Gunn inspires future orators

Jason Gunn showed the power of a good yarn in Balclutha last week. PHOTO: OLIVIA FORBES
Jason Gunn showed the power of a good yarn in Balclutha last week. PHOTO: OLIVIA FORBES
Jason Gunn proved the power of good story-telling, at Clutha District Community Centre (TPŌMA) last week.

About 130 people, including those from community groups and organisations, attended the free presentation by one of New Zealand’s best-known raconteurs.

"The Gunns all begun down here in the South and my cousin was a teacher at Romahapa School," Gunn said.

"When I first started in television and needed a break I used to come and stay with her most school holidays, so it’s like coming home."

He kept his audience engaged for almost two hours with stories and tips on how to be trustworthy, confident and memorable throughout many people’s greatest fear: public speaking.

"Don’t become a ‘character’, just be you.

"Graphs and facts and figures are forgettable but a real story that illustrates them will be remembered because it reassures with authenticity and empathy.

"So prepare and plan those real stories and practise telling them."

Gunn’s appearance was organised by Otago South Rivercare (OSR), and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

"We had Jason here at the Balclutha Town & Country Club last year and he was very well received," OSR chairman Simon Davies said.

"Farmers in particular are under a lot of pressure.

"We felt if they could explain what they do, how difficult and important it is and tell their own stories better, it would go a long way to helping people understand and appreciate farmers better.

"[Jason Gunn] is an expert in explaining how important that is and how to do it.

"This new venue seemed to offer an ideal opportunity to invite him back, and word spread and we’re very pleased at the growing number that came to see him."

Gunn praised the TPŌMA facilities and staff, and said he was as enthusiastic about returning to Balclutha as were the audience members who joined him for refreshments afterward.