At our last club officers meeting we realised that it has been two years since the last evaluation workshop was delivered in our Club, hence we decided to organise another one on 10th February 2016 and made contact with Dorothea (@DorotheaStuart) to conduct the workshop. Dorothea is a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM), and her passion for Toastmasters, as well as her experience as coach, contributed to an impactful and enjoyable evening.
Dorothea started off the workshop with a story about how Toastmasters was born and emphasised that since then, over 90 years ago, giving feedback was a crucial (and arguably the most important) component of the Toastmaster idea. As a club, members and guests explored in groups why we give evaluations and what makes an effective evaluation, before we got started with the interactive part of the evening. To accommodate the workshop, we changed our normal meeting structure and had 3 prepared speeches which all formed part of the workshop.
Carrie started off with “Sharks – Why Should We Protect Them?” her speech #2 from the Competent Communication (CC) manual with the objective to organise her speech. Carrie’s speech had a very strong opening and caught our attention right away by making a comparison between Toastmasters and sharks, and proceeded with a series of strong arguments about the importance of sharks to our ecosystem.
Beth came second with speech #7 from the CC manual and the curious title: “How to Get Lucky in Love!” Her task was to research her topic. After hearing all the great examples she gave us, it motivated us to do something to get luckier, not only in love but also in the professional environment. Her encouraging and open body language certainly portrayed what she preached.
Armelle was our last speaker, and she delivered her speech #10 from the CC manual which had the objective of inspiring an audience. Her speech was called: “Charlie – To be or not to be?” and we were indeed all inspired to think about freedom of speech. Her personal stories were sensitive and thought-provoking, and delivered in an understated powerful manner.
After hearing all the speeches, the audience analysed them in groups in groups and crafted constructive and encouraging evaluations based on a framework that Dorothea shared with us. Upon hearing the carefully prepared evaluations, the speakers shared their thoughts about the experience.
Carrie pointed that “I feel privileged to have been one of the speakers for this event. I also received many evaluation slips during the course of the evening, and both the “commendations” and “recommendations” were unanimous so there is no doubt on what I should keep on doing and what I need to focus on for improvement. Thanks everyone!”
Beth felt that “Being part of the evaluations workshop was a very rewarding experience. It was great to both be contributing to, and receiving such super feedback. I really enjoyed hearing Ailsa’s encouraging and thoughtful evaluation of my speech.”
Armelle similarly commented that “I felt really lucky to have delivered my 10th speech in this environment. I received a lot of useful feedback! I can’t believe it was my 10th speech.”
Feedback from our members is incredibly important to us as a club, as their learning and development is key to ensuring that they reach their personal goals, and maintain a momentum of commitment to our club and their Toastmasters journey. We were thus pleased to hear that our members thought it was a great idea to organise a meeting dedicated to evaluation and training based on ‘real’ speeches. One also pointed out that it was the first time that she had the opportunity to evaluate in groups, as “it was interesting to compare perceptions among the group on what was positive and what could be improved.” Moreover another pointed out that “Dorothea gave a very insightful and interactive presentation about feedback and how vital it is to the Toastmasters ethic of continuous improvement. It was valuable to also evaluate the beautiful speeches and hear the different feedback people had for them.”
WiBF Speakers-City Club looks forward to hosting another workshop focused on the learning and developmental needs of our members, and furthering the Toastmasters ethic of continuous development in a friendly and supportive environment.
 Dorothea joined Toastmasters over 10 years ago, is a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM), currently holds the Club Growth Director position at District level and was prior involved in various Club, Area and District roles at Toastmasters. Dorothea is an executive coach (www.dorotheastuart.com/) and offers some of her free time to the District’s trainer bureau.