Public Speaking Guidelines — Washington County

4-H County & State Public Speaking Tournaments

Public Speaking Guidelines — Washington County (PDF)

Please read carefully!
(Updated November 1, 2015)


  • Demonstration: A 4-H youth shows how to do something, while telling how it’s done. A demonstration is a “show how” and “tell how” presentation.
  • Illustrated Talk: A 4-H youth gives information about a subject and uses visuals to explain the topic, describing how to groom a steer, showing the life cycle of a butterfly, or sharing about a family trip would all be examples of this type of presentation.
  • Team Demonstration or Team Illustrated Talk: As above, limit of two team members. Each team’s members (limit of two) must be from the same age division.


All ages based on the age of the 4-H youth as of December 31.

  • Cloverbuds (ages 5 to 8): May participate in any public speaking category (listed above) at the club level for the experience. They may participate in the County Public Speaking Tournament, but not the State Tournament. They will not be judged, but they will receive helpful hints and gain much from the experience. Cloverbuds receive participation ribbons.
  • Juniors (ages 9 to 13)
  • Seniors (ages 14 to 18)


Official time keepers will deduct two points from the overall score if the presentation runs over/under the allotted time. The County and/or State Tournament chairperson has the right to stop a presentation that has exceeded the time limit.

  • Cloverbuds: 3-5 minutes in length
  • Juniors: 3-8 minutes in length
  • Seniors: 5-10 minutes in length


In order for youth to have their presentations at their best, encourage them to pick out their topics and presentation type in December. They should prepare and practice their presentations in January. It is suggested that 4-H members compete in a Club or School Public Speaking Tournament in February. Each club or school selects delegates to send to the County Public Speaking Tournament. If your county holds a County 4-H Public Speaking Tournament, Club, School & Independent delegate names must be given to the County Extension Office by February 22 in order to participate in the County Tournament. Include each youth’s name, 4-H age, club name, title of demonstration or illustrated talk, and whether it will be an individual or team presentation.

The Washington County Public Speaking Tournament will be held on March 5th (snow date March 26th) at the University of Maine at Machias.

Presentations will be judged based on the Danish System – see Evaluation Worksheet for more details on this.


All youth in the junior and senior divisions (ages 9 to 18 in 4-H years) participating in a County Public Speaking Tournament – or as viewed and judged by their individual County Extension Office if no County Tournament is available – and receiving an average score of 69 or higher, are invited to compete at the State Public Speaking Tournament. The State Tournament will be held on April 9th at the University of Maine at Orono. Names of youth from participating counties must be given to Joyce Fortier, in the Hancock County Extension Office, by March 28th, 2016 in order to participate in the State Tournament. Please have your County Extension office contact Joyce at or at 207-667-8212 with youth information. Be sure to include each youth’s name, 4-H age, 4-H affiliation name (club, group, school, etc.), title of demonstration or illustrated talk, whether it will be an individual or team presentation, and contact information.



  • A white POSTER done by the 4-H youth for the demonstration is required. Use bold black State the ingredients or supplies needed plus state the source. It should not list the steps used to complete the demonstration. Size is at the discretion of the youth, but should not exceed one full posterboard.
  • TITLE POSTER is optional. Color, cut outs or drawings may enhance the page. If you choose to include a title poster, it may be a separate board or you may put it on the back side of the required poster.

Illustrated Talks

  • Must use visuals that enhance the presentation. These may include posters, objects, costumes, slide shows, hand outs, PowerPoint presentations and more.


  • Live animals are not permitted.
  • All presentations should promote or identify 4-H in some way, such as on posters, flags, tablecloth, or mentioned in oral presentation.
  • Please note that, while youth may have assistance from other 4-H youth, parents and other adults are not allowed to help in any way. Youth may, and are encouraged, to ask other 4-Hers to help them if they need any assistance. Two points will be deducted from the overall score if there is adult participation in a presentation or the set up of a presentation. The exception to this would be if there is an adult assigned to help with technology set-up for computer presentations.


These guidelines, evaluation sheets, specific guidelines on preparing 4-H illustrated talks and demonstrations — including specific details for cooking demonstrations, and other materials are available at your County Extension Office or at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension website, where you can also find sample demonstration and illustrated talk videos.

For more information, or if you have any questions, call your County Extension Office or contact Lisa Reilich, 4-H Youth Development Professional for Hancock and Washington Counties and Chair of the Maine 4-H Public Speaking Committee:

Office: 207.667.8212 or 800.287.1479 (in Maine)
Cell: 207.598.6621

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