One of the foundations of 4-H is learning and practicing how to give presentations and speaking in public. From the California 4-H website:

A presentation is a method used to communicate an idea by showing and/or telling. It can be a demonstration or a talk that uses posters and other visual aids. Public speaking skills are ranked number one among the skill sets of professionals. More information about: Public Speaking


Public speaking is one of the most important skills adults will need in their working life, and opportunities for speaking in public can be far and few between for most kids. California 4-H has a Presentation Manual with descriptions of all the different kinds of presentations that a 4-H member can choose to give, but here is a short list of the possibilities:

  1. Demonstration – a member can demonstrate a recipe, how to fix a toaster, or anything they can think of.
  2. Illustrated Talk – this is the classic talk (5-15 minutes depending on age) with posters for visual aids.
  3. Educational Display – this isn’t a talk, but presenting a topic on a tri-fold. Members will have to be present to answer questions from the judges, but they don’t have to give a prepared talk.
  4. Impromptu Speech – members are given a topic about 10 minutes before judging to prepare an impromptu speech.
  5. Interpretive Reading – this one is great for younger and more nervous members, since it is reading a favorite poem or a selection from a favorite book.
  6. Prepared Speech – give a speech without any visual aids.
  7. Problem Solving – this could also be called argumentative speech, or selecting a side of a controversial topic and presenting your evidence in an argument. Topics have included lowering the voting age and compulsory military service.
  8. Audio Visual -(Does not include demonstrations that use Powerpoint) – this is usually a film, prepared in advance on a desired topic. This is also great for younger and more nervous members, since they are only required to introduce their film and then answer any questions from the judges after the film is finished.
  9. Share-the-Fun – this is a wide-ranging category, but in general, it is usually a group of 4-H members putting on a skit, or sharing a performance of some kind. Because it is a group category, it can be good for first-time presenters.
  10. Cultural Arts – similar to “Share the Fun”, but with the focus on a cultural performance, like dance, or a skit.

More information here on the California 4-H Presentation page.

It is also a good idea to look through the Presentation Manual: