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4-H Communication is…


Frequently Asked Questions (December 21, 2020)

Are 4-H District and Regional communications competitions cancelled this year?
There will be no formal District, or Regional Communications Competitions hosted this year, as there have been in the past years, due to these unprecedented times.  Districts and or Regions can support member skill development through a workshop or fun activities, not a traditional 4-H Communications Competition where winning members move to the next level of competition.

Why did 4-H Alberta choose this direction this year?
Moving into the communications time of year for 4-H in Alberta, Alberta Health Services requirements and or restrictions may vary over the coming months that are out of our control.

Working with recommendations from the 4-H Alberta Communications committee and with the 4-H Alberta Staff Team, 4-H Alberta determined two goals.

Continue to provide an opportunity for members to learn about 4-H communication and to be able to continue to enhance their communication skills.

To assist with making this member requirement achievable for members, leaders and organizing committees.

Do 4-H clubs do all their communications activities virtually?
4-H Clubs need to work with their members and families to determine what is best for them.  Each club, member, or leader may have different accessibility to the internet, devices, and knowledge to use virtual platforms.

4-H Clubs have until September 30 to complete their communications activity. This activity can be done virtually or in-person when time allows, following any AHS requirements in place.

Can two members collaborate on a presentation (not from the same family)? At club level and provincial level?
This year presentations will be completed by individuals if submitted for the competition. If members are not entering a competition, they may partner up if they can do so virtually or safely when restrictions change.

Who do clubs ask to be judges for the communications activities?
Judges are not required for the communications activity. 4-H Leaders or parents can provide feedback to the member.

Clubs choosing to host a virtual or in-person communications competition may seek judges that they best feel will be comfortable providing members with positive feedback.  Clubs must ensure they comply with the two leader rule and any AHS requirements that may be in place for meeting in person.

Will 4-H Alberta change the communication guidelines if Alberta Health Services restrictions lift in the coming months?
For the 2020-2021 club year, 4-H Alberta will follow the communications guidelines as presented and not change them.  The provincial event will remain on April 10, 2021.

What would we do if it was our turn to host Zone, District or Regional 4-H Communications Competitions?
The recommendation to all 4-H Districts and Regions is that the rotation for hosting the communications competition is paused and resume on the same schedule next year.

Any club or committee member should communicate with their district and or regional chairs.

If members are only required to complete a 3-minute communication activity, how do they follow the 4-H Alberta Communications rules?
Every 4-H member in Alberta will be required to complete 3-minute minimum communication activity.  The traditional communication rules do not apply.

4-H members entering the 4-H Alberta Provincial competition must follow the 4-H Alberta Communications rules.

Do clubs have to have a competition for members to enter the provincial competition?
No, 4-H Clubs are not required to host a competition for members to participate in the provincial event.

4-H members entering the provincial competition must follow the 4-H Alberta Communication Rules

4-H Alberta Provincial Communications Competition:

Can members use the same speech at the club level and for the provincial submission?
Yes, providing members have followed all the 4-H Alberta communications rules, they can use the same speech from the club level to submit to the provincial competition.

See communications rules

Do you need activity plans for what we’re doing at the club level for communications?
Not for club level communications. Activity plans are only needed when involving more than one club. If they’d like to submit one for confirmation that they are doing it correctly, clubs are welcome to submit

How will ties be broken for the provincial level submissions?
The selected judges will be breaking their ties on the video submissions in this club year. 4-H Alberta will provide criteria to guide appointed judges.

How will the speeches and presentations be timed?
The speeches and presentations will be timed the same way they are if they were in person. The time will start when the member begins their speech to when they finish.

Will there be a top ten in speeches and a top 10 in presentations?
The 4-H Alberta Provincial Competition will be narrowing down the top 10 in both speeches and presentations in each age category providing there are more than ten entries. The top 10 speeches and presentations will be presented as the top 10 for Junior, Intermediate and Seniors.  Only the top 10 Seniors participate in the live virtual competition.

Where do I find more information?
You can visit or call your Programs Coordinators Tracy Dietrich, or Madeleine Cline


4-H Communication Activities

Speaking in front of a group is the number one fear of Canadian adults, but not for those who have been in the 4-H program. 4-H Alumni often list communication skills as one of the biggest assets they have gained from the 4-H program. Practicing communication activities in a club setting not only builds member’s confidence, but also helps them to effectively convey their thoughts and opinions to others.

Taking Part in a Communication Activity is a 4-H Member Expectation

Communication is important, and in order to complete and get credit for their year, 4-H members must take part in a communications activity. For a communications activity to qualify, it must be:

  1. Prepared by the member.
  2. Presented in front of a 4-H group.
  3. At least three minutes long.

Types of Communication Activities

Many people think that a communication activity is participating in public speaking or presentations competitions. Well, it might, but these are only a couple options. There are lots of others to choose from, including:

  1. Emceeing a 4-H function or activity.
  2. Giving formal introductions and thank yous to guest speakers.
  3. Presenting a report on club activities.
  4. Facilitating a project workshop.

These would also be a big help to the club leader!

Using activities other than speakoffs can be a way to “kill two birds with one stone”. It’s often difficult to include all of the required activities in your program plan on dates that work out for all your members. By encouraging flexibility in your plan, you can get more accomplished in less time. For example, some experienced members could give a project workshop that would not only fulfil their communication requirement, but also teach other members new project skills.

Communications is a Year Round Activity

Include communication training throughout the year. Having members make motions, stand to answer a creative roll call, or participate in group discussions will give members more confidence to speak in front of a group. These small steps will all add up to a more successful final activity, whatever each member chooses to do. Be creative when planning ways to include communication activities in your club, this will keep your members interested and challenged, while making better use of your time!


There are materials available to help you with your club’s communication program. Make sure your club has copies of “Speaking Your Way to Success: A Step-by-step guide to creating effective speeches and presentations”

The following Communications supplies are used to help coach and improve members’ public speaking and presentations skills. There are also resources used to guide the organizing and judging of any 4-H communications competition or event, as well as any associated rules or responsibilities.

From Paper to Podium – Looking for a way to teach your members the ins and outs of public speaking and presentations in a fun and interactive way? Selecting a topic, talking speed, and using props are just the curve of the cloverleaf when it comes to this interactive CD-ROM; complete with video, worksheets, site hosts and learning modules.

How to Emcee An Event – A one-page overview of the responsibilities and etiquette associated with being an emcee.

Speaking Your Way to Success Manual – A guide to preparing and presenting effective presentations and speeches.

Communication Banners

As you prepare for your upcoming Club Communication Competition, we are pleased to let you know that AltaLink will continue their generous support of 4-H Alberta’s Communications program and will remain the sole Communications sponsor across all Club, District, Region, and the Provincial competitions in 2020.

To honour this generous commitment, we ask you to please recognize AltaLink during your Communications event in the following ways:

  • Recognition in your program guide/booklet/handout
  • Thank you by event MC
  • Banner is displayed during the event
  • Group photo with the banner is taken
  • If you know of any AltaLink employees in your community, please invite them to your event.  (Please do not email Scott Schreiner to invite him to the event.  The email is only to send Thank you letters/ pictures)
  • Please email or mail a Thank You to AltaLink including the event photo (address below).
    Scott Schreiner
    Vice President, Communications
    2611 3 Ave SE

Are you hosting a Club, District or Regional Communications Competition? Listed below are banners you can download and print to display at your event

Club Communications Banner (PDF for printing)

Club Communications Banner (JPEG)

District Communications Banner

Regional Communications Banner

Public Speaking Competitions

(September 2019 – August 2021)

Public Speaking Organizer’s Guide contains:

  • How to organize a public speaking competition
  • Roles and responsibilities of members, Leaders and competition officials
  • Information on how to judge a competition
  • Public speaking rules and guidelines
  • Sample Programming
  • Organizers Checklist

Public Speaking Judge’s Orientation Package (one per public speaking judge) contains:

  • Letter to judges
  • Judge’s roles and responsibilities
  • Public speaking philosophy
  • Special procedures 4-H members are taught
  • How to judge and score speeches
  • Public speaking rules and guidelines

Public Speaking Judge’s Comment Sheet   – (each judge completes one sheet/speaker impromptu/prepared) sample of how to complete the comment sheet

Public Speaking Judge’s Score Sheet – (one per judge, 6 competitors per sheet)

Public Speaking Judge’s Placing Sheet   – Used by judges to record overall placing. This sheet is then given to the teller. (one per three judges)

Public Speaking Timer Sheet   – Used to record speakers time faults. (10 speakers per sheet)

Public Speaking Teller Sheet – 3 or 6 Judges

3 Judges

Used to tally the judge’s scores when same 3 judges are used for both impromptus and prepared speech (12 speakers per sheet).

6 Judges

Used to tally the judges scores after the completion of prepared speech and impromptu. Used for larger clubs where different judges are used for impromptus and speeches. (10 speakers per sheet)

Public Speaking Rules and Guidelines (one per family)

Quote Reference Source Sheet

Impromptu Topics

Here are some hints to help you organize your impromptu list as well as some sample topics.

Presentation Competitions

(September 2019 – August 2021)

Presentations Organizer’s Guide (one per club) contains:

  • How to organize a presentation competition
  • Roles and responsibilities of members, leaders and competition officials
  • Information on how to judge a competition
  • Presentation rules and guidelines
  • Organizers Checklist

Presentations Judge’s Orientation Package (one per presentation judge) contains:

  • Letter to judges.
  • Types of presentations.
  • Criteria for judging and scoring.
  • Presentation competition rules and guidelines.

Presentations Judge’s Comment Sheet (each judge completes a sheet for each presentation)

Presentations Judge’s Score Sheet  (one per judge, 7 presentations per sheet) | word | excelexcel – legal size

Legal Size

Presentations Judge’s Placing Sheet  – Used by judges to record the overall placings. This sheet is then given to the teller. (one per three judges)

Presentations Timer Sheet  – Used to record times for presentations. (14 presentations per sheet)

Presentations Teller Sheet   – Used to tally the judges scores. (7 presentations per sheet)

Quote Reference Source Sheet