Speech evaluations

Number of Commendations & Recommendations in speech evaluation

In our earlier blog, we opened the Pandora’s Box – Speech Evaluations. We scratched the surface as we discussed what speech evaluations in Toastmasters entail. It’s time to continue scratching to sharpen our claws.

How many Commendations & Recommendations should an evaluator give?

Toastmasters International does not quantify the specific number of Commendations and Recommendations an evaluator should give to the speaker. However, there are hints. Every Speech Evaluator has a three minute time limit to present his/her evaluations. In addition, a CRC approach has been suggested where an evaluator gives commendations first followed by recommendation and concluding with commendations again.

This broad guideline gives us a rough idea of the number of Commendations & Recommendations we can effectively fit in the three minutes under the C – R – C approach. Let us take them one by one.

The First C (COMMENDATIONS) – The first part of Commendations should comprise of three major points of Commendations. These are the three aspects of the speaker’s speech that you liked the most. It is good to be generous here so that the speaker feels motivated and positive. You can allot 60 to 75 seconds to this section of your evaluation.

The Second R (RECOMMENDATIONS) – This is the most important and complex part of your evaluation – important because recommendations enable the speaker to improve as a public speaker and complex because the evaluator risks being too critical that demotivates the speaker or too lenient that doesn’t do the speaker any good.

To ensure you deliver value to the speaker while adhering to the time limits, it is a good idea to give two recommendations along with a demonstration of the right way. (The Show, don’t tell formula we mentioned in our earlier blog.) If you truly believe a third point of recommendation is important, it is acceptable to stretch this list to a maximum of three. You can allot 60 to 75 seconds to this section of your evaluation.

IMPORTANT – Do not exceed recommendations beyond this. While it is not a crime but four or more recommendations demotivates the speaker. Moreover you may have a tough time adhering to your time limits.

If you really believe there are points the speaker may benefit from, talk to the speaker in private regarding the same.

The Third C (COMMENDATIONS) – The final section of your evaluation should have two commendations described very briefly followed by a two line summary of your entire evaluation for the benefit of the speaker and audience.

By the time you reach this section, the yellow card would have been already flashed. Do not panic. You still have a buffer of 30 seconds beyond red. Stay composed. Give out the two Commendations and summarise.

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