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Last minute tips for Thursday's 4-H Speech Contest

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By The Staff

4-H members, hopefully you are all registered to participate in the 4-H Talk Meet on Thursday, Dec. 13. If you still haven't registered, call the Extension Office as soon as possible to sign up. Plan to arrive at Taylor County Middle School around 6:15 p.m. to check in and receive your room assignment. The competition will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m.

I would like to offer a few last minute tips for contestants:

—Dress appropriately for the competition. It always helps to look nice and neat.

u Think positively.

— Practice your speech a few times before you leave for the competition.

— Make sure your speech meets the time requirements (3-5 minutes for junior 4-H members and 5-7 minutes for senior 4-H members).

— Be certain your speech includes an introduction, body and conclusion.

— If you are using note cards, double check to make sure they are in the right order before you walk up to present your speech.

— The use of note cards is optional.

— No visual aids are allowed.

— Your speech should be informative or persuasive, not a demonstration.

— Take a deep breath before beginning your speech.

— Smile at your audience.

— If you are introduced, there is no need to state your name and the title of your speech.

— If you make a mistake, go on without pointing out your mistake.

— Speak loud enough so that everyone in the room can clearly hear you.

— Be careful not to talk too fast.

— Use hand gestures when they are appropriate.

— Make lots of eye contact with the audience; try not to simply read your speech.

— Be confident in delivering your speech.

— It is OK to be a little nervous, but don't let your nervousness interfere with your speech.

— Emphasize important words and parts of your speech.

— Pause for emphasis, when needed.

— When you finish your speech, smile and be seated.

— Listen to other contestants' speeches and try to learn from them.

— Be supportive and applaud for other contestants.

— Before leaving the room, thank the judges for their time and attention.

— Be proud of how you did, but keep in mind to work to improve for next year or for the area competition if you are chosen as a county age division winner.

— Congratulate winners and compliment other contestants on things they did well in their speech.

I wish you the best of luck in presenting your speech. Remember to smile and have a good time. If you are enjoying yourself, your audience will enjoy listening to you. Be confident, you will do a great job.

I am in need of adults to serve as judges and room hosts. If you are interested and available on Dec. 13, contact me at the Extension Office at 465-4511.

The 4-H Talk Meet Competition is a great experience for 4-H members. It gives them the opportunity to learn to prepare and present a speech in front of a group. Public speaking has been noted as one of the things that are feared by many people. If 4-H members start preparing now, then in a few years, presenting a speech for their career will not seem like a big deal.