We assign members to meeting roles:
- To provide more speaking opportunities for members.
- To improve our listening skills.
- To improve the educational quality of our meetings.
The goal of an evaluator in Toastmasters is to give an honest reaction to a speaker’s presentation in a positive, constructive manner. The approach is that of a motivator and facilitator, not a critic.
The evaluation is, itself, a short speech with a beginning, middle and end. Like the speech being evaluated, its opening should attract interest, the body should explain the thesis and the ending should summarize or call to action – or both. A key issue is that the evaluation is about the speech, not the speaker.
Prepared speech evaluations should begin with a brief summary of the goals for the project, followed by the evaluator’s opinion about the best parts of the speech and suggestions about improvements – improvements that would have made the speech more effective to that audience member, the Evaluator.
The suggestions are often sandwiched between praise, but that’s custom, not a rule. It’s a good custom, though, especially for new evaluators. The speaker decides what, or how much of the suggested improvements they want to adopt and try to incorporate in their next speech.
Since evaluations are opinions about a speech, they are often properly directed to the speaker, using expressions that illustrate the personal opinion aspect. For example, “I wasn’t sure where you were going when you transitioned from red socks to blue,” is far better (and more accurate) than, “Your transition from red socks to blue was disorganized.” However, eye contact periodically shifts around the room – it’s disconcerting to have an evaluator stare at you for two – to three minutes.
Video clip of the Speech Evaluator role:
- Twelve minute video illustrating selected meeting roles:
- Toastmasters app; timer (turns screen red, yellow and green at appropriate intervals), reports times and speakers’ names to the club Secretary, helps with meeting details. Works on iPhone, Android.