What’s the secret to an effective evaluation?
Here are a few tips from long-time Toastmaster and past district-level contest winner Stephen Grant on being a better evaluator:
(1) Help people grow
Giving an evaluation isn’t actually about “evaluating” a speaker — it’s about helping them grow and achieve their goals. When giving feedback, try to provide support and motivation, help them find their happiness.
(2) Be person-centred
To find out about their goals, reach out to the speaker in advance of their speech. Engage with them. Don’t just talk about the speech, ask them about their day to day life!
(3) Encourage autonomy
Don’t give orders or specific directions, give feedback that allows them to feel autonomous. Let them decide how they should act on the info you give them.
(4) Be subjective
Evaluations are, by nature, your opinion. Always use “I” statements (“I felt…” “I saw…” “I liked….”), make it clear that yours is one opinion among many.
(5) Inspire them!
Give the speaker food for thought, give them choices, ideas, alternatives, engage their creativity. Try asking rhetorical questions like “I wonder if…” or “perhaps there’s a better way to….”. Empower them to create their own ideas for improvement.
So… how will YOUR next evaluation be?