Saturday, August 31, 2013

6 ways of starting your speech evaluation

“What a wonderful speech it was?” If this is how you start your speech evaluations always, it is time for you to learn some new techniques. In this article, I’ll share with you some techniques that you can use to make
the introduction of your speech evaluation, memorable and attention grabbing. 

1.      Quote – Quotes are an interesting way to open your evaluation speech. It helps you to position yourself as someone who is knowledgeable on the subject. Moreover, quotes are attention grabbing too. For example, you can start your evaluation with the following introductory lines:

It's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years” said Abraham Lincoln. Fellow Toastmasters and guests, after listening to John’s speech about his social service activities, I truly felt that he has lead a purposeful life and added “life to the years”… instead of just adding “years to the life”.

2.      Acronym – Starting your evaluation speeches with an acronym increases the curiosity in audience’s mind and will help them to get glued to your speech. For example, a fellow toastmaster once gave a speech about “diet” and organized my evaluation speech using the acronym “DIET”.

“John… You sold the idea of DIET to all of us … with your speech about DIET”
Then, I went ahead and structured my evaluation speech using D – Delivery, I – Information, E – Entertainment, T – Transitions. Do not use this technique for evaluating somebody whose speech is about “Flaucinaucinihilipilification”).

3.      Theme / Analogy – You can make your evaluation speech memorable, if you use a theme to structure the evaluation. For example, you can compare the speech against something or someone and try to highlight the similarities during your evaluation. For example, a toastmaster once did a speech about the tour that he did in Australia. I started my evaluation with the following introductory line

Dear Jack… Your speech was like watching a Maniratnam Movie”… then I went ahead and said “You were able to vividly describe the places that you visited in Australia. Normally director Maniratnam takes us to scenic locations like that in his movies. You were able to create a similar effect in front of our eyes with your outstanding narration. For example, when you were describing your visit to the waterfalls… I was able to visualize water pouring in front of my eyes… I was able to hear the birds chirping, I was able to see those colorful butterflies flying all over …

4.      Humor – Using Humor is a powerful technique to start any speech – not just the evaluations speech. For example, if a toastmaster delivers a speech about his wife’s spending habits, you can start your evaluation with the following introductory line

I’ve read somewhere… If you want to be a millionaire… start with a billion, and take your wife out for shopping. Toastmaster Jack… this statement is very apt for you

5.      Reference to the speech – Creating the introductory lines of an evaluation by referring back to the speech is an art. It helps you to position yourself as an expert and an out of the box thinker. For example, if a toastmaster delivers a speech about “Going Green”, you can start your evaluation with the following lines:

Toastmaster Jim… Your speech not only taught us how to Reduce … Reuse… & Recycle… to go green… but also to Reduce … Reuse… & Recycle… in delivering effective speeches.” and then you can go ahead and say “Jim… You have reduced unwanted stage movement… which helped you in having an effective eye contact with the audience. You had reused vocal variety several times in the speech to deliver your statements with an impact… you have recycled our enthusiasm, by sprinkling humor throughout the speech

6.      Asking Questions – Starting your evaluation speech with a question is an easy way of connecting with your audience. For example, if a toastmaster delivers an inspiring speech about “Chasing your dream”, you can start your evaluation with the following lines:

Fellow Toastmasters & Guests… Raise your hand if you felt that TM Jerry’s speech inspired you to chase your dreams. I don’t know about you, but I was completely inspired by his speech”.

In speech contests, I have seen contestants coming up with innovative methods to stand out in the crowd when delivering speech evaluations. Some of the techniques that I've seen people using for their introductory lines are:

a.       “Let us all give a standing ovation to TM Jacob for his inspiring speech”
b.      “TM Jacob … I used a speech judging ballot to score your speech. You know what … you got 90/100 on my score card. I see a World Champion of Public Speaking in you”
c.       “I fell flat like this… , when I listened to TM Jacob’s speech about bouncing ball”
d.      … “I don’t think I would need any notes to evaluate TM Jacob’s speech… because, every word of his speech is memorable to me. That was the power of Jacob’s speech.”

If you master the above techniques, you don’t have to start your evaluation with “It was a pleasure listening to your speech today” or "What a wonderful speech it was". Like a soup that tastes better with salt and spice, add some spice to your speech evaluation introductions.
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