group of youth at tabletop exhibit; guitarist/singer; sewing projects on a table

Welcome to 4-H Public Speaking and Communications!

4-H offers opportunities for youth to grow their skills in public speaking and presenting. 4-H members can participate in county or regional contests by entering communication exhibits. Upon successful completion of a 4-H’ers county or regional day, a 4-H’er may continue onto 4-H State Day, a capstone experience for youth seeking to grow their communication skills. At these contests, members further their self-confidence by sharing their and benefit from evaluators' feedback on their exhibits and presentations. State Day is also a competition where presentations are selected to represent Vermont in the New England Center at the Eastern States Exposition in September. Below is an overview of the event and exhibit categories, including evaluation rubrics. Please note that any exhibit submitted must have been created or developed in the 12 months preceding the event.

State Day 2022

The three regions are:

  • NE/Central (Essex, Orleans, Caledonia, Lamoille, Washington, and Orange)
  • NW (Franklin, Grand Isle, Addison, and Chittenden)
  • Southern (Windham, Windsor, Bennington and Rutland)

Action Exhibits

Each region may send 12 action exhibits to State Day. In order to be considered for Eastern States, the action exhibit at State Day must have 4 youth participating, and ensure that 4 youth will attend ESE. Action exhibits with less than 4 youth may participate at State Day but will not be eligible for ESE. Up to 8 action exhibits may be sent to ESE. Related criteria/form(s):


There is no cap on the number of exhibits per region that may participate. Sign up for time slots in these categories occur on the day of the event, at the registration table first come, first served. This assists in allowing members to participate in more than one State Day opportunity so times do not conflict. The top 6 illustrated talks and team demonstrations will be sent to ESE. Related criteria/form(s):

Public Speaking Rubric - PDF
How to write, prepare, and present a public speech - Video

Illustrated Talk - PDF

Individual Demonstration Rubric - PDF
Team Demonstration Rubric - PDF

How to prepare and deliver and effective Illustrated Talk or Demonstration - Video


There is no cap on the number of photos that may be entered into State Day however, only one photo per category (photo based design and basic photo) per member may be submitted, and all photos must have been awarded a blue ribbon at the local level. Photos should not be submitted in frames, but mattes are accepted and encouraged. Any photo submitted to State Day must have been created in the 12 months preceding the 4-H event. 4-6 photos from each category will be selected to be displayed at ESE throughout the entire fair. Related criteria/form(s):

Photo Based Design Rubric - PDF
Photo Based Design Examples - PDF
Photography Rubric - PDF


Each region may send up to 16 posters. No red or white ribbons placing are allowed, given the large quantity of posters that move on to State Day. Posters are not re-evaluated at State Day. However, a best of show placing is awarded. Each region, at Regional Day, will select one poster to send to ESE for display. One poster from each region will be selected at Regional Day to go to Eastern States. Related criteria/form(s):

Poster Rubric - PDF


Clothing projects are not re-evaluated at State Day but participants will participate through a fashion review that typically kicks off the stage presentations. Fashion Review participants are also selected automatically to attend ESE. 4-H members can participate in fashion review at State Day if they designed a garment for another person (which can be either a 4-H'er or non 4-H'er) and wish to walk as a team (designer and model) however, the team is not eligible for participating at ESE. Related criteria/form(s):

Non-Clothing Sewing & Quilt Rubric - PDF
PDF iconClothing Registration Form & Participant Rules - PDF
Fashion Revue/Clothing Rubric - PDF
PDF iconSuggestions for Writing Fashion Review Commentary- PDF

Smart Shopper

PDF iconSmart Shopper Registration Form - PDF
Smart Shopper Rubric - PDF

Stage Presentations

Each region may send 10 stage presentations plus have two alternates ready in case a presentation backs out. A presentation may be comprised of an individual or group, and must be at least 3 minutes and under 10 minutes long. At State Day, the top 20 presentations are shared, and then the remainder are told via mail where they rank in line to attend ESE. Stage presentations that receive white ribbons will not be selected for ESE. Related criteria/form(s):

Individual Stage Presentation Rubric - PDF
Group State Presentation Rubric- PDF

Table Tops

Each region may send 12 exhibits. No white ribbon placings may participate at State Day. The top 3 table tops will be selected to attend ESE and will be modified to include a brief presentation. Related criteria/form(s):

Tabletop Exhibit Rubric - PDF

Technology exhibits

Each region may send up to 6 tech exhibits and these exhibits do not move on to ESE. The format for presenting the tech exhibits continues to change each year, until we figure the optimal manner of viewing these presentations. Exact details will come through letters send to exhibitors prior to State Day. Related criteria/form(s):

Maker/Tinker Rubric - PDF
4-H Promo Video Rubric - PDF
4-H Promo Video Intro Doc - PDF

Eastern States Expo - The Big E

For those exhibits/presentations chosen to represent VT at the Big E, a mandatory orientation/info session is required. This is typically held in July to get you ready, help with required paperwork, and give you a better picture of what is expected of you when bringing a group to ESE. It is very important that you, or a co-leader with whom you regularly communicate, attend this session. VT fills the New England Center on the first Sunday and Monday of the Fair, and is expected to arrive by the evening of the first Saturday, for an onsite orientation.

Because of the large scale of this event and often, multiple members making up one presentation or exhibit, most communication is directed at the 4-H Leader identified as the point of contact. We are doing our best to ensure that all parents and co-leaders have the information, but there may be times where this is not possible. Please be sure to check our website thoroughly, communicate with your club leaders, and feel free to call the State 4-H Office for questions at 1-800-571-0668.

Other information about Eastern States can be found by viewing their website at - click on agriculture and then 4-H. (The Big E also offers a biennial scholarship (in odd years) opportunity to one Vermont 4-H youth who has participated at Eastern States each year. See the 2013 PDF iconapplication and eligibility criteria.)

Eastern State Exposition Information - PDF