10 Behaviours of an Effective Evaluator

Earlier this month, Morningstars Toastmasters were gifted a special workshop that focused on the art of evaluation. As we approach the International Speech and Evaluation Contest (March 23), I wanted to share some of the highlights from the workshop with you:

Why Do We Evaluate?
The purpose of evaluation is to help another person become a better speaker and leader.  Everyone has different reasons for wanting to learn to speak and lead more effectively. Perhaps you are shy. Maybe you are looking to further your personal interactions. Or it could be your dream to have that corner office one day. Whatever the reasons are, you want two things:

  1. You want to improve your speaking skills
  2. You want to know how to improve.

Cue evaluations.

Evaluations help to highlight the what we are doing right and areas where we can grow to take our speech to new heights. Evaluations are a source of information. The information gets processed by the speaker and we test our strengths again in the next speech. It is how we improve.

10 Behaviours of an Effective Evaluator (taken from the Success Communication Series Workbook):
1) Show that you care. Let the speaker know that your opinions are coming from a positive place meant to lift them.

2) Suit your evaluation to the speaker. Where in the Toastmasters program are they? How is their confidence level?Toastmasters Tips for Evaluation

3) Learn the speaker’s objectives. What is it they are working on? Working towards? Focus on their needs for growth and not just your preferences.

4) Listen actively. Nod. Smile. Make eye contact. This is hard for many of us are trying to scribble down notes, ideas and key take aways. It’s hard to capture all you want and hear the speech at the same time. However, the speaker needs to engage with us. Give them that opportunity.

5) Personalize your language.  Use their name and specifics from their speech. Don’t just give a report, flush it out with details from their speech.

6) Give positive reinforcement. What did they do right? What are their strengths? What “wowed” you?

7) Help the speaker become motivated. The easiest way to motivate is to fuel the speaker’s desire for improvement.

8) Evaluate the speech, not the speaker. Focus on how they delivered their speech and not what they were wearing or their political beliefs.

9) Nourish self-esteem. It’s how we feel about ourselves and it is vital to personal growth. Recognize their strengths in an authentic way. Give them opportunities to learn by explaining why each and every positive (and negative) point matters. This helps them learn. Learning helps us to understand.

10) Show the speaker how to improve. Go deep and wide. Think outside the box. To do this, you must get into the speaker’s head and task and out of your momentarily. We all notice the “uhs, ahhs and ums” but dig deeper to get to the true nuggets. It isn’t a matter of looking for what the speaker did wrong, but rather what they can do to take it up a notch. How they can make it more engaging.

Remember The Order: (i) Focus on WATCHING and LISTENING actively as the speech is being delivered, (ii) focus on THINKING when you are preparing your evaluation, (iii) focus on SPEAKING after you have processed your thoughts and come up with the top points you will cover in your evaluation.

Happy Evaluating!



Racing Time… or Not!

Written by Johanna R, VP of PR

Good Evening Fellow Toastmasters and new participants! ( A change from our usual Good Morning Greeting!)

It’s the evening as I sit down to write my thoughts about this morning’s meeting. My day went by quickly with a few unexpected incidents. Luckily, I wasn’t in a hurry, contrary to our theme for today’s meeting, Racing Time.

I learned that lesson first thing at the meeting. As Chair, Katherine shared the idea of grounding ourselves with a deep breath whenever we feel we’re racing time. Remembering to take that moment before our presentations is an effective habit to cultivate.

PJ gave a clear and thought-provoking presentation on Mentoring and what the mentorship/mentee relationship is all about. The relationship helps both parties learn and develop individually, together, and with the Club.

A case in point, my mentee gave me feedback on my Table Topics evaluations while we were driving back to her place on the way to my work in Sechelt today. Her comment? Not perfect…but good recovery. I get that!

Evaluation delivered the Toastmaster‘s way promotes constructive and kind evolution. I am grateful for learning how to give and receive feedback, and communicate ideas with freedom and ease.

Xinju’s second speech from the Competent Communicator was well structured and engaging this morning. The possibility of some of us teaching in China was alive and well, especially as we can just call her for more practical information.

Our Morningstars TM Club is a respectful and entertaining mix of established and new members. The various roles that we sign up for each week do indeed develop our communication and leadership skills. And it’s all done in an atmosphere of energy and laughter – laughter that was very evident this morning when Andrea as Jokemaster smoothly delivered the punchline of her joke.

Congratulations to Sheila who received her Competent Communicator and Competent Leader pins this morning, and to Cathie, who is our incoming Area Director.

Next week’s theme is Fear, the Real Monster.

Full House, No Fooling

Written by Johanna, VP of PR

Full house today, no fooling!

Two guests as well, through word of mouth. Morningstars are so enthused about our club that we can’t help but talk about our experience to friends, colleagues, and family. Opportunities to promote our club can be spontaneous in addition to our well planned, advertised efforts. They all require a willingness to speak­ up and take the time to “walk the talk”.

A New Perspective

Our meeting on April Fool’s Day emphasized “evaluation skills”, with ideas naturally evolving from unique individual perspectives. For example, Grammarian Jolanda, shared how well she was able to understand each speaker’s message that morning from her “English as a second language” point of view. It was a great reminder for us to reduce our use of jargon and run on sentences.

Presentation and Leadership

What a difference learning presentation and leadership skills can make to all aspects of our lives. Encouraging others’ self­-expression, role-­modelling the confidence to take a clear stand on an issue, or over­coming our own fears of rejection when giving and receiving constructive feedback are natural outcomes of being a Toastmasters Club member.

Morningstars in the Community

image of castLast month Sandy and I participated as “fashion announcers” in a local event, the Driftwood Players Downton Abbey production.  What fun it was, with a number of Morningstars coming to add to the audience.

On Mar 18th, our club was also been invited by the Chamber of Commerce to present three workshops in an evening session.

In an event at the end of May, Katherine will encourage community members to develop their voices and their stories at the Gibsons Library, a workshop sponsored by a local women’s health network.

Accepting invitations to speak outside of the clubs meetings is a good challenge for us, and a way we can contribute to our community.

Whenever we have the opportunity to share the Toastmaster’s journey with others, realize that our learning from being part of the program will be apparent to the listeners. It may engage their interest to join our club. As VP of Public Relations this past year, I believe Toastmasters International contributes to enhancing communication, sharing leadership knowledge, and making the world a better place for all.

Mountains to Climb


Picture this.

The alarm goes at 5:30 am. John hits the alarm button and rolls out of bed. He has to get to Harmony Hall and have the coffee on, and the room set up. Today is the club level speech contest for the International Speech and Evaluation Contests.

alarm clock6 am arrives. Across town, the speech contestants are also rolling out of bed. Do they have time to practise their speeches for the contest one more time? Did they have any questions pop into their heads, such as, “What was I thinking?” If they did, we’ll never know. Come contest time, they were THERE.

In other parts of the community, people were getting up ready to be judges, timers, counters, and evaluation contestants. Sharon, our Chair for the contest, was preparing for the first of two challenges for the day. (More later on her second challenge.)

Having converged on Harmony Hall by 7 am, everyone prepared for their particular role in the contest.

Themes emerged in the speeches such as:

  1. If we want people to listen to us we have to get to the point.
  2. Listening is showing others we appreciate them.
  3. If something goes wrong in life, dealing with it now is better than a kick in the pants later.

Wow, what meaningful and diverse topics. Cue applause.

After the speech portion of the contest, Ben delivered his test speech, intriguing everyone with his question, “If someone told you they saw a bear riding a bicycle in Gibsons, would you believe them?”

Our evaluation contest participants, all wide awake by now, delivered their evaluations of Ben’s speech.

Sharon announced the winners of the two contests. Prizes were awarded, and the meeting came to an end.

Oh  wait, I forgot to mention the winners.

Congratulations to PJ and Cathie for the speech contest, and Sandy and Alicia for the evaluation contest. They will have the opportunity to do it all again in the Area Contest on April 4th, 2 pm at Harmony Hall.

Morningstars disperse to their various locations. But they will be reconvening later. We’re not done yet.

It’s now 4:30 in our red letter day.

Several members of Morningstars arrive at the Gibson’s Library to facilitate a Presentations Skills Workshop for the Chamber of Commerce.

The Morningstars team, with careful planning by able team leader Sheila, is ready. The room fills, the buzz quiets, and the workshop begins.

There are three parts to the presentation.

  1. Getting to the point, a revised version of PJ’s winning speech from the morning
  2. How to speak with presence so your audience will engage with your message, by Katherine.
  3. How to use effective visuals, by William.

Sharon stepped up to her second challenge of the day and chaired the event with her usual poise.

Kudos to Donna from the Chamber for making the whole thing happen, and to Larry, Loretta, Judy Lynne, and Ben for their assistance.

Questions are asked. Workshop ends. Crowd chats. Room slowly clears. Chairs restored to order.

Red letter day over. Is there another red letter day in Morningstars future?

Time will tell.

Cue final credits.

New Beginnings

Our first meeting for the New Year was chaired by Sheila  and the word of the day given by Grammarian, William, was “commence”. For a few of us, holiday disorientation and/or fatigue were a reality, but for others there were jump start moments.

For example, our two speakers were in terrific form after obvious energetic and enthusiastic preparation. Sheila also made gracious transition statements throughout the meeting.

Speaker #1, Ann, was our guest from the local Sunshine Toastmasters Club. She presented her High Performance Leadership project with clarity and ease, focusing on its vision and current outcomes. There now exists a weekly Story-telling Circle at the Shorncliffe residential facility in Sechelt that has over a dozen volunteers. More volunteers are welcome, and the experience is satisfying for all involved.

Speaker #2, Evi, gave her Icebreaker speech with a passionate focus on her travel insights over the years. Beginning with a reflective question about why she would she be so drawn to foreign lands and people, she concluded that traveling brings her a sense of harmony, equilibrium, and peace. Her descriptive language had us all engaged such that not only did we learn about Evi, we also learned about other parts of the world.

We had good Table Topic speeches from: John, “New Year’s Resolutions are made to be broken…”, Greg, “A car door opened and let me out on a Montana Road…, and Ben, “Yes, perception can change outcomes”.

Cathie, General Evaluator, acknowledged Speech Evaluators Frank and Kay for their splendid feedback which we all agreed were star standard.

The meeting ended right on time, and Judy, our Timer, Sandy, our Quizmaster, and Larry, our Jokemaster, had an especially good commencing time.

Joy and the Return of the Light

Written by Johanna R, VP of PR

“Joy to the World” was our theme this morning. William, our Chairperson, brought it alive with a flourish (and several hats!), and Sandy, our Inspirator, toasted it with a “Whoosh”.

As Sandy mentioned, joy is not the same as happiness. Joy anticipates light and renewal.

Our first speech was give by Larry, a committed community leader who sometimes, so his story went, mixed up his words when feeling nervous. It was a well-paced and humorous account, which held our attention throughout.

Sheila delivered the next speech which was Speech #7 Research Project in the Communication Manual. We were all informed about “Big Chocolate”: How big business is making profits through additive additions and unfair trade practices. Her finale got a gasp and a laugh as she threw her three demo chocolate bars in the trash.

Building skills to evaluate each other’s speeches is such a large part of our Toastmaster’s experience. My lesson for this meeting was to frame the evaluation with positive feedback at the beginning, helpful suggestions for improvement at the end, while delivering my response to the whole speech in three minutes.

Table topic speakers were eloquent and clear this morning. David Elstone, as Table Topics Master, chose three of his favourite topics while announcing that this was his last meeting before starting his new job. We wish him well and appreciate his humour and generosity over the years.

Thank you to everyone for a thoughtful and bright meeting, and in particular, William, our Chairperson today and Kate, for bringing her guest.

As we move daily closer to the returning of the light, best wishes for a beautiful holiday season.

After a two week break, we return to meetings on Jan 7.

Area 73 Contest Review

Written by Ben R.

Last Saturday I was at the Area 73 Speech Contest.

This was the first contest where I stayed from the beginning to the end.  I stayed extra long after the meeting to eat a delicious Nanaimo bar and some other things.

It was good to see Judyth running the meeting. It was first time for me to see her interviewing people in a official capacity and I enjoyed seeing her in a new role.   Two of the four speeches were unfamiliar to me so I was particularly interested.   Bill added some new inspiration element in his speech and I liked it.  Bubbly Sharon talked about saving energy.  Two other speakers, Kate and Paula, came from other clubs on the coast.

Personally I wanted to hear some other great speakers that I recall from the past contests but I guess they played judge roles and I highly appreciate them for doing that.

Of course the main thing for me was doing the test speech. Four speakers spent 2-3 mins each giving me very valuable feedback.   This was helpful to understand what each evaluator was telling me.   One thing I remember well is what the Evaluation Contest winner Sandy said about “telling the listener what’s in it for them”. Other reviewers generally told me that my speech content is not easy to follow. They all gave me some practical suggestion to try to improve the clarity of my ideas. Thanks to this great feedback system I am extra excited to deliver new speeches!

It was exciting to deliver speeches to a new audience. With more practice, we might start feeling like speaking to a family member over a ho-hum dinner!

Overall it was great to have almost two meetings in a week to get twice as much out of the week in terms of public speaking.

Area 73 Contest Winners
strong>International Speech Competition
First Place Paula H
Second Place Sharon B

Evaluation Contest
First Place Sandy W
Second Place Cathie R

Congratulations to the winners who now move on to the Division Contest in Vancouver on Apr 19.

Evaluation Contest ~ In Toastmasters Everything is Evaluated!

Contributors to this post were Erica Gatz and Sharon Borosevitch.

At Toastmasters Clubs everywhere, evaluation plays a huge role in the club meetings. Everyone is evaluated. Even people doing evaluations are evaluated. And since Toastmasters also loves competitions, every spring there is an evaluation contest.

Gibsons Morningstars hosted our speech evaluation contest this week and attendance was high.   The test speech was given by Ann Dickie, a member of The Sunshine Toastmasters group from Sechelt.   Ann presented her new book, The Magic Circle, a children’s book celebrating shamanism and ceremony.


Our contest Chair Sharon Borosevich did a great job of explaining how a speech evaluation contest is organized and Bill Baker, our chief judge, did a short presentation to the whole club about the role of the speech contest judges. The entire membership benefited from this workshop style learning.

There were five contestants and each contestant was given five minutes to prepare their evaluation of the test speech. They were sequestered in a distant room and all their notes were removed after five minutes, to be returned to them again for their presentation. Prior to the test speech, names were randomly drawn to decide the order of participants.


All contestants were given 2 to 3 minutes to do their evaluations. They were informed that they would be disqualified if they were under 1 minute and 45 seconds, or if they went over 3 minutes and 30 seconds. As the old saying goes, “timing is everything!”…..especially in a Toastmasters competition!

Participants in the evaluation contest were to be evaluated as follows:


Analytical quality       40%.
Recommendation       30%
Technique                   15%
Summation                 15%


Our winners are:


Both Erica and Ben are eligible to advance to the Area competition which will be held Saturday, April 13th from 2 – 4pm at Harmony Hall.

Congratulations again to all our contestants.

And a BIG thank you to Ann Dickie from the Sechelt club who gave our test speech!

Thanks to our chief judge, judges, timers, tally counters and contest sergeant at arms. Also, a special thanks to  John Gaudaur for the tasty matrimonial cake he baked. It was a delicious addition to our morning coffee!

Morningstars – what a team!

Stay tuned for next week and the International Speech Competition.