Through a demonstration or illustrated talk, Montana 4‐H members will present previously gained knowledge by using the “show and tell” method to teach skills they possess to an audience. For more detailed information to prepare a top quality presentation, please review the Clover Communications Guide.

collage of images of 4-H members completing demonstrations at 4-H congress.

All interview times will take place on Thursday July 14, 2022.  Contests will return to Wednesday in July 2023.

Contest Guidelines

  • Must have received a blue rating at the county level
  • Must be a minimum of 7 minutes in length, not including question period
  • Must not be longer than 20 minutes, not including question
  • Counties may enter any number of blue ribbon quality presentations
A demonstration: An illustrated talk:
  • Is doing.
  • Is showing how. As you show how, you tell
  • Is where you make something or do something
  • Is creating a final product
  • Is telling “how,” using visual
  • Uses charts, posters, photos, computer programs, slides, pictures, models or cut‐outs
  • Each presentation should have clearly identifiable sections including an introduction, main body, and conclusion

The primary differences between a demonstration and an illustrated talk:

  • A demonstration is doing and an illustrated talk is telling
  • A demonstration is showing how to do something while telling how to do it, and an illustrated talk is telling about something while showing
  • In a demonstration, the presenter makes or does something and there is a finished product. In an illustrated talk, the presenter uses pre‐made charts, posters, photographs, computer programs, slides, pictures, models, and/or cutouts to support the information given.


The 4-H Clover Communication Guide provides detailed information on how to prepare a demonstration or illustrated Talk. 

Posters and Slides

The posters should address the following points:

  1. Introduction / Title
  2. Materials
  3. Process
  4. Summary

Visual Aids

Visual aids are encouraged. Product labels should be limited to generic names and product names should be covered. The work area and table space used for the presentation should be used to the speaker’s best advantage. Handing out flyers and samples should not cause a distraction.


7‐20 minutes. Member should make every effort to stay within this time limit. Specific point penalties will not be applied for a demonstration over or under time. HOWEVER, Judges may score presentation at a lower quality if time was not used properly.

Number of Presenters

An individual presentation is delivered by one speaker. A pair presentation is delivered by two speakers. Team members should divide work and speaking parts equally. An uneven distribution of work or speaking parts will impact the evaluation. Both individuals and pairs will receive ONE score per judge.


Anyone may ask questions. Evaluators/judges generally ask questions first. Time for questions may be limited, if necessary, for schedule.

Note Cards

Use of note cards for demonstrations is discouraged. Posters and/or visual aids should provide any necessary prompting.


Appropriate attire for the occasion. Appropriate that are not overly distracting may be used. Costumes should enhance the presentation. 

Contest Day

The Demonstration/Illustrated Talk Contests will be held on contest day of Montana 4‐H Congress. There will be two to three (2-3) judges per platform. Each judge will give a numerical score for each talk. Each set of judges per platform will select the top two presenters to move on to the finals round. The platforms for finals have both demonstrations and illustrated talks so judges can consider both in final determinations.

There will be several platforms, allowing approximately 8 ‐ 10 individuals per platform. Demonstrations will be assigned to platforms randomly. Every attempt will be made to spread out participants form the same county over several platforms.

Registration and Participation Procedure

Counties may nominate any number of participants. Counties have the discretion to select these individuals or teams in a manner that works for the county program. However the presentations chosen should be of blue ribbon quality. Participants must indicate on the registration form what type of presentation they are doing. Please be sure to choose the appropriate type (i.e. demonstration individual, illustrated talk individual, demonstration team, or illustrated talk team).

Participants will be asked to indicate if planning to use PowerPoint or other technology during the demonstration or illustrated talk. A screen, projector, laptop and slide advance clicker will be provided only to those that indicate they will be using digital slides or video. If sound equipment is needed, the contestant should provide.

When listing needs or equipment, please be as specific as possible. If extraordinary needs or equipment are required for the demonstration or illustrated talk, please plan to bring them with you. Not all needs are able to be met on site and participants should be prepared for this case. Animals are not permitted in SUB. If a live animal is required for your presentation, please indicate this when registering and another location may be secured. Congress staff and volunteers are not responsible for transportation or housing of any animals during the congress event. All arrangements for an animal must be made by the presenter.

If for any reason it is not possible to meet the needs for the presentation, congress staff will contact the delegate and county office directly.


The top 3 individuals or pairs with the highest numerical scores from the finals will be awarded a trip to National 4‐H Congress. Delegates who previously received a trip to National 4‐H Congress may participate in the contest, but will not receive a second award trip.

Montana 4‐H Congress Participants that are 13 years of age are permitted to compete in the state contest at the discretion of the County. However, they may not be eligible for an award trip due to age requirements set by the national/regional event. They do not lose their eligibility and can compete in future years to again earn eligibility for a national award trip.

Judging Scoresheet

Download printable scoresheet


Member Name:                     Age:  Junior/Int (8-13)  Senior (14-18) 
Member Name:                     Age:  Junior/Int (8-13)  Senior (14-18)
County:                                   Title: 


1 point

2 points

3 points

4 points





Lacks opening statement.


Brief or inadequate introduction of topic or self.

General introductory statement, stimulates interest in subject, personal introduction concise and complete.

Outstanding opening remarks, clear and concise introduction, smooth transition into presentation.




Understanding of subject


Presenter shows no clear understanding of subject.


Shows some areas of misunderstanding or confusion.

Clear evidence of understanding through use of information and handling of questions.

Exhibits excellent grasp of information during presentation and handling of questions.




Body of Presentation


No logical sequence of theme, random jumping around, irrelevant information.

Presentation follows somewhat of a logical progression. Some areas of disorder and confusion.


Information pertains directly to theme, logical and easy to follow order.

Excellent organization of theme and progression of information. Creative, deliberate progression.






Volume, pronunciation or vocal variation need improvement.


Voice and language are adequate.


Voice and language are skillful and effective.

Volume, tone, inflection, timing and language are used to enhance presentation.




Manner and Appearance


Appearance, body language or gestures need improvement.


Appearance and mannerisms are appropriate.

Appearance and mannerisms are presented with business-like conduct and style.

Appearance and mannerisms are presented with professional demeanor and personal style.




Visual Clarity

Visual aids not clear or work area unorganized.

Visual aids and work area are clear and organized.

Visual aids and work area are well organized and effective.

Visual aids and work area organization creates a visually cohesive presentation.





No summary or closure.


Minimal summary or new material introduced.

Main points concisely reviewed, feeling of closure conveyed. No material introduced.

Clear concise summary, logical closure, main theme, points and statement of purpose reemphasized in brief manner.





More practice needed to answer questions.

Questions answered or handled when unable to provide answers.

Skillfully answers questions and relates them to the presentation.

Questions are used to extend the teaching of the presentation.



Presentation Time                                    Total Points                         

Ribbon Placings: BLUE 32-24 points RED 23-16 points WHITE 15 points and below

Judges Comments and Signature: