London Cardinals Speech Mark

Top 10 Tips for Speech Evaluators

Posted by | May 31st, 2011 | Leave a comment

By Gilly Cutts, Past President 2010-2011

  1. Your main purpose is to help the speaker to improve. You will also be helping everyone in the audience to grow as well! As evaluators, we need to do more than simply evaluate a speaker’s posture, body movement, facial expression, eye contact and speech structure. These are important, indeed they are crucial but the voice, breathing technique and vocal power are important too, as are modulation, pitch, pause, tone, inflection, modulation and phrasing. Also notice the use of the speaking area.
  2. Read the objectives of the speech you will be evaluating and ask the speaker if there is anything in particular they would like you to look out for.
  3. During the speech, listen carefully and observe the speaker as much as possible. Taking too many notes can distract you and is unnecessary. The audience have just heard the speech so don’t want you to repeat it!
  4. Ensure that you have written down clearly the main points you want to make (or, if you don’t use notes, have them firmly in mind) so that they can be structured into a coherent Evaluation Speech.
  5. Give commendations. Praise the good aspects of the speech, without adding reservations, which cancel them out.
  6. Give recommendations. Doing this usefully yet tactfully is the main challenge of an evaluation. Above all, bear in mind that everyone feels hurt by naked criticism of their efforts – not just you!
  7. Structure commendations at the beginning and end, with recommendations in the middle. This is often referred to as the ‘sandwich’ technique.
  8. Be specific. Rather than spouting general platitudes, detail specific elements that were successful and specific suggestions for enhancement.
  9. All comments should be expressed as your personal opinion (for example, “I think…” or “My view is…”) Without ignoring the speaker, address all the audience. Expressions like “I believe we could all learn from the way in which… ” make everyone feel involved.
  10. Don’t try to cover too many points. You can meet up with the Speaker afterwards and go into more detail, covering aspects more appropriately addressed only to the Speaker.