Evaluation is the spine of Toastmasters training. It may help the audience understand, it often helps the speaker improve, and it always helps the evaluator build their own listening, analyzing, and speaking skills.
Evaluation is simply feedback on performance. It can be oral or written – or both. Speech Evaluators offer both types of feedback about prepared speeches.
Two keys to all evaluations are 1) evaluations are intended to help, not to point out errors, and 2) evaluations are opinions.
The “Sandwich Technique” is commonly used in prepared speech evaluations; suggestions for improvement are sandwiched between comments about what seemed to work well.
A “Layered (Dagwood) Sandwich” approach is even better: what worked well; what could have been better; what else worked well; some techniques that might help with the weaknesses mentioned; and “what I liked best about your talk.”
Speech and performance evaluations should be organized around the objectives for the specific project. It isn’t helpful to suggest improvements in the use of visual aids when evaluating an early CC speech focused on organizing the material. The speaker hasn’t studied or practiced with visual aids — yet, so she won’t be able to incorporate the advice — yet.
Speech evaluations should be given in the first person, since they reflect the Evaluator’s opinion.
Evaluation helps the Evaluator build listening and analyzing skills, and helps the presenter understand what the Evaluator (and maybe other audience members) saw, heard and felt during the presentation.