Serving as an evaluator is an opportunity to practice leadership skills, including listening, critical thinking, providing feedback, and motivation. At first, it can be intimidating to provide feedback. Always remember that the most important benefit of Toastmasters for members is the honest, fair, and supportive evaluation of their presentations and leadership accomplishments.
Make use of the Pathways evaluations to help you clearly identify where speakers succeeded and where there is room for continued growth and improvement. For each presenter you evaluate, find a few things they did well and mention them in your evaluation. Your purpose is to help members be more self-confident and improve their speaking skills.
When you have the opportunity to provide feedback for a member fulfilling a leadership role, your goal is to help the member become more effective so they are better able to achieve their goals. Offering support for what they did well and fair, supportive feedback for places where their leadership skills can be enhanced and improved will move them toward that result.
The most effective evaluators make themselves aware of the member’s skill level, habits, and mannerisms, as well as their progress to date whenever possible.
Prior to the Meeting
- Communicate with the member you will be evaluating for information about the project they are completing. Review the Pathways evaluation resource on Base Camp or provided to you by the member.
- It may also be helpful to take a moment to revisit the content in the Pathways “Evaluation and Feedback” project to review strategies for providing feedback and completing an evaluation.
Upon Arrival at the Meeting
- When you enter the meeting room, greet the member you will be evaluating. If you have any questions about the project they are completing or need to review specific concerns the member wants you to address in your evaluation, be sure to clarify them as soon as possible. If time permits, review the Evaluation Criteria section of the evaluation resource with the member and clarify any questions that arise.
- Meet briefly with the General Evaluator to confirm the evaluation section format.
During the Meeting
- Record your impressions on the first page of the Evaluation Form. As you record scores, refer to the Evaluation Criteria section to be sure you are accurately reflecting the member’s speech and delivery. Remember, a score of 3 on a competency means the member met that expectation.
- A score of 4 or 5 reflects achievement above and beyond meeting the competency. Only the very best public speakers will ever achieve a 5. The scale reflects an understanding that there is always room to grow and improve as a public speaker and a leader.
- Remember that the best evaluations encourage and motivate members to improve. In addition to mentioning areas to be strengthened, suggest specific solutions or actions to build any needed skills and behaviours.
- When giving a verbal evaluation, you may stand when you’re introduced, walk to the lectern, and provide your evaluation. Begin and end with a note of encouragement or praise. Though you may have written lengthy responses to sections of the evaluation, refrain from reading them. Your verbal evaluation time is limited; cover what is essential to encourage and support the member while giving honest feedback.
- Praise a successful speech or leadership assignment and give reasons to explain why it succeeded. Share specific ideas the member could apply in the future such as strengthening content or working with a mentor on speech delivery techniques. Be respectful and focus on skills and accomplishments rather than personal attributes.
- Do not give a recount of speech content “you told us…. then you told us…”
After the Meeting
- When delivering the written evaluation to the member, give them a few words of encouragement and congratulations.