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Meeting Role Descriptions

After every prepared speech, speakers receive both written and oral evaluations. As speech evaluator, you are the speaker's "mentor of the moment." Your goal is to help the speaker become less self-conscious and to make the speech a positive learning experience. In addition, your oral evaluation is an opportunity for you to practice your own speaking and organization skills.

Before your first evaluation and occasionally thereafter, carefully review the Effective Speech Evaluation manual that you received in your new member packet from Toastmasters International.

Check the role assignments to find out which speaker you will be evaluating. In the week before the meeting, call the speaker to discuss the goals of the speech and ask if there is anything in particular the speaker would like you to focus on. If it is an advanced speech and you don't have the manual, arrange with the speaker to obtain a copy of the speech criteria before the day of the meeting. Remind the speaker to bring his or her manual to the meeting.

Review the objectives of the speech, and spend some time thinking about how you might structure your evaluation. It is possible to prepare for an evaluation even before hearing the speech. Expect a call from the General Evaluator to confirm your role and answer any questions you may have.

As you Arrive at the Meeting:
Look for the speaker and get his or her manual. Confer one last time to see if the speaker has any specific things for you to watch for during the talk. Sit where you can easily see the lectern.

During the Meeting:
Keep the speaker's criteria in mind while you listen to the speech. Record your impressions in the manual along with your answers to the evaluation questions. Be as objective as possible, paying attention to:

  • Highlights - strengths, what you like, what to continue
  • Distractions - what you think needs changing, what you found unclear, distracting, what you did not like and why
  • Improvements - what to start doing (or try) for the next speech
When introduced by the General Evaluator, walk to the lectern and address the group, acknowledging the speaker in particular.

Because your time is limited (2-3 minutes), focus your feedback on a few key points. Try to begin and end with a note of praise and encouragement. If the speech was effective, state why. In addition, be specific about ways the speaker could improve. Don't simply read the questions and your responses off of the written evaluation. Leave the speaker feeling good about having participated.

After giving your evaluation, return control of the meeting to the General Evaluator and be seated.

After the Meeting:
Return the manual to the speaker, with the evaluation form completed, dated and signed. Add a verbal word of encouragement to the speaker, something that wasn't mentioned in the oral evaluation. Ask if the speaker would like any additional feedback.

Helpful Links:
The Art of Effective Evaluation from Boston Speech Party
Subjectivity, objectivity, constructiveness, sensitivity and the theory of relativity by Graham Tritt
Evaluation Based on Objectives summary of workshop by Irene Ritter
Articles on Evaluation by Rick Clements
Suggestions for framing evaluations by George R. Self
General Speech Evaluation Form from Toastmasters International
Evaluating the Accomplished Speaker from Addison Singles Toastmasters
Giving Killer Evaluations by Sean Sheedy

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