Speech evaluations

Strategic openings for speech evaluations

Speech evaluations are a form of speeches as well. And like all speeches, they should have an opening, a body and a conclusion too.

In this post, let us concentrate on effective openings for speech evaluations.

Most evaluators are on the wrong foot with the first sentence they utter in their evaluation. Look at the following openers.

“Thank you for such an amazing speech.”

“It was amazing to listen to you TM Name.”

“TM Name delivered a superb speech today.”

There are two faults with this approach. First – “amazing” or “superb” are very generic words that tell the audience that your evaluation lacks depth. Second – you have about two minutes to appreciate different aspects of the speech. Why throw it away by declaring the entire speech amazing or superb right at the beginning.

With just 3 minutes to give your entire evaluation, a speech evaluator has to be very strategic about the opening of his or her evaluation. Let us look at three smart ways an evaluator can achieve this.

Quote a line from the speech – If there was a line in the speech that really impressed you jot that down and use it to begin your evaluation. This strategy has an added advantage – it shows that you are a very attentive listener.

Example – “With great power comes great responsibility”- Fellow Toastmasters, that one statement by TM Name was the absolute highlight of our entire meeting today. Let me spell out the other highlights of his speech.

Phrase a relevant question – Imagine the speech was an answer to a question. What would that question be? Phrase that question and begin your evaluation by announcing it boldly.

Example – “What makes a nation great? Fellow toastmasters, TM Name answered such a relevant question with his speech today and with such impact. Here are the factors that I believe helped him create an impact.

Use strategically thought out openers – This strategy is the last resort in case the above two fails. Every evaluator should have some smart statements in his arsenal to bail him or her out on a rainy day. These statements can be quotes from influential people. They can also be made up ones like “A story is only as good as it is told. And TM Name indeed told his story wonderfully today.” This can be used to open an evaluation for a story based speech. For a speech that was educational in nature, “If knowledge is power, TM Name has indeed made us all powerful today.”

These are three strategies an evaluator may use to open his or her speech evaluations. If you have been using another strategy, do let us know and we will add it to the list.


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