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Everyone has that one Toastmasters role that they simply dread. For some, it’s the prepared speeches that immediately make their stomachs drop. For others, the responsibility of leading the meeting as Toastmaster is cause for panic sweats. Perhaps it’s the Grammarian role that strikes terror in the heart – having to listen so closely to individual words as well as overall content is a big ask.

For me, it’s the Evaluator role that brings on the palpitations. How can I offer constructive criticism without sounding harsh? I’m such a beginner myself, what do I know about properly delivering a speech? I’m being asked to evaluate some very seasoned speakers, what do I have to offer? That speech was perfect! I have nothing substantive to say!

fear

To help those of you floating along in the same boat, here are just a few tips and tricks to give your evaluations a little boost. Try implementing one or a few of these suggestions during your next report as Evaluator. Or, if you prefer a more concrete and straightforward method, print and bring this speech evaluation form to your next meeting and see how it might improve your report.

“COD” Style of Evaluation

Content

Clear? Interesting? Thought-provoking?
Did the speaker establish credibility?
Did you gain new knowledge?
Were the facts well illustrated (sources cited, facts researched)?
Were the key terms well defined (no jargon, obscure vocabulary)?

Organization

Clear introduction (clear statement), body (flesh out argument, evidence), conclusion (did speaker make his argument)?
Did the speaker capture audience’s attention immediately?
Did the body of the speech accurately reflect what was stated in the introduction?
Did the conclusion summarize what was said in the introduction and body?
Was there a logical flow and were all points supported by examples?
Were transitions smooth and easy to follow?

Delivery

Is the speaker calm, poised, and in control?
Is the complete stage area used to embrace the entire audience?
Is there a bond with the audience?
Is the speaker passionate and energetic?
Are there any distracting mannerisms?

General Tips for Evaluation

Know your speaker. What are her capabilities? Improvements?
Listen with your eyes.
Jot down a quote from a speech that is particularly compelling.
State your point in an orderly fashion: introduction, body, conclusion.
Summarize the highs and lows. Do not try to say everything in your evaluation.

As I Saw You

Approach, position, personal appearance.
Gestures, facial expression, distracting mannerisms.

As I Heard You

Content (information)
Voice (vocal variety, pitch, intonation, volume, enthusiasm)

As I Reacted to You

What specifically did your speech mean to me? What touched me and why?
Did you achieve your overall purpose? What was missing?
What can you do specifically to make your next speech a better one?

Evaluator Language

Use personal statements. Use speaker’s name and look her in the eye.
“I felt…”
“It seemed to me…”
“My reaction was…”
“My impression was…”
“I believe…”
“In my opinion…”

Avoid impersonal statements.
“They say…”
“People believe…”
“One must…”

4 B’s of Speech Evaluation

Be clear and focused.
Be positive, specific, and honest. If you liked the speech, explain why.
Be motivational and sensitive. Talk about your desire to hear more from the speaker.
Be concise.

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