How Your Uplifting Words Can Inspire Speech Improvement
Did you walk away feeling uplifted? Inspired? Motivated?
Or did you feel dejected? disheartened? discouraged?
Now think about the last time you presented an evaluation. Did the speaker walk away feeling elevated, or let down?
Effective evaluating, like anything else, is a learned skill. It’s a process. Once you master it, the quality of your evaluations will improve.
You’ll inspire speakers to better their skills. As an added bonus, your speaking will become better.
Why? Because you’ll be reinforcing ideas that enhance your speech writing and speaking. You can elevate others and yourself through effective evaluations.
How Can You Give Impactful Evaluations?
To improve your evaluations, answer the question “Why do we give evaluations?”
Some obvious answers are:
‘To help others become better speakers.’
‘Show them how to break bad habits.’
‘To point out where they aren’t making sense.’
These are good reasons. There is another answer that is just as important. The main reason we give evaluations is to persuade them to get back up and speak, as soon as possible.
How One Story Helped Me Understand
I came to this conclusion in 2007. I had just watched a speaker named Eileen James. As I prepared my evaluation, I considered several suggestions to help her improve. But, I didn’t want to focus on the negative.
There was something about her story that had a strong emotional impact on me. It was the key point of her main story. Eileen told us about a confrontation she had with a gang. They were about to attack a young Muslim man in the days following 9/11. Her recounting of that incident was compelling and riveting. You could’ve heard a pin drop in the auditorium.
I focused on that part of her speech in my evaluation.
She needed to be aware that she’d made a strong emotional connection with the audience. As powerful as her story was, I didn’t think Eileen knew the impact she had on the audience. My evaluation had to convey that to her.
Her presentation connected because she had put us ‘in the moment.’ You felt as if you were there with her, facing down that gang. Eileen expressed the strength she gained from standing up to do the right thing. It would’ve been much easier to walk away. We could feel her fear as she stood up to the gang.
The message of facing that fear and doing what was right touched each of us in the audience.
The Impact of Positive Evaluations
After that event, Eileen told me how much she appreciated the words of support. She said “I want to give this speech again because of all the positive feedback I got today.”
She hadn’t realized the impact of her message. Positive reinforcement inspired her to get back up and speak. It also made her more open to listen to the suggestions on how she could improve. It was so effective that soon after, she presented a workshop about how to connect with young people.
It was a joy to be a part of her revelation. It confirmed that there is a main reason reason we give evaluations:
To encourage others to get back up and speak.
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