Speech evaluation is one of the most critical aspects of a Toastmasters meeting. It is vital for both – the receiver and the giver. To the receiver, it presents a unique opportunity to get a third eye view about his performance. To the giver, it means learning the ability to analyze something new in a short span and present his or her findings to the audience. It thus elevates your skill as a public speaker enabling you to be a witness to something, analyze it and give a feedback. This can be an extremely helpful skill in business meetings, project planning etc.
So how do you evaluate a prepared speech?
A warning first – Speech Evaluations is an enormous topic. An experienced Toastmaster can write an entire book dedicated to just this subject and still have enough material to produce Vol. 2 and Vol. 3. Therefore, to do justice and make the entire subject more edible for the readers, we will divide it into multiple short blogs covering specific aspects.
Right now, let’s begin with some broad guidelines on Speech Evaluation.
Broad Guideline #1 – Speech evaluations in Toastmasters follow the CRC approach. The three minutes allotted to an evaluator is divided into a sequence of commendations followed by recommendations and concluding with commendations again. This to ensure the speaker is motivated to come back with a new speech and learn.
Broad Guideline #2 – The contents of every prepared speech is dictated by the objectives of the speech as laid out in the Evaluation sheet. The speaker must share this sheet with the evaluator in advance. Apart from the various elements of public speaking that you look for in those 5 to 7 minutes, make sure that the project’s objective is met by the speech. For example – if the objective is to do research and present the findings, a Toastmaster speaking about his grandmother, while heartening, doesn’t fulfil the objective.
Broad Guideline #3 – The golden formula is “Show, don’t tell.” Don’t just tell that the speaker’s hand gestures (just an example) were good or bad. Show them by picking up specific instances from the speaker’s speech to demonstrate what made them good or bad. This is also important so that you can effectively use the 3 minutes allotted to you as an evaluator.
As we mentioned earlier, a single blog cannot do justice to a subject so vast and intricate. Follow this space to know more about individual aspects of this subject in detail.