Evaluate to Motivate

The purpose of an evaluation is to:

  • provide immediate feedback to the speaker on what they did well and which areas they could improve on.
  • motivate the speaker to go away with renewed confidence to prepare their next speech.

Good evaluations benefit: the speaker, the evaluator and the club. They can be the reasons guests join and members stay.


  • what to do before, during and after the meeting
  • a tried and tested evaluation structure
  • examples of helpful language, to avoid coming across as critical.

Before the meeting

  • Contact the speaker to determine the speaker’s objectives
  • Identify which manual speech is to be performed.
  • Read the manual briefing as well as the summary speech objectives & evaluation criteria
  • If you find using colour helpful, bring along a multicoloured pen +/or highlighter.

During the meeting

  • Listen carefully to the speaker
  • Take notes
  • Create a structure, maybe reorganising your notes using a coloured pen
  • If you’re new to evaluating and you’d like some help, don’t hesitate to ask someone at the break. Maybe you might be struggling for a recommendation, or know what needs improving but can’t think of a diplomatic way in which to say it. If in doubt, ask.

After the meeting

Write your evaluation in the manual and talk with the speaker.

Structure Timing (secs)
Introduction 15
Commend #2 30
Commend #3 30
Recommend #1 30
Recommend #2 30
Commend #1 (what you liked best) 30
Summary – finishing on a high 15

Be as specific as possible! Try to include what was said, when it was said and why it was so effective, it adds more value. With recommendations, how it can be done differently next time around for greater effect.

How to evaluate without sounding critical

Here are a few some dos and don’ts.

Talk about what you saw, what you heard and how the speech made you feel. The evaluation is your personal opinion, own it.

AVOID These sound much better
You should have My reaction was
You didn’t It appeared to me
You failed to I felt that
You must I think
Good speakers do … I suggest
What I have found helpful is
And vs but

Structure, content and delivery

Commendations and recommendations can be about any number of attributes which can be categorised into: structure, content or delivery.

Next are a few examples.


Was the speech well organised with an intro, body and conclusion?

Were the opening and closing effective?

Did it flow logically and smoothly?

Was the purpose clear?

Maybe they used the power of 3.



Colourful language

Alliteration, Metaphors & similies

Rhetorical devices/ questions



Was the speech relevant to the audience?

Was the call to action effective?


Eye contact

Vocal variety, pace, pitch, projection, pause


Use of the stage

Facial expressions – did they just tell us or did they show us.

Finally, end on a high to ensure the speaker is inspired to come back to present another speech!

This is the text of the Educational Speech from the Successful Club Series given by Christina MacGuire at the club on 26 August 2015.

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