Michael McAra, DTM, held a workshop on the Art of Effective Evaluations on November 1, 2017. He had 11 eager Toastmasters attend, all very interested to raise the bar on their evaluations. It was a very informative night and we also learned some history about Plato, Socrates and Aristotle! The purpose of the workshop was to understand the need and value of effective speech evaluations and to identify ways to improve our evaluation skills through group discussion. There was invaluable discussions through the evening. We were asked to keep in mind our own reasons for wanting to become a more effective speaker (how powerful - treat and respect others how we would expect to be treated and respected) and that we need to provide quality evaluations to help a speaker improve. Jocelyne Vezina, DTM, was a test speaker and with a “round robin” type of evaluation, the group offered both verbal and written feedback for the test speaker.

Through reflective exercise, we worked through a club “climate” questionnaire about how our own clubs address evaluations. We learned a lot of great evaluation tips to add to our toolbox. These tools will help us all to improve evaluations, but most importantly, improve the experience for the speakers who we evaluate. We learned tips on how to leave our speakers feeling motivated and inspired after an evaluation. We also discussed the importance of providing a key area of improvement that would elevate the quality of the speech.

We spent some time talking about how clubs should try to match the speech evaluator with the speaker, where possible (i.e. not preferred to assign a person who has completed one or two speeches to evaluate an advanced speaker, unless you know the person is capable). One thing that was stressed a lot was the point of responsibility of the speaker to contact the evaluator days before the speech to let them know about the speech topic and send them a scan of the project objectives and evaluation guide. The evaluator also has responsibility to prepare in advance by reading the material the speaker sends and to gauge if there are any areas of concern that the evaluator should be cognizant of during the speech.

The Workshop was well delivered, I look forward to improving my evaluations based on what I learned. Michael added his own personal flair which made the evening very interesting and engaging!

Please let me know if you need anything else!

Muktha Tumkur, ACS, ALB

Toastmasters International Values:  Respect • Integrity • Service • Excellence
Our Principles:  Lead By Example • Work / Play as a Team 

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