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Public speaking and leadership are skills that can be developed and improved. In Toastmasters,
feedback is called evaluation, and it is the heart of the Toastmasters educational program. You observe the speeches and leadership roles of your fellow club members and offer evaluations of their efforts, and they do the same for you. If you truly want to improve your speaking and leadership skills, you must learn how to give and receive helpful evaluations.


Have you ever helped your child with a school assignment? Been asked by a co-worker for advice on a project?
Offered suggestions to local government?

If you have, you have been an evaluator. You have listened to and observed others and their work and offered feedback. You evaluate in some manner every day, at home, at the office, and in the community.

People join Toastmasters clubs to improve their speaking and leadership skills, and these skills are improved through evaluations. Members prepare and present speeches based on projects in the Compe-tent Communication manual, or they serve in leadership roles while completing projects in the Competent Leadership manual. Their fellow club members evaluate the speeches or leadership efforts, enabling the to develop their speaking or leadership skills.

The tone and content of an evaluation have great impact on the speaker and even on the club. A harsh evaluation may cause a member to leave the club. An overly kind evaluation may not help the member to improve, making the member frustrated and unhappy. Good evaluators strive to find a balance between the extremes, giving evaluations that are helpful and encouraging.

Although most of the time you will be evaluating others in the club, the skills you learn can be applied in all aspects of your life. You will become a better listener and a more critical thinker. By reading this manual carefully and applying its tips and techniques to your evaluations, you will quickly be able to give helpful, positive, constructive evaluations that will motivate and genuinely help the receiver. You will also learn about other evaluation methods and resources available to help you and your fellow club members, and about how your club can evaluate itself to ensure the club is meeting member needs.

The Evaluatorís Role
Your purpose as an evaluator is to provide honest reaction in a constructive manner to the personís efforts, using the evaluation guides provided. You are not a judge or an authority on speaking or leadership.

When you evaluate, you are simply giving your own reaction to the personís speaking or leadership efforts. An evaluation is an opinion, nothing more. This opinion should mention the effect on you, what the speaker or leader did well, areas where the speaker or leader could improve, and specific recommendations for improvement.
Keep in mind that you cannot change the personís behavior or force the person to accept your ideas and suggested improvements. Nor can you demand that a speaker or leader repeat a project if you believe the person did not accomplish project objectives or otherwise did not perform well. But through your evaluation
you can provide information that the speaker or leader may consider for future projects. The decision to accept your suggestions is the speaker or leaderís alone.

Even when you are not the assigned evaluator, you are encouraged to give feedback. The more feedback a speaker or leader receives, the more the person benefits. This evaluation need not be as detailed as that of the assigned evaluator, but it should mention something the speaker or leader did well, something that could be improved, and a specific recommendation for improvement.

Most clubs provide members with short evaluation forms to fill out and give to the speaker or leader at each meeting, or you can write your evaluation on a piece of paper.

If you are a new Toastmaster, you most likely will not be assigned to evaluate until you have read this manual, spoken with your clubís vice president education about the evaluation process, attended at least three or four club meetings where others gave evaluations, and completed one or two speeches or leadership projects yourself. These activities will give you information and experience that you can draw on as you prepare your first evaluation.

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