Toastmaster members working in the Communication Track present speeches, each of which receives a written and verbal evaluation, while “leaders” working through the Leadership Track execute tasks, evaluated in writing, and sometimes verbally.

When evaluating a speaker's presentation, your purpose is to help the speaker become more confident and a better speaker in various situations. When evaluating a leader's role, your purpose is to help the leader become more confident and more effective in leading a team to achieve goals. With your evaluation, aim to motivate the member to improve. A supportive evaluation leaves the member being evaluated feeling positive and looking forward to their next speech or task.

Your evaluation is an opportunity to practice leadership skills such as:

  • Listening,
  • Critical thinking,
  • Speech analysis,
  • Feedback,
  • Motivation.

“Feedback is the Breakfast of Champions”—Ted Dibble

What Makes an Evaluation HelpfulEdit

A helpful evaluation:

  • Empathizes with the speaker
  • Provides praise and potential areas for Improvements
  • Uses the Sandwich Pattern: Commend-Recommend-Commend
  • Is limited to three or four clear Commendations, and one or two Recommendations
  • Summarises your key Commendations and Recommendations in the same Commend-Recommend-Commend sequence.

Making Your Evaluation BeneficialEdit

  • Remember that as evaluator, the most valuable thing you can do is to yourself learn how to improve your skills at evaluation through this opportunity to practice. The member whose speech or role you are evaluating is also providing you with this opportunity to learn and grow and trusting you.
  • Keep in mind that the member you are evaluating is also doing self-evaluation and will be well aware of his or her most egregious faults. For your evaluation to benefit the member, think of something valuable that your evaluation can give the member. Reminding the member of something they already know is unlikely to be that valuable thing.
  • Avoid criticizing or complaining—doing so is unlikely to benefit the person, defeating your purpose.
  • The most difficult evaluation task is one where the member made many errors or performed poorly. You must find a way to now encourage the member to keep on trying instead of indulging in negative feelings. You can easily find positive things to say to the member if you empathize with the member.
  • Instead of finding fault, think of a way to encourage the member to improve. It is hard enough on a person to be told that they have room for improvement; your task is to figure out how to transform your observation of a lack into encouragement to improve.
  • Consider giving recognition to the member rather than praise, encouragement rather than criticism. This way you move away from reward and punishment, and move toward something genuinely beneficial.

Before the meetingEdit

  • Review carefully Effective Evaluation and links therein.
  • Ask the speaker or leader which manual project he or she will present and review the project goals.
  • Ask the speaker or leader what skills or techniques he or she intends to strengthen through the speech.
  • If possible, become aware of the member's skill level, habits, and mannerisms, progress to date.
  • Study the project objectives and evaluation guide in the manual.

At the meetingEdit

  • When you enter the meeting room, look for the speaker or leader and get his or her manual.
  • Meet briefly with the general evaluator to confirm the evaluation session format. Then confer with the speaker or leader one last time to see if he or she has any specific things for you to watch for.

During the meetingEdit

  • Record your impressions in the manual, along with your answers to the evaluation questions.
  • Be as objective as possible.
  • Consider all communication the speaker employs—both Verbal and Nonverbal Communication.
  • Remember that good evaluations may give new life to discouraged members and poor evaluations may dishearten members who tried their best.
  • By listening intently, you motivate members to work hard and improve. When you show the way to improvement, you open the door to strengthening their ability.

Your Oral EvaluationEdit

  • When introduced, stand and give your evaluation.
  • Begin and end your evaluation with a note of encouragement or praise.
  • Though you may have written lengthy responses to manual evaluation questions, don't read the questions or your responses.
  • Your verbal evaluation time is limited; don't try to cover too much in your evaluation—you may wish to include one point on organization, one on delivery, and one on attainment of purpose, with a statement about the member’s greatest asset and a suggestions for future improvement.
  • Praise a successful speech or leadership assignment and tell specifically why it was successful.
  • Don't allow the speaker or leader to remain unaware of a valuable asset such as a smile or a sense of humor.
  • Don't allow the speaker or leader to remain ignorant of a serious fault: if it is personal, write it but don’t mention it aloud.
  • Give the speaker or leader the deserved praise and tactful suggestions in the manner you yourself would like to receive them.
  • Gently offer useful advice that gives the speaker or leader with specific methods for improving.

After the meetingEdit

  • Return the manual to the member you evaluated.
  • Be sensitive to how the member is feeling about their speech or task, and how they feel about your evaluation.
  • Add a verbal word of encouragement that wasn't mentioned in your verbal evaluation.
  • Get feedback on your evaluation from the member and from other club members.


Toastmaster Educational ProgramEdit

  • A Toastmaster Wears Many Hats (Item 1167D, 6 pp, $1.00)
  • Effective Evaluation (Catalog No. 202), included in the New Member Kit, a guide to the beginning evaluator.
  • The Art of Effective Evaluation (Catalog No. 251), part of the Success/Communication Program, is a seminar-style program that gives you tips and techniques for effective evaluations as well as the opportunity to practice them. As part of the program, you will complete a questionnaire to help you identify your club's evaluation strengths and weaknesses, and you will receive a workbook that you may use as a reference later. The program is conducted by one of your club members and takes about two and one-half hours. Toastmasters International recommend that clubs conduct it at least once a year.
  • Evaluation To Motivate (Catalog No. 292), part of the Successful Club Series, is a 10-minute program that can be conducted by one of your club members for the entire club. It offers a quick review of and refresher course on evaluation techniques. Although it is not as thorough as The Art of Effective Evaluation, it is a quick way to motivate members to give better evaluations. It is also helpful to conduct this program if several new members join your club at once.
  • Twice each year your district has a conference, offering educational programs of interest to members. Often a program on evaluation is featured. Check with your district officers to see when the next program is scheduled.
  • The Moments Of Truth (Catalog No. 290), a module in the Successful Club Series, is a program that will help your club to evaluate itself. The program allows you to analyze every aspect of the club's operations, helping it to become more effective at helping members achieve their goals. The program can be conducted in one hour. Toastmasters International recommends the club conduct this program annually.

Evaluation ToolsEdit


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