Receiving an informed speech evaluation is a valuable part of developing public speaking competence.
If you want to go forward, to improve your speech making, you'll realize receiving feedback is vital. How else do you learn what worked
and what needed further refinement?
What is a good speech evaluation & how to get one
Unfortunately there are few situations outside of specifically designated public
speaking training programs such as part of the high school curriculum or
a specialist course (eg. Toastmasters), where you can get a thorough speech evaluation.
Often the most you can hope for is a generalized "It was OK", "Great", or the dreaded, "Mmm, perhaps we'll give xxx a turn next time" type of comment. Nice or nasty, it doesn't tell you anything useful.
you want informative feedback and you're not in a public speaking club, this page is for
The person doing the rating will actively listen and watch the speech evaluating each element.
The final assessment will generally show a range (up and down the
scale) over most of the aspects. Therefore a speech can be seen to be 'good' in some areas, 'excellent' in others and perhaps 'fair' in one or two.
Getting a thorough speech evaluation
If you're not in a public speaking class or a member of an
organization like Toastmasters International and the people you work
with don't provide criteria-based feedback you have two options.
Go through the form with your evaluator explaining the process. Highlight any areas you particularly want noticed.
Establish how you want the rating scaleinterpreted. A good way to set the benchmark is to listen to an excellent speaker. You could choose one from here: The Top 100 American Speeches
Have your evaluator listen to your speech and provide feedback before you give it in front of an audience. This will provide a foundation for their comments when they complete your speech evaluation 'proper'.
Working with your speech evaluation
You've got your evaluation. Now what do you with it?
Go through it with your evaluator. Bear in mind before you do:
that an evaluation is an opinion. At best it is an informed one with knowledge and experience behind it. If you find areas
you disagree over, do try and understand them from the evaluator's point of view. Often what we think we do and what we actually do are two different things.
that a poor or fair rating represents an opportunity to develop rather than a reason to give up public speaking
Use the ratings as a guide on where to focus your energy. For
example, if you're rated well on the delivery items but have fallen on
the content, (introduction, body, conclusion), you know that for your
next speech you'll spend the bulk of your preparation time organizing
Keep hold of your completed speech evaluation forms. It's great to be
able to refer back to them to see how far you've come and it's
interesting to compare how different evaluators pick up on different
aspects to comment on.
Do you want to know more about planning, writing and rehearsing speeches?
Here's a sample speech outline page. It has a handy downloadable blank speech outline form ready and waiting for your notes.
You'll find more about planning your speech here.
This page takes you through the sequence of planning decisions and shows you how they are guided by knowledge of your audience.