Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A non-CC Toastmaster was Evaluating an Advanced Project

I love to tell my friends about any events in my life, to share the excitement, happiness, frustration or anger. However, we will not have a pair of ears every time we need, making me feel not so happy when I want to tell a story so much but I don't have extra ears other than mine. Luckily, I have a beautiful orange laptop (the color, not the smell or the shape hahaha), so I can write and people can read anytime they want. If there is anyone.


I am a member of Toastmaster International club since last June, and I join a club in Johor Jaya. Now, since I am currently working in Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, I transfer my membership (temporarily) to PRATTically Speaking Toastmaster Club, here. (PRATT is the name of the faculty.. or building? eerrr..)

For those who are not familiar with Toastmaster International, ah ha....!!! I will tell you more later.. lalala... I don't read about Toastmaster before I join. I only heard its name twice, then I visited the meeting and experienced it by myself before knowing it 'theoretically'. What I can say, you will 'feel' it and decide you will join or not, not understanding it by words before coming to know it (I am creating an excuse for not giving the introduction about Toastmaster International hahaha). Okay, fine, you can visit if you want to read before attending.

Or, wait for my next post entitled "Toastmaster Story from Me for a non-Toastmaster". Okay?

Now, back to the story, that I want to share, as a Toastmaster in Duke. Today, I took the speech evaluator role. I evaluated a speaker; a Professor while I am a girl who is struggling with my PhD. He was delivering an Advanced Project while I am still working on my basic speech projects (7 out of 10 from Competent Communication manual ; this is what I meant by 'A non-CC Toastmaster'). Enough evidences to show that he has more experiences in many aspects and I have enough reasons to feel more worry. Can you feel that? Can you feel that??!! Wuuuaaaa!!!!

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At first I thought I will be dropped as an evaluator (here, members sign up to take a role online) because my first speaker (evaluatee) was sick, so she cannot attend the meeting. So I didn't think that I will evaluate the professor. But one hour before the meeting, I contacted the secretary of the club (because I receive an email from her, so it reminded me to ask), she told me that;

"Actually, you are more than qualified to do Zbigniew's evaluation!!  Since we are a new group, we still give feedback to more advanced speakers.  Even though we may not have the experience, we still have valuable information as a listener and can give them positive feedback and even words of improvement." Ah ha...! A very encouraging email.

Toastmasters always encourage, motivate and inspire others...

I only manage to find a beautiful sentence before the meeting as my preparation;

"Feedback is a breakfast for a champion" on the Toastmasters International website. Okay, that is beautiful enough for my speech evaluation. At least I have some preparation!

I arrived 5 minutes before the meeting, and my evaluatee still not there. I don't have his manual so... How can I know what I will evaluate...? Okay, take it easy, Ain... I sat and inhale as much oxygen as I can.

I managed to have his manual 10 minutes after the meeting was started. I cannot read with full concentration because people were talking. The president, the Toastmaster, the Word Master and the other speakers. Huh.. I started to prepared my table (two sections) on my notepad, one with a smiley, one with a sad face, to symbolize the good things and the need to be improved aspects. While keep reading maybe 30% from his manual, the 1st project of Technical Presentation.

I believe that the General Evaluator can feel how cold my hand was. Huhu..
When I was at the podium, "owh oh.. how can I give feedback for a professor!! an advanced project! Mommy!! Help!!!", I spoke to myself.

"I am so happy because madam General Evaluator pronounced my name perfectly!"

It was my first sentence. Then people laughed. And, yes, I felt better. (One important tips from my mentor, Ajan. Make the audience laugh)

I read the objectives of the speech to the audience.. Errr.. I believe, I am not sure how to pronounce few words. I think I wasted few seconds there. And I didn't greet. Zzz...

I gave my evaluation according to his speech. Starting from the title, the introduction, the objectives and the details in his speech. My mistake was....
I didn't choose what I will share and what I won't. So I keep talking 6-7 points written on my paper. Hahaha.. so greedy! I talked in chronological way. When suddenly I saw the orange card! From 4, I manage to tell only 2 suggestions. And... I was speaking for 4 minutes 13 seconds. The timer said, "this make you walk on the red carpet" ah ha...!

Actually, I was surprised. I thought it was 3 minutes and 30 seconds. hehe.. Yes, here, they don't have a bell to 'stopped' you. Only the red card @ lamp, like in a contest.

I was upset because I describe so much on one or two points, until I have no chance to share one interesting suggestion (at least, for me). It will be better if I have better English.. lalalala... Practice more, Ain! So I will not wasting time in thinking the words. I believe that I only need to choose less points @ strengths, not all I observed. Don't be so greedy. (For your information, this is my 2nd speech evaluation in my Toastmaster's journey)

And feedback from others?
1- Over the time limit... yes
2- I spoke fast... I always get this feedback. So some words were not clear.
3- I used present tense when it should be past tense.
4- only 4 uhm.. (time filler). yes! hehehe..
5- I used an interesting closing (hahaha, luckily I found that 40 minutes before the meeting) and I can see the professor smiled widely!!!
6- I was not judgemental and honest.. hehehehe.. *blushing* I used, "I feel... I think..." instead of, "we cannot see.. we feel bad.." or "you cannot.. it was bad.." (actually this is an email I received from the Mr President.. hee....)
7- One important point, I told that my evaluatee looked at his laptop's screen while talking to the audience at one particular time. I suggested that it is better if he talk (and look) to the audience first telling what he is going to do (he wanted to change a setting on the software : a demonstration) before facing the laptop. So, he will not lost the connection (eyes) with the audience. But I said "... so you will not lost one @ all" referring to the audience. Zzzz..

*I can share more about what he did that make me really impressed. But.. later lor... =p This post is not about his speech, but about my speech evaluation experience =D

Last but not least, I am happy!

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Ajan said...

You realize your English writing has got better? Great!
Such valuable experience, eh? Nice...
When you get back here later, let's share some evaluation experience as I discovered some techniques that I'm comfortable with these last few months.
Balik cepaaaaaaatttt!!!!

ajako said...

whoa...i like your post indeed...

ayen =D said...

Better? hehehe.. malu la macam ni Cik Puan Mentor hehehe..

ya ya, aku balik sebelum kau kawin :p

thanks ajako...!