FarmTech '16 — Telling a Great Story — Terry O'Reilly

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Farmers are often urged to tell their story, to share their perspective on what happens on farms, but what does that look like? Most producers tend to enjoy growing crops and raising livestock — storytelling isn’t usually on the list of skills required to be a farmer.

Speaking at FarmTech in Edmonton on Tuesday, author and CBC radio host Terry O’Reilly shared some insight on how to tell engaging stories, pointing out humans naturally communicate through storytelling.

“As a species, it’s engrained in our DNA to want to listen to them and respond to them,” he explains to RealAg’s Shaun Haney in the video below.

To start you have to decide what you want to say.

“You have to distill it to its essence. Bad stories tell too many things,” explains O’Reilly.

A good story also needs structure — a beginning, a middle and an end, he says: “Most stories have a great beginning, lots of middle and no end. The end is the toughest thing to write.”

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Some farmers may avoid telling their story because they’re not looking for attention, but humbleness can make a story more engaging, he says.

“There’s nothing wrong with being humble. As a matter of fact, that’s very attractive,” he says. “Tell it from the heart, don’t give it too much polish. It should feel like a genuine story.”

O’Reilly talks about his favourite storytellers, the power of a pause and more on becoming a better storyteller:

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