Evaluation Guidelines

The Art of Effective Evaluation

teashipIn the Success / Communication program “The Art of Effective Effective Evaluation” published by Toastmasters International, the Ten Behaviors of an Effective Evaluator are:

  1. Show that you care
  2. Suit your evaluation to the speaker
  3. Learn the speaker’s objectives
  4. Listen actively
  5. Personalize your language
  1. Give positive reinforcement
  2. Build a motivational climate
  3. Evaluate behavior — not people
  4. Nourish self-esteem
  5. Show the speaker how to improve

There are three types of evaluation methods:

Tell and Sell
The evaluator tells the speaker what was done well and sells the speaker on what and how to improve.
Tell and Listen
The evaluator and the speaker are involved in a dialogue.
Problem Solving
The evaluator(s) and speaker are engaged in a dynamic flow of presentation, feedback, and rehearsal.

The speaker is also responsible for making the evaluation effective. As the speaker, you should:

  1. Communicate your goals
  2. Help the evaluator prepare
  3. Prepare diligently
  4. Empathize with the evaluator
  5. Help the evaluator improve
  6. Prepare to change

Toastmaster speech manuals spell out the objectives and ask questions that the evaluator should address in written form. The oral evaluation should be a two to three minute summary of the main points.

A Template for Effective Evaluation
as presented by Kevin L. Carlson, CTM, © 1999

An effective evaluation, just like an effective speech, should contain an opening, a body, and a conclusion. It should not be severly critical nor superficial; it should be constructive. The evaluator should take intoconsideration the objectives of the speech project and the speaker’s immediate and ultimate goals. Also, the evaluator should take into consideration that the focus is the mechanics, not the content, of the speech.In the opening, very briefly, give your overall reaction to the speech. Try to make this a positive statement. It is not necessary to reiterate all the points made in the speech; everyone was listening, so mirroring the content of the speech is simply redundant. Let me repeat that — parroting back the speech is superfluous.

In the body,

  • point out the things that you feel the speaker did well,
  • discuss how you think the speaker did in meeting the manual speech objectives,
  • mention any additional items to which the speaker asked you to pay attention, and
  • most importantly, offer suggestions for improvement in a positive manner.

Only an insensitive clod would present his or her opinion as if it were fact. Or rather, I feel that you may wish to express yourself in a manner that is less confrontational and more consensus building. For example:

instead of: try:
Your opening was weak. I was confused by your opening.
You failed to make eye contact. It appeared to me that you avoided eye contact.
You still have to work on your nervousness. I see that you less nervous than when you gave your Ice Breaker and am sure you can make even greater improvements.
You should use more vocal variety. It appears to me that you could really grab the audiences attention by varying the pace and the volume of your speaking voice.
Your gestures are perfect for radio. I discovered that when I let go of the lectern, my hands and arms helped my words flow more smoothly; you may want to try that.

In the conclusion, summarize your reaction to the speech by pointing out the speaker’s accomplishments. End this two to three minute evaluation on a positive note.No role at a Toastmasters meeting is more important nor has a greater impact on your fellow Toastmasters than the evaluator. I feel that we can all improve when evaluations are neither a whitewash nor a scathing criticism. I look forward to receiving your feedback on this web page, hearing your evaluations of my and other club member’s speeches, and I solicit your comments on my evaluations.