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Summary

Due to COVID-19 and the cancellation of in-person events during the summer of 2020, the Southwest District adapted their Winner’s Workshop to a virtual format. The goal was to prepare State Project Achievement delegates for a virtual contest and to enhance their communication skills in a virtual setting. Delegates were provided with information about the new virtual format of State Project Achievement, image and delivery tips, etiquette expectations, a reminder to write thank you notes, and an opportunity to practice interview skills over Zoom.

Situation

The National Association of Colleges and Employers ranked verbal communication in the top ten most important candidate skill, according to the NACE’s Job Outlook 2020 report. This report also stated that oral and written communication was in the top essential needs for employers. These forms of communication are strengthened through Project Achievement, but 2020 brought a challenge of communicating through a camera. Every summer, Southwest District works to prepare our State Project Achievement delegates for the State Contest with a Winner’s Workshop and 2020 was no exception. Due to the cancellation of in-person events because of COVID-19, Southwest District moved to a virtual format for the Winner’s Workshop. Our delegates still needed help preparing and perfecting their communication skills and this year they needed extra support to understand how to communicate through virtual means.

Response

A group of 4-H professionals worked together to prepare a Winner’s Workshop where youth could learn ways to efficiently communicate through a recorded video or Zoom interview. The workshop consisted of a Zoom meeting where youth were given tips about what to wear, their appearance on camera, and delivery to a virtual audience. These tips included wearing a color that makes one stand out from their background, elevating one’s camera to face level, speaking with energy, enunciating, and speaking loudly. They also played a manners and etiquette game, were reminded to write thank you notes, and practiced interviews. In order to practice interviews, youth were divided into small groups where they were asked potential interview questions. These tips for being on camera and the interview practice allowed delegates a chance to prepare for communicating in the virtual setting of a virtual State Project Achievement.

Impact

Twenty-five youth and twenty adults from Southwest District attended the Winner’s Workshop Zoom. All fifty-five Southwest District delegates had access to a participant guide and a recording of the Zoom meeting to help them prepare for the State Project Achievement Contest. After the workshop, 90% of delegates stated they felt more prepared for a virtual contest. 100% of delegates knew they must dress appropriately for their recorded presentations and Zoom interviews. Delegates were asked if they would study their portfolio and practice potential interview questions before the virtual contest and 95% said they would. 95% of delegates thought that the virtual workshop gave them an opportunity to improve their demonstration submission and interview skills. These delegates already had strong communication skills to make it to the state contest, but the Winner’s Workshop helped them adapt to communicating in a virtual setting.

State Issue

Youth & Family Development

Details

  • Year: 2020
  • Geographic Scope: District/Department
  • County: Worth
  • Location: College Station, Athens
  • Program Areas:
    • 4-H Youth

Author

  • Ford, Kristen D Ann

Collaborator(s)

CAES Collaborator(s)

  • Davis, Kara Lynn
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