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:
- Speaking directly to the speaker and giving them all that attention might make them feel uncomfortable i.e due to:
- being uncomfortable when given compliments
- discomfort when being told their areas for improvement.
- 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)