In July Toastmaster’s club meeting I was attending as a guest needed an evaluator when the session started. I decided to step up and become the Table Topics Evaluator for 6 speakers. I have attended other club meetings before. Some Toastmaster speech evaluators take the podium to criticise and derail speakers just to show off their capabilities, when giving feedback. This I have seen amongst senior veteran speakers, behaving like a thug on a podium, squirming like a mouse in a competition. Hence this clip will showcase what I did to pick up the best parts of a speech when individuals had to speak on a fly in a Table Topic session.

Feedback Giving feedback to encourage

Encouraging Feedback

Accomplishing small and meaningful tasks helps to build self esteem and a sense of achievement. Many folks join Toastmasters to improve their speaking skills and overcome stage frights. Hence its a step out of your comfort zone when you speak up for 2 minutes on a topic that you have not prepared for. Moreover you have an evaluator who will evaluate what you have just spoken. As Managers and Supervisors, it will play to the self development of your Team when you can give encouraging feedback centred on:

Describing the behaviour (Catch the good not the bad)
Explain the impact of the behaviour
Affirm and encourage the good behaviour
End with why this is good for you (higher chance for the individual want to do it again)

For table topic speakers, usually its a rush of adrenaline, when called upon to share a short speech. The dopamine squirts you get when speaking to a group of experienced speakers will want you to do more. Neuroscience has indicated that for cognitive wellness, natural hormones that we produce such as adrenaline and dopamine help us feel good and want to do more of the same. Which explains why many Toastmasters stick to the clubs they join for many years.

Positive psychology and its value

Martin Seligman, founded the birth of Positive psychology. The fundamental building blocks in positive psychology is building strengths in individuals. Looking at what they do best and building that up. Key towards this is getting folks to strive in what they do best and inclined to. This was the approach I took when I evaluated the 6 speakers. In a nutshell be encouraging when you give feedback. You don’t need to be brutal you can be brutally nice.

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About the Author: Ebnu Etheris Ma.IDT, B.Hrd

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Ebnu Etheris, holds a Masters degree in Instructional Design and was part of the pioneering team of executives who saw through the start up of Singapore’s first Budget Airline, Valuair. He was responsible for developing the airline’s Crisis planning systems and initiating blended learning in Flight operations. He works as a Partner with Teamworkbound.

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