Posts Tagged ‘evaluation’

1.    Start by honoring the speaker. “It is my privilege/honor tonight to evaluate John Smith’s speech titled ‘Gadgets for the Homeowner’.

2.    Remember the greeting: “Mr/Madam Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmasters, Welcome Guests

3.    Try to use the third person – “The speaker gave us a lot of information” not “John gave us a lot of information”

4.    Evaluate the content and structure of the speech, not just the presentation.

5.    Remember that the evaluation is not about you. It’s about the speaker and perhaps how the club can learn from what you have observed.

6.    Try to look beyond the obvious, especially as you point out the strong points of the speech. If everyone knows that this person is a great researcher or has a powerful voice, if it has been mentioned many times before, find other things he does well. Comment on those.

7.    Work on making your tips for improvement sound like just that – tips for improvement, not criticisms

8.    Find something for yourself. Learn not just from the speech but also from the speaker. If this speaker moves confidently around the speaking space notice how he fits his movements to his words. Learn from this so you can do it better yourself.

9.    Make your evaluation upbeat and positive, maybe even humorous (but not at the expense of the speaker). Become the evaluator that everyone looks forward to hearing.

10.     Smile as if you are giving a gift. If you’ve put your best effort into it you  ARE giving a gift to both the speaker and your club

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Evaluation – contest

Strong evaluators look forward to the Evaluation contest as a way to demonstrate their skill and to showcase what an evaluation can look like.  You bring your best game. You dig deep into your experience and your sense of what a good speech is all about.

You look at what the other evaluators in your club are doing well and you see how you could incorporate that skill into your own repertoire and fit it to your own style.  Just like each speaker has their own style and favorite focus, evaluators have their own style too. One evaluator might always give weight to the theme, another can be counted on to comment on the way the speaker used the stage or podium space.  Ask yourself how thoroughly you look at theme or use of space. Could you become more perceptive in these areas?

You look at what other evaluators are not doing well and you devise ways to improve on that. You see some traps to avoid. (I won’t just re-hash the topic. I won’t follow some red herring thought of my own and lose track of what I’m supposed to be doing.) You see that most evaluators are using notes and you ask yourself “Could I manage to do it without notes?”

Then you listen to the test speaker – someone that you, presumably. don’t know, or at least don’t know well. You have a blank slate here. You have no past history with this speaker – you don’t know his style, whether this is a strong speech for him, whether he likes to be humorous or teach a lesson. You’re going in cold.

Can you feel a connection with this speaker? In what way? How is the speaker helping you make that connection? Has he chosen a topic that has universal appeal or is this a topic that only a mother could love? If it’s an off-beat topic, did he pull you into it anyway?

Your evaluation needs to reflect the speaker and the tone of the speech. If this is clearly an accomplished speaker your evaluation should be polished, crisp and professional. If it is someone who is clearly nervous and somewhat overwhelmed by the role of test speaker your tone can be more easy-going, encouraging, upbeat and perhaps a little more informal.

If it is a technical, detailed speech, reflect that. If it is a no-nonsense direct instructional speech make your evaluation sound much the same way. Match the tone.

Resist the temptation to show off all the things you found wrong with the speech. Increasing the number of tips does not necessarily increase the value of the evaluation.  Pick one or two that are important in your way of thinking and deliver them with humor and a smile. Hard hitting is not attractive and does not build points with the judges.

Have a summation that starts clearly with words such as “…and in conclusion”, ‘..all in all” – words that clearly signal that this is your summary. Make it positive, strong and memorable.

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The evaluator’s first questions here are – Motivated to do what? Inspired in what way?

The motivational speech needs as its theme – that the audience will be happier or more productive  or better parents if they followed this path. The problem situation before the action needs to be clear, the steps to a better or wealthier life need to be clear and the possible happy-ever-after result should be attainable and desirable.

The speaker might start with a picture of someone going deeper into debt each month, show ways to conserve money consistently and end with the happy conclusion that the person will be out of debt in two years if they follow these simple steps. It’s part information but it’s wrapped in a thick blanket of “You can do it”. It’s encouraging, it’s hopeful, it shows the way to a happier life.

The inspirational speech is usually not quite so focused on how to get to a specific desirable result. Often it is the story of how someone overcame severe difficulties and obstacles. Often it is a personal story and the audience sees before them the inspiring end result. The speaker has selected one or more desirable traits – persistence, courage, a positive outlook – and told how he used them to overcome his issues. He is encouraging the audience to try similar strategies to improve their life.

The evaluator is first clarifying the message, then analyzing how well it was presented. As always – Was the message clear? How could it have been made clearer? What techniques were used to present the message? Could other techniques have conveyed the message more strongly?

These speeches rely on stories, usually personal stories to put the message across. The speaker should have been open in presenting his struggles, his failures in trying to overcome the problem. Did you feel that he was honest and open or did he paint a picture that was a bit more attractive then the cold hard truth?

These speeches also rely on touches of humor and of emotion. Listening to all that hardship is hard on an audience – they need to relax with a laugh once in a while. If it comes unexpectedly all the better. The touch of humor serves to emphasize the message and strengthen it. Look for those touches of humor and appreciate them.

The emotion is often implicit in the inspirational speech. How well was it handled by the speaker? Did he gloss over it? Did he wallow in it too deeply? In what way did the emotion of the speech touch you? How did you feel? Now it’s your turn to open up to the audience.

This type of speech looks to change the audience. How were you changed? How will you be different after hearing it?


Visit www.toastmasterspeeches.com

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I like to think of myself as a speech evaluation addict. I’ve evaluated quite a lot of speeches and I offer this as just one person’s opinion about evaluations.

1. Your approach – one of intelligent helpfulness. Saying over and over that a speech was wonderful, awesome and terrific is neither intelligent nor helpful. The speaker needs to know exactly what worked well and why.

2. Your careful listening – that you are focused on the speaker and on the words. You are not distracted in any way.

3. Your ability to understand what the speech was all about – the theme, the message, and what the speaker’s intention and objective was.

4. Your understanding of how the speaker got the message across as a whole and what might have helped it to come across more effectively.

5. Your feeling of how the speech progressed from point to point to conclusion, and the effectiveness of the progression

6. Your ability to see how all the physical aspects of the presentation – the gestures, movement, voice etc. – contributed to getting the message across.

7. Your understanding of the speaker as an individual and where he is in his progression as a speaker. Knowing whether he needs mostly encouragement and a fairly broad suggestion for improvement, or whether he is looking mostly for precise suggestions for improvement.

8.  Your humility – words like “It is my privilege to evaluate….tonight” and that you reinforce the concept that this is just one person’s opinion.

9.  Your research ahead of time – that you’ve read the project requirements, that you’ve contacted the speaker to ask if there is anything special he’d like you to watch out for.

10. Your smile and warmth and your attitude of supportiveness. Allow the speaker to feel that it was a pleasure for you to be able to evaluate his speech; it was not just another role to be filled.

Now I’d like to hear your opinion. What other ‘secrets’ would you add?

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