A speech from one of your peers has just finished, and as the Speech Evaluator, you are up next. You witnessed a really great speech and are now responsible for providing feedback to the speaker. You ask yourself, how can I do this so that it is both interesting and valuable for my audience.
Fellow Toastmasters this is your time to shine! As Evaluators, we are responsible for contributing to the success of both the speaker and our club experience. I would like to highlight areas where we as a group can get better at providing memorable evaluations.
An evaluation is first and foremost a speech about what you saw, heard, and felt. The structure to an evaluation is very similar to any speech, which includes a great opening, a body, and a conclusion. Structure is imperative to keeping the audience and speaker engaged throughout your evaluation. My suggestion is to limit the body to 3 areas of focus, which is easily done with the “Good, Better, and Best Method” or the “What I Saw, What I Heard, and What I Felt Method”.
When beginning your evaluation get creative on how you grab the audience’s attention. A simple but effective way to open is with a question or statement. An example may be asking a question related to the topic of the speech or make a statement that grabs our attention. An example could be a “What if question” or a quote related to the speech. The options are endless and it is important to “Hook” your audience in your introduction.
The second thing to remember is that you only have 2-3 minutes to do your evaluation so it is important that you get to the feedback (body) of your evaluation quickly. Using the Good, Better, Best Method as an example, gives you the opportunity to provide what was done well and constructive criticism on how to get better. It is important that you always provide ways to improve; otherwise, the speaker will not have any feedback on how they can get better in their next speech. We want to be respectful, however, please do not shy away from providing areas for improvement to both new and seasoned speakers. This is what we want and expect from our Evaluator’s. Also, please remember that the evaluations are on the speech itself, and not on who the speaker is.
Finally, when providing feedback, provide examples of what was done well and where they can improve. Telling someone to work on vocal variety is one thing, however, providing a specific example of where in the speech would have benefited, and giving the audience your version of how it may have worked better is much more beneficial and entertaining.
Our goal as Evaluators is to provide feedback on the speech we heard and entertain the audience as we would with a traditional speech.
I trust that if we all take the time to deliver both entertaining and meaningful evaluation both the quality of the speeches and club experience will elevate.
Elvis Gregov, DL4
Own the Moment (OTM) Oakville Toastmasters Member
Winner of 2019 Oakville Invitational Mary Heary Tall Tales Contests
Submitted April 2021