HOW TO! – Evaluate Like a Pro

HOWTOToastmasters are a courageous bunch. Not only do they come and give speeches in public – one of the well documented fears – but they are also prepared to receive open and public feedback in front of their peers. As evaluators, we owe it to them to do our very best. Evaluating a speech is the ultimate expression of mentoring for a public speaker. The evaluator is there to offer guidance, advice and encouragement, and their role is key to the speaker’s development. So, what are the skills that need to be developed?

Observation skills: a combination of careful listening, note taking and ignoring the inner voice which may distract us. By the time that the target speech has been delivered the evaluator needs to have noticed and recorded all the relevant points. Notice everything – major and minor points; strengths and areas for improvement. And focus your observations around the objectives for the speech.

Real time organisational skills: in most Toastmaster clubs we will have 15 minutes or so to write our evaluation before delivering it. This limited time requires the evaluator to think and plan quickly. It’s a good skill to develop, but it is challenging. Have a template or a proforma to use, and write up the notes into some order, rather than go to the lectern with all of the scribbles made when observing the speech.

Encouragement: the evaluation speech must be encouraging. Drawing out the positive aspects of the speech, noting how much progress the speaker has made, and painting a picture of where their speaking career is heading.

Challenge: the speaker will learn most from the recommendations made to them. These need to be relevant, meaningful and delivered sensitively. It is useful to have some phrases to introduce a recommendation, e.g. “my encouragement is to try xxx”; “perhaps xxx could be considered next time” “I was wondering whether xxx may work better”. Also, look for the less obvious points to note. Chances are that the speaker will be aware of their major errors, but may not know about the minor ones – nuances, often used “tell” words (you know, actually, now, so), and you will be providing a great service by pointing these out.

Managing our own anxiety: sometimes evaluators are reluctant to offer recommendations for fear of offending, or they make too many recommendations to demonstrate their own observational powers. What is important here is to overcome any reluctance to challenge a speaker – after all they have signed up to be assessed by an evaluator!

As well as evaluating single speeches, there is the opportunity to evaluate groups of speakers as the topics evaluator, and to evaluate the whole evening as general evaluator. All of the above skills apply in these roles, with some key additions. Structure is vital, as time is limited and the evaluator needs to be highly organised. Being comprehensive and ensuring that every speaker receives both praise and recommendations is also important. Finally, the best group evaluations will use different descriptors and adjectives for each speaker, and will give the audience a flavour of the collective activity as well as the individual speeches.

Use these skills to craft a well structured, helpful evaluation. Not only will you be providing an important service for the speaker, but you will be sharing learning with the audience. You will also develop your own skill which will help you become a better speaker. Good luck with it.

Charlie Warshawski – from Speakeasy 156 – February 2012

Educational, Entertaining and Inspiring – 7th November

What a night we had on Monday 7th November. The Rose Room was packed, with Charlie Warshawski delivering a masterclass in the role of Toastmaster for the evening. Guests and members alike learnt the purpose and process behind each part of the evening from Charlie’s clear and candid explanations. And imagine, what’s going on at ESC is also going on in over 15,000 other Toastmaster Clubs across 142 countries round the world.

2016-11-07

We had educational, entertaining and inspiring prepared speeches. We learnt about the appallingly high numbers of rescue dogs that are unclaimed and are put to sleep in Sheena’s C3; strategies for coping with face blindness (or prosopagnosia) from Sonia’s C3; unconscious defence mechanisms sabotaging our goals in James’ C6; and Patrick’s AS on how to use humour in true Irish style! Amanda show-cased how to run a Table Topics session, with her simple “one word” topics, producing 10 very varied impromptu speeches ranging from adventure and autumn to cooking and curry.

Club meetings are designed to give everyone a chance to practice speaking in public, also learning and developing our communication skills by giving and getting quality evaluations. The roles of Speech Evaluator, Topics Evaluator and General Evaluator requires a multitude of “in the moment” skills – listening, observing, analysing, critical thinking, impromptu speaking…. A truly sterling job was delivered by all the evening’s evaluators: Penny, Bohwon, Dave V-C, Stephen, plus Adam as Topics Evaluator and Ian as General Evaluator. With practice, you too can become as good as these experienced Toastmasters – keep on filling out those written feedback forms as a first step.

Congratulations to Sonia for Best Speaker, Stephen for Best Evalutor, and guest Paul for Best Table Topics.

See you all at our next meeting on Monday 21st Nov, with Bohwon Kim as Toastmaster.

Doris
ESC President

Verbal and Non Verbal Communication

What is it about a speech that catches the attention of an audience? There are two essentials in delivering a speech: VERBAL and NON VERBAL COMMUNICATION.

VERBAL COMMUNICATION

Voice modulation
Project your voice by modulating the volume and expressiveness as this helps reflect the mood and key moments of your speech and maintains interest in what you have to say, plus it draws attention to a key point

Pace of delivery
Avoid speaking too fast. It’s easy to let nerves take over and speak too fast; on the other hand, try not to speak too slowly, keep a natural pace.

Energy
Maintain your enthusiasm from start to finish, particularly towards the end of sentences when your voice may trail away.

NON VERBAL

Eyes
Keep in touch visually with your audience; all the effort you’ve put into projecting your voice to the audience will be lost if you fix your gaze in one place at the back of the room. Looking from left to right, right to left during your speech, occasionally focusing on one person will help draw in the audience.

Hands
These are lethal weapons! What to do with them? They appear to have a life of their own. They can ruin a speech or enhance it. Think about how you use them with good gestures to express your speech content.

Body language/Stage presence
A relaxed stance will project self-confidence. If you have a lectern, hands on either side is fine; if you’re stand-alone, a confident stance will suffice. Do not slouch!

In short, your verbal and non-verbal skills will:

  • enhance your speech
  • project your enthusiasm
  • engage your audience

Practising and Mastering verbal and non-verbal skills will bring your speech alive and will reduce your nerves.

Taken from Speakeasy 185 – August 2014

HOW TO! – Prepare and Practise

HOWTONow that you have the subject for your next speech, it is time to put it together. Write out your speech in full then read through it to see what is really not necessary to include and refine it so that it has a beginning that will hook in the audience, a body that has a logical flow and an ending the audience can take away with them.

Once you have the basis of the speech, speak it out loud to yourself several times and then practise in front of a mirror to see how your body language can be improved and record yourself. When playing back you can hear where you can use more voice modulation. If it is possible, ask your Mentor to see and hear your performance or at least give an outline by talking it through on the telephone so that you can gain advice.

When you feel comfortable, you will be ready to perform at your club. Remember, if you leave anything out of your speech the audience will not know so remember, when you see the red light, you should move smoothly into your close. Practise will help you to time yourself and be aware of when you need to close and will eventually make perfect!

Taken from Speakeasy 162 – August 2012

Preparation, Polish and Potential – 17th October

Good to see everyone at Monday’s Club meeting, and for those who couldn’t make it and sent apologies, here’s what you missed.

One of the joys of Toastmasters is seeing how much members progress in their confidence and speaking skills when they commit to practising and participating.

The winners

As Toastmaster for the evening, and first time in this role, Lloyd very capably demonstrated how far he’d come since popping into ESC one year ago. He was full of enthusiasm and energy, well prepared, and innovative – he’d placed a fluorescent “X” on the stage floor to remind himself, and us all, to position ourselves at this centre when we speak.

James looked so comfortable spinning his story of procrastination in coming up with a Warm Up topic, and getting us to confess whether we were planners or preferred to leave things to the last minute, also.

Relatively new member Paul Dowdeswell showed his determination to put into practice the feedback he’d received from his C1 at the last meeting, and spoke with heart and humour about himself, delivering his C2 titled “Try Again”. He won Best Speaker, against two very entertaining speeches from two very experienced speakers, Peter and Charlie. Adam, Aishi and Gillian gave valuable feedback as Evaluators, with Adam winning the vote for Evaluator.

Penny, as Topics Master, had an eclectic assortment of household treasures contained in her pink shopping bag. The 9 Topics speakers had the task of influencing the audience to buy whatever they fished out. Sonia and Doris shared the Best Topics vote.

The evening was rounded off with Stephen as Topics Evaluator, noting how many speakers used or avoided the “X” spot, and Amanda as General Evaluator. “Preparation, Polish and Potential” were the three words she used to describe Lloyd’s performance as Toastmaster, and the basis for an inspiring, educational and entertaining evening. Many thanks to Lloyd’s team – Scott as timekeeper, Justin as videographer and Costa as ballot counter.

Announcements
The District 91 Conference is being held on Sat 5 November in Woking, with the final heat of the Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest where Division winners compete, plus workshops. Mark Pratt and Jamie Janie from Surbiton Speakers are representing our Area 53. For more info and to book, click on this link http://d91toastmasters.org.uk/conference/

Sandy Eifon-Jones, Area Ambassador for the Revitalised Education Programme, has prepared an update on the REP which she will be emailing to members shortly.

Next meeting is on Monday 7th November, with Charlie Warshawski as TM.

Doris
ESC President

Inspiration, education and humour – 3rd October

What a buzzing evening we had on Monday evening. Lots of inspiration, education and humour, all expertly orchestrated by Toastmaster for the evening, Ian Upton, with Tom as Time-keeper, Sheena as Videographer, Gillian and Costa as Ballot Counters, and Elizabeth delivering a very useful “helpful hints” Warm-Up session.

2016-10-03 Meeting

It was great to welcome back Charlie Warshawski, who rejoins ESC after a 12 month break. Also welcome to four new members – Scott Shanks (who rejoins after a 6 year break), Paul Dowdeswell, Justin Pybus and Ben Daly, who all stepped up to give prepared speeches. Our experienced Evaluators James, Stephen, Patrick and Adam all gave very constructive feedback – “the breakfast of champions” – which whetted everyone’s appetite to keep practicing and improving. One key learning point for speakers is to keep to time. Scott managed to do that and so was the only one eligible for Best Speech vote, with Adam voted as Best Evaluator.

Amanda led Table Topics with the theme of proverbs, giving eight speakers including 3 guests, the opportunity to embrace the moment, over-come panic, and practice impromptu speaking. Some stunning performances, with guest, Linzi, picking up the Best Topics vote. The evening was rounded off with Dave Goodman as Topics Evaluator and Aishi Lim as General Evaluator, both demonstrating their usual insightful and candid observations in their feedback.

Toastmaster of the Year (ToTY) award
What makes the Club run smoothly is your attendance and willingness to prepare and participate in whatever role you are assigned or volunteer for – the more you participate and practice, the better you get, and the better the Club gets too.

Each year, we present “Toastmaster of the Year” (ToTY) award to the member who has participated the most. Costa Nicolau is keeping score, noting down attendance, roles done, visits to other clubs, contests, etc. So, please make sure you let Costa know if you are doing things related to Toastmasters outside of ESC.

Area 53 Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest
Come and support ESC winners Ian Upton, Dave Villa-Clarke and Dave Goodman as they compete against Surbiton Speakers Club winners on Thursday 6 October, 7.30pm, at St Andrews Church, Maple Road, Surbiton.

Doris Sew Hoy
ESC President

Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest 2016

Many thanks to the big cast of players who helped make last night’s Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests run so smoothly – our Contest Chairs, Adam and Patrick, Chief Judge Amanda and her team of judges from ESC and Surbiton Speakers, time-keepers Tom and Quwanie, ushers Sheena and Lloyd, Sonia for leading the impromptu Cool Down session, and of course to all the contestants who stepped up to perform an eclectic array of entertaining speeches.

Special thanks also to our VP Education Peter Parker and VP Membership Gillian Prior who have been working behind the scenes to pull together the evening.

Humorous Speech & Table Topics Contestants
Humorous Speech & Table Topics Contestants

The Humorous Speech contest was won by Peter Parker, with Ian Upton and Dave Goodman runners up.

Our Table Topics contestants were given food for thought, when Patrick posed the Topic: “If we are what we eat, then who are you?”  Dave Villa-Clark took the honours, with Peter and Dave Goodman runners-up.  Well done also to Elizabeth, Stephen and newly returned member, Scott Shanks for taking part.

The Area 53 Contest is being held on Thursday 6 October, hosted by Surbiton Speakers Club.  As Peter will be on holiday then and unable to compete, Ian and Dave Goodman will be representing ESC in the Area 53 Humorous speech contest, while our two Dave’s will go on to compete in the Area Table Topics contest. Please go along and give them your support.

It was also great to welcome four new members who’ve joined ESC this month: Ben Daly, Scott Shanks, Dave Lane and Paul Dowdeswell, and see them all participating so effortlessly in Sonia’s Cool Down session on the theme of public speaking.

Our next Club meeting is on Monday 3rd October, 7.30pm, with Ian Upton as Toastmaster for the evening.  Ian will be emailing you soon to confirm roles.  Please note, we’ll be in The Studio Room at Bourne Hall for this meeting instead of the Rose Room – thought it’d be good to have a change of scenery to add variety to our meetings.

Enjoy the rest of the week and beyond,
Doris
President, ESC

Club Meeting – 5th September

Good to see many of you at Monday’s Club meeting after the long summer break.  Here’s a quick recap of the evening and announcements to keep everyone informed.

It was great to welcome back Dave Villa-Clarke to ESC after his year’s study leave.  Dave took the helm as Toastmaster for the evening, and with his energy and humour, expertly steered the meeting.  Everyone’s vocal cords, and listening skills, got warmed up with a creative story-telling exercise, dreamed up by Araba.

David Villa-Clarke as Toastmaster of the evening
David Villa-Clarke as Toastmaster of the evening

James’ C5 speech, “Don’t Look Down” won Best Speech for the evening against tough competition from Adam and Peter.  Patrick, Sonia and Penny all gave constructive feedback in their evaluations, with Penny voted as Best Evaluator.

Bohwon led a well-prepared Topics session on the topical theme of the Olympics, with seven Topics speakers including three of our guests who belong to other Toastmaster clubs and are keen to join ESC also.  Our own Dave Goodman managed to clench another Best Topics Speaker vote.

It was a first time for Araba as Warm-Up, Sonia as an Evaluator and Gillian as General Evaluator – really well done for stepping up and giving these roles a go.

Our next meeting on Monday 19 September is our club’s Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest, with Adam Jones and Patrick Ebbs as Contest Chairs.  Look forward to seeing you all there.

Confidence Workshop – 1st August

It was good to see many of you at last night’s workshop and masterclass with Richard Stacey.  We were joined by over a dozen guests, including some from Surbiton and other clubs.  The room was buzzing as we tried out the tips and techniques for grounding and centring, and learning to align the external markers of confidence with our internal experience and connecting with the audience as a powerful presence.  Richard’s put together take-away document as reminder of what was covered.

In the second half of the evening, several volunteers had the opportunity to deliver a 10 second speech, getting feedback from Richard on how to improve, as well as feedback from the audience.  It was amazing to see how subtle changes can make such a difference, as each volunteer repeated their delivery 3 or 4 times, incorporating the feedback each time.

Richard has kindly offered to run the session again at other clubs, so if you missed coming last night or if you’d like to go again, watch this space as he may be coming to Surbiton Speakers in the near future.

We’re back to our normal two meetings a month from Monday 5 Sept, with a full agenda of prepared speeches, evaluations and topics.  VPE Peter Parker will be issuing the Grid allocating roles.

July 4th Club Meeting

What a meeting we had on 4th July. Our first meeting for the club this Toastmasters year and what an eventful one. From the beginning of the evening to the end, there was an air of expectation in the air, as the Toastmasters year started on a very upbeat note.

When I turned up to Bourne Hall, I quickly realised that it appeared we did not have a room booked. Luckily, Lloyd had taken the initiative and secured us a room at the back, with a natural view, and lovely surroundings. After the initial shock, the meeting started on time and what a cracker.

Lloyd started the evening explaining the situation well and putting us all at rest. I was acting as President for the evening, which was a new experience for me. I felt I was confident in the role, and realised that I need to grow more to be a proficient President. It is always good to get out of your comfort zone.

Then we had Adam Jones as the Toastmaster, who was excellent and kept the energy up. Sheena ran an excellent warm up, where we had many various opinions about newspapers and the main stream media. And then Adam went through the agenda in a very professional manner. We had speeches from Stephanie, David Villa Clarke and Costa. This was an excellent mix of new speakers and experienced. Unfortunately we did come across over time issues with one speech, which was a shame, as all speeches were excellent and gave us all food for thought.

The evaluations were conducted by Gillian, James and Amanda. Amanda is an excellent evaluator as we all know. What was pleasing to see was Gillian and James both improve on their evaluations and start to really get into their role. Evaluations are a very important part of the Toastmasters journey, so well done to all, as I felt they were all very good.

After the break we had me on stage again running the topics. We do need volunteers for the Topics session as this is the second one I have done in two months. I chose films and did we have a great session. We had some very creative topics and I feel everybody had fun. Dave Goodman spoke about the Shawshank Redemption, Dan Jacobs on the Godfather, Quwanie on Forest Gump, Kevin on the Matrix, Elizabeth on its a wonderful life, Tom on Casablance, and Alex on Raiders of the lost ark. Everybody spoke well and had a go, which is in the spirit of topics. Well done to all of you. And to the newer members, keep going with the topics. They are hard but well worth persevering with.

We had a great evaluation of the topics By Aishi in his usual laid back style and a lively general evaluation by Stephen.

Then the awards which went as follows. The Reeds trophy went to Lloyd who has worked so hard in the background for the club. Stephen won the trophy for most improved speaker, which he showed with his fantastic general evaluation. We had Dan Jacobs win the topics session. Amanda won the evaluation prize and David Villa Clarke won best speech. I was very honoured to be in the position to give these prizes to such a talented group of people. The calibre of speakers at Epsom is very high, and this really does highlight the value of the club, and how we all inspire each other to improve. I felt we were all winners who participated in the meeting, which was all of us, as the whole evening was full of laughter, fun and learning. What more can you ask for at a Toastmasters evening.

Next meeting is 1st August, where we will be running a Confidence workshop and a tackling topics workshop being led by Richard Stacey. This will be highly interactive, so hopefully you will get a chance to get up and speak if you wish. This will be a great evening of learning and improving your speaking skills from a very experienced Toastmasters. Normal service will be resumed and your new President, Doris will be at the helm. Let’s keep the momentum going from our first meeting and make it another lively, fun packed energetic evening that is full of learning.

I looked forward to seeing you on the 1st August,
Peter
Vice President Education