San Francisco Mandarin English Toastmasters (旧金山中英双语演讲会)

The first bilingual Chinese-English Toastmasters group in San Francisco

How to Give a Great Speech Evaluation

ElliotteMao027As evaluator, you will give an oral evaluation of a speech during the meeting and a written evaluation in the speaker’s manual. The purpose of the evaluation is to help the speaker become less self-conscious. This requires that you become fully aware of the speaker’s skill level, habits and mannerisms as well as his or her progress to date. If there is a technique the speaker uses or some gesture made that receives a good response from the audience, tell the speaker so he or she will be encouraged to use it again.

Prior to the meeting

Interview the speaker to find out which manual project she or he will be presenting. Discuss the speaker’s goals. Study the objectives of the project and the evaluation guide in the manual. Good preparation will allow you to give a more effective evaluation.

During the meeting

Get the speaker’s manual so that you can fill out the Evaluation Guide. Evaluations are the key to how we improve as speakers. Feedback lets us know how we are improving and gives us ideas for changing our behavior. Each speech iterates this cycle.

The evaluator has three roles.

Motivator. Fuel the speaker’s desire for improvement. Encourage and inspire the speaker.
Facilitator. Show the speaker how to improve. (Give constructive criticism: suggest alternatives to areas that you think could be tried differently next time. It is safest to use “I” language when doing this. For example, “I found the noise your pen was making as you were clicking it throughout the speech distracting. You could try keeping your pen in your lapel pocket or placing it on the lectern while you are speaking.” This kind of criticism is easier to accept than “Everyone thought the pen noise was terribly distracting.” Did you poll everyone in the room? How would you know?)
Counselor. When evaluating someone who fears speaking, do whatever it takes to get that person back for his or her next speech!

Self-esteem is the key to personal growth. Self-esteem is how we feel about ourselves. We all need affirmation that we are doing well every time we try a new activity (such as public speaking). The Toastmasters program should build and protect self-esteem. Evaluators should be genuine, recognize strengths, recognize improvement, motivate, avoid value judgments, provide positive direction/suggestions, and avoid white-washing.

Ten behaviors of an effective evaluator are:

  1. Show that you care. (Be sincere. Do not white wash).
  2. Suit your evaluation to the speaker (e.g. their level of experience and personal style).
  3. Learn the speaker’s objectives (easy! ask them!)
  4. Listen actively. (Be alert. Get inside their head. Listen with your eyes. Match content with delivery).
  5. Personalize your language. (e.g., “I think,” “This is the effect your speech had on me”)
  6. Give positive reinforcement. (Avoid hollow flattery. Reinforcing strengths is very powerful! Builds self-esteem.)
  7. Help the speaker become motivated. (Recognize potential. Focus on what they did well that met speech objectives).
  8. Evaluate the behavior–not the person.
  9. Nourish self-esteem. (End evaluation on a positive note. Recognize strengths).
  10. Show the speaker how to improve. (Give examples of how to do better. Try to give two to three suggestions and examples).

After the Meeting
Return the manual to the speaker. (You may wish to borrow it for a day to fill in the evaluation form more fully. This is between you and the speaker.) Add a verbal word of encouragement to the speaker.
Evaluations not only provide feedback to the presenter but also to you (the evaluator) and all the members of our club. It is the closing loop that works on continuous improvement of our communication and leadership skills.

Being evaluator you gain:

  1. Better Listening & Leadership (CL#1),
  2. Critical Thinking (CL#2),
  3. Giving Feedback (CL#3),
  4. Motivating People (CL#8),
  5. Better Speaking,.. and much more…

Objectives of Evaluation

1. Evaluation is about giving the speaker feedback in regards to the effectiveness of his/her speech. By being a member of the audience and hearing the speech, you are uniquely qualified to provide such feedback from your point of view.

2. As an evaluator, your job is to provide feedback as to what worked well and suggestions for improving the effectiveness of the speech. You are not casting judgment on the speaker; you are presenting ideas.

3. If you approach your evaluation from the viewpoint that parts of the speech were good and parts were bad, your evaluation is more likely to have a demoralizing effect. If, instead, you think in terms of what was good and what could make it even better, your evaluation will have an uplifting effect. (You can practice the Sandwich technique of evaluation.)
We want to improve the evaluations in our club and take it to next level. This will help all of us to improve our communication skills. I will suggest you to go through the CL manual projects and also from the links provide below to gain more insight of the role and what you can do to improve it.

You can get the evaluation form in advance at:

Provide your evaluations such that every member gets the right feedback that they deserve and come back more motivated to improvise on their strengths and improve further on the Areas of improvements you have identified for them.

Have a great evaluation!


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This entry was posted on October 10, 2012 by .
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