The Secret to Effective Evaluations

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Like with giving speeches, the quickest way to become an effective evaluator is through feedback. There are three great sources of feedback available to you in every Toastmaster meeting:

  1. Your Speaker
  2. The General Evaluator
  3. Club Members

 

Your Speaker

Your primary source of feedback is always the speaker themselves.

After the meeting, sit down with the speaker and find out how THEY felt about your evaluation:

  1. Did they agree with your assessment?
  2. Were you were too harsh or too gentle?
  3. How useful were your suggestions?
  4. Did parts of your evaluation make them uncomfortable?
  5. Did you say something that upset them?

Talk to them and see what suggestions and recommendations they can give you so that you can use that feedback in your next evaluation.

 

The General Evaluator

Talk to the General Evaluator in advance, tell them about the areas that you want to work on, your personal objectives for the evaluation and ask them to give feedback and recommendations based on this after the meeting.

 

Club Members

Ask a club member to evaluate your evaluation.

This can be done either informally with a quick chat after the meeting or in a structured manner by using the projects in the Competent Leadership or one of the many evaluation forms available from Toastmasters International.

 

The more feedback you get as an evaluator the better you will be able use your evaluations to inspire and motivate your evaluatees to become stronger speakers and presenters.

 

This post is part of our series of tips to help you become a better evaluator. To learn more about evaluating, check out these posts:

 

image: Dennis Skley (Flickr)

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Use Your Evaluation To Inspire

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On the surface an evaluation at Toastmasters is about showing a speaker their strengths and suggesting how they can improve further but a great evaluation goes further, a great evaluation will inspire your speaker to become a better communicator. A great evaluation will make them excited about their next speech they’ll start planning it immediately and they’ll be imagining how amazing they’re going to be. This should always be your goal when you give an evaluation.

This is not as difficult as it might sound.

The best place to inject inspiration into your evaluation is in the conclusion, it will have the most impact there. In your conclusion be sure to include the following:

  • Acknowledge – Acknowledge all that the speaker has achieved so far, this shows them that they are already on the path to their goals and they’ve already achieved great things.
  • Believe – Encourage them, show them that you believe that they have the ability to reach their personal speaking goals.
  • Challenge – Challenge them, give them a new target to aim for, keep them striving to be better speakers.

The key to success is your choice of challenge. It could something small like not using notes or controlling a crutch-word or it could be a bigger step like speaking outside the club or taking part in a speech contest. From your preparation you already know what level the speaker is at, you know what their goals and objectives are and you have seen the speech so use this information to select an achievable but challenging task for the speaker.

Make them excited by the new challenge. Show them that you believe that they can achieve it. Inspire them.

 

This post is part of our series of tips to help you become a better evaluator. To learn more about evaluating, check out these posts:

 

image: symphony of love/chattygd (flickr)

Evaluation Tip: Organise Your Evaluation

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Evaluations are challenging.

You have to watch and listen carefully to a speech while at the same time trying making notes on the strong points and the areas that could be stronger and then you have 20-30 minutes to work out what you’re going to say, how you’re going to say it and come up with solid suggestions to help your speaker become a more effective communicator.

It’s little wonder that with all this pressure that some evaluations can sound a bit disorganised but there is a very easy way to get around this problem, you need to remember that a good evaluation is a speech. Thinking of it as a speech gives you an automatic structure with a beginning, middle and end. Using this will help you sound more organised and confident when giving your evaluation.

Here are the 5 steps you can use to build an organised evaluation:

  1. For your opening, keep it simple, connect with the speaker and give brief outline of what you’re going to cover in your evaluation.
  1. Select a structure for your evaluation. Here are some popular structures:

The Sandwich method: Begin with something that the speaker did well then give an improvement with a helpful recommendation and wrap up with another of the speaker’s strengths.

P.O.S.E (Positives, Objectives, Suggestions, Encouragement): Start with the speaker’s strengths, outline the objectives for the speech, show the speaker how they can bring the speech to a higher level and round out with some encouraging words.

P.I.E.S (Positives, Improvements, Encouragement, Summary): Start with the speaker’s strengths, then suggestions and recommendations, encouragement and finish off with a summary of your evaluation.

G.L.O.V.E (Gestures, Language, Organisation, Voice, Enthusiasm): Break your evaluation into five sections – body language,  words and language used, speech structure, vocal variety and the passion of the speaker.

Try out different structures to see which suits the speakers’s needs best, if none of them work then look at developing your own structure.

  1. Read through your notes and choose only 2 or 3 points to discuss. Remember that you only have 2-3 minutes for your evaluation, if you choose too much to talk about then you will go over time. When selecting talking points concentrate on the strongest strengths and the areas in need of the most improvement.
  1. Don’t take your notes on stage with you. Instead, transfer the points that you want to talk about onto a separate piece of paper or better yet, put each point on its own notecard. This allows you to arrange your notes into the structure chosen above which helps you give a clear and focused evaluation.
  1. Wrap up with a very brief summary and some final words of encouragement for the speaker.

By following these steps you will be able to build and deliver a structured and focused evaluation which will ultimately help the speaker and the whole audience become more effective speakers and presenters.

 

This post is part of our series of tips to help you become a better evaluator. To learn more about evaluating, check out these posts:

 

Image: marco antonio torres (flickr)

Evaluation Tip: Plan and Prepare Your Evaluation

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When you take on the role of being an evaluator at a Toastmasters meeting, your main objective should be to inspire your speaker to become a better communicator.

The key to doing this effectively is preparation.

The more you prepare, the better you will be able to help the speaker improve.

While most toastmasters can give a “good enough” evaluation if they talk to a speaker five minutes before a club meeting, it is when we take the opportunity to put in more preparation time that we find that have the ability to deliver a great evaluation that is tailor-made for our speaker’s goals and needs.

There are 4 steps to perfect preparation:

  1.  Read the project description so that you are clear about the objectives for the speech.  Do this every time. Even if you’ve evaluated the project many times, read the objective again, remember this is not for you but to help you give the best feedback to your speaker.
  1. Contact the speaker. If you can, try to do this about a week before the meeting. Find out more about them and their own personal speaking objectives because we don’t join toastmasters to complete manuals, we join to improve ourselves or to gain confidence. The more you can cater for these personal goals the better you will be able to help the speaker. Here are some sample questions you could ask:

Are there any areas from previous projects that they want to work on?
Do they have any personal objectives for that project?
What are their long term improvement goals?
What type of feedback would they appreciate?

  1. Using the manual objectives and the speaker’s personal objectives, make a checklist of areas to watch out for during the speech.
  1. The day before and also just before the meeting, touch base with the speaker so that you’re up to date with their progress and are aware of any issues that have been overcome or new issues encountered by the speaker.

It is by following these 4 steps that you will be able to craft an evaluation that will focus on the needs of the speaker and give them the best chance to grow as a speaker and communicator.

I know that this sounds like a lot of work for a simple evaluation but let me ask you a question:

If you were the speaker, which would you prefer?

An evaluator who just glances over the project or someone who takes the time to prepare?

 

This post is part of our series of tips to help you become a better evaluator. To learn more about evaluating, check out these posts:

 

Image: Samuel Mann (Flickr)

Exciting Events at The Lantern Centre

Thanks to everyone who came to our Storytelling night last week, we had a great night filled with tales of mythical beasts, near-death experiences and wardrobe malfunctions.
But the fun doesn’t end there, we have three exciting meetings coming up over the next few weeks:

 

May 10th – Persistence and Motivation
In next week’s meeting, Jean-Marie asks the question – “How can we stay motivated over long periods as we work towards our goals?”. Join Jean-Marie and our speakers as they explore how to find the motivation that we all need to reach our goals.

 

May 24th – Heroes
This meeting will be dedicated to the heroes who inspire us, those that drive us to step out of our comfort zone and become the people we’ve always dreamt of.
Come along and share with us your heroes, we’re still looking for speakers and other roles to be filled, contact Dermot for more details.

 

June 14th – Evaluation Workshop
Evaluation is the key to becoming a great speaker and we’ve got an incredibly experienced evaluator coming to the club to give us an Evaluation workshop that will equip you with the skills to help your fellow club members improve and grow.

 

 Speaking Tips
And finally, check out our Facebook page for great tips and tricks to improve your presentations, for instance:
  • The 22 rules for Perfect Storytelling
  • How To Cure Stagefright
  • What to Do with Your Hands When Speaking in Public
  • The Neuroscience of Storytelling
  • The Seven Steps to The Perfect Story
See you at our next meeting
Cogito Toastmasters Dublin

The Secret to Becoming an Amazing Speaker

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To become an amazing speaker there is only one thing that you need.

Feedback.

It is through feedback that we grow as speakers because if we don’t know what’s not working then we can’t fix it. The more feedback you get, the better an idea you’ll have of what you need to do to get your message across successfully.

Every time you speak, look for feedback from your audience members. When you practice, find friends or colleagues to watch you practice and get them to give you honest feedback about how you spoke. From them you will learn the parts that were clear or confusing, fascinating or boring, or too short or too long but sometimes the feedback that you get tells you what doesn’t work but doesn’t tell you how to make it better, and that’s where we come in.

At Cogito Toastmasters we love to give feedback. Each time you speak at the club you will be assigned an experienced member who first will watch and listen to your speech and then will show you not only what you did well but more importantly give you tips on how you can make your presentations even better.

Not only that, everyone in the audience also fills in feedback sheets so you get tips and suggestions from 10-15 other people. It is this focus on feedback and improvement that is the secret behind the success of the Toastmasters program.

Come along to our next meeting and see how our evaluations can give you the feedback you need to take your speaking to the next level.

 

If you are interested in learning more about how evaluations are given in Toastmasters you can read some of our posts on evaluations:

 

 

 

Are You Ready To Be A Champion?

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Every year, all across the world, 15,000 Toastmasters clubs hold their annual International Speech and Evaluation contests, this is the first round of a contest that will result in one person being named the World Champion of Public Speaking.

And there’s a lot of people who really really want to become World Champion, they can spend months writing, practicing and refining their speeches, testing them out on multiple audiences and tweaking them until they have that perfect formula.

It’s hard work but it pays off and Jim Key is a great example of this. In 2001 Jim Key won his way through the first five levels of speech contest to get to the World Final and came 2nd. After being so close to winning, in 2002 he tried again, he got through to the World Final again and got 2nd place again. He may have been frustrated but he didn’t give up, as in 2003 he was back again and this time he won. And if you think that’s good,  Jock Elliot fought his way to the World Finals 8 times and finally won in 2011.

Every contest is adventure for anyone who takes part as you never know how far you might go but there is one thing guaranteed you will be a better speaker and communicator afterwards.

To get you in the mood for the contest, from Friday onwards we’ll be posting the World Championship winning speeches on our Facebook page.

Come along to our contest on March 8th to see some potential World Champions as they eloquently deliver their speeches and charm, inspire and entertain you.

 

image: pixlars (Flickr)