A speech evaluation helps fellow Toastmasters by providing immediate feedback in the form of a 2 - 3 minute discussion from an evaluator. To be most effective, the evaluator does not simply walk into the meeting and evaluate a Speaker's presentation. Effective speech feedback happens in several stages and begins well before the meeting.
Before the Meeting
The evaluator prepares by contacting the speaker a few days before the meeting and asking questions such as the following:
What does the speaker want to accomplish?
What are the objectives of the speech?
Does the speaker want the evaluator to watch for anything in particular such as gestures, use of visual aids, or the tendency to say "ah" during a speech?
The evaluator's ability to help the speaker increases by getting as much up front information as possible.
At the Meeting
The evaluator asks the speaker for the speech manual. The manual will contain the guidelines for the speech and the evaluation form. The evaluator should become familiar with the speech goals and the evaluation form before the start of the speech.
During the Speech
The speech evaluator takes notes while listening carefully to the speech. Ideally, the evaluator will have a blank sheet of paper with a line drawn lengthwise down the middle. On one side the evaluator makes notes about the speech content and on the other side the evaluator makes notes about the speech delivery. While listening to the speech the evaluator answers questions like the following:
Is the speech well organized?
Does the speech achieve the intended purpose?
Is the speech easily understood?
How does the audience react to the speech?
How does the speaker appear?
Is the speaker's manner nervous, calm, or enthusiastic and is the speaker's manner consistent with the type of speech
Does the speaker use appropriate gestures?
How is the speaker's tone of voice?
Is the speech appropriate to the audience?
Does the speaker use proper grammar and pronunciation?
What about any specifics the speaker had asked the evaluator to monitor?
The evaluator uses the notes and organizes a 2 - 3 minute consideration following the Praise-Aid-Praise formula. All feedback should be constructive criticism sandwiched between positive comments. For example, the evaluator might say:
(Praise)"I felt you really connected with the audience during your speech and your enthusiasm was infectious.
(Aid) However, I found some of your gestures a bit distracting from your message. Perhaps you could practice in front of a mirror before your next speech and see what you think.
(Praise)I did fully understand your message as you presented it clearly and effectively."
Notice that the sample has the following elements:
uses "I" statements
addresses behavior not the speaker
does not whitewash the message
offers a specific suggestion for improvement
is ultimately positive because it begins and ends with praise.
Here is an example of an appraisal which does just that.
There's a very useful tip in this video too to help you give better feedback to speakers.
After the Meeting
The speech evaluator gives the manual to the club Educational Vice President for signing and then returns the manual to the speaker. After the meeting the evaluator and the speaker have the opportunity to discuss the speech further. If any of the evaluator's comments are potentially sensitive, the evaluator can mention them to the speaker privately.