State 4-H Public Speaking Contest
Sept. 28, 2024
Youth compete in a communication category of their choice, alongside other Juniors (ages 8-10), Intermediates (ages 11-13) or Seniors (ages 14-18) in their age division. Youth may register in the appropriate age division according to their 4-H age (their age on December 31 of the program year). For intermediates and seniors, first place finishers from a previous State 4-H Public Speaking Contest may not compete in that same category a second time, until they advance to the next age division. Juniors do not have this restriction.
State 4-H Public Speaking Contest is open to all 4-H members. Members are not required to compete at the county or regional level in order to participate in the state contest.
Questions about the contest may be directed your local 4-H professional or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Speaking Contest is broken into five categories: Prepared, Extemporaneous, Technology Assisted, Interpretation, and Business Pitch. These categories each have three levels according to age: Junior, Intermediate, and Senior. You do not need to have previous experience in a category in order to participate.
This is the noble "traditional" category from past Missouri State 4-H Public Speaking Contests. Speeches may be on any topic of the participant's choice that are in good taste for a group of peers and adults.
When you give an extemporaneous speech at a public speaking contest, it will differ from a traditional ("prepared") public speech in that you will not plan the speech until shortly before you deliver it.
Technology assisted speeches are subject to the same rules and guidelines as prepared speeches but allow for the use of presentation software (such as PowerPoint). This is another 4-H experience with excellent workforce preparation benefits.
Interpretations are memorized performances that take place without music or other external sound effects. Interpretations may be dramatic or humorous in nature. Dramatic and humorous interpretations are considered a single category for the State 4-H Public Speaking Contest.
An oral interpretation of a serious selection of narrative or dramatic work. The source material may come from literature, a monologue, a theatrical production or poetry. This can be a great fit for youth in 4-H Theater Arts clubs!
A memorized oral interpretation of a humorous selection (or a humorous interpretation of an oral selection). Source material may come from plays, prose, literature, poetry, or other performance pieces.
A business pitch quickly generates interest and energetically demonstrates knowledge and persuasion to motivate the listener to reach a decision or act immediately on the information presented.
Examples may include:
- a "Shark Tank" TV show-style pitch by an entrepreneur about a 4-H-made product or service, or
- a sales presentation made to prospective buyers of a 4-H-raised animal or livestock project
Business pitch speeches follow the same rules and guidelines as prepared and technology assisted speeches. They allow for the use of presentation software (such as PowerPoint) by the speaker.