Public Speaking

— Written By and last updated by Kerri Rayburn

Public Speaking

Public speaking is considered an important professional skill. Public speaking is also ranked as a high anxiety experience for many people. How can we close this gap? Practice, practice, practice. In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell maintains that it takes approximately ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. Jackson County 4-H offers a program in public speaking and encourages participation from youth ages 9-18.

4-H PresentationsDo you know a child who could benefit from learning how to do an oral presentation? 4-H teaches life-skills and public speaking is part of our program. We offer a County Presentation Day where youth participate in a public speaking competition at the local level. Participants are also encouraged to move to the next level and present at District Activity Day where they will compete against others from Western North Carolina.

Public speaking is important in developing the next leaders. It helps increase self-esteem, self- confidence, and the ability to accept feedback. Public speaking also helps youth learn skills for planning, preparation, and performance. (University of California, 4-H Youth Development, Public Speaking)

Jackson County 4-H will host our County Presentation Day on April 8 at 4:00 p.m. District Activity Day will be May 3rd at Haywood Community College. Prior to these dates we will work together to choose a presentation topic, discuss how to make the speech dynamic and informative, produce posters or a computer presentation to accompany the speech, discuss appropriate attire, and practice, practice, practice. You do not need to be a current 4-H member to participate in the 4-H Presentation Program and the competition is for children ages 9-18. Younger children may participate but will receive participation ribbons rather than competition placement. Topic selection should be made as soon as possible so that youth can join the Presentation & Prep Workshop on March 24th. This would be a great activity for an individual, a church youth group, a high school student who is building a resume for college applications, or a homeschool student who wants to share her knowledge with a larger group. Please contact Heather Gordon, 4-H Agent, for more information or to participate at 586-4009 or