Recently, I decided to enter a speaking and evaluation contest at my District 60 Toastmasters club. I was curious to learn more about the world of public speaking and how it would feel to be in friendly competition with my fellow club members. I am proud to announce that I placed first in the Evaluation portion and second in the Speech portion of the contest for my area. To help others, I’ve decided to post some of my insights and key learnings from my experience.
Give Your Best Possible Evaluation
The speaker in the contest has spent a long time preparing their speech and may be nervous during the delivery. It is important to give your best possible evaluation by thoughtfully preparing your statements, understanding the criteria for evaluation, and being respectful during delivery. During this contest, the evaluators were being judged in four areas: analytical quality (clear, focused), recommendations (positive, specific, helpful), technique (sympathetic, sensitive, motivational), and summation (concise, encouraging).
Focus On Your Opinion
The evaluation of another speakers performance should reflect your own personal reaction and opinion. When evaluating, I like to focus on how effective that person’s delivery and content was, how they made me feel during the speech, and where I thought they might be able to improve during future speeches.
Use The Sandwich Technique
When evaluating a speaker, I always strive to find a middle ground between commenting on effective areas of the speech and suggestions for improvement. I want to encourage the speaker to continue their journey in improving their public speaking skills and this requires balance in feedback. The ‘sandwich technique’ allows you to provide feedback on an effective area of the speech, then focus on an area of improvement, followed by another positive statement.
Provide Specific Suggestions
When focusing on the areas of improvement, I have found it helpful to provide specific examples of where the speech can be tweaked, along with recommendations on how this can be done. For example, if a speaker was talking about drinking water but was monotone in delivery and used no hand gestures, you may be able to recommend a few hand gestures to compliment a strong delivery of the phrase or the emphasize a point.
Want To Attend A Toastmasters Contest?
Check out the upcoming Division H International Speech and Evaluation Contest on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 7 pm. Registration is FREE, but seats are limited. Register by clicking here.