Perhaps you are asked to give a toast, speak at a memorial service or make a sales pitch to a potential client or corporate board. Speeches like these are important to your life and career, and you must perform them well. Toastmasters International has spent the last 85 years helping people with their public speaking needs, and we can help you too!

Boaters Toastmasters offers practical tips to guide you through almost any event involving an audience, including business presentations and various special occasions. In addition, you’ll find advice on managing your stage fright and finding speech topics.

Mentoring Your Fellow Toastmasters

Toastmasters uses mentoring extensively by teaming up an experienced member with new members to the organisation. Mentors help coach the new members through their first three speeches, (and beyond if required), and can gain credit for the Advanced Communicator Gold award. However mentors can be used at any time by any Toastmaster when the need arises. In fact the role of Immediate Past President is a mentoring role where help and guidance is provided to the new Club President and committee during their term.

Competent Leadership Projects

  • Mentoring a new or existing member are 3 activites in Project 9 of the Competent Leadership Award Manual.
  • Mentor for a new member – help with first three speeches.
  • Mentor for an existing member – develop new skills or enhance existing ones.
  • Guidance Committee Member – for member working on High Performance Leadership program.

Refer to the Competent Leadership Project Manual for more information. Mentor’s make-up

A good mentor provides the following qualities:

  • Knows valuable organisational information;
  • Shows interest in the mentee’s development;
  • Offers emotional support;
  • Cultivates talents;
  • Offers praise and gives feedback;
  • Demonstrates stability, patience and respect;
  • Has good listening skills and flexibility;
  • Leads by example.

Mutual fulfilment Healthy mentoring relationships do not last forever. The purpose of a mentor, as mentioned above, is to teach the mentee to think and act independently. When that has been developed the mentor is no longer needed. In fact, the greatest compliment that can be paid to a mentor is for a former protege to be recognised with a promotion or election to an office or position. At that point, the mentoring relationship has been fulfilled, and a new relationship begins.

If you don’t have a mentor, find one. If you aren’t a mentor, be one. It’s that simple!


Evaluations – Preparing and Delivering Effective Speech Evaluations

This page has articles by past Speech Evaluation Champions, resources for giving effective speech evaluations, and an evaluation vocabulary you can use in your speeches.


Download and print a Personal Evaluation Checklist for ideas on what can be used in a speech evaluation.

All evaluations are completed in the Toastmaster Manual being used for the speech assignment.


Completion of a Speech Evaluation can be used for the Competent Leadership Award, Projects 1, 2, 3, and 8.

A Step-by-Step Approach to Speech Evaluation By Kim Chamberlain, 2002 District 72 Evaluation Champion How can you give better evaluations?

Try this six-step approach. Step 1 – Understanding the Fundamentals of an Evaluation There are two fundamentals to bear in mind when you are giving an evaluation.

Firstly, imagine the person you are evaluating has been asked to give the same speech again in the near future.

  • What can you say to help them do it better next time round?
  • What aspects worked well and should be kept, and what could be improved on?

And secondly, evaluations are given to help both the speaker and all other club members. By giving feedback, you are one of the ‘teachers’ for the meeting, and are helping members improve their speaking skills.

To support this, try to expand some of your commendations or recommendations into a mini-educational to get your point across to the whole audience.

Step 2 – Before the Speech Discuss the speech with the speaker beforehand. You can start the evaluation process at this stage by finding out what they plan to work on, and offering advice.

Read the speech assignment and find out the manual goals, and the speaker’s personal goals (if any).

Write these goals down on a sheet of paper (your Evaluation Sheet), which you will use at the meeting. Write them on a single piece of paper, one underneath the other.

Step 3During the Speech You are looking to see if the speaker met their goals. If they did: why? if not: why not, and how can it be improved? Using your Evaluation Sheet, listen to the speech and write C for Commendation or R for Recommendation against the goals listed (you may not have time to cover them all), plus any notes or comments. At the end of the speech determine which Commendations and Recommendations would most help the speaker move on, and only concentrate on these in your feedback. Choose the most important and helpful issues to comment on.

Step 4 – Giving the Evaluation Use the C-R-C Method

  • Give one or two Commendations
  • Then one or two Recommendations
  • Then a final Commendation

An Evaluation Formula

  • An evaluation is a mini speech. It has an Opening, a Body and an Ending. The opening is an introduction to the evaluation, for example, setting the scene. The ending is a summary of the main points you have made, and the body is where you concentrate on the commendations and recommendations.
  • Commendations have 2 components: State an issue that went well, eg speech structure, explain why it worked.
  • Recommendations have 3 components: State an issue that could be improved on, eg use of notes Explain why it didn’t work Make a suggestion for how it could be improved.

So written as a formula, this is what the evaluation will look like:

Opening Introduction
Body C = Issue  + Why R = Issue  + Why  + How C = Issue  + Why
Ending Summary

Step 5After the Speech Fill in the manual. Give it back to the speaker! Offer discussion with them for further feedback

Step 6On a Regular Basis Build up a bank of suggestions you can use in evaluations. Make a list of issues that may arise in people’s speeches, eg variety of voice, speech structure, use of notes, and write down suggestions for improvement. Keep adding to the list, so that as issues crop up in speeches you are already prepared.

And finally, remember that the better you become at evaluations, the more you learn what goes into making a good speech, and the more you learn how to improve your own speaking.

10 steps to becoming an Evaluation Champion

1. Watch and learn from evaluating the top speakers (YouTube, Podcasts, in person,

2. Follow the CRC formula above to structure your speech:

    • Commendation – 2nd best
    • Commendation – 3rd best
    • Recommendation # 1
    • Recommendation # 2
    • Commendation – Best

3. Practise the timing and know what you can do within the timing allowed.

4. Think about what you are doing:

    • Understand the fundamentals of evaluations (see below for Resources)
    • Find ways to be better or different
    • Prepare every evaluation
    • Visualise winning

5. Learn from others

    • Read about evaluation
    • Ask others how they do it
    • Watch other people evaluating

6. Build a bank of Commendations and Recommendations.  Use unique ideas to explain what you mean.

7. Have confidence in yourself and a likeable approach to the audience.

8. Know the Contest Rules. Read the Judges Sheet and know the judging criteria (see below). Help the judges give you marks by signposting your speech.

9. Self-promotion:

    • write articles about evaluations
    • accept invitations to be a guest evaluator
    • give educationals about evaluation

10. If you have followed steps 1-9 above, you will deliver a well prepared, confident, focussed winning evaluation!

Judging criteria for Evaluation Contests

1. Analytical Quality (40%) – clear, focussed

Analytical Quality refers to the effectiveness of the evaluation. Every evaluation should carefully analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the speaker’s presentation. Were your comments clear and logical? Did you identify specific strengths and weaknesses of the presentation?

2. Recommendations (30%) – positive, specific, helpful

Point out the strengths and weaknesses of the speech, and offer specific recommendations for improvement. Recommendations should be practical, helpful and positive, and they should enable the speaker to improve next time.

3. Technique (15%) – sympathetic, sensitive, motivational

Technique refers to the manner in which you present your comments and recommendations. You should be sensitive to the feelings and needs of the speaker, yet inspire and encourage the speaker in his or her future speaking efforts.

4. Summation (15%) – concise, encouraging

This is how you conclude the evaluation. You should briefly summarise your comments and suggestions, and be positive and encouraging.

10 Biggest Public Speaking Mistakes

Top executives often fall flat on their faces as speakers.

How come intelligent, business-savvy people end up boring their audiences? They fail to recognize that public speaking is an acquired skill that improves with practice and honest feedback. Speaking for 20 minutes before the right group of people can do more for your career than spending a year behind a desk!

Rob Sherman, an attorney and public speaker in Columbus, Ohio, says in an article in the Toastmaster magazine to avoid these mistakes:

  • Starting with a whimper. Don’t start with “Thank you for that kind introduction.” Start with a bang! Give the audience a startling statistic, an interesting quote, a news headline – something powerful that will get their attention immediately.
  • Attempting to imitate other speakers. Authenticity is lost when you aren’t yourself.
  • Failing to “work” the room. Your audience wants to meet you. If you don’t take time to mingle before the presentation, you lose an opportunity to enhance your credibility with your listeners.
  • Failing to use relaxation techniques. Do whatever it takes – listening to music, breathing deeply, shrugging your shoulders – to relieve nervous tension.
  • Reading a speech word for word. This will put the audience to sleep. Instead use a “keyword” outline: Look at the keyword to prompt your thoughts. Look into the eyes of the audience, then speak.
  • Using someone else’s stories. It’s okay to use brief quotes from other sources, but to connect with the audience, you must illustrate your most profound thoughts from your own life experiences. If you think you don’t have any interesting stories to tell, you are not looking hard enough.
  • Speaking without passion. The more passionate you are about your topic, the more likely your audience will act on your suggestions.
  • Ending a speech with questions and answers. Instead, tell the audience that you will take questions and then say, “We will move to our closing point.” After the Q and A, tell a story that ties in with your main theme, or summarize your key points. Conclude with a quote or call to action.
  • Failing to prepare. Your reputation is at stake every time you face an audience – so rehearse well enough to ensure you’ll leave a good impression!
  • Failing to recognize that speaking is an acquired skill. Effective executives learn how to present in the same way they learn to use other tools to operate their businesses.

10 Tips for Public Speaking

How to find your confidence.

Feeling some nervousness before giving a speech is natural and even beneficial, but too much nervousness can be detrimental. Here are some proven tips on how to control your butterflies and give better presentations:

  1. Know your material. Pick a topic you are interested in. Know more about it than you include in your speech. Use humor, personal stories and conversational language – that way you won’t easily forget what to say.
  2. Practice. Practice. Practice! Rehearse out loud with all equipment you plan on using. Revise as necessary. Work to control filler words; Practice, pause and breathe. Practice with a timer and allow time for the unexpected.
  3. Know the audience. Greet some of the audience members as they arrive. It’s easier to speak to a group of friends than to strangers.
  4. Know the room. Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and any visual aids.
  5. Relax. Begin by addressing the audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Pause, smile and count to three before saying anything. (“One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. Pause. Begin.) Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm.
  6. Visualize yourself giving your speech. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confident. Visualize the audience clapping – it will boost your confidence.
  7. Realize that people want you to succeed. Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. They’re rooting for you.
  8. Don’t apologize for any nervousness or problem – the audience probably never noticed it.
  9. Concentrate on the message – not the medium. Focus your attention away from your own anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience.
  10. Gain experience. Mainly, your speech should represent you — as an authority and as a person. Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking. A Toastmasters club can provide the experience you need in a safe and friendly environment.


Visit a Toastmasters meeting! Boaters Toastmasters is a central Christchurch club that meets every Friday morning from 7:00am to 8:30am at Speight’s Ale House, Function Room, 263 Bealey Avenue, Christchurch. Here you will gain the confidence to communicate effectively and hone your leadership skills.