What are evaluations?

The cornerstone of a Toastmasters meeting is the constructive feedback given by fellow club members serving as Evaluators. All Toastmasters are here to learn; it is the Evaluators that assist them in doing so. There are three main types of evaluators during the course of a Toastmasters meeting and these are described below.

Speech Evaluator

Speech Evaluators give a spoken evaluation on speeches given by the prepared Speakers who will be working from one of the speech manuals. Evaluators should remind the Speaker that the evaluation is the Evaluator’s own opinion, rather than the judgements shared being in any sense absolute rights and wrongs. A common structure for an evaluation is:

A reminder of objectives of the speech, as set out in the manual, followed by two or three commendations (points of praise), one or two recommendations (advice for improving the delivery of the speech) and a further commendation (further point of praise) representing what the Evaluator most liked about the presentation, finishing off with a summary.

Table Topics Evaluator

The Table Topics Evaluator deals with the short (1 – 2 minutes) impromptu speeches of Table Topics. There will usually be a Table Topics Master who gives the subject of each speech and three or more Table Topics Speakers per session.

Opening comments made by the Table Topics Evaluator usually deal with the topics set and the way they were presented by the Topics Master. The Evaluator will then give each Table Topics Speaker at least one point of praise and one point where the Topics Speaker could improve their delivery. Again, it should be made clear that the opinions expressed are the Evaluator’s own.

General Evaluator

The General Evaluator’s role is to evaluate the evaluators, giving praise for positive, constructive evaluations, and also picking up on any points that the evaluator missed that could help the speaker.

Meeting Evaluator

The last evaluator to speak, the Meeting Evaluator evaluates everyone who has not yet been evaluated and the meeting as a whole. This will include the Toastmaster of the Evening, and the other officials such as the Grammarian, Time Keeper and Grunt Counter.

For me the Toastmaster experience is invaluable. Firstly, it gives me the opportunity to practise speaking and experiment with new ideas in a relaxed and welcoming environment. Secondly, it gives me the chance to learn so much from others, whatever their level of expertise. And thirdly, it means I spend time with real people who enjoy life. What better way to share this journey?
Paul, Bedford