However, it is necessary when we start school, get into our career, volunteer in organizations, or get active in our churches … we typically find ourselves up in front of a group. If you have had experience in front of a group through your childhood, you typically feel more comfortable speaking in front of a group. Many people attribute their success in their job to the experiences they had in the 4-H public speaking program. Public speaking is one of Americans’ biggest fears. 4-H gives youth a chance to conquer this fear at a young age by giving them public speaking experience through the speech and demonstration program. By the end of the program, some of the shyest youth can feel the accomplishment of conquering this fear. Upon learning public speaking skills while they are young, youth will have the confidence, organizational skills and composure to become the influential leaders of tomorrow.
The Logan County 4-H Communication’s Night is coming up on March 15th. Communication’s Night is an event, open to any youth in Logan County age 9-19, interested in giving a speech or presenting a demonstration. The deadline to register for the contest is March 10th. There will also be a speech and demonstration workshop held here at the office on February 22nd at 5:30 pm. This workshop is open to anyone wishing to give a speech or demonstration and will provide some tips and practice planning, writing and giving your speech. Please call the office to sign up for the workshop.
The speech or demonstration is evaluated by a panel of judges and winners are selected from the many different categories offered. Each winner is then able to move on and participate in the area contest held in April. From there, youth may move on to the state contest held each year in July on the University of Kentucky campus. Anyone interested in giving a speech or demonstration for the communication’s night here in Russellville should call the Logan County Extension Service at 270-726-6323 to sign up or email email@example.com.
There is no cost to compete, you do not have to be a current 4-H member, and it’s sure to be a good time.
Basically youth may choose to compete in the speech or demonstration contest, or may compete in both events. A speech is open to any topic you can imagine. Speeches given should last between 3 and 7 minutes, depending on your age. A demonstration is different in that you are showing someone how to do something. Demonstrations have certain topics to choose from in many different areas, but are generally considered easier to give. A demonstration allows you to use props to "demonstrate" something to your audience. There are project books for both speeches and demonstrations here at the Extension Office which may be picked up at anytime at no cost. You can also get a complete copy of the rules for both the speech and demonstration contest. These books offer great tips and help you learn the many skills to become successful speaking in public.
No previous speaking or demonstration experience is necessary to participate. The only requirement is that youth are willing to give something new a try. Youth as young as nine and as old as 19 can participate in the program. The possibilities for topics are limitless and can range from how to make bread to how to take quality photographs to how to care for animals. When choosing a topic, youth should pick one they are interested in and know a little bit about. They should also make sure information can easily be found on the topic.
Once deciding on a topic, youth should gather and organize information about the topic. They should think of a way to creatively grab the audience’s attention, and then lead the audience through the step-by-step process of the project. Making an outline of the process helps organize the information. Youth should also determine what type of visuals and materials they will need to effectively present the topic. It is important for youth to practice their speech by presenting it in front of family members or friends. Practicing helps youth feel more confident and prepared for when they present the topic to their audience. When they present their project to their audience, the youth’s attire should connect to their topic.
Speaking in front of a large group or only a few individuals with ease gives people a sense of belonging and the opportunity to bond with other youth and adults. Many doors are opened in terms of personal friendships and professional advancement. A broad range of communications expertise is a vital skill for today’s youth and tomorrow’s adults. 4-H Youth Development helps youth improve their quality of speech and association with others whether one-on-one in a job interview or a keynote address in a banquet hall.
Public speaking is definitely a life lesson every student can benefit from.