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)

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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)

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)

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)

Conquer Your Fear with Toasmasters

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Does the idea of standing up and speaking in front of a group of people terrify you?
Yeah, me too.
So it’s only fitting that the theme of our next meeting is “Conquer Your Fear” because that’s what Toastmasters is about, it’s about creating a comfortable environment where you can learn to deal with your speaking nerves and gain the confidence to present in front of an audience.
To help you conquer your fear of speaking and presenting, Jean-Marie will give an educational called “Controlling Your Fear”, not only that but we’ll have our usual impromptu speaking section as well as speeches from Carmen, Miao and Michael.
Cogito Toastmasters Dublin
Time: 7.30pm
Date: Tuesday 11th October
Place: The Lantern Centre, Synge St, Dublin 8
(with free parking)
For more details of our meeting click here.

Image: Symphony of Love/Kate Ter Haar

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