Outstanding Youth Contest AdvicePosted on Dec 2, 2014
By Erica Rogers
Over the past year, I have had the huge honor of serving as an Outstanding Farm Bureau Youth. This opportunity has been bigger than I could have imagined. From touring our nation’s capital and getting to shake hands with Congressmen to finding a lifelong friend in my fellow OFBY winner, Justin Hobbs, the memories made have been countless. However, these amazing experiences would not have been possible without hard work and determination leading up to the contest. For those competing for this year’s title, I would like to share a few tips for success as you prepare for competition day.
First, remember the cardinal rule of prepared speaking: practice makes perfect. This may sound cliché, but I cannot stress enough the importance of relentless practice. You should know your speech like the back of your hand, because in the pressure of performing in front of a crowd, nervousness can take a toll on memory recall. With that being said, don’t just repeat your speech to yourself 100 times, practice with passion in front of an audience of your own! I said my speech to anyone who would listen – friends, family, teachers. Let them critique your performance just as the judges will, and use their feedback to develop a confident, enthusiastic presentation.
At the same time, remember that the speech is only half of the contest. The interview is an integral part of the competition that should not be overlooked. When preparing for your interview, make sure you are dressed professionally and well rested, as the judges’ initial impression will come from your appearance. I would also advise you to relax and have fun beforehand to avoid nervous feelings – take advantage of the games provided, talk to the other participants, and make some new friends. If you are comfortable and happy going into your interview, your performance will reflect it.
Ultimately, only two young adults will earn the title of Outstanding Farm Bureau Youth. However, every single participant will walk away with many benefits because of this great organization. Regardless of the outcome, use this contest to develop your speaking and interview skills, make personal connections with your peers across the state, and gain knowledge about the endless resources that Kentucky Farm Bureau has to offer. I wish all participants the best of luck, and I will see you all on Thursday!