? 
  • What’s the obstacle/challenge? 

Surprise your reader. Take them down one path – then suddenly change directions.  Humor is an excellent way of holding your audience’s attention. But remember – your goal isn’t to be funny… it’s to move your audience emotionally. 


  1. Use humor 

When to use humor: • In the 1st 30 sec • Right before you make them cry • After an incident (to break the tension)

  1. Ethically lie 

Only lie if it benefits the audience (not you). 


Here are four permissible lies: 

  • Omission: Take irrelevant details
  • Compression: Pull periods of time together 
  • Assumption: Make assumptions about tiny details 
  • Progression: Change the order of events for the story arc
  1. Create zig zags

Don’t use “and”. Use “but” and “therefore”…

I loved Katie since sixth grade. She was never my girlfriend. 

I have loved Katie since sixth grade, but as much as I loved her, she was never mine. 


See the difference?


  1. Relatability is key

The best stories aren’t about big moments. They’re about small, relatable moments. • Walking with your dog • Eating breakfast with your daughter • Reuniting with your childhood friend


“The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller.” To master the art of storytelling – start here: “Storyworthy” by Matthew Dicks




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