ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Public Speaking Tips: On Toastmaster Evaluations

Updated on May 28, 2022

Immediate Evaluation of you as a Speaker

The writer enjoying addressing a non-Toastmaster Audience

When speaking outside of Toastmasters, the evaluations come in the form of claps, smiles, and approaches to speak at further meetings.
When speaking outside of Toastmasters, the evaluations come in the form of claps, smiles, and approaches to speak at further meetings.

A recent Toastmaster Workshop.

Welcome to Public Speaking Tips: Toastmaster Evaluations.

I recently attended a Toastmaster workshop on evaluation. There were two presenters and they had plenty of good material. Problem was they went too long without sufficient breaks. They also tended to divert away from the main subject matter a little too often. Be that as it may, the initial presenter brought up a very valid point. Toastmaster evaluations are, in the main, both too shallow and too brief- far too brief.

The upcoming speaker can put in an awful lot of preparation.

Take the typical speech being prepared by a Toastmaster. Generally he or she has to present for a period of five to seven minutes. The preparation for such a speech might run into several hours spread over weeks prior to the actual event. They're coming up with a speech topic, writing it; then mental rehearsal, practice at home. It’s not uncommon for the upcoming speaker to put in anywhere between ten to fifty hours, depending upon how conscientious and/or nervous they are. I think in my first few speeches, presented over thirty years ago, I would have spent over twenty hours in preparation, including rehearsal - perhaps longer.

But then again, I was a very nervous starter.

One of those innumerable T.M. speech competitions

Writer receiving a certificate at Area 45 Contest in 2009.
Writer receiving a certificate at Area 45 Contest in 2009.

Then comes that evaluation...

Okay, maybe a lot of Toastmasters don’t put in that long in preparation. Let’s be generous and say that they use up only ten hours. Ten hours! And they speak for six-and-a-half minutes. Then comes the evaluation.

So let’s take a look at a typical three-minute evaluation. The audience is told what the speaker spoke about. This takes up a full minute. The speaker knows what he or she spoke about, so does the audience, but invariably the evaluator mentions it anyway – if only to fill in time.

The speaker is told what he/she did well. This takes roughly a minute. This is good stuff, particularly if the speaker needs this sort of bolstering.

Definitely a 'test the camera' shot.

Yours truly at 74.
Yours truly at 74.

I look forward to hearing......speak again.

The opening and final words of the evaluator often are: “Thank you, Madam Toastmaster, Toastmasters and guests... It was my pleasure tonight to evaluate, Joe Blow, with his speech about...

Final words: “But overall a good speech. I look forward to hearing Joe speak again” Another twenty seconds are used up in these niceties.

This leaves forty seconds for the evaluator to actually give the speaker some solid feedback as to how to improve and perhaps demonstrate how to do it. Yep, around forty seconds - if the speaker is lucky and the evaluator doesn’t give the usual stereotype stuff about:

“not enough eye contact.”

“You favoured the right hand side of the room, “ and

“You walked around a bit too much.”


Speaking Tips: On Toastmaster Evaluations.

All valid, perhaps for the novice. Exasperating for the advanced speaker who actually wants to hear some subtler ways in which to improve.

Okay, let’s be generous. Let’s say the evaluator is excellent and actually manages to present an indepth two minute critique on how to improve. It’s still only three minutes! Compare three minutes to ten hours of preparation... Do you see what that workshop presenter was getting at?

Tom and his T.M. club's Banner

The writer at 73.
The writer at 73.

I've belonged to a number of P.S. organizations.

Over the years I’ve belonged to a number of speaking organisations: The National Speakers Association of Australia, Rostrum Clubs of New South Wales, and the Australian Storytellers Guild, as well as Toastmasters. NSAA does not have evaluations. Neither did the ASG. And Rostrum had a special person trained to present evaluations. But what NSAA and ASG did have were plenty of ‘How to”-type workshops.’ And maybe that’s what we in TMI should opt for; maybe not in all of our club environments, but perhaps in a new series of ‘Advanced Toastmaster Clubs.’ Just a thought.

But to get back.


How much do we really learn this way?

How much do we really learn from listening to our evaluators? In the initial stages, when we’re subject to great stage fright, the praise and encouragement works wonders. If done right, it fills the tyro speaker with confidence, imbues the desire to go on. It certainly did with me. But what happens after that Toastmaster has given a dozen speeches? Thirty? Fifty? Do they really learn by listening to their evaluators? Or do they learn more by watching experienced and recognized good speakers, then emulating what they like about them. Watching, observing what top speakers do, is how most of us learn, I suspect. Watching ourselves – if we can get hold of a video of ourselves – is an even more effective way.

The best way if you're fairly advanced is...

The best way, I think, and I’ve only just discovered it after all these years, is to have a public speaking coach. A coach will tell you and show you how to improve. Then they’ll get you to act it out. Not only that, they will really focus on you (unlike the average Toastmaster evaluator, who is often more concerned about how they are coming across) giving you their entire attention. You might have to pay for that attention if you go to someone who earns their living by this method – but you really will learn, and learn quickly.

Mixing with the Heirarchy.

The Barnhill's either side of Tom at the Area 73 Toastmaster Convention in the Adelaide Hills, in 2008.   The Barnhills were both Presidents of TMI at one time or another.
The Barnhill's either side of Tom at the Area 73 Toastmaster Convention in the Adelaide Hills, in 2008. The Barnhills were both Presidents of TMI at one time or another.

Are mentors able to provide this service?

Are Toastmaster Mentors able to provide this sort of service? Well, not really. A better way is to become part of a small group who are dedicated to giving honest feedback. People you know who won’t pull their punches. But being part of that sort of thing is another topic altogether. So to get back:

I think the tenor of this article expresses my views

Three-minute evaluations by Toastmasters? Well, they have their place. After all, they’ve been around since Toastmasters was founded. But how much do these evaluations really contribute to the overall improvement of our members ability to present in the longer term?

I think the tenor of this article expresses my views.

I hope you enjoyed Speaking Tips: Toastmaster Evaluations.

Tom Ware. DTM.

Dundas TMC 70/2692


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)