6 Bad Habits to Avoid when Delivering an Evaluation

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To be a great speech evaluator one of the most important lessons to learn is  how not to evaluate. In this post I’m going to share six common habits to watch out for and avoid doing.

Being Too Thorough

It’s natural to want to talk about every success point and area for improvement when you give your evaluation so that you give the best feedback to the speaker but you only have 2-3 minutes so there simply isn’t enough time, choose the key points and save the rest for after the meeting when you follow up with the speaker.

Whitewashing

Whitewashing is when you spend the whole evaluation praising the speaker, listing all the many ways that the speaker is wonderfu. This is very supportive but it’s not genuine, nobody is that good, every speech can be improved. Talking only about positives without any recommendations will not help a speaker improve and grow. Give a sincere, balanced evaluation and show the speaker how they can become evem better.

Regurgitation

One common mistake is when an evaluator gives a summary of the speaker’s speech as part of their evaluation. This isnt very helpful, firstly the audience has already heard the speech so they don’t need to be reminded of what was said and secondly you only have 2-3 minutes for your evaluation and giving a summary takes up precious time.  You can refer to phrases or sections of the speech  in your evaluation but do it to illustrate your points, there’s no need to retell the speech.

Should

Should is a strong word, it’s an instruction, it’s tells people what to do. When you give an evaluation you make suggestions, and then the speaker decides if which suggestions they want to use so don’t tell people what they “should” do, instead suggest what they “could” do.

But

Another dangerous word is “but” in your evaluations, it can have the effect of negating all the positive language you use and focussing the speaker’s and audiences attention on a negative aspect of the speech, for example saying “Jack had amazing body language BUT…” means that even Jack’s amazing body language isn’t important, isn’t worth celebrating it’s part of a problem and in Toastmasters we don’t talk about problems we talk about areas to improve.

Cliches

Sometimes we fall into using the same set of phrases when we give an evaluation and it can sound a bit impersonal and insincere so instead of using clichés that everybody uses like “Overall it was a great speech and I look forward to your next one” make every evaluation special for your speaker, personalise your language and phrases just for 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: Nic Redhead (Flickr)

Celebrate Art and Invention at Our Next Meeting

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This Tuesday our theme will be “Art Meets Science” and we will be celebrating the genius of Leonardo Da Vinci. John will be our toastmaster for the evening, Victor will be delivering an inspirational speech, Dermot will showing us how to structure and deliver feedback and evaluations, and Derville will challenging our impromptu speaking skills with a range of table topics.

See you there!

When: 7.30pm, Tuesday 9th May

Where: The Lantern Centre, 17 Synge St (click here to see a map)

To sign up or see the agenda of the meeting, click here

 

image: Xiquinho Silva (Flickr)

Next Meeting: International Speech Contest – Round 2

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Next Tuesday Cogito will be hosting the second round of this year’s Toastmasters’ International Speech and Evaluation Contest and the best speakers and evaluators from Cogito, Uncensored Speakers and Vox Populi Toastmasters will be battling it out for a place in the next round.So if you want to see 6 inspirational speeches, 6 insightful evaluations  and meet some of the best speakers in Dublin then come along on Tuesday evening  and join the fun! 

See you there!

When: 7pm, Tuesday 11th April

Where: The Lantern Centre, 15 Synge St (click here to see a map)

To sign up or see the agenda of the meeting, click here

The Secret to Helping a Speaker Grow

Hash Milhan (2089058279_19e60328a4_b)Effective evaluations are all down to the recommendations that you give. Your suggestions to your speaker will be the main driving force that helps your evaluatees grow as speakers and become effective communicators.

Tips for Recommendations

  1. Be prepared. Talk to the speaker before the presentation, they will be able to tell you the areas that they want to work on and the areas that they’ve had difficulty with in the past, make sure to look out for these during the speech and find ways to to help the speaker become stronger in those aspects of their presentation.
  2. Focus on how the speaker can get better. For every area of improvement, have a recommendation. And don’t just look at the weak areas of a presentation, also look at the speaker’s strengths, are there areas that could go from good to great and what steps are needed to make that happen?
  3. Be specific. Give detailed instructions on what needs to be done to make the speech stronger and be sure to explain why taking these actions will make the speech better, it adds a lot of value to the speaker if you explain why.
  4. Always give recommendations. You can’t help a speaker improve if you don’t give them recommendations. That can be difficult because you may not want to upset the speaker or because the speaker is very good. Do not worry about upsetting a speaker, they want to improve and they want you to help them. As for good speakers, no speaker is THAT good, there’s always something that can get better, be really picky, if there’s 15 seconds of the presentation that didn’t work for you then concentrate on that.

How Many Recommendations?

Sometimes the effectiveness of an evaluation comes down to the number of recommendations that you give. Naturally the amount of feedback depends on each speaker but a good guide is:

Icebreakers:  1 recommendation
2nd – 5th Speech:  2 recommendations
6th – 10th Speech:  2-3 recommendations

For advanced speakers they will want to know how they can push their speaking to new heights so focus more on recommendations than strengths and give as many suggestions as you can.

Above all else remember the most important rule of all: Always give recommendations!

 

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: Hash Milan (Flickr)

Every Word Matters, Stand Up and Speak

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

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.

Come along to our contest on March 14th to see some potential World Champions as they eloquently deliver their speeches and charm, inspire and entertain you.

 

When: 7.30pm, Tuesday 14th March

Where: The Lantern Centre, 17 Synge St (click here to see a map)

To sign up or see the agenda of the meeting, click here

 

image: pixlars (Flickr)

Join Us Tomorrow For Another Great Meeting

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Join us tomorrow evening for an evening of fun and learning. Michelle will be our Toastmaster, Dermot will continue to show us how to improve the way we deliver feedback and we have three great speakers for you to learn from, Isabel with the intriguingly-titled “How Iceland changed the way its teens get high“, Michael will tackle the global water crisis and Derville will deliver an interactive brainstorming session.

It’s going to be another great evening. See you there!

 

When: 7.30pm, Tuesday 28th February

Where: The Lantern Centre, 17 Synge St (click here to see a map)

To sign up or see the agenda of the meeting, click here

Crafting an Evaluation that Educates the Whole Audience

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For every member of Cogito Toastmasters the evaluation section is the most valuable part of our meetings. As each evaluator delivers their feedback the whole audience has the chance to learn tips and tricks that will help them to become stronger speakers and communicators.

So how can you deliver an evaluation that is valuable for both the speaker and also for the whole audience?

It’s all down to the language that you use when you give the evaluation, and, more specifically, who you speak to. Sometimes we’re so focused on helping the speaker that we look  directly at the speaker and only speak to them. We say things like “I like how you did…”, ” I loved it when you…”, “I feel that if you try…” On one hand this is great as it shows that you’re truly prioritizing the needs of the speaker but there are some potential problems with this approach:

  1. Speaking directly to the speaker and giving them all that attention might make them feel uncomfortable i.e due to:
    • shyness
    • being uncomfortable when given compliments
    • discomfort when being told their areas for improvement.
  2. The rest of the audience is may feel left out as you’re not talking to them instead it may seem that you’re having a conversation with the speaker and if they feel ignored they might not listen to the great tips that you’re giving.

There is a simple way to solve both these problems, talk about the speaker in the third person, i.e. don’t say “you” or “your”, use the speaker’s name. For instance, instead of “your gestures were evocative”, say “David’s gestures were evocative, when he…”  or instead of “your speech can be improved by”  say “David’s speech can be enhanced by…”

By doing this you reduce the spotlight on the speaker, making them feel less like the centre of attention yet still giving the help that they need while at the same time you’ve included everyone else in the room and shared your tips and tricks with them.

Next time you’re giving an evaluation in  front of an audience, remember to extend your delivery out from the speaker to include the whole group.

 

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: InnovateOSU (Flickr)