Brighton & Hove Speakers Club

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Table Topics Evaluator

Table Topics Evaluator

The Table Topics Evaluator has an unenviable task – to listen to 5-7 mini speeches and deliver feedback to all the speakers a few minutes later. As Table Topics Evaluator you’ll want to focus on what you can cover in the time slot, rather than what you can’t.

Speaking time

6-minute evaluation of all Table Topic speakers.

Before the Meeting

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 the Table Topic slot, pay your full and undivided attention to all the Table Topic speeches;
  • 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
    • Energy
  • After the speeches, spend some time organising your thoughts – there are lots of approaches to delivering feedback, but be sure to balance recommendations with commendations;
  • Due to time constraints you won’t have as long as the full speech evaluations – focus on one strong commendation and one helpful recommendation;
  • 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 Timekeepers report and vote for Best Table Topics, 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 speakers, and note anything you couldn’t quite get to in your full evaluation.