4-H Prepares for Public Speaking

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You know the anxious feelings you get when you have to give a speech or presentation? Public speaking is the number one fear in America, but Robeson County youth will face that fear head on as they participate in the Robeson County 4-H County Activity Day. It’s a day for 4-H members to practice oral communication skills through public speaking and presentations. They have the opportunity to earn cash prizes, ribbons, and represent Robeson County at the District and State levels.

Public speaking is an important life skill for youth and adults. Presentations are important and are usually required in the classroom, college classes, and most professions. Adult volunteers and the 4-H staff work with 4-H members to improve their skills, build confidence, and prepare them for competition. It takes a lot of practice to become an effective speaker. All youth have the potential to become leaders. By overcoming the fear of public speaking, 4-H youth become effective leaders at an early age. The 4-H program creates opportunities for youth to not just learn about leadership but to practice it as well. Leadership roles exist at the local, county, state, and national levels.

Everyone gets nervous or anxious on some level when speaking. Some people experience sweaty palms, shaking hands or legs, upset stomach, and a variety of other symptoms. Even professional speakers experience some anxious moments before speaking. One of the best ways to overcome anxiety is to be well prepared by reading your notes over and over and practicing. If you make a mistake when delivering your speech, don’t apologize, because no one will ever know. Just continue with confidence like you never missed a beat.

All 4-H members can choose between public speaking or presentations. Public speaking is where 4-H members research, write, and deliver their own speech. The speakers may have notes but no props, visual aids, or help from the audience. Presentations are a demonstration, or show-and-tell speech, that utilize visual aids and props. Presenters must use a PowerPoint presentation or posters.

First and second place 4-H winners in county public speaking and presentations have the opportunity to compete against youth in the Southeast District, and the first and second place winners on the district level have the opportunity to compete on the state level at NC State University.

If you are not a 4-H member but would like to participate in County Activity Day, you may do so by becoming a member at large. This would allow you to participate in all 4-H activities. You will need to go to 4HOnline to complete the 4-H member enrollment.

If you like working with youth, sharing your talent or skill, and enjoy giving back to your community, Robeson County 4-H would be an excellent volunteer fit for you. Go to 4HOnline and complete the volunteer application.

For more information, contact Wendy Maynor, Extension 4-H Youth Development Program Associate, at 910-671-3276, by email at Wendy_Maynor@ncsu.edu, or visit our website.

NC State University and N.C. A&T State University are collectively committed to positive action to secure equal opportunity and prohibit discrimination and harassment regardless of age, color, disability, family and marital status, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, political beliefs, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, and veteran status. NC State, N.C. A&T, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.