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Public Speaking and Visual Presentations

Youth learn critical oral communication skills through the 4-H Visual Presentations program. These skills are necessary for youth to be successful in school and later on when they enter the workforce. The 4-H program is unique in its emphasis on teaching youth these skills as well as providing the opportunity for them to showcase their skills and abilities at county, regional and state events.

Results of a recent evaluation of the 4-H Visual Presentation program showed that parents of children participating reported the following:

  • 91% felt that their children exhibited more overall confidence.
  • 56% believed that their children were more organized in school.
  • 76% believed that this program would help their children succeed in college.

“Cloverbud” members, ages 5 through 7, are encouraged to give a Visual Presentation at the county or regional event but will not be competitively judged. Members age 8 through 18 are judged using the Danish system of judging where each participant is evaluated against a specific set of criteria and awarded a blue (excellent), red (very good) or white (good) ribbon. These are not placement ribbons and any number of each ribbon may be given out.

Preparation for Visual Presentations begins at the club level where 4-H leaders and experienced club members assist youth in preparing their Visual Presentations. Here is a typical time-line:

  • Late fall/early winter: members select a topic and begin to prepare.
  • Winter: members practice their presentations at their club meetings and receive
    feedback to help them improve.
  • Spring: County/Regional and State Visual Presentation events are held.

State Visual Presentation Day is the culmination of all of the oral communication activities for the year. Youth must first compete in a county or regional competition to qualify. Competition exists in the following categories for enrolled 4-H members, ages 8-18:

  • Visual Presentations (ages 8-18).
  • Public Speaking (ages 14-18).
  • Extemporaneous Speaking (ages 14-18).

The Categories:

The Visual Presentation Category List names all the categories that members may present in.  Members need the category name and number to register for their Visual Presentation.  This also includes important guidelines for Visual Presentations.

A Visual Presentation is an illustrated talk or demonstration. Refer to the following for more information:

A Public Speech is done without any visual aids. The purpose of a public speech is to inform, persuade, motivate or entertain. Refer to the following for more information:

An Extemporaneous Speech is done without any advanced preparation. These speeches may be done with or without assigned props. Refer to the following for more information:

Additional information:

  • Additional information for those who received a Big E Quality Award (ribbon) will be sent out.

For more information or additional communication resources, contact your local 4-H office.