Preparing 4-H Youth to be Tomorrow’s Leaders – Communication Skills Vol 3

Welcome to Volume 3 – you have your speech written and it’s time to add the touches needed to create the perfect presentation.

You now have to decide what type of communication category you want to enter: Demonstrations/Illustrated Talks or Public Speaking.  Do you want to use props, slide, posters, or just your voice.

Demonstrations are designed to show the audience how to do something.  If your topic is about making something and you collect all the supplies needed to make it happen.  When you are using packaged item remember to cover all manufacture logos.  You will have to decide if you will use traditional posters or presentation software (more key information to come on those two topics). For example, How to Make the Perfect Peanut Butter Sandwich would be a demonstration because you can show your audience how to create it.

The Illustrated Talk category is for topics that have visuals to support the learning process. For example, how to identify parts of a western saddle would be an illustrated talk.

Public Speaking, well that is strictly on the craft of speaking without the use of any props or visual presentations.

You may be asking yourself so what is secret sauce to creating effective presentation visuals.  If you plan to use traditional poster boards, you can use stencils or sticker lettering large enough to be visible by the audience.  Four-inch letters are easy to read from the audience. I know I know you are saying “I can’t fit many words on a poster with them being that large.”  Ding, Ding, Ding! We have a winner!  It is true.  You should pick key words to keep the flow of your demonstration.

For example:


Peanut Butter







  • Bread
  • Peanut Butter
  • Grape Jelly



If you will be using software to create a presentation, limit your words on each slide.  Follow the same idea as the posters.  Never use fonts less than 22. Use fonts that are easy to read. Only include relevant graphics.  Refrain from using distracting movement on the slides. Remember this is an aide to help you give the presentation, not the presentation itself.

The time has come to practice, practice, practice!!  It is recommended that you practice in front of many different people.  Start with you and a mirror, then a trusted adult or member.  Consider recording yourself and evaluating yourself.  Be sure to watch it without sound as well to see if there are any visual distractions.

If you are using notecards, reading from note cards can hinder eye contact and audience engagement. Instead, use them to help you remember key points.

Congratulations on conquering your fear of public speaking! It’s a great accomplishment that not everyone can achieve. You should be proud of yourself for taking the initiative to overcome your fear and improve your public speaking skills. Keep up the good work!

If you would like to join our 4-H youth members participating in educational programs and demonstrate the life skills of communication of knowledge gained in the program, call Amber Norris, Hillsborough County 4-H Extension Agent at 813-755-4419 x54116.

Stay tuned for the next volume of Preparing 4-H Youth to be Tomorrow’s Leaders.


Posted: February 9, 2024

Category: 4-H & Youth, , Clubs & Volunteers, Curriculum, Events, UF/IFAS Extension, UF/IFAS Teaching

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