child delivering a speech on stage

Through the 4-H Public Speaking Contest, youth have an opportunity to write a speech or a public service announcement (PSA) that incorporates the topic of 4-H and deliver it to an audience. The 4-H Public Speaking Contest helps youth develop skills for communicating about current issues to real audiences, learn how to organize and prepare a speech, develop speech delivery skills, learn how to present themselves to others, and develop self-confidence.

After participating at the county level, five (5) contestants in each age division (Intermediate and Senior) in both speech and PSA categories will be selected to advance to the State Public Speaking Contest. The State Public Speaking Contest will be held in Lincoln, Nebraska on Wednesday, June 30, 2021.

Eligibility

  • Youth must be currently enrolled in 4-H to participate in the State Public Speaking Contest.
  • Youth must be selected at their County Public Speaking Contest to compete in State Public Speaking Contest.
  • Youth may participate in both the speech and PSA categories.
  • Only individuals may compete in the speech or radio PSA competition at the state level.

Age Division

Two age divisions are used at the State Public Speaking Contest and are based on the member's 4-H age (the age of the youth as of January 1 of the current year).

  • Intermediate: 4-H age 10-13
  • Senior: 4-H age 14-18

Please note that starting in 2021, the State Public Speaking Contest intermediate age division is 4-H age of 10 to match the Nebraska State Fair age divisions. 

Rules & Regulations

Public Service Announcement (PSA)

  • All PSA's are 60 seconds in length.
  • The state theme for the 2021 Public Service Announcement (PSA) is "Opportunity 4 All".
  • All radio PSA's must promote 4-H and be general enough to be used anywhere in Nebraska at any time of the year.
  • All 4-H PSA's must include the following tagline within the last 10 seconds of the PSA: "Learn more about the Nebraska Extension 4-H Youth Development Program at 4h.unl.edu." The tagline is included in the 60 second time limit. 
  • Sound effects and public domain music may be used. Copyrighted material may not be used. 
  • All PSA's must be the original work of the presenter. Contestants may not use PSA's written and provided by the state or national staff.
  • No team PSA's are allowed.
  • Radio PSA's will be submitted electronically in a .wav or .mp3 audio format along with the registration form. 

Speech

  • Length of Speeches:
    • Intermediate Division: 3-5 minutes
    • Senior Division: 5-8 minutes
  • All speeches must be original and include 4-H as the major component of the speech.
  • 4-H public speakers may not use the old speech written by a sibling, another 4-H member, or anyone else.
  • Acknowledge the source of information used in the speech. For example, an article from a magazine may be used for reference, but should not be quoted directly unless you tell the audience your source.
  • The use of visual aids and props is not allowed.
  • Dress appropriately. Do not wear costumes or special effects clothing.
  • No team speeches are allowed.

Scoring

Speech

Speech Judging Criteria- PDF | Doc

  • Subject: 20%
  • Organization: 20%
  • Delivery: 40%
  • General: 20%

Judges will deduct three points from the contestant's speech score for every 30 seconds under or over the time limit (Senior Division only).

PSA

PSA Judging Criteria - PDF | Doc

  • Introduction: 20%
  • Body: 20%
  • Closing: 20%
  • General Delivery: 40%

Recognition & Awards

Intermediates will earn the appropriate ribbon. The top 5 competitors will be awarded medals.

For seniors, all youth will earn the appropriate ribbon. The top 5 competitors in each of the four groups will advance to the final round. Finalists will deliver their speeches again and medalists will be named along with an overall state winner.

Following the contest, the top 5 contestants from each age division will be invited to showcase their speeches at the Nebraska State Fair. The top 5 PSAs from each age division will be played at the Raising Nebraska building during the State Fair. 

Resources

For questions about this program or the information on this page, please contact: