Speech Evaluation Tips

Evaluating a speech is a very daunting prospect. It’s an important part of toastmasters because it’s where you are of the greatest value to others. Evaluating is a brilliant way to improve your listening and speaking skills as the pressure of performing makes you focus. If you can observe others and learn from them then you can utilise that in your speeches.

So what is the aim of an evaluation?

  • To provide honest feedback and advice which will enable to speaker to improve
  • To motivate the speaker to carry on speaking and improving
  • To educate the audience so that they can improve too

Here are my two highly recommended speech evaluation videos:

1. Johnathon Peng

I learnt from Peng that evaluations are a performance.. and are for all the audience to benefit – not just the speaker. He also speaks of “going deeper” by backing up points with specific examples. His structure of commendation, recommendation and a second recommendation is simplistic and effective. All of Pengs points are enhanced with examples.

2. Chris Swanson

Chris has a great method for recording observations. Create two columns; one with commendations and one with recommendations on a blank page. Chris typically observes the following:

  • Speech organisation – does it flow well, is there a clear opening and conclusion?
  • Speech mechanics – monitor vocal variety, eye contact, gestures.Speech emotions- how convincing was the speech, was I engaged?

Typically the more advanced a speaker, the more Chris will focus on speech emotions. When delivering the evaluation don’t rattle through a list, keep is simple and effective. Always bear in mind that you want to educate and encourage the speaker. Be careful with language such as “you need to” you want to” “you have to” use instead “I” statements.

Finally check out the blog from Toastmasters international which also provides some helpful titbits: The Art of Evaluations.

Written by Jack Irwin, Hamwic VPPR

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