People join a Toastmasters club to improve their speaking and leadership skills, and these skills are improved through evaluations. You may be asked to serve as an evaluator and evaluate a speaker. In addition to your verbal evaluation, you will give a written evaluation using the guide in the manual.
Your evaluation is an opportunity to practice such leadership skills as listening, critical thinking, feedback and motivation. When evaluating a speaker, your purpose is to help the speaker become less self-conscious and a better speaker. You should be aware of the member’s skill level, habits, and mannerisms, as well as his/her progress to date. Your overall evaluation should be encouraging and motivate the speaker to improve.
Prior to the meeting:
- Review carefully the Effective Evaluation (item 202) at www.toastmasters.org
- Talk with the speaker to find out which manual project he/she will present. Review the project goals and what the speaker hopes to achieve.
- Evaluation requires careful preparation if the speaker is to benefit. Study the project objectives as well as the evaluation guide in the manual. Remember, the purpose of evaluation is to help people develop their speaking or leadership skills in various situations. By actively listening and gently offering useful advice, you motivate members to work hard and improve. When you show the way to improvement, you’ve opened the door to strengthening their ability.
At the meeting:
- When you enter the meeting room, look for the speaker and get his/her manual.
- Meet briefly with the Master Evaluator to confirm the evaluation session format. Then confer with the speaker one last time to see if he/she has any specific things for you to watch for.
During the meeting:
- Record your impressions in the manual, along with your answers to the evaluation questions. Be as objective as possible. Remember that good evaluations may give a new life to discouraged members and poor evaluations may dishearten members who tried their best. Always leave the speaker with specific methods for improving.
- If giving a verbal evaluation, when introduced, stand and give your evaluation. Begin and end your evaluation with a note of encouragement or praise. Though you may have written lengthy responses to manual evaluation questions, don’t read the questions or your responses. Your verbal evaluation time is limited. Don’t try to cover too much in your talk.
- Praise a successful speech assignment and specifically tell why it was successful. Don’t allow the speaker to remain unaware of a valuable asset such as a smile or a sense of humor. Don’t allow the speaker to remain ignorant of a serious fault: if it is personal, write it but don’t mention it aloud. Give the speaker the deserved praise and tactful suggestions in the manner you would like to receive them.
After the meeting:
- Return the manual to the speaker. Add a verbal word of encouragement that wasn’t mentioned in the verbal evaluation.