Giving evaluations impacts my speaking skills!

I’m gradually understanding the correlation between speaking and evaluations. Over time, I have come to believe that the ability to give evaluations impacts your speaking skills. The two have a positive correlation.

In my books, it is questionable how one can be a spectacular speaker but is a poor speech evaluator. While I have been subconsciously mentoring many Toastmasters through giving evaluations, I have also instinctively impacted my speaking skill. The skills developed as an evaluator are critical skills required as a speaker.

On the 28th of November, I was at Pretoria Tshwane Toastmasters Club where I was asked to evaluate an Advanced Speaker on a Persuasive Speech project. The speaker was superb, had almost all the elements of a great speaker, but as we say it in Toastmasters, ‘there ain’t no such thing as a perfect speech,’ I had to find opportunities for development! Who knew that that speech evaluation would lead me to being voted the best evaluator?

This is when I was convinced my giving evaluations has positive impact on my speaking because:

In both cases, listening is imperative. When giving feedback, you ought to listen critically to your speaker and their speech. Similarly, as a speaker, you ought to be listening to your audience’s reaction to your speech all the time. When you don’t listen, as an evaluator, you do not give an objective opinion; and as a speaker, you lose your audiences attention.

Secondly, you may want to be relevantly positive and constructive. I highlight relevantly because at time we exaggerate our positivity. It becomes insincere and less authentic. As an evaluator, you lose your credibility when you give insincere feedback, while as a speaker if you are negative, you lose your authenticity. This is a key element as a speaker and evaluator.

Last but not least, be engaging and personal. This calls you to use phrases like, “I felt; I thought; I heard; I saw…” Personalized messaging is key in giving your evaluation and not making it feel offensive to the speaker. In addition, I’d recommend engaging the speaker with follow up phrases such as, “Did you also notice/feel/hear…?” That way, you engage the speaker to reflect and be in the moment with you. You subtly manipulate them to see it the way you did. As a speaker, it is equally essential to be personal and engaging. Speaking of your experiences builds an element of trust as you open up to the audience while engaging questions/phrases are inviting to the audience in your speech.

There are many other skills that are mutually beneficial as a speaker and speech evaluator. I believe it is valuable to continue exercising the skills for ultimate performance on stage. As I continue to mentor and help people give impactful presentations, I share more attributes of speaking that yield results whether you are pitching for a deal or you are inspiring an audience, you need these skills.

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