“Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. Love me and I may be forced to love you”
-William Arthur Ward-
The core principles that you need to follow when evaluating a speech is contained in the above given quotation. Evaluation shouldn’t be flattery, criticism or a white wash. An evaluation should encourage the presenter to retain his strengths and improve upon the weaknesses. Ten quick tips to provide an effective speech evaluation are given below:
Before the Presentation
Study the speech objectives
You need a benchmark to compare the speaker’s performance with and speech objectives serve that purpose.
Enquire about special evaluation needs by contacting the presenter
Many speakers who are committed to the development of their skills seek in-depth evaluation on certain areas of their speech. For example, several times I have asked my evaluators to give me more detailed feedback on my body language.
Plan a delivery technique
There are many commonly used speech evaluation techniques, the most common one being ‘The Sandwich Method’. A proper delivery technique will ensure that you do not miss the main points and give a professional touch to the evaluation.
During the Presentation
Evaluate the speech as a whole
You should draw conclusions about the speech only after it is completed.
Note down parts of the presentation you would like to comment on
If any part of the speech delivery catches your attention, write it down. Do not depend on your memory to recall the points; I did try that method several times – unsuccessfully.
After the Presentation
Be specific while commenting / recommending
Instead of commenting like ‘Your body language could have been better’, demonstrate the body language he used and that he could have used on the stage.
Refer to the parts of the presentation you noted down
Reproduce the sentences or actions or visual aids used by the presenter to comment / recommend on it. It is a proof of your sincerity and commitment. Also, it will be an encouragement for the presenter when you quote from his presentation.
Begin and end on a positive note
It is important that the speaker is motivated to speak more with improvements over the current performance. To keep the morale of the speaker high, he should have an overall positive feeling after the evaluation. For that, it is usually recommended to wrap the points of improvement within positive comments.
Limit the number of recommendations while giving Oral Evaluation
No person will like to hear too many criticisms, even if he loves to work on his weaknesses. It is better to limit the recommendations to two or three while giving an oral evaluation and provide detailed written evaluation for rest of the points. Also, you could talk to the speaker after the event and discuss it in person. Such an approach will help the speaker retain his self esteem and self confidence.
And last but not the least…
Be genuinely interested in the speaker’s progress
Being interested in the speaker’s progress is most important when it comes to providing effective evaluations. If this is there, most of the other points will be taken care of automatically. Always remember that you need to give the best possible evaluation which will encourage the speaker to perform better when he comes on the stage again.
Constructive evaluations are vital for the process of learning public speaking and remember that an evaluation could make or break an upcoming speaker.