Many Creed speakers make the mistake of focusing the bulk of their energy on memorizing the FFA Creed, but becoming a successful at the FFA Creed CDE involves much more. Once you conquer reciting the FFA Creed correctly, then it's time stand out from the competition. Looking at the CDE scorecard you may notice that although you lose points for missing words, the actual scoring is based on Oral Communication, Non-verbal Communication, and Question Answers.
You need to understand that the Creed is more than reciting the correct words. 40% of the points come from eye contact, mannerisms, gestures, and poise. Speaking without hesitation, pace, tone, pronunciation, and volume contributes another 20% of the total score. The other 40% of the points are awarded for answering the questions comfortably, in detail, and with specific examples. So how can you improve your score in these areas? Let's look at five ways to develop your Creed Speaking skills.
It is difficult to answer a question about "agricultural pursuits" if you don't know what a pursuit is. So spend some time looking up definitions and synonyms for key words in the Creed. Discuss what you think they mean with your advisor and other adults to ensure that you understand them correctly. Some words to start with are: engaged, pursuits, inborn, associations, efficiently, secure, progressive, toil, abundant, square (meanings beyond a four-sided object), exert, and traditions.
Search the web for Creed questions. Ask your advisor for questions that have been used in previous CDEs. Read the Creed and try to come up with your own questions. Then (here's the most important part), write out your answers. Why should you write out your answers? Not only will it help you collect your thoughts, but also taking the time to write down your answers will show if you truly understand the question. Have your advisor and other adults read your answers and give you their opinion.
Creed speakers are easily sorted into three categories: little to no gestures, stiff or overly rehearsed gestures, and natural gestures and movements. Gestures and movements that are too forced, used too repetitively, or are overdone can be big distractions.
A good Creed speaker will give you chill bumps. Believe in the words you are saying and let that emotion show through. Make the judges feel that that you DO know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life. Changing your voice's pitch, pace, and force can lend more emotion to the words.
And it should go without saying...practice, practice, practice. And then practice some more. Practice in front of the mirror, have someone video you or set it up yourself, say the Creed to anyone (absolutely anyone) that will stand still and listen for three minutes. Don't give up or be too hard on yourself. Just be persistent.
Want a National Creed Speaker and her advisor walk you through their process for preparing state winning Creed Speakers year after year, sign up for a free trial of PLOW video tutorials here.
If your class needs help with their overall public speaking then take a look at this set of 15 Public Speaking Activities in our store. These can set you up for a semester of public speaking Fridays or inspire you on those days where you have to fill some time.
The Ag Sales CDE is one of those contests that is hard to participate in just from reading the CDE guidelines. Much like the Parliamentary Procedure CDE, until you've seen it demonstrated you don't really "get it". However a few suggestions can go a long way towards taking your team from just showing up to placing.
Being an Ag teacher means you're hard on stuff. You don't mean to be. It just comes with the territory. Dirt, dust, sweat, rain, manure, students...none of these things mix well with technology. Over the years, my cell phones have succumbed to a number of hazards associated with being an Ag teacher. So when I finally got an iPhone this Christmas, I wanted to make sure to protect this valuable little gadget from the hardships that my other phones have endured.