Notes on preparing and delivering effective speech evaluations


Completion of a Speech Evaluation can be used for the Competent Leadership Award, Projects 1, 2, 3, and 8.

A Step-by-Step Approach to Speech Evaluation

How can you give better evaluations?

Try this six-step approach.

  • Step 1 – Understanding the Fundamentals of an Evaluation
    There are two fundamentals to bear in mind when you are giving an evaluation.

    • Firstly, imagine the person you are evaluating has been asked to give the same speech again in the near future.
      • What can you say to help them do it better next time round?
      • What aspects worked well and should be kept, and what could be improved on?
    • And secondly, evaluations are given to help both the speaker and all other club members. By giving feedback, you are one of the ‘teachers’ for the meeting, and are helping members improve their speaking skills.
    • To support this, try to expand some of your commendations or recommendations into a mini-educational to get your point across to the whole audience.
  • Step 2 – Before the Speech
    Discuss the speech with the speaker beforehand. You can start the evaluation process at this stage by finding out what they plan to work on, and offering advice.

    • Read the speech assignment and find out the manual goals, and the speaker’s personal goals (if any).
    • Write these goals down on a sheet of paper (your Evaluation Sheet), which you will use at the meeting. Write them on a single piece of paper, one underneath the other.
  • Step 3During the Speech
    You are looking to see if the speaker met their goals. If they did: why? if not: why not, and how can it be improved? Using your Evaluation Sheet, listen to the speech and write C for Commendation or R for Recommendation against the goals listed (you may not have time to cover them all), plus any notes or comments. At the end of the speech determine which Commendations and Recommendations would most help the speaker move on, and only concentrate on these in your feedback. Choose the most important and helpful issues to comment on.
  • Step 4 –Giving the Evaluation
    Use the C-R-C Method

    • Give one or two Commendations
    • Then one or two Recommendations
    • Then a final Commendation


An Evaluation Formula

  • An evaluation is a mini speech. It has an Opening, a Body and an Ending. The opening is an introduction to the evaluation, for example, setting the scene. The ending is a summary of the main points you have made, and the body is where you concentrate on the commendations and recommendations.
  • Commendations have 2 components: State an issue that went well, eg speech structure, explain why it worked.
  • Recommendations have 3 components: State an issue that could be improved on, eg use of notes Explain why it didn’t work
    Make a suggestion for how it could be improved.

So written as a formula, this is what the evaluation will look like:





 Opening (30 seconds) Introduction
 Body (1.5 minutes) Commendation = Issue + Why

Recommendation = Issue + Why + How

Commendation = Issue + Why

 Conclusion (30 seconds) Summary


  • Step 5After the Speech
    Fill in the manual. Give it back to the speaker!
    Offer discussion with them for further feedback
  • Step 6On a Regular Basis
    Build up a bank of suggestions you can use in evaluations. Make a list of issues that may arise in people’s speeches, eg variety of voice, speech structure, use of notes, and write down suggestions for improvement. Keep adding to the list, so that as issues crop up in speeches you are already prepared.

    And finally, remember that the better you become at evaluations, the more you learn what goes into making a good speech, and the more you learn how to improve your own speaking.

10 steps to becoming an Evaluation Champion

  1. Watch and learn from evaluating the top speakers (video tapes, audio tapes, in person).
  2. Follow the CRC formula above to structure your speech:
  • Commendation – 2nd best
  • Commendation – 3rd best
  • Recommendation # 1
  • Recommendation # 2
  • Commendation – Best
  1. Practise the timing and know what you can do within the timing allowed.
  2. Think about what you are doing:
  • Understand the fundamentals of evaluations (see below for Resources)
  • Find ways to be better or different
  • Prepare every evaluation
  • Visualise winning
  1. Learn from others
  • Read about evaluation
  • Ask others how they do it
  • Watch other people evaluating
  1. Build a bank of Commendations and Recommendations.  Use unique ideas to explain what you mean.
  2. Have confidence in yourself and a likeable approach to the audience.
  3. Know the Contest Rules. Read the Judges Sheet and know the judging criteria (see below). Help the judges give you marks by signposting your speech.
  4. Self-promotion:
  • write articles about evaluations
  • accept invitations to be a guest evaluator
  • give educationals about evaluation
  1. If you have followed steps 1-9 above, you will deliver a well prepared, confident, focussed winning evaluation!






Judging criteria for Evaluation Contests


  1. Analytical Quality (40 points) – clear, focussed

Analytical Quality refers to the effectiveness of the evaluation. Every evaluation should carefully analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the speaker’s presentation. Were your comments clear and logical? Did you identify specific strengths and weaknesses of the presentation?

  1. Recommendations (30 points) – positive, specific, helpful

Point out the strengths and weaknesses of the speech, and offer specific recommendations for improvement. Recommendations should be practical, helpful and positive, and they should enable the speaker to improve next time.

  1. Technique (15 points) – sympathetic, sensitive, motivational

Technique refers to the manner in which you present your comments and recommendations. You should be sensitive to the feelings and needs of the speaker, yet inspire and encourage the speaker in his or her future speaking efforts.

  1. Summation (15 points) – concise, encouraging

This is how you conclude the evaluation. You should briefly summarise your comments and suggestions, and be positive and encouraging.


How to give effective evaluations

At every Toastmasters meeting, a significant part of the meeting time is allocated to the evaluation team.  The evaluation team consists of a General Evaluator, one or more Speech Evaluators, a Table Topics Evaluator, and sometimes a Grammarian, Umm Counter, and Timer.

Evaluation has several objectives, including:

  • To give the speaker your honest reaction in a constructive manner.
  • To teach the evaluator to listen, clearly, precisely and attentively.
  • To give the evaluator an opportunity to practice delivering an oral evaluation.

When you are the evaluator

Before the meeting:

  • Read the speech project in the manual.  Become familiar with the objectives and goals.
  • Read the evaluation guide for the project.  This helps you listen and watch for specific areas of emphasis.
  • Talk to the speaker before the meeting to get an understanding of the speaker’s goals and any specific areas for which the speaker wants feedback.

Before and During the speech

In your introduction of the speaker, give the project title (e.g., Speech 2: “Organise Your Speech” from the Communication and Leadership Manual) and read the project’s objectives.

Listen to the speech. What strikes you? These can be either great things or not so great things. Look for things that are missing. Especially consider the project’s goals.

Write useful comments in the speaker’s manual for future reference. Use your notes when you give your oral evaluation.

Your evaluation

Be positive.  Tell the speaker what you thought went well, what you enjoyed.  Say “I liked the example used to support the first point.  I identify with the cat in that story.”  or  “The speaker really nailed the closing.  I was motivated to act immediately on the suggestion to write to my councillor.” Always conclude on a positive comment.

Be specific.  Rather than saying “The speaker had distracting hand gestures” say “When the speaker pounded on the lectern, it distracted me from the point he was trying to make because it was too loud.”



Be constructive.

  • Rather than saying “The speaker’s voice is monotone” say “The speaker’s voice has good volume.  I would like to see more variety in pacing and pitch to emphasize the different points of view presented.”
  • Effective evaluations are an irreplaceable part of the Toastmasters educational mission.  The speaker, the evaluator, and your fellow Toastmasters all benefit from effective evaluations.

Stretch your evaluation vocabulary

Try substituting the words in bold for the examples given: 

able, absolute, aces, adept, admirable, adroit, bad, best, brutal, cold, complete, consummate, crack, downright, dynamite, egregious, exceptional, excellent, expert,  fantastic, fine, first-rate, heavy, marvellous, masterly, number one, out-and-out, perfect, positive, proficient, skilled, skilful, super dupa, surpassing, terrific, total, tough, transcendent, tremendous, unmitigated, unqualified, utter, wonderful

accomplished, admirable, attractive, capital, certified, champion, choice, choicest, desirable, distinctive, distinguished, estimable, exceptional, exemplary, exquisite, fine, finest, first, first-class, first-rate, high, incomparable, invaluable, magnificent, meritorious, notable, noted, outstanding, peerless, premium, priceless, prime, select, skilful, sterling, striking, superb, superior, superlative, superlative, supreme, tiptop, top-notch, transcendent, wonderful

acceptable, ace, admirable, agreeable, bad, bully, capital, choice, commendable, congenial, crack, deluxe, excellent, exceptional, favourable, first-class, first-rate, gnarly, gratifying, great, honourable, marvellous, nice, pleasing, pleasant, positive, precious, prime, reputable, satisfactory, satisfying, select, shipshape, sound, spanking, splendid, sterling, stupendous, super, superb, super eminent, super excellent, superior, tip-top, valuable, welcome, wonderful, worthy

able, active, adequate, capable, cogent, compelling, competent, convincing, direct, effectual, efficacious, efficient, emphatic, energetic, forceful, forcible, impressive, live, moving, operative, persuasive, play hardball, potent, powerful, powerhouse, practical, producing, productive, resultant, serviceable, serving, sound, striking, sufficient, telling, trenchant, useful, valid, virtuous, wicked, yielding

adept, adequate, adroit, alert, bright, capable, cleft, competent, cunning, dexterous, easy, effortless, endowed, equipped, facile, fitted, intelligent, knowing, powerful, ready, smart, strong, worthy, qualified

A-OK, adequate, all right, ample, average, cogent, comfortable, competent, cool, decent, enough, fair, fulfilling, gratifying, groovy, hunky-dory, passable, peachy, pleasing, satisfying, solid, sound, sufficient, suitable, tolerable, unexceptional, valid

accomplished, acute, astute, brainy, bright, celebrated, clever, discerning, egghead, eminent, excellent, exceptional, expert, genius, gifted, glorious, illustrious, ingenious, intellectual, inventive, knowing, knowledgeable, magnificent, masterly, outstanding, penetrating, profound, quick, quick-witted, sharp, smart, splendid, superb, talented, whiz

advance, ameliorate, amend, augment, better, boost, civilize, convalesce, correct, cultivate, develop, doctor up, edit, elevate, emend, enhance, gain ground, gain strength, grow better, help, increase, lift, look up, make strides, meliorate, mend, perk up, pick up, polish, progress, promote, purify, raise, rally, recover, rectify, recuperate, refine, reform, revamp, revise, shape up, sharpen, straighten out, take off, touch up, update, upgrade



abominable, amiss, atrocious, awful, bad news, beastly, blah, bottom out, bummer, careless, cheap, cheesy, crappy, cruddy, crummy, defective, deficient, diddly, dissatisfactory, downer, dreadful, erroneous, fallacious, faulty, garbage, god-awful, gross, grungy, icky, imperfect, inadequate, inadequate, incorrect, inferior, junky, lousy, not good, off, poor, raunchy, rough, sad, scuzzy, sleaze ball, sleazy, slipshod, stinking, substandard, synthetic, the pits, unacceptable, unsatisfactory

base, below par, common, contemptible, crude, diminutive, dwarfed, exiguous, faulty, feeble, humble, imperfect, inadequate, incomplete, inferior, insignificant, insufficient, lacking, low-grade, lowly, meagre, mean, mediocre, miserable, modest, niggardly, ordinary, paltry, paltry, pitiable, pitiful, plain, reduced, rotten, scanty, second-rate, shabby, shoddy, skimpy, slight, sorry, sparse, subnormal, subpar, substandard, trifling, trivial, unsatisfactory, valueless, weak, worth

actualize, advance, amplify, augment, beautify, broaden, build up, cultivate, deepen, dilate, elaborate, enlarge, enrich, evolve, exploit, extend, finish, heighten, improve, intensify, lengthen, magnify, materialize, perfect, polish, promote, realize, refine, spread, strengthen, stretch, unfold, widen, work out

add detail, amplify, bedeck, clarify, comment, complicate, decorate, develop, devise, discuss, embellish, enhance, enlarge, evolve, expatiate, explain, expound, flesh out, garnish, interpret, ornament, particularize, polish, produce, refine, specify, work out

alter, amend, better, change, clean up, cure, debug, do over, doctor, edit, fiddle with, fix up, go over, help, improve, launder, make over, make right, make right, mend, pay dues, pick up, polish, reclaim, reconstruct, rectify, redress, reform, regulate, remedy, remodel, reorganize, repair, retouch, review, revise, right, scrub, set right, set straight, shape up, shape up, straighten out, touch up, turn around, upgrade

accommodate, adapt, adjust, alter, alternate, commute, convert, diminish, diverge, diversify, evolve, fluctuate, make innovations, make over, merge, metamorphose, moderate, modify, modulate, mutate, naturalize, recondition, redo, reduce, reform, regenerate, remake, remodel, renovate, reorganize, replace, resolve, restyle, revolutionize, shape, shift, substitute, tamper with, temper, transfigure, transform, translate, transmute, transpose, turn, vacillate, vary, veer, warp

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