The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.
Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
. .A .
.q .'. -. ***rm. .*.. ,
* . ..
I,~~ ,s-~% ~i~-'~":
'IC I . 'I
;.. I~~ II J!::'''~r'
.. :.. "
.. i '~ I I: -.~
: u .. 'C ~ r -
I:' r..s" I '-
"I' '" .I:'"
.... ...i rr
~' .''' "'
i : :.
,~.: .l'.; ': I C ~~~ il.-. II~
'' ':: i '~: . ;;~.: ..~? ..
AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE
SELECT A SUBJECT that is appropriate for the
occasion. A speech that appeals to you might not
necessarily interest your audience. On some occa-
sions, you may be assigned the subject for your speech
but usually there will be a choice for you to make.
A speech will usually interest your audience if it
relates a personal experience or deals with a topic
that is familiar to you. This is the kind of speech
in which you can develop a lot of enthusiasm. A
few general areas that you may consider in selecting
a subject are:
a7 c C c- c
General 4-H Club work, history, etc.:
An exciting experience of yours;
Project work that is outstanding, unusual, or en-
In choosing a subject, ask yourself, "If I were in the
audience, would this subject interest me?"
Avoid selecting a subject that is too broad. Re-
member, you will usually have a time limit. For this
reason, you might wish to take a general subject,
break it down, and speak on one phase of it. For
example: "Electric Project" is a bit broad. However,
"Requirements of a Good Reading Lamp" is not as
general, and can be adapted to a shorter time limit.
THE PURPOSE OF THE SPEECH may be t
entertain, to convince or persuade, or just to inform
Know exactly the purpose before preparing your out
line. You may be concerned only with helping ai
audience to understand a subject. An example o
this would be: "How 4-H Club Work Originated.
On the other hand, you may wish to inspire or mov
members of your audience to act. An example o
this type is: "Why You Should Join a 4-H Club.
Some speeches are given only for entertainment o
an audience. "Our First Calf Scramble" is an example
of this type.
PREPARE A TENTATIVE OUTLINE until you
have all of your ideas in order. You may find, in pre-
paring your outline, that you need to do more read-
ing on the subject. When collecting ideas, record
them on separate cards. This makes the final organ-
ization of your speech much easier. It also gives
you a system of filing ideas for future reference.
Once you have all the information you need, check
it for accuracy and prepare your final outline. The
outline should include an introduction, a body, and a
THE INTRODUCTION should do two things.
It should get the attention of the audience and state
THE BODY of the speech should include the
pertinent information you have concerning your
speech. You might first state your points, and then
expand each one by giving the information you have
concerning it. This information should include all
evidence. State your ideas in a logical order so your
audience can follow your line of thought.
THE CONCLUSION should briefly summarize
your speech. The conclusion should clarify or cor-
rect any misinterpretations that your audience may
have concerning your important point. Remember
to be brief. An audience does not like to hear the
same speech twice.
WRITE YOUR SCRIPT with the idea of organ-
izing your thoughts by putting them on paper, and
not for the purpose of memorizing the speech. In
writing your script, follow your outline closely so
you will not lose organization. Avoid using the same
expression several times.
DEVELOP YOUR CONCLUSION as carefully
as you did your introduction, so the audience will be
left with a good impression. The closing statement
should indicate definitely that your speech has ended.
ONCE YOUR SCRIPT IS COMPLETE, check
again for accuracy by referring to reliable sources.
Read aloud for timing. If your speech is to be
given in a 4-H Public Speaking Contest, it must be
5 to 7 minutes in length.
ARRANGE YOUR NOTES so that you may refer
to them without confusion throughout the speech.
Your notes should include key words and expressions.
Put notes on small cards so they will be inconspicu-
ous and easy to manage.
Use your notes only as a reminder of the thoughts
pertaining to the speech. This will make your speech
sound natural and you will be less apt to become
frustrated if you forget your line of thought. How-
ever, if you forget your line of thought, you may
simply pause or make a related comment that comes
to mind concerning your speech. Try to be calm
and relaxed. Your audience wants your speech to
be a success just as you do.
BEFORE GIVING YOUR SPEECH, you may
wish to memorize the opening statement. The audi-
ence's first impression of you is very important. Also,
by doing this, you will gain confidence in yourself
and do a better job throughout the speech.
MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT with your audience.
This is a must, if you are to hold the interest of the
group. Look at them, not over them, nor out the
SPEAK AT YOUR NORMAL TONE, but attempt
to project your voice so your audience will hear all
that you have to say.
SPEAK AT A MODERATE RATE. Usually
about 150 words per minute can be heard by the
audience without confusion. You can develop the
proper rate of speaking by rehearsing your speech
REMEMBER, the way you pronounce your words
will partially determine how well your audience re-
ceives your thoughts.
THE MICROPHONE DISTANCE from the
mouth should be about one foot. A good idea is
to observe the person who speaks before you in
determining how far you should stand from the mike.
THE BEST USE OF YOUR HANDS comes
through the use of gestures if they can be made
naturally. Gestures may be made to look natural
GOOD FACIAL EXPRESSION can be an asset
to you and your speech. Look as pleasant as possible
and vary your expressions appropriately.
A NEAT, WELL-GROOMED PERSON with
good posture makes a good impression on an audi-
ence. This is necessary if your speech is to be well
You should stand erect-not rigid. If your hands
seem to be in the way, you can hold your cards in
such a way that you will look at ease before the
audience. Never jingle change in your pockets, or
make any type of disturbing noise or hand move-
ments that will distract from what you are saying.
The hands may be rested on the rostrum, but never
lean on it. This gives an appearance of poor posture
and even laziness.
IN SUMMARY, plan your speech carefully. Pre-
sent it in a natural way. Remember that you must
put yourself, as well as your speech, over to the
DID YOU DO?
After you have given your talk. ask yourself some
Did I feel more at ease after I began to talk?
Did the audience appear interested?
Did I say everything I intended to say?
Did I need more practice?
Did I summarize my speech?
By Gordon White and Ruth Milton, Assistant State
4-H Club Leaders. Our thanks to Elizabeth Ehrbar.
Staff Artist, and Jack McAllister, Assistant Editor, of
the Extension Editorial Staff, who acted as consult
ants, and to Alice Hare and G. W. Stone, Illinoi
State 4-H Staff, who permitted us to use their ma
trial as a guide.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN
AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida.
Florida State University and
United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
M. 0. Watkins, Director