By Bernadette Knight
Why We Say Why! was a practical, interesting and very worthwhile workshop as it focussed on giving a speaker useful feedback in an evaluation of a presentation.
In the introduction, Mary explained she had approached a member to deliver a prepared speech and was prepared to be evaluated. The audience was to evaluate the member’s speech using criteria, based on the judge’s form for a speech contest.
The workshop commenced with prepared speech from an experienced speaker. This speaker had been advised to make some errors deliberately and the speech itself was a complex one to evaluate.
At the conclusion of the speech, members of the audience were invited to present their evaluations. As a member delivered their evaluation, Mary Flentge used the opportunity to demonstrate evaluation techniques which she believed are essential to help speakers. One such technique is the “sandwich” approach, that is a commendation, recommendation, commendation – let the speaker know a “good” point about the speech, followed by a recommend-ation for improvement. Mary stressed that the evaluator should preface comments with the words e.g. “In my opinion or I believe” because it is one person’s opinion of the speech and an evaluation should not to be given in the form of a categorical statement.
In giving a recommendation the evaluator was encouraged and coached on how to give a “why” the reason behind the recommendation. For example,
at the opening of the speech I believe you need to pause and “smile” as a smile builds rapport with your audience.
In my opinion you could have used more vocal variety as it helps to keep your audience’s attention.
The handouts provided gave quite a comprehensive list of aspects of a presentation to commend/recommend as well as giving examples of how to be a more effective evaluator by stating “why” a recommendation is made and “how” something can be improved.