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)

3 Steps to Writing a Great Speech

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Step 1: Your Audience

Before you start to write your speech or presentation think about who you will be speaking to, do they know anything about your topic? How do they feel about it? Do they even care?

It’s important to remember that giving a speech or presentation is not about you, it’s about your audience. You must be able to pitch your presentation at the right level for them, too technical and they’ll be confused, too easy and they’ll get bored.

To get an audience to listen to you you need to be able to answer the questions they’ll be asking in their heads:

  • Why should I care?
  • How will this affect me?
  • How will it benefit me?

Once you can answer these questions in your speech then every audience will love you.

 

 

Step 2: First Draft

With all this in mind write your first draft.

This is not about perfection. This is simply about getting all your ideas down on paper and this achieves two things:

  1. You’ve moved from the state of inaction where you are agonising over the right way to begin to a state of action and progress, this is a great place to be.
  2. No matter what else you do, you have achieved something and more than that it gives you something to work on and improve.

Once you’ve finished writing the first draft done say it out loud.

This helps greatly because what looks good written down doesn’t always sound good when you say it. For instance your sentences could be too long, there may be some words or sentences that are hard to say or sound wrong.

As you’re speaking it out loud, you will also notice parts of your speech that you will want to change, make quick notes of the changes as you find them and continue saying the speech.

Once you’ve finished, start on draft 2.

 

Step 3: Drafts 2 to X

Continue the cycle of writing the speech and then speaking it out loud. Each draft will require less and less changes. Keep this cycle going until you either reach a version that you are happy with or it is time to give the presentation.

Another advantage of this cycle of writing and speaking is that it’s also a form of practising, it gives you the chance to learn the flow and language of your speech

It’s important that as you write each draft to keep checking that your speech is still being pitched at the audience’s level and addressing their needs. As you write always ask: “Will my audience get this?”

 

Following these three steps will ensure that you always write a speech that people will want to listen to.

 

If you enjoyed this post then why not try more of our presentation tips:

 

Image: EcoVirtual (Flickr)

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:

 

 

 

Making Your Message Memorable

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What happens when you finish a presentation? What happens to your words and ideas? Are they carried in the hearts and minds of your audience out into the world or are they instantly forgotten?

As presenters we want to give our words and ideas a long life and a good way to do this is to use Chip and Dan Heath’s SUCCESs model to burn your ideas into your audience’s minds.

The SUCCESs model defines the six elements that your speech should have to make it memorable:

  1. Simple – Your message should have one and only one message, it should be clear to the audience what your message is.
  2. Unexpected – You need to surprise your audience because they’re more likely to remember something that  is unexpected. Think about it, when you talk about your day in work, do you tell people about all the normal everyday things that happened or do you tell people about the unplanned, the unexpected? We tend to remember better that which surprises us, like the twist in a movie or book, or the time your sister fell off her bike and broke her tooth. In order to make your message memorable, you need to surprise your audience. Subway’s Jared story is a perfect example of this with its memorable illogic – “He lost weight by eating fast food? That’s impossible!”
  3. Concrete – Make it real and tangible for your audience, add details because details help them to imagine better what you are trying to tell them, the more you help your audience imagine, the more likely they are to remember.
  4. Credible – In order to make us believe in the message, we need to make it credible, and we can do this in a number of ways, we can use experts (scientists, engineers, doctors), we can use people that our audience look up to or find inspiring (celebrities, respected public figures, speakers) or we can use someone that has shared our problem and has found a way to solve it, a real person, just like us.
  5. Emotion – A great way to get people to remember your message is to get them emotionally involved, make them care, make them angry, make them want to do something as a result of hearing your message. We can do this with stories but we also need to make the story’s hero someone that the audience can emotionally relate to – a girl suffering from malnutrition who could be their daughter, niece or friend, or a man who has money problems, we all know someone like that, we can relate to their problems and their situation.
  6. Story – Think about when you were a child and how effective the story about “the boy who cried wolf” was as a lesson to you, would your parents telling you not to lie have been as effective? We love stories, they involve us, they spark our imagination, they help us remember.

 

This book is all about how to get your message across clearly and effectively and it does exactly that. It takes the six principles of its SUCCESs model (Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotion, Stories) and applies them effectively throughout the book. But where it comes out strongest is in its use of Principal 6 (Stories) as each point they make is illustrated by a collection of well-chosen stories.

The stories are great, the type of stories that stick in your mind. There’s one about how one teacher explained racism to a class of young children after the death of Martin Luther King by dividing them into blue eyes and brown eyes and treating each group differently and that lesson was so powerful for the class that they all remember it 30 or 40 years later and it’s a story I won’t forget anytime soon.

Their message is simple and clear and the way they get it across is both thoughtful and entertaining. Definitely a book worth reading for anyone who wants to become a better presenter and speaker.

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die – Chip Heath & Dan Heath