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Public Speaking: 4-H Member Manual

Public Speaking: 4-H Member Manual

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Bulletin includes: purpose and activities, speech preparation, speech writing, tips on delivering your speech, where to give your speech, a rate-yourself checklist.
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The shakers and movers of this world are the men and women who get their ideas across convincingly. Seldom do we accomplish anything alone.

One must know how to ask for things, how to explain things, and how to speak persuasively enough to win the active support of others. Resourcefulness and adaptability in speech may be regarded as essential to success in every occupation.

Purpose and Objectives

The 4-H Public Speaking Program provides opportuni­ties for 4-H’ers to learn skills in articulating a message. The objectives are to:

  • Develop leadership talents and work toward charac­ter development and effective citizenship;
  • Recognize the value of obtaining all available infor­mation on a given topic;
  • Encourage careful organization of materials to be presented;
  • Develop a pleasing personal appearance before an audience;
  • Acquire the ability to speak convincingly in public.

Preparing a Speech

Select a Topic

To give a talk, you must have something to say. The ideas that can be generated from your own experiences are endless. The following examples are just a few of the many topics you might discuss in your speech:

  • Youth and Adults as Partners
  • The Environment—A Delicate Balance in the New Millenium
  • Human Rights Are Still an Issue
  • What Does 4-H Mean to Me?
  • What Is Teen Leadership?
  • The 4-H Club as a Microcosm of Society
  • Youth’s Role in Community Action
  • Building Bridges to International Understanding
  • Love and Work Are Four-Letter Words
  • 4-H Projects of Interest to Urban Youth
  • Alcohol and Drugs—A Problem for Teens

When you select a topic, focus on a main idea or theme. Build your speech around this focal point. Don’t try to cover too broad a subject.

Research and Know Your Topic

Once you decide on a topic, spend some time just writing down any thoughts that come to mind. Do this quickly without thinking much about each individual idea.

You can write your speech from these many thoughts, but you must present them logically (in some order). However, you can make your talk more interesting by gathering information from a variety of sources. Draw on your own experiences, and talk to your teachers, other 4-H members, and leaders. Also, read textbooks, newspapers, magazines, or visit Web sites on the Inter­net to research current events that might tie into your speech. Be current.

Organizing Your Notes

Now you are ready to organize your speech. You should organize your talk in three main parts.

Introduction—Attract attention with a quotation, poem, joke, or a startling question or statement of fact. Those first few words count! Spark the interest of your audience and they will stay with you throughout your presentation. State the purpose of your speech and what you hope to accomplish. In other words, these suggestions are means for you to introduce your speech.

Body—The body is the meat of your talk. There are several ways you can present information to your audi­ence. You might like to try one or more of the patterns described below.

  • Time pattern: arrange your talk historically around the past, present, and future.
  • Space sequence: arrange your talk geographically. For example, you might be interested in water pol­lution, and could trace it from its source as it moves downstream.
  • Problem-effect-solution: this approach is very effec­tive in speeches because your experiences tend to fall into these categories. For example, the oven was too hot, the biscuits burned, so the biscuits were fed to the birds. Arrange your talk by stating a problem, describing its effects, and suggesting ways to solve it.
  • Narrative sequence: in simple terms, tell your story from beginning to end

Remember—it’s your story, so be sure to put yourself into it.

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Copyright 2000 Washington State University

WSU Extension bulletins contain material written and produced for public distribution. Alternate formats of our educational materials are available upon request for persons with disabilities. Please contact Washington State University Extension for more information

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