The role of the Speech Evaluator is probably one of the most critical in the whole system of public speaking clubs. Evaluators provide feedback and comments for improvement to other participants.
Although speakers receive written feedback from all members of the audience, the primary way in which they improve is through the detailed feedback of their speech evaluators. There’s a separate chapter in this guide about how to do effective evaluations.
In Agora Speakers, all speeches must be evaluated. After all, Agora is, above all, an educational organization. There’s absolutely no point to give a speech in a club unless it is for the speaker to learn something or to improve in some way. And learning requires and outside point of view, since we’re usually very bad judges of our own performance.
As a speech evaluator, you will be usually asked by the Meeting Leader to intervene two times - once before the speaker, and once after the speaker.
During your first participation (before the speaker), your goal is to explain to the audience what project the speaker is doing, what are the learning objectives and goals and what the audience should be watching for. Try to finish with an encouraging or uplifting remark for the speaker.
It’s very important that when you finish this part, you give the floor back to the Meeting Leader, instead of giving it directly to the speaker. This is necessary since the Meeting Leader still has to introduce the speaker. For example, you could say:
“Thank you Jane. Today I’ll be evaluating John’s speech. John is doing the project about Body Language, a project in which the goal is to use expressive and clear body language in support of a central message. Body language is the whole set of nonverbal cues that a speaker can use. The most visible ones are facial and hand gestures, but it’s also very important the way he moves on the stage, or his general posture and demeanor. It’s important that the gestures are natural instead of forced, and that they are relevant, appropriate and supportive to what is being said at the moment. We’ve seen John speaking before we all know he’s quite expressive, so I’m sure this project will be piece-of-cake for him. Madam Meeting Leader”
(after which you extend your hand to shake that of the Meeting Leader, giving the floor back to her).