When the day of the fair comes, everyone can't help but get butterflies. You've put in all of the work, now you just need to explain it to a judge and answer their questions. Sound easy, right? It can seem very scary to talk to a judge, but with these 7 hacks, you wil become a pro!

1. Look at the exhibit report before you go

There is a handy-dandy section in the back of the exhibitor's guide. It is made for people who can't make it to the fair, but it is a really good guide for what the judges are going to ask. A lot of the time, they will ask you the exact same questions. I like to practice answering them before we go, or in the car on the way there. You can also have your parents or siblings ask you questions. You can find it on page 106 of the exhibitors guide Remember just to be yourself and it will go great!

2. Give the judges a firm handshake

Whenever they call your name, walk up confidently. Introduce yourself to the judge and give them a firm handshake. Although these days people don't shake hands as much, it is a sign of respect and greeting. You want to convey that you are respectful of them but also friendly. Most kids these days don't do this, so it will give you a professionalism that others might not get. Also, make the handshake firm. A weak handshake doesn't work as well.

3. Look at the judges in the eye

Do you dislike it when someone is talking to you and won't look at you in the eye? I know it bothers me! All adults appreciate it when you look into their eyes while you are talking to them. It shows that you are not scared to talk to them and you are confident in yourself. The judges will appreciate you looking at them instead of the floor and will consider that when grading.

4. Use a firm, confident voice

In all of the fair buildings, it can be very loud. There are kids talking, yelling, and playing around. With so many people in one room, the noise levels can get very high. The worst thing that can happen is if they can't hear you. Then, the judges don't know what you are saying. They can't give you a good ribbon if they can't hear what you are telling them.

5. Talk a lot

The more you talk to the judges, the more they will get to know you and how well you know your project. By talking a lot it will also answer questions that they might have. Also, when you talk a lot, it can seem like you are talking to a friend instead of a judge. That makes the situation seem less scary and more fun!

6. Bring your project book

Although it can be very easy to lose your book, it is a good idea to bring it to the fair. First, many of the judges will ask for the book, so it's good to come prepared. Second, many of the judges who see that you have your book will usually flip through it to see what you've done. Many kids do not complete their books, so it will impress them that you have it finished. You can explain the activities that you did, and many of them spark really interesting conversations. Many of the judges are skilled in the area that you are presenting in, and it's really cool to hear about their jobs and what they do. Lastly, you can show which activity you picked to base your project off of. It will help you explain your thinking process and what struggles you overcame to finish it.

7. No matter what happens, be positive

This is by-far the most important thing. Even if your project breaks in the middle of your presentation, you still need to remain positive. Remember that the judges are humans too, and they've been through all of the tough days as well. No matter what ribbon you get, remind yourself that you tried your best and will do the same next year. To me, that is worth more than any ribbon.

Remember: Live Simply, Laugh Often, Love Deeply

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