HR by profession, Distinguished Toastmaster due to passion and a very down to earth person. These are the right words to describe DTM Lalitha Giridhar aka Maami. She came down to Coromandel Toastmasters Club to deliver a special education session on evaluation. Her session was so simple (like the way she is) but was an abundant take away for the Toastmasters. She made it clear that practice is the key to become a good evaluator as well as a better communicator. New members of Coromandel Toastmasters Club are gifted as they are continuously witnessing the educational sessions from the DTMs.
DTM Lalitha Giridhar started her session by appreciating the Toastmasters forum and said how it is different when compared to other educational forums. She said that in Toastmasters we motivate, share and learn. “Even though after delivering a speech we all know what we did, evaluation is the one which motivates, educates and guides the speaker”.
Who can be an evaluator?
DTM Lalitha candidly said “To play an evaluator, it’s not necessary one should be a senior Toastmaster. A Toastmaster who has completed CC3 or CC4 can evaluate an Ice breaker speech. Take up evaluation opportunities in your club”.
How to Evaluate?
DTM Lalitha Giridhar gave some guidelines for evaluating a speech. She started with CC1-Ice breaker speech evaluation. In Ice breaker, a person talks about him/her, that is the only objective. When it comes to evaluating it, she said “Give the speaker courage and appreciate for their first step”. She urged the evaluators to search positive things in the speech to appreciate the speaker, “for example if the speaker had not used any notes while delivering his speech, appreciate it”. She stressed that it is the duty of the evaluator to give them confidence. She said that for a CC2 Speech, the evaluator must look for definite Opening, Body and Conclusion. A proper CC2 script must have an attention grabbing Opening with proper transition into the content. She also came up with an example to explain a CC2 speech objective.
DTM Lalitha Giridhar, shared how her writing speed got improved because of playing evaluator role in Toastmasters. She was comfortable in taking notes at office when her boss mentions something important. Lalitha has the habit of noting the emotions of the speaker in bracket while taking notes. She also said “An evaluator should be sensitive to the emotions of the speaker”.
DTM Lalitha, explained the general objective and the specific objective by citing examples from prepared speeches of the same meeting. Lalitha said the she usually insists the evaluators not to be very flowery as they were for CC1 and CC2 when they are evaluating a CC3 speech.When Lalitha spoke about CC4- How to say it, she said that an evaluator of CC4 speech must be aware of what similes, metaphors and alliterations are all about. She recollected when she started her journey at Chennai Toastmasters Club, she had a very strict English teacher DTM Nina John. Nina taught her to use rhetoric devices in her speech.
Lalitha made it clear that “an evaluator need not evaluate the body language or vocal variety of a speaker in his first 4 projects”. DTM Lalitha continued on projects CC5 and CC6 and she gave her own examples for explaining the respective speech objectives and also advised the members to carry the learning from each project to the consecutive projects.
Lalitha said when it comes to evaluation contests, nowadays people open with a poem or a story in order to flower it up, but what is actually important in an evaluation is “an evaluator must tune into the speakers speech.” And she is stringent in not evaluating the content of the speech and she encourages others to do the same, these are her words on evaluating the speakers content “content is the copyright of a speaker, never evaluate the content”. She continued “See how the speech goes into, evaluate how confident the speaker was, how he went into the story, how he triggered the emotions and how he used the stage”. She requested the evaluators to mention that the evaluation is based on their personal opinion and not a collective opinion, she said “always say I personally felt, I could not connect.”
DTM Lalitha spoke about the four box technique prescribed by DTM Janaki Prasad,
Box 1 – Category of the speech and emotions
Box 2 – Opening, Body, Conclusion, Transition and Structure
Box 3 – Vocal variety and Body Language
Box 4 – Message – What the evaluator understood from the speech
Though she doesn’t follow this technique, she felt it might be helpful to others during evaluation contest as well as during club meeting evaluations.
Last but not least, most important thing in evaluation is to maintain a rapport with the target speaker and DTM Lalitha Giridhar prescribes it for all the evaluators. She signed off saying “everything comes out of practice, practice, practice. Take each and every role in Toastmasters, which will help you in becoming a better communicator.”
Coromandel Toastmasters Club thanks DTM Lalitha Giridhar for enlightening our members about the art of evaluation. We look forward to more such sessions from her!
(Editor’s Note : This blog was written by Anirudh Narasimhan, Vice President – Membership at Coromandel Toastmasters Club. His brief background can be found in the CTC team profile here).