This week I’ll be completing the Club Success Series – Evaluate to Motivate. It’s a prepared speech from Toastmasters International. That means an outline of the material I’m supposed to speak about is already prepared. I’m also given power point slides I have to use along with my speech. I have 10 – 15 minutes to complete this speech.
Evaluations are, in my opinion, the most important aspect of the Toastmasters meeting. Don’t get me wrong, creating and delivering your speech is the hardest part but if you didn’t receive an evaluation afterwards then it’s a lost opportunity to grow. That’s why I attend Toastmasters. I’m trying to grow, I’m trying to improve my skills, and the evaluation lets me know what areas I did well and somethings I need to approve upon.
At Toastmasters, the goal is get you to keep giving speeches, learning a new technique from each project, and practicing what needs improvement. The evaluation is key to the process. It’s meant to be constructive criticism. You start off talking about the goals of the project and whether the speaker satisfied those goals. The model for a Toastmasters evaluation is known as the sandwich technique where you wrap your critiques with positive feedback.
Here’s the format:
Something to improve
Toastmasters is supposed to be a friendly environment. It’s never okay to make this personal attack or to be rude. When giving your critique point it’s important to give an example of how they could improve.
Don’t comment on how their close could have been stronger unless you have an example of how it could have been stronger. Said another way, what could the speaker have done to drive their point home?
At every Toastmasters meeting we have an evaluation for each speech. The evaluator has 2-3 minutes to complete their evaluation. They evaluator is also in charge of filling out the speakers project manual. The manual usually has a few questions about the speakers presentation and it’s a chance for the evaluator to offer more specific advice on how well the speaker completed the goals of the presentation.
I think the evaluation is one of the most useful aspects of the Toastmasters meeting because it prepares you for one of the main challenges at work which is to take in information, form an opinion, and be able to articulate your thoughts. It’s also valuable practice of completing evaluations at work whehter as a manager performing an evaluation of your employees, giving yourself a self evaluation, or creating your yearly goals.
One of the hardest things to find is an oportunity to have people you trust give you honest feedback about your performance. If you have a few people in your life that geniunlly want to help you succeed then consider yourself lucky.
Now your job is to take this feedback and do something positive with it.