How to Write a 4H Speech


Many kids get their first public speaking experience through the 4-H Public Presentations program. Participants write and deliver a short speech, usually on how to do something. The speeches are judged on content and delivery.

Writing your first speech may seem daunting, and it's hard to know where to start. But it won't be nearly as difficult as it seems if you work methodically and focus on one step at a time.

Pick the topic of your speech. It's best to choose a topic with which you are already familiar; both writing and delivering your speech will be easier if you know what you're talking about. Make sure the topic is narrow enough that you can cover it within the time limit.

Write an outline of your speech. If you're giving a demonstration or a how-to talk, just break it down into separate steps. For example, a demonstration on how to make a smoothie would have steps like gathering ingredients, chopping fruit, mixing, etc. Breaking your speech into sections makes it easier to write and easier for the audience to follow.

Prepare the body of your speech, section by section. You don't have to write it out word for word. In fact, most speakers recommend against doing so. But at least figure out generally what you're going to say for each section. (Preparing the body first makes it much easier to prepare your introduction and closing.)

Prepare your introduction. Make sure to introduce yourself, introduce your topic by explaining why you chose it and why it matters, and give the outline of what you'll be talking about in the body of your speech.

Prepare your closing. Summarize what you told the audience and remind them why they should care. Don't forget to ask for questions.

Practice your speech in front of someone. Your speech won't be perfect the first time, so ask your audience to take notes on things that confuse them or about which they have questions. Also, make sure your speech fits within the time limits.

Revise your speech to take care of any problems you find while practicing. You may want to do another practice if you make significant changes to your speech.

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