When you listen to a speaker, what do YOU listen for? Words ? Flow? Thoughts? Message? Why am I here ?
Perhaps the first question we should ask is “Why?” Why is the speaker telling me this. If we are ever asked to give someone feedback, we owe it to the speaker to be honest, sincere and committed to helping them become better.
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One method that works well is known as the 3-R’s – Review – Reward – Respond
Do well enough and you may even Win in an Evaluation Contest
Review – Sit down with the speaker prior to their engagement and ask what their goal is. If you have a manual to guide you, ensure you are aware of what the manual
Reward – Start with the positive. Tell the speaker what they did well and what their strengths are. This is their starting point. They can always tweak and perfect their strengths. Otherwise they may forget and underestimate these qualities and slowly they begin to downgrade.
Respond – This is the real meat of your evaluation. You have to tell them, how you felt. What did you see? What did you hear. Rather than criticizing which is non-creative and unsupportive, you must deliver your comments in a positive and constructive manner. Rather than spending energy on the negative, use your commentary and feedback to encourage them how they can become better.
Also, there are 2 methods to deliver your evaluation. You can deliver in the 1st person or 3rd person.
1st person is you talking directly to your speaker one to one with full eye contact. And if you are evaluating at a club with other members in attendance, it ignores them and leaves them out. This works well if only the 2 of you are sitting with a coffee but in a room setting it leaves out everyone else who is there to also learn from your feedback.
Then there is the 3rd person, which I prefer, where you analyze your speaker but present it to everyone in the room. This is the favored because it takes the pressure off the speaker and includes everyone in the room, as they are learning also from your evaluation. Sometimes a mix works well also. Deliver the good feedback in the 1st person at the beginning of your evaluation. Then you deliver the suggestions for improvement in the 3rd person while making eye contact with everyone in attendance. This lessons the risk of the speaker taking your feedback harshly and personally.
Review – Reward – Respond
The 3R method is one I have used many times. Use it to help perfect the speaker you are evaluating. It will make you an invaluable evaluator !