Speech Evaluation III: Feedback
Fri, September 30, 2011 at 13:20
Message Masters in Evaluation, Speech evaluation, critique, evaluating speeches, rapport, speech evaluator

The general structure for evaluating speeches at the Message Masters Toastmasters Club is:

  1. Rapport
  2. Feedback
  3. Inspire

The first article in the series presented an overview of the speech evaluation structure. The next was on creating and maintaining rapport with the speaker. This article presents details on 2. Feedback, being specific, helpful and positive.  The final article will describe how to inspire speakers to want to grow and speak again.

Bad Words in Evaluations

I am kidding when I say these are "bad words." That was just to pique your interest. I mean let's strive to use words that are clearer, specific, and keep you in rapport with the speaker. When giving feedback, erase these words from your vocabulary:

These are not feedback:

Read more words and phrases that make you cringe at the Toastmasters Members group on LinkedIn:


Principles of Feedback

Giving Feedback

To help you give neutral or positive feedback the speaker can apply and recommendations the speaker can apply, the following sentence structures might help.  I realize it will take practice to internalize them to the point where it is intuitive for you.

Sentence Structure for Analysis:

Sentence Structures for Ideas:

I prefer to say "ideas" instead of corrections, recommendations or suggestions.  If you describe your new response if the speaker applies your idea, the speaker can choose whether that response is desireable. You might be out to lunch sometimes (I am too and that's okay). Encourage the speaker to weigh your feedback and ideas against feedback from others and decide what to do.  Encourage experimentation, playfulness, and discovery.

When giving feedback, "don't worry, be happy." Stay in the rapport you created at the start of your evaluation. Smile. Maintain open gestures. Stay in softer vocal tones. Use your body to demonstrate what you mean.

Did you catch the example above when I suggested involving the speaker in answering questions about what could be done in the speech? Get the speaker talking. Use their ideas about their speech.  Depending on how quickly the speaker can mimic and model, get them to stand up and model the change now.  Get them to demonstrate the change with you or after you.  This can be a lot of fun and fully involves the speaker in their speech evaluation. Here's the kicker, "Because you were able to do this now, you know that you can do it in the future [huge smile and get agrement from the group].

Here we just touched on giving feedback. A book could be written about it and and probably has been. Go easy. Forgive and have fun with our fabulous foibles.  Look out for the final article in the series when we share ideas on inspiring speakers to want to learn, play, and speak again.

The final article in the series: Inspire.

Craig Senior

Article originally appeared on Message Masters Toastmasters Ottawa - Public Speaking Training (http://www.messagemasters.org/).
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