Benefits of Public Speaking

When one hears about 4-H, images of livestock and agricultural projects often come to mind. While livestock projects are a large part of what 4-H is about, there are other areas that is a transformative experience within 4-H projects that deserves the spotlight. Many studies have shown that public speaking is ranked as one of the top fears of adults.  Within the 4-H program, public speaking skills are encouraged within club meetings and opportunities are offered for 4-H members to compete, which provides a wealth of benefits beyond the barn.

Confidence Building

Speaking in front of a group of people can be nerve wracking. However, the more opportunities youth have to combat that fear in childhood can reduce the fear they might have as an adult. In 4-H, members do a club demonstration and are encouraged to participate in County Events Day which includes demonstrations, illustrated talks, speeches, and a talent show. Over the years, I have witnessed youth overcome their fear, gaining confidence each year they participate.

Enhancing Communication

Through public speaking, 4-H members learn many valuable life skills that will enhance communication. These life skills include the ability to organize ideas, use props, engage people through interaction, and articulate their ideas. These skills are essential not only for public speaking but also day-to-day interactions.

Promoting Leadership

Leadership is another focus within 4-H. Public speaking helps future leaders develop skills to have a presence within a group. As 4-H youth participate in public speaking, they are more equipped to assume leadership roles as adults. Whether they are delivering a speech for a competition, advocating for a cause, or speaking to community members about their projects they are actively exercising leadership in action. Through public speaking opportunities, youth will learn to inspire and motivate others which is essential for leaders in any field.

4-H Public Speaking Opportunities

4-H provides many opportunities to speak in front of a group. 4-H Community Clubs require 4-H members to give project demonstrations and County Events Day is an opportunity for youth to give their project demonstrations to community members. Another opportunity that Lake County 4-H provides to Lake County Public Schools include the 4-H Public Speaking Contest. Each school is provided materials and awards for their classroom and school. The winners of each school move to the county contest. In the 2023-2024 school year, over 5,000 students participated in the program.

While livestock and agricultural projects a large part of the 4-H experience, public speaking should not be overlooked. Youth who participate in public speaking build confidence and enhance communication skills that promote leadership skills. By embracing public speaking as a core component of the 4-H, we can ensure that young participants are equipped with the skills, confidence, and passion needed to thrive.


Posted: March 22, 2024

Category: 4-H & Youth
Tags: 4-H

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