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:
- You want to improve your speaking skills
- You want to know how to improve.
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?
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.