State 4-H Public Speaking Contest
Extemporaneous Speaking Rules
When you give an extemporaneous speech at a public speaking contest, it will differ from a traditional (“prepared”) public speech in that you will not plan the speech until shortly before you deliver it.
Extemporaneous Speaking Category Contest Rules
- Process: Extemporaneous speakers will wait together in a common room until their name is called. At that point the speaker will pick three topics and select one that they will speak on. Speeches will be given before the judges and the audience in a separate room. Each speaker will have 15 minutes to prepare their speech after the selection is made. Topics will be subjects that youth are familiar with, so no special research materials are required.
- Timing: Speeches are to be 3-5 minutes in length for Juniors (ages 8-10), 4-6 minutes in length for Intermediates (ages 11-13) and 5-7 minutes in length for Seniors (ages 14-18). When speakers have met the minimum time, a judge will hold up a green card. When 30 seconds remain until time is expired, the judge will hold up a red card. The speaker should then wrap up to avoid a point deduction (3 points).
- Notes on index cards are perfectly acceptable. Speakers should bring their own note cards and pencils.
- Topics must be appropriate to the standards of a 4-H event and appropriate for all ages.
- Restrictions: No props or visual aids may be used. Parents are not allowed to assist the speakers or to be in the same room as they prepare their speech.
- First place Intermediate and Senior Division finishers from a previous State 4-H Public Speaking Contest may not enter the same category and age group a second time.
- Above All: Have fun! You are here to gain experience, celebrate your skills, and meet others with an interest in public speaking!
Resources for all project levels