County Events Series: How to Do a 4-H Demonstration or Illustrated Talk

We all know how to do something. From tying your shoes to making a cake, we all can tell someone step by step how to do a task.

That’s exactly what a 4-H demonstration is; demonstrating to an audience how to do something.

When making your own 4-H demonstration you want to think of something that you know well enough that you can teach to other people. Having the subject be related to your 4-H project is nice, but it isn’t required.

An illustrated talk is very similar to a demonstration, but you are speaking about a specific subject, not teaching a task.

To make your 4-H demonstration/illustrated talk you want to:

  • Have an introduction/hook to your presentation
  • Introduce yourself, age, years in 4-H and you can add how many demonstrations you have done
  • Tell them what you are going to tell them
  • Tell them
  • Tell them what you told them
  • Conclude your presentation
  • Ask if there are any questions

You want to speak loud and proud! You know your information, and if you forget something small, no one will notice but you!

The categories for demonstrations and illustrated talks are:

  • Animals
  • Citizenship and Leadership
  • Communication and Expressive Arts
  • Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Healthy Living
  • Nature and the Outdoors
  • Plants and Gardening
  • Science and Technology


Timing for Speeches

Juniors & Intermediates: 3-12 minutes and Seniors: 5-12 minutes. If you are under or over these times, points will be deducted.

Rules for Competition
  • District: Each county may enter all blue qualifying junior, intermediate, and senior individuals and all blue qualifying junior, intermediate, and senior teams. Counties reserve the option of working with red placing entries, to improve the entry to a blue level and qualify the entry for district competition.
  • State: Each district may enter all blue qualifying senior individuals and all blue qualifying senior teams in state level competition. Participants must meet a blue standard in district competition to qualify for state.
  • No living vertebrates may be brought to district or state level events
  • A team can be no more than 2 people
  • State entries must have competed at the county/district levels
  • Each presentation will be the same from district level to state level. A 4-H’er should definitely improve, but the presentation must remain basically the same.
  • Participants must provide all equipment and supplies for their presentations
  • The Demonstration/Illustrated Talk and Public Speaking competitions combine two forms of achievement and recognition for youth. These are:
    • Standards of Excellence established by experts (as defined by the scorecards). By measuring personal progress against standards of excellence, youth can gain insight into their own efforts and abilities.
    • Peer Competition, a panel of judges subjectively identifies, in a concrete time and place, the best teams or individuals through rankings. It is a strong motivator for some youth, but is inappropriate for youth under the age of eight.

Judging rubric

For a video of how to do a 4-H demonstration please click here.

Adapted from:


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Posted: January 18, 2018

Category: 4-H & Youth, Clubs & Volunteers

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