As a professional corporate trainer in the areas of public speaking, persuasive communication and charisma, I’ve moderated thousands of speech evaluations. Combined with the inspiration coming from my Irish Toastmasters friend Mel Kelly, I came up with a standard process to structure your evaluations both at Toastmasters and elsewhere.
This process is an alteration of the Speech Structure Building Method™ and involves four steps:
- Collect content
- Select the top aspects
- Create a climax structure
- Build the Speech Evaluation Temple
Click and print the speech evaluation template below.
1) Collect content
While a speaker gives a speech use the left side of the speech evaluation template to take notes. Write down everything you like about the speech in the left column “PLUS”. Write down everything the speaker could do even better from your point of view in the right column “PLUSPLUS”.
2) Select the top aspects
Once the speaker has finished with his/her talk, you select the top aspects on both sides. What did you like best about the speech? In what areas could the speaker grow most?
I recommend you select the top three to four points on each side. Mark them with a circle.
3) Create a climax structure
Good, better, best – the rhetorical device climax also applies to your selected top aspects on both sides. Go reverse. On the PLUS side, first choose the one aspect you liked best about the speech. This is number 3 (or four if you decide to select four aspects). Then you choose the second best – number 2. The remaining aspect is number 1.
Do the same on the PLUSPLUS side. Now you have created a climax structure.
4) Build the Speech Evaluation Temple
In the fourth and last step you build the Evaluation Structure Building. Transfer the selected points to the right side of your speech evaluation template. Add the first words of your opening and your closing – done!
When you give an evaluation at your Toastmasters club, be aware of the time factor. I indicated the maximum time available for each block.
On the PLUS side always tell the speaker why you liked a specific aspect of the speech:
Your visual aids made your content more memorable. I will never forget your fins.
On the PLUSPLUS side always indicate how the speaker can do better:
If you interact with your audience you raise the level of trust. You show that you care for them, you are empathetic. There are three ways to interact with your audience. You could have asked questions, made references to people from the audience or started a one-to-one dialog with someone from your audience.
Never forget to give a summary! In Toastmasters evaluation contests this is a decisive factor. I also reckon you end your evaluation with an uplifting, motivating final comment. You can wrap it into your drainpipe, which connects the closing of your evaluation with its opening.