Shooting the Gun

09, August 2021 Digital Communicator members and guests took on the theme of celebrating the Olympic spirit. What makes an athlete successful? I have no doubt that what is paramount for all athletics is routine.  This is the habitual rising in the morning, exercising, diet, adequate relaxation and sleep.  All of this is carried out in a timely fashion, supported by coaches, peers, mentors and family.  This is the formula for accomplishment in sports.

Evaluations are a huge part of how Toastmasters improve their public speaking abilities. Part of the Table Topics session of Digital Communicator Club meetings is the ‘Shotgun Evaluation’ section. Unique to this club the idea is that the Table Topics Master calls on a club member to give an impromptu evaluation for each off-the-cuff speech. How can we become champions at Shotgun Evaluations? The answer I believe lies in habitual structure and delivery in the same way that Olympians commit themselves to routine.

What I propose is consistency. If you are carrying out a Shotgun Evaluation don’t try to evaluate as you would a full speech! Be aware that the person who takes on a Table Topic is ultimately competing with themself! By this I mean that they are striving to be the very best that they can be! When carrying out a shotgun evaluation be mindful of this and reinforce the speaker by commendations.

Here are my Top Tips:

  1. Pick one aspect of the impromptu speech to evaluate: Structure, Delivery or Language
  2. Greet the Club (Thank the Topics Master, Toastmasters & possible Guests)
  3. Structure your evaluation by:

Commendation, Commendation, Recommendation, Commendation.

  1. Thank Table Topic Master & your Audience
  2. Write a one line note of your evaluation

As a Shotgun Evaluator at Digital Communicators, you are akin to working amongst a team.  A team that is striving for success. Be the player that bolsters the speaker’s confidence.  If your Shotgun Evaluation honed in on delivery, make a note of it and watch for the speaker’s impromptu improvement next time round!  Who knows if your one recommendation may well be the one single thing that resonates with a speaker?  As we strive for excellence in our game let’s get a standard going.

Colette Ainscough 11, August 2021