Evaluate Your Evaluation

Wild 061

Actionable or no

“If you listen to none of the feedback, you will learn nothing. If you listen to all of it, nothing will happen . . . But we can . . . get better at the art of listening (and dismissing).” Seth Godin*

So your evaluation pained you. The evaluator “didn’t get” your speech. He missed the good parts, the ones you worked so hard to perfect. She focused only on some minor fiddling with your notes.

Evaluations of speeches and role performance can be helpful in two ways: they offer valuable feedback about how you did, or they offer a lesson about how (not) to evaluate. Either way you learn, and can apply what you learn.

Your Evaluator may have had a bad day, or may value different aspects of speaking than you do. He may have developed insight from watching hundreds of speeches. She may have focused on minutia because she doesn’t know how to evaluate. Those are her concerns, not yours.

As a speaker, or Timer, or meeting Toastmaster you can decide if the evaluation was feedback you wanted so you can improve. If so, even if your feathers were ruffled, listen, take notes, and absorb the lessons (including the lesson about how you feel when you’re criticized).

If the evaluation was unfair, or clearly misguided, how can you avoid doing that when you are doing the evaluation?

Those are the only two categories: feedback I need and can use, and feedback I’m not interested in. Anything else, such as “feedback that’s painful to hear,” is superfluous.

Toastmaster growth follows the pattern of “Plan it, do it, find out how you did, plan again, do it again . . . “ If you’re shorted on the “find out how you did” then learn more about evaluation. If you get actionable feedback, then learn how to do it better, and plan your next “do it.”




This entry was posted in "Tweaking Your Speaking". Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s