Toastmaster’s Thoughts – How to give a good evaluation

Happy Wednesday everyone!  I thought I would start a new series this week about one of my many other loves.  Toastmasters!

For anyone that might know me, they know I’m a huge extrovert, get me in front of a group of people and I’ll lay it on thick. A few years back my friend introduced me to one of the Toastmasters groups in my building, from day one I was hooked.  I have always been a natural storyteller, and excelled at giving speeches, but, when it came time to be an evaluator I had a hard time critiquing others.  One mentor went so far as to write me a note, asking me to stop regurgitating the speech during my evaluation, they had already heard it once before.  Needless to say that was a low point!  But over time, I watched the way other people gave evaluations, thought about the things I wanted people to look for when I spoke and slowly started developing tangible evaluation skills that have served me well.  Today I’m going to share those with you.

1. Really listens to the speaker when they’re giving the speech, if you need to write notes, keep them simple, if there’s a quote you like, feel free to write it down, but don’t get bogged down in the note taking process.

2. After the speaker has finished, get down to business and think about what you liked about the speech and about what they could improve on. How was their body language? Did they have funny anecdotes? Did they use notes? Did they have visual aids? 

3. Get your notes in order, summarize your evaluation – remember it’s only supposed to be between 2 and 3 minutes. When putting your thought together remember the sandwich concept, kiss them (tell them what you liked), smack them (tell them a few things that need to be improved on) and kiss them again (tell them what you really like).  Remember to be kind when giving your evaluation – being cruel or rude does not help you or the speaker.

4. Always remember your evaluation is for the speakers benefit, give them solid advice and guidance.  

5. Try not to answer the questions from the manual when giving your verbal evaluation – that is one of my biggest pet peeves, giving the audience the objective of the speech and your opinion on if they met the objective is fine.  Actually reading and answering the questions is laziness on your part, make sure you are original in the feedback you are providing.

6.  Lastly remember to have a good time – Evlaution are part of the education process of Toastmasters and a very important part.  But, it is also another opportunity to fine tune your own speaking craft and should always have your personality and nuances as part of the speech.

Until next time – XOXO – Sarah

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