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Evaluating Others

The more effective we are in evaluating each other, the more each one of us will profit from the experience, whether we are delivering a speech, evaluating, or Evaluating Otherssitting in the audience. For as audience members, we learn from the good example an effective evaluation presents. As evaluators, we learn to sharpen our listening and impromptu speaking skills. And as speakers, effective evaluations benefit us by:

    • Providing immediate feedback. Supportive commentary and helpful suggestions reinforce positive speaking behaviors as well as assist in focusing on areas that need work
    • Offering methods for improvement. An evaluator can offer a new perspective. This perspective will allow the presenter to recognize and then solve any difficulties within the presentation.
    • Building and maintaining self-esteem. As the presenter’s speaking improves from speech to speech, more self-esteem will be gained.

How to Evaluate Effectively
Giving an evaluation is an excellent way to demonstrate the skills you are learning as a Toastmaster. The following are five basic points to remember when offering an evaluation:

1. Before the speech.

      • Review and discuss the speech objectives
      • Ask about any concerns regarding the speech or the speaker’s speaking ability.

2. Show that you are interested.

      • Demonstrate that you are truly interested in the speech.
      • Exhibit your interest in the speaker’s ability to grow and improve.

3. Personalize your language.

        Put yourself in the position of the speaker before giving your evaluation.

      • Stay away from words like:
      • “You didn’t….”
      • “You should have…”
      • “You failed to…”

To stimulate improvement, use words like:

      • “I believe…”
      • “My reaction was…”
      • “I suggest that…”

Keep the evaluator’s mantra in mind to maximize your skills:

      • What I saw
      • What I heard
      • What I felt

4. Evaluate the speech – not the person!

      • Always keep your main purpose in mind: To support, help and encourage the speaker.
      • Pay attention to the speaker’s goals for self-improvement.
      • Watch for symptoms of fear or insecurity.
      • Evaluate what the speaker does – not what the speaker is!

5. Promote self-esteem

      • Encourage and inspire the speaker to participate again by giving:
      • Honest and sincere praise.
      • Positive reinforcement when improvements occur.
      • Helpful direction when necessary.
      • Always end your evaluation positively.

Avoid being Disingenuous
An evaluator can give evaluations that only praise the speaker. This may be flattering at first, but over time will demoralize the atmosphere of a club. Honest evaluators can and should be upbeat and encouraging, while still pointing out areas for improvement. Avoid covering up flaws for adulation.
Here are some guidelines:

    • Connect to your opening statement.
    • Summarize your key points.
    • If possible, give a personal story or example.
    • Encourage your listeners to apply what they heard and learned.