“Be positive, be encouraging, uplift the spirit, and inspire the speaker to improve.”
In Toastmasters, whenever a member gives a speech there is always another member, who is called an evaluator, allocated to give some feedback to the speaker so that the speaker can improve. A speaker is allocated a different evaluator for each speech. This ensures a varied perspective.
These notes outline some important aspects of evaluation and present some ideas on how to become a better evaluator.
The objectives of a speaker is to effectively communicate a message with the audience. Some basic forms of feedback provided by the audience to the speaker are smiles, laughs, frowns, whispers or yawns.
It is the responsibility of the evaluator to provide an honest reaction to the speaker’s presentation, reasons for the audience’s reaction, and outline constructive examples in order to help the speaker improve.
An Evaluator must provide constructive, helpful feedback and suggestions for improvement, as well as outlining why the speech is succeeding or failing with the audience. Evaluation must build self confidence and encourage the speaker to uncover and develop their latent talents.
Be aware of the speaker’s objectives and the speaker’s progress. Each speech has its own objectives and to effectively evaluate, these objectives must be known. Being familiar with the speaker’s past performance, progress, goals and speaking style ensures a better evaluation.
A speech can be evaluated by dividing it up into the following parts.
The content refers to the substance of the speech, eg topic, ideas, facts and examples etc.
The organisation is how the speech was arranged, eg opening, body, conclusion and whether it is logically set out, etc.
Delivery is the speech mechanics such as hand gestures, eye contact, and voice modulation etc.
Evaluators should not become so involved with the delivery of the speech that they forget about its content and organisation.
Personalise your language
When evaluating a speaker be aware that it is only your opinion and therefore respond with terms such as
” I felt …………..”
” It seemed to me ……….”
” My reaction was ………”
Avoid phrases such as
” You should ………”
” You must ………..”
” Don’t ………..”
Where appropriate demonstrate what you mean.
There is no right or wrong way – only your reaction to the speech.
Use the HOW TO approach
” I felt that my reaction would have been …… if you had have ….”
” I believe that you would have accomplished your purpose more easily if you had have ……..”
“My impression is that if you concentrate on …… you would ……”
An evaluation is just like any other speech but should be a positive, short speech containing an introduction, body and conclusion. Keep it brief, short, sweet and simple.
Capture the audience’s attention with an imaginative opening.
Explain how you saw the speech and outline its basic objectives.
Emphasise the positive points in the speech.
Find something to praise by looking for improvements over the speaker’s previous delivery and presentation.
Offer only one or two constructive points for improvement.
Be specific in your suggestions.
Emphasise the speaker’s strengths and move into the conclusion.
Conclude with a statement that will point out the value of the speech. Indicate an appreciation of the opportunity to evaluate the speech and an expectation for the future.