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Evaluating the Difficult Speech We all know who he is; I dare say we have also evaluated him at one time or another. He‘s the Toastmaster who „speaks an infinite deal of nothing more than any man in . . . our club. His reasons are as two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff: you shall seek all dayere you find them, and, when you have them, they are not worth the search.“ Paraphrase from Shakespeare‘s Merchant of Venice I,i,114

Presented by Denise & Christopher Magyar of District 59 at the District 71 2005 Autumn Conference in Leamington Spa

Evaluating the Difficult Speech

Evaluation is the heart of the Toastmasters educational program. Learning to provide positive, constructive feedback on each other's performance is one of the key skills we can learn. However, not all speeches given and heard in Toastmasters will be examples of brilliant oratory; not everyone is a born orator.

But Toastmasters is a learning laboratory above all; these skills can be learnt. Although we might stumble and make mistakes along the way, both speaker and evaluator must adopt a humble attitude when performing their tasks.

So what do we do when the only redeeming quality is when the speaker sits down? In our presentation we will offer three approaches to evaluating the difficult speech to make it palatable to both speaker and evaluator.

Evaluating the Difficult Speech

The Contrary Approach . . . True but de-motivating: • You spoke too softly; I couldn't hear you in the back. • You didn't use any gestures. • You made no eye contact with the audience.

. . . by turning statements into suggestions True but motivating:

•The next time try using even more voice so we in the back can hear every word. •I think emphasizing some major points with appropriate gestures would really add impact to your speech. •Looking members of the audience in the eye when you make your main point will give you a big boost in credibility.

Evaluating the Difficult Speech

The Humble Approach . . . • Emphasize the subjective nature of your evaluation. • Remember it is only your opinion. • Audience and speaker may not share your views.

. . . by reminding the speaker it‘s an opinion.

• In my opinion . . . • I had the impression . . . • The way I see it . . . • It came across to me as if . . .

Evaluating the Difficult Speech

The Sandwich Approach

An evaluation is like a sandwich. The bread is the soft part where the speaker‘s strengths are highlighted. Between the slices is the ‚meat‘ – what the speaker can do to improve. This approach makes the evaluation more palatable & digestable for the speaker.