The Evaluator has a great responsibility – to listen to speakers, provide constructive feedback, and support them to come back and speak again. As Evaluator, you will need to be a good listener and tactful communicator.
2-3 minute explanation of the speech you are evaluating.
Before the Meeting
Try and have a look at the project requirements of the speech you’ll be evaluating. If you know the Pathways project name (e.g. “Ice Breaker” or “Researching and Presenting”), download the specific evaluation form from the meeting admin page. Ask the Vice President Education if you are unsure what they are.
Before the meeting starts, catch the speaker for a second. Give them reassurance and ask them if they are looking to focus on anything specific (e.g. vocal variety, gestures).
Remember that whether you’ve given one speech or one hundred, your feedback/observations are as valid as anyone else’s – be confident in that.
At the Meeting
- When it comes to your speaker’s slot, pay your full and undivided attention to their speech
- Note down whatever stands out to you – think about:
- Pace/speed of delivery (too fast/too slow)
- Vocal variety (varied/appropriate/too little)
- Gestures (varied/appropriate/frantic)
- Stage movement (aimless pacing or carefully planned)
- Eye contact (strong/varied/throughout audience/reading notes)
- Audience engagement (reading from notes/complete focus on audience)
- Audience interaction (no interaction/asking questions/involving volunteers)
- Rhetorical devices
- Use of props or visual aids
- Clarity of voice
- Volume of voice
- After the speech, spend some time organising your thoughts – there are lots of approaches to delivering feedback, but be sure to balance recommendations with commendations
- Adjust your approach to the speaker – new speakers will need more encouragement so try focusing on one recommendation, whereas seasoned speakers will appreciate more detailed, analytical areas for improvement
- After the break, you’ll be brought up by the Toastmaster to give your evaluation
- Speak in third-person “Alex did this very well, Alex could improve on this next time” rather than direct “Alex you did this very well, you could improve on this next time”
- Be considerate of word choice, tone and delivery – don’t talk about what was good and bad about a speech, for instance, focus on positives – even recommendations should be framed as positives!
- Don’t spend all your time rehashing the content of the speech – try to dig down to analytical feedback rather than superficial quotes from the person’s speech
After your evaluation, remember to provide written feedback to the speaker, and note anything you couldn’t quite get to in your full evaluation.