A speaker receives an evaluation after every prepared speech. The importance and value of evaluations cannot be understated. The evaluation you offer could make the difference between a worthwhile and a wasted speech for the speaker. In addition to your oral feedback, you will also present the speaker with a written evaluation – ask your speaker for the evaluation form.
Evaluations help speakers improve, and are at the core of the Toastmasters program. Without them, speakers may not develop as quickly. An evaluator is required to be aware of the speaker’s progress to date, skill level, habits, and mannerisms. If the speaker employs a technique or gesture that elicits a positive response from the audience, tell him/her, so he/she will be encouraged to use it again.
Evaluations are also an additional opportunity to improve our own speaking skills.
Prior to the Meeting
- Evaluation requires careful preparation if the speaker is to benefit. Remember, the purpose is to help people develop skills in various situations, including formal speeches, discussions and meetings.
- Talk with the speaker to find out which project she/he is presenting. Be aware about the project objectives.
- Ask the speaker if she/he has any personal objectives.
Upon Arrival at the Meeting
- Talk to the General Evaluator to confirm the evaluation session format.
During the Meeting
- Record your impressions and answers to the evaluation questions in the manual.
- When introduced, stand and give your evaluation. Be as objective as possible. Good evaluations may give new life to discouraged members and poor evaluations can dishearten members who tried their best.
- Always provide the speaker with methods for improving. For every criticism, you should offer a specific suggestion for improvement. Focus on 2-3 suggestions at most.
- Try to begin and end with a note of encouragement or praise.
- Don’t read out lengthy written comments. Your time is limited, so highlight the most important points. The oral evaluation is partly for the benefit of all meeting attendees.
- Praise successful elements of the speech, and explain why they were successful. Give feedback about aspects of the speech that were impressive and contributed to the overall success, such as gestures, humor and personal stories.
- Be honest and candid about perceived faults or distracting mannerisms.
- Be supportive for your speaker.