Nebraska 4-H

State Public Speaking Contests

June 24, 2022

child delivering a speech on stage

National 4-H Council

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 is held annually at the UNL Nebraska East Campus Union in Lincoln, NE. This year's event will be held on Friday, June 24, 2022 starting at 8:30 a.m. CT.

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.
  • No team entries are allowed.

Age Division

  • Intermediate: ages 10-13 as of January 1 of the current year
  • Senior: ages 14-18 as of January 1 of the current year

Contests, Rules & Regulations

Impromptu Speech New

  • Length:
    • Intermediate Division: 3 minutes
    • Senior Division: 5 minutes
  • On the day of the contest, participants will have a topic randomly selected for them. Youth will have no more than 15 minutes to develop a speech on the selected topic. Participants will then deliver the speech to judges and audience members.
  • Example topic: My Day in 4-H
  • Impromptu Speech Judging Criteria

Video Communication New

  • Length: 60-90 seconds
  • Youth may use a phone, laptop, or tablet to create a multi-media piece around the theme: My 4-H Story
  • Sound effects, public domain music, and graphics can be used. Copyrighted materials may not be used.
  • Videos will be submitted electronically as MP4 files along with the registration form. 
  • Video Communication Judging Criteria

Public Service Announcement (PSA)

  • Length: 60 seconds 
  • Youth will prepare a PSA around the theme: Opportunity 4 All
  • All radio PSAs must promote 4-H and be general enough to be used anywhere in Nebraska at any time of the year.
  • All 4-H PSAs 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 PSAs must be the original work of the presenter. Contestants may not use PSAs written and provided by the state or national staff.
  • PSA entries will be submitted electronically in a .wav or .mp3 audio format along with the registration form. 
  • PSA Judging Criteria

Prepared Speech

  • Length
    • 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.
  • Prepared Speech Judging Criteria
    • For Senior Division only, judges will deduct three points from the score for every 30 seconds under or over the time limit.

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. 

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