working with a moving audience - NYS 4-H

The Fair audience includes just about everybody—all colors, creeds, faiths, ages, shape,
and sizes. People may be at the Fair for fun and pleasure, to learn something, to be
entertained, or to work. The Fair crowd is a diverse group. Some people are interested in
"everything" that's to be seen and heard, while others could care less. Some look, listen,
and ask questions, while others are rude and indifferent. Some people move quickly,
while others move slowly. Some will compliment your work, while others may tease and
heckle. Assume that the audience does not know about 4-H or Cooperative Extension,
about your demonstration topic, or who you are and plan your presentation accordingly.
A working demonstration requires effective communication. As a demonstrator before a
moving audience you must:
1. Plan your presentation. It is highly advisable that you practice and present your topic
successfully at other events before arriving at State Fair.
2. Select a topic related to 4-H projects and activities that can be visibly demonstrated.
Small hand skill activities are not appropriate.
3. Provide all equipment and ample materials to demonstrate for the time period
4. Have something important to say with each sentence.
5. Have a complete story not more than five to seven minutes long. This presentation
will be repeated over and over again during your work shift.
6. Know what you are talking about. You know more than you can tell in five minutes.
7. Be able to correctly answer questions or frankly say that you don't know the answer
to the question.
8. Be able to direct people to a source for more information.
9. Do not get frustrated when interruptions and questions prevent you from completing
your talk just the way you had planned.
10. Listen to the audience's questions and gather feedback to do a better job next time. A
demonstrator is both a transmitter and a receiver.
11. Wait for people to come near your demonstration area and not talk to an empty space.
12. Keep from becoming bored by varying your talk without loosing its content and
importance. Saying exactly the same thing for four hours or four days can become
13. Stand or sit properly and do not hang over or lean on the booth counter or sit
crumpled up in a chair.
14. Be well groomed with hair secured out of your face. A little make-up can be worn to
add some sparkle.
15. Wear neat and comfortable clothes and shoes. Stand tall as you represent your 4-H
club, the New York State 4-H Youth Development Program, and Cornell
Cooperative Extension.
By doing your working demonstration you provide the audience with information. You
INFORM the audience by educating them about your project or experience. You
PERSUADE the audience by helping them to develop positive attitudes about your
project or experience by reinforcing positive attitudes and behavior.
In order to get the audience's attention, it will be necessary for you to distract people
from their current thoughts by trying some of the following:
1. Ask them a direct question about something which concerns them relating to your
2. Look them straight in the eye and smile.
3. Introduce yourself, and say "Hi!" "Hello!" "Good Morning!" or "Good Afternoon!"
4. Have another booth worker engage them in conversation and bring them to the booth.
You must get the attention of the audience or it's a wasted effort.
You hold the audience's interest by:
1. Speaking convincingly and with a clear, strong voice.
2. Being interested in what you are saying.
3. Using visual aids. Prepare signs and posters that can be read from a distance of 10
4. Using a slide, filmstrip, or a movie projector to help communicate your message.
5. Appealing to people's senses with a display of the project. Being able to see, and
sometimes handle the finished product makes a great impact.
You arouse the audience's desire and liking. You make a persuasive effort by explaining
specifically how the item or experience can be used, made, or enjoyed by the individual
or why the individual should be interested in the topic.
You obtain the audience's action by summarizing your important points. You try to
affect the audience's behavior by having them request directions for the project, ask for
more information, or try their hand at the project, etc. You should bring at least 350
copies of project directions to the Fair, if appropriate, or a listing of where to get more
information on the subject.
Prepared by: Linda E. Dorr, Montgomery County Cooperative Extension Agent.
Revised 3/93
(Sources: Clark E. Garner (Assoc. Prof., DEA), "Working With a Moving Audience";
E. Jerome McCarthy, Basic Marketing, (Illinois: Richard D. Irwin, Inc., 1978).