When we make progress and get better at something, it is inherently motivating. In order for people to make progress, they have to get feedback and information on how they’re doing. – Dan Pink
Good advice! And at Spa Speakers that advice is taken to heart. As with all Toastmasters clubs, we have designated evaluators to offer feedback to our speakers, evaluators and role holders of the evening. The discipline of continuous feedback is solidly baked into the DNA of a regular club meeting, which means members are always given something to work on each time they participate.
What does that all have to do with making Toastmaster, General Evaluator and Topics Master smile?
Before we get to that, let’s consider how big, juicy smiles are brought forth on the faces of our evening’s prepared speech makers….
How we make prepared speech makers smile
At Spa Speakers, also baked in solidly is the practice of giving every member of the club an opportunity to offer a few words of feedback to those who have performed a prepared speech using the ballot slips we give everyone at the beginning of the meeting (pictured). We always offer one minute of silence after each prepared speech so members can write comments. At recess, these are given to the relevant speaker.
And this is how the magic happens. You head home after giving your speech. You heard your evaluator provide commendations and recommendations, but your head is still poring over how well you did. Then you dip into your pocket and find 15-20 slips written by your fellow members, all with comments about your speech. And then you smile! They are all so very positive, encouraging, supportive, but also helpful. It’s such a great feeling to feel all that love from your fellow members, and to get suggestions on how to do better next time too. If you aren’t smiling after getting all that love, you might not be human!
How we can make the Toastmaster, Topics Master and General Evaluator smile too
You’ll notice on the ballot there are three additional sections for comments that are not so often used: one for the Topics Master, one for the General Evaluator, and one for the Toastmaster.
I think you know what I’m getting at.
If members could jot down during the course of the evening any feedback, both good and what could be better, for these three role holders you’ll not only make them smile but also give them valuable input on what they can do next time to get even better.
Great! But “when do I do it?” you might wonder.
When to fill in the three extra slips
Due to time constraints, it’s not practical to cordon off three extra minutes for providing feedback on these roles so here are some opportunities you might want to take advantage of.
When waiting for votes to be collected for the best speaker, Table topics and evaluator
– Casting your votes will only take you a second, but the collection takes about a minute overall. Use that time! A total of three minutes to write comments right there!
During the president’s closing remarks
– Whilst not ideal, a greater good is served if you are able to offer feedback to those role holders, instead of giving the president your complete, undivided attention (he/she probably won’t mind if they know it is the slips that are taking your attention!)
Superb! By efficient use of time you’ve now completed the slips for the Toastmaster, General Evaluator and Topics Master. But now you might be asking “when do I hand it to the relevant person?”
When to give the slips to the role holder
Move quick! As soon as the gavel sounds at the end of the meeting, approach the three role holders and give them your slip. As it’s often late, those members might depart soon after the meeting is over, so speed is of the essence! The effort you make will be worth it, I assure you. If we as a club can get to the point where we give 15-20 slips to each of these major role holders each evening as we already do for those giving prepared speeches, we will have increased the joy and satisfaction of the club as a whole by a big dollop!
Action: get into the habit of using those ballot slips!
Getting positive, uplifting and purposeful feedback is one of the magic ingredients that makes Spa Speakers special, and giving slips to the Toastmaster, General Evaluator and Topics Master is way of adding some extra magic to the club experience. It’s a new habit, and it might take time to establish, but I think you’ll find it is worth it, especially when you are on the recieving end of one of those slips!
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