A Guide to Being a Speech Evaluator

Here is a simple pocket book guide to help you understand the role of speech evaluator at Epsom Speakers. If you are undertaking this role for the first time, it can feel more daunting without clear instruction. This guide can be used to supplement any advice given by your mentor.

Before the meeting

Read the speech assignment in the appropriate manual and find out the goals and objectives before the speech is delivered. Contact the speaker a few days before the meeting. Ask them if there are any particular points they are specifically working on to improve and would like you to watch out for or mention in your evaluation. Be aware of their personal goals.

During the meeting

At the meeting, before the speaker goes to the stage, the Toastmaster will call upon you to read out the objectives for the speech. Give the project title e.g. Bill Smith is giving Speech No.2: “Organise Your Speech” from the Competent Communication Manual and read the project’s objectives.

Whilst everyone has their own way of listening and making notes, during the speech, listen carefully and make a note of anything that strikes you as being unusual, different, particularly well – or not so well -portrayed. Some of these will be positive comments and others not so good or there may be things you felt were missing. Don’t forget to consider the project’s goals.

The Toastmaster will call you up to the stage – remember to shake hands before and after your delivery.

When you give your evaluation, use your notes; be positive, specific and constructive, without being harsh or condemning. Deliver your mini speech with a beginning, middle and end in the 3rd person to the whole audience, not just the speaker.

Avoid too much focus on the speech content. Instead, tell the speaker what worked for you and what you thought was particularly good. Inform them visually or vocally how the speech could have been improved by better hand gestures, movement or vocal variety to make a point or emphasise an issue. Commend, recommend, commend. Always end on a positive summary.

At the end of the meeting, write useful comments in the speaker’s manual for future reference.

If you need help, ask a fellow club member. Enjoy yourself, have fun and be professional; learn by your mistakes, we’ve all made them and that is why Toastmasters is such a supportive environment.