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  • Writer's pictureKatie Smith

YFC Public Speaking Competitions

On Sunday I was at Droitwich Spa High School with my young farmer’s club for the Worcestershire Federation YFC public speaking competitions. I had been roped into the Junior Member of the Year competition my our chair lady this year, which is something new for me. I was also entered into the Brainstrust debating competition at the last minute. I’m not usually one for public speaking much to the surprise of my friends and family! At school I have always been criticised for being too quiet in lessons, but out of school it never seems to be a problem… When I was thirteen, working at the riding stables, I was given the Little Miss Chatterbox award at our Christmas party, so I suppose it was no surprise that they picked up on this at young farmers and signed me up for the competitions.

For the Junior Member of the Year competition, I had to prepare a CV and Personal Statement in advance of the competition day. This had to highlight my activity within YFC in the past 12 months, my qualifications and awards, my aspirations and my hobbies and interests outside of YFC as well as some general information about myself. This was sent off to the judges and then I had to prepare a presentation for the day. This was to complement my CV and personal statement, I also included some photos to make it more engaging. It is important not to overfill your slides with information, you should include only key points and give more information through the presentation of the slides. I prepared key note cards to prompt myself while I was giving my presentation without scripting it so that I could engage with the judges more, rather than just reading out information. After the presentation, I sat down for the formal interview. The judges first asked me some questions about my presentation, and then went on to the set questions about YFC. Competitors should definitely brush up on their YFC facts and figures for this part of the interview. My judges were both lovely and made it a really pleasant process to be interviewed.

The brainstrust competition is a structured debate in which four members compete in a team. One person is the chairman of the debate and receives a list of 6 topics just before the debate. They then select three of the six to offer to the panel of young farmers. The young farmers must listen to these topics and come up with their viewpoint on the spot, with relevant information to back it up. However at least one member of the team must agree with the motion and at least one must disagree. The brainstrust was an interesting competition and definitely a challenge.

I watched a few more competitions throughout the day, after dinner speaking being one of them, and street dance another that was particularly entertaining.

At the end of the day, all of the competitors gathered in the auditorium and the judges gave some feedback from the competitions. Then the national chairman of young farmers, Chris Manley, presented the awards for the day. We had had no indication as to how we had performed so it was all quite tense when they started to read out the results. There were four competitors in the Junior Member of the Year section, and they announced that there was a joint 3rd place which sparked excitement in my club that I had definitely placed! They called out the third place competitors and neither was me, which sparked more excitement that perhaps I had won. They called out second place and it wasn’t me. We all realised at the same time that I had won! It was great to win it for myself and for the club as we haven’t had a winner of Junior Member of the Year before! I was quite shocked I had managed to even get through the day as I had barely got a voice and I still hardly have one… The public speaking was a great experience and I would recommend it to anyone to have a go!

We ended the long day of competitions with a club trip to McDonald’s where there was a lot of chat about the day and a general buzz of excitement and achievement despite how tired we all were. 

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