Burrard Toastmasters
Vancouver's leading business-oriented public speaking club
Club Speeches

Evaluate To Motivate

By Amy Johnson
Evaluations are an important part of our meetings - we spend between 20-26 minutes every meeting on evaluations. Evaluations are the way we help each other, and ourselves, learn. Effective evaluations help us all become better speakers.
Benefits of Evaluation:
For the Speaker:
  1. Timely and powerful learning aid; provides direct feedback
  2. Paves the way for better speaking skills; gives the speaker specific methods for improvement
  3. Provides recognition and ego-fulfillment; reinforces the speakers commitment for better speaking
  4. Creates a positive climate for motivation; encourgaes speaker to work harder and improve more
  5. Builds and maintains healthy self-esteem
For the Evaluator:
  1. Provides opportunities to help others
  2. Develops an attitude of helpful interest; helping others develops leadership skills
  3. Builds positive interpersonal relationships
  4. Develops listening skills; important component for all communication
  5. Builds impromptu speaking skills; organize thoughts quickly and say something meaningful/useful in a brief time period 
For the Club:
  1. Contributes to a high standard of excellence
  2. Builds a positive climate; supportiveness and camaraderie
  3. Develops role models; provides good examples for new members
  4. Creates a success oriented atmosphere; develops pride, energy and enthusiasm
  5. Keeps people coming to meetings; causes of member loss include - failure to improve, lack of recognition, poor inter-personal relationships, loss of self-esteem, lack of commitment
The objectives of this seminar are:
  1. to help us recognize the purpose and value of effective speech evaluation
  2. discover ways we can improve our evaluation skills
  3. stimulate group discussion on a subject of concern to the club and each member
Our primary purpose in evaluation is to help another person become a better speaker.

Why do we want to become better speakers?

8 reasons adults want to learn new skills

  1. Gain knowledge and skill
  2. Meet a specific need; for some of us it is part of our job, or possibly we have a special event coming up we need to speak at
  3. Gain material rewards; perhaps it's a way to a promotion, a raise or a better job
  4. Earn credit towards recognition; not usually a reason for joining but attaining CTM, ATM, DTM - we all set goals for ourselves everyday, even small ones
  5. Gain pleasure; may expect to feel happy and important
  6. Build self-esteem; feel better about yourself
  7. Build self confidence; overcome fears and gain confidence
  8. Win acceptance and esteem from others; may feel that as a better speaker others will regard you more highly

How do we Improve? 

  • Begin with a behaviour - giving a speech 
  • Receive feedback - evaluation (how our behaviour appears to others, and ideas/suggestions for future behaviour) 
  • Test our behaviour - giving another speech

This is a repetitive cycle that will continue to help us improve.

The ultimate responsibility lies with the speaker. While the evaluator is responsible for providing feedback, and suggesting areas for improvement, only the speaker can actually make those improvements. The speaker must decide if the feedback is valid and decide if we will act on it. 

As an evaluator, you can't make the speaker change their behaviour. Your function is to provide the speaker with information they can use for a basis of improvement.

An evaluator has 3 roles:


  • Recognize improvement; help to convince/reassure the speaker that they are benefiting and improving
  • Reinforcing desire; help the speaker realize that becoming even better is both possible and worthwhile


  • facilitate learning by providing methods for improvement
  • difference between evaluation and criticism. A critic just identifies strengths and weaknesses. An evaluator must concentrate on specific methods for improvement.


  • not a role taken often, but with some one who truly fears giving a speech this is a key role for the evaluator.
  • to become a good speaker an individual must be comfortable with the idea of speaking before a group and this can be a huge barrier. For these speakers reducing fear is an immediate need - far more important than making mechanical improvements. In these cases it is the evaluators job to do whatever is necessary to get that person back for their next speech.

An evaluator needs tact and sensitivity, as well as honesty.

Club Evaluation Climate

How well does our club evaluate? 

How to build a positive club:

  1. Emphasisze quality evaluations
  2. Help members become better acquainted; a key to helping a speaker is understanding that person's needs and goals. Why we joined, benefits we've earned and what we want to accomplish
  3. Assign evaluators when assigning speakers; when members know in advance who they are evaluating speakers and evaluators can confer before the speech.
  4. Encourage dialogue between speakers and evaluators; the speaker and evaluator can take a couple of minutes after the meeting to discuss the evaluation - clarify misunderstandings, were the recommendations helpful, how can the evaluator improve
  5. Evaluate the evaluator; part of the general evaluation. Sometimes when the meeting is running long and the general evaluation is cut short, the evaluation of the evaluators is often missed or glossed over however, for everyone to improve it is important that evaluators are evaluated.
  6. Encourage group evaluations; the more feedback the better. Toastmasters international suggests periodically scheduling panel or group evaluations
  7. Emphasize manual speeches; provide step by step methods for skill development and provide evaluators with specific objectives and guidelines for evaluating.

Self Esteem and Public Speaking

  • we all want to please ourselves to feel worthy and successful
  • often we are our own worst critics
  1. Self esteem fuels personal growth
  2. Feedback reinforces personal growth
  3. Personal growth nourishes self esteem
  4. Increased self esteem promotes growth

To be effective in helping people grow, evaluation must do two things:

  1. Must point us toward personal growth by showing us where and how we can improve
  2. Must build our self esteem, making us feel good about what we've accomplished and motivating us to grow more.

6 guidelines for building and maintaining self esteem:

  1. Be genuine
  2. Recognize strengths
  3. Recognize improvements
  4. Create a climate for motivation; help them realize that they can improve more
  5. Avoid value judgments; concentrate on speakers behaviour not the person
  6. Provide positive direction; show how they can improve

Evaluation Methods

Toastmasters suggests 3 different evaluation methods.

  1. 'Tell and Sell'
  2. 'Tell and Listen
  3. 'Problem-Solving'

Method selected depends on:

  • Your own level of skill and experience
  • skill level and experience of speaker
  • amount of time available for your evaluation

'Tell and Sell' method 

  • evaluator talks, speaker listens
  • most common - we use it here, evaluator discusses speech and suggests ways the speaker can improve
  • Advantage; that it's the least time consuming and is most effective when the evaluator has more experience (considered an authority figure) than the speaker
  • Disadvantage; can put the speaker on the defensive if the speaker feels the evaluation isn't on target

'Tell and Listen' method 

  • evaluator talks, speaker responds
  • feedback on feedback, evaluator offers and appraisal and recommendations and the speaker has a chance to respond
  • Advantages; removes defensive feelings, builds positive relationships and unity, helps the evaluator improve
  • Disadvantages; it takes longer, may increase nervousness with new speakers, can lessen impact of recommendations

'Problem solving' method 

  • evaluator engages speaker in two-way dialogue aimed at leading the speaker toward making his/her own evaluation
  • most difficult and time consuming, but can be very effective
  • before the speech ask the speaker what their concerns/areas for improvement are
  • after the speech identify the spekaers strengths and areas for improvement by asking non-threatening questions - Do you feel you met the manual objectives for this speech? Why did you select this particular topic?
  • Build mutual agreement on what improvements the speaker has made, what his/her strengths are and what are the areas for improvement. Other club members may be invited to contribute.
  • Ask the speaker how they feel these problems can be solved - steer the speaker toward selecting actual methods for improvement


  • it takes time
  • can be risky with a new speaker who may not know what consitutes good speaking
  • because it lets the speaker ultimately decide it can stimulate changes that are different from what the evaluator may have suggested

Some of these methods could even be combined with the speaker and evaluator having a discussion after the meeting, which other members are able to join in or also give feedback. Also may be good for speakers with a lot of experience who feel that they need tougher evaluations.

How to Evaluate Effectively?

  1. Show that you care
  2. Suit your evaluation to the speaker
  3. Learn the speakers objectives
  4. Listen actively
  5. Personalize your language
  6. Give positive reinforcement
  7. Help the speaker become motivated
  8. Evaluate the behaviour not the person
  9. Nourish self esteem
  10. Show the speaker how to improve

Speakers Responsibilities

  1. Communicate your goals
  2. Help your evaluator prepare
  3. Prepare diligently
  4. Empathize with your evaluator
  5. Help your evaluator improve
  6. Prepare to change

How can we improve?

Think about what you can do to make your next evaluation more effective?

Read other educational speeches