Evaluations: - Quite a few of us have the misconceptions that “Only the speaker gets any benefit from an evaluation of their speech.” This is false.
- You (as the evaluator) improve as a speaker by providing an evaluation. A great way to solidify your own knowledge is to teach it to others.
- The speaker becomes aware of both their strengths and areas with potential for improvement.
- The audience for the evaluation (if there is one, as in Toastmasters) benefits from hearing the evaluation and applying the lessons to their own presentations.
- Future audiences benefit from improved speakers.
How to evaluate:
While evaluating in any sphere of life, the most important we have to consider is the level of skill of the individual. The most important thing to remember while evaluating is that your evaluation should encourage him / her not discourages.
Evaluating the inexperienced speaker:
Treat novice speakers with extra care. Be a little more encouraging and a little less critical, particularly if they exhibit a high level of speaking fear. Compliment them on tackling their fear. Reassure them that they aren’t as bad as they imagine. Be supportive. Ask them how they feel it went.
Evaluating the experienced speaker:
A common misconception is that you cannot evaluate a speaker if they are more experienced than you. This is not correct. Though you may have limited speaking experience, you have a lifetime of experience listening to presentations.
Remember that speaker whatever his / her experience is, is their because of the audience, and the evaluator is also one of the audience. Your opinion matters. As a member of the audience, you are who the speaker is trying to reach. You are fully qualified to evaluate how well that message was communicated.
Every speaker, no matter how experienced, can improve. Perhaps more importantly, every speaker wants to improve. You can help.
If you did not like the speech, do not say that you did. If you did not like a component of the speech, do not say you did.
There is a tendency to want to be nice and embellish the positives. Dishonest praise will only damage your credibility and character.
Express your opinion and avoid absolute statements
Avoid speaking on behalf of the audience with phrases like “Everyone thought…” or “The audience felt…” But, suppose you observe a spectator crying as a result of an emotional speech. In this case, you can remark on this as evidence that the speech had emotional impact.
Magical phrases in a speech evaluation or any type of evaluation, start with personal language: “I thought… I liked… I felt… I wish…”. This gives a more personal connect with the person you are evaluating.
Please remember there is nothing in life which is “THE WAY”. There can be many ways that can lead to the same goal. So it’s the best practice to avoid the phrases like “You should never…” or “One should always…” .
Don’t evaluate the Person
Evaluate how well the message is delivered, not the messenger. Keep your comments focused on the presentation.
Similarly, avoid evaluating the speaker’s objective. For example, suppose the speaker’s objective is to convince the audience that recycling is a waste of time. If you always reduce, reuse, and recycle, don’t let that influence your evaluation. (By all means, start a debate about it later, write an article, give your own speech, etc.) As an evaluator, your primary role is to help the speaker achieve their objective in the most convincing way possible.
The basic technique is as follows:
- Begin the evaluation by highlighting strengths demonstrated by the speaker.
- Then, discuss areas for improvement for the speaker.
- Conclude by highlighting additional strengths of the presentation.
The critical feedback is sandwiched between positive comments. The theory is that the speaker will be more receptive to listening to (and acting on) the criticism if positive statements surround it.
This is a good basic formula for novice speech evaluators. It is the first method recommended in many Toastmasters clubs, some refer to it as the CRC method (Commendation – Recommendation – Commendation)
Concluding is the most important part of any presentation or speech. The conclusion is the part where you can summarize, and say, “The speaker met the objectives because of [specific actions], but would have been even more effective if [specific actions]. Then add some praise at the end that puts a positive cast on the evaluation. This last one can be more general.