As a new Toastmaster I thought this journey was all about getting experience at making speeches. It didn’t take long for me to realise that this learning environment has a diamond to offer with the learned skill of evaluation.
At Toastmasters we evaluate every assignment. Toastmasters International adds weight to the importance of this skill with the opportunity each year to be part of the Evaluation Contest.
Evaluation is your opinion of WHAT you heard and saw WHY you thought it was good or needed some improvement and HOW the receiver could make changes – from this perspective it is all about your thoughts and feelings, however, when we give an evaluation or feedback it becomes all about the other person. What encouragement and opportunities to help this person be even more accomplished can I offer? This is the diamond we can give to others.
The thing I really like about evaluation is the transferrable skills it gives us. We can take the basic concept of commend-recommend-commend into our homes, friendships and our workplaces. Thoughtful feedback is not going to put you offside with your loved ones or your workmates. Carefully chosen words that don’t carry negative connotations, mixed with encouragement and formed into sincere positive statements will go a long way towards solving your issue with the person you want to communicate with.
Don’t wait until you are the Team Leader or the Boss before you start using our evaluation techniques and like all things practice improves your delivery. I am not suggesting you try to change the world, because you know, we can only change ourselves, but with quality feedback skills you could be surprised at how it smooths your path and encourages cooperation and understanding in your circle of people.
Evaluation is a skill that you can straight away use everywhere and I encourage you to start in small ways and build up to that discussion with your Boss at your annual review, by then it will be a natural part of your conversational repertoire. You can learn the skill quickly at Toastmasters by taking every opportunity to fill evaluation roles at your club meeting, and by asking your club members to give you some feedback, add into the mix opportunities to use your evaluation on those you know well, and listen for the feedback to help you modify as you learn. Eventually it will feel and be a natural way for you to communicate.
I believe all Toastmasters have in their hearts the desire to continually improve as speakers, leaders and people. Add to this the genuine care factor and we have a recipe for a supportive climate that brings the best out in all of us.
Linda Snalam CC,CL
President Parramatta Toastmasters
LINDA SNALAM CC, CL
President – Parramatta Toastmasters