How To Give An Effective Performance Evaluation

One of the highlights of being involved in the Toastmasters program, is the opportunity to learn the skills of evaluation. While most people have the impression that evaluations are mere feedbacks, it is not a holistic perspective to adopt.

Evaluations, when done effectively and competently, can provide more than just a feedback. It can assist the person being evaluated to critically assess his/her performance for future references.

Wikipedia cites evaluation with the following points,

Evaluation is a systematic determination of a subject’s merit, worth and significance, using criteria governed by a set of standards. The primary purpose of evaluation, in addition to gaining insight into prior or existing initiatives, is to enable reflection and assist in the identification of future change.

The part which is important to note from this definition is the aspect of reflection and identification. The effectiveness of your evaluation rests heavily on your ability to articulate both well.

How can you start giving a more effective evaluation?

Here are some personal pointers that I have used over the years to craft more effective evaluations.

BE OBJECTIVE

An effective evaluation usually does not stray from a set of objectives/benchmarks/guidelines that had been stipulated prior to the task. In the Toastmasters’ educational program for example, each speech project has a set of objectives/purposes that is meant to guide a speaker preparing for it. The assigned evaluator will then use these objectives/purposes as his guiding reference when the speaker delivers his/her speech.

To evaluate a performance/task effectively, you must know what the objectives/parameters by which areas of competencies can be judged. This sets the framework in place for you to highlight with clarity what were the areas that need attention or which were the ones that were done well.

What happens if that performance/task has no clear objectives?

Then it is your job to define one or some.

The aspect of being objective also helps in the sense that the person you evaluate will understand your intention in sharing the evaluations.

do not white wash

There are evaluators who are scared of offending the people they are evaluating. Because of that, they usually deliver “white washed” evaluations.

What are “white washed” evaluations?

When you give an evaluation that highlights too much of a good thing, even to the extent of exaggeration, without objectively citing areas of weaknesses or improvements. As a result, the evaluation will sound biased, untrue and not sincere.

For example, your superior who clearly lacks effective presentation skills and delivers, asked you to evaluate his presentation. In an effort of not wanting to critic or highlight his weaknesses, you mentioned about how fantastic and flawless he was. This does injustice to his need for self development.

The need to “white wash” happens only when you feel the need to not offend or wanting to impress. As an evaluator who wants to give effective evaluations, it is your responsibility to provide clear, objective and sincere insights. Do not white wash.

Provide insightful and practical recommendations

One of the key awareness an evaluator should always realize is that, you are evaluating another individual with his/her own level of abilities. Sometimes evaluators have the blurred perspective that the performer/speaker ought to deliver/perform the way they (the evaluators) would have.

Effective evaluations require the evaluators to be keenly observing and noting on the person’s level of abilities, and then highlight and suggest recommendations from that points.

To ask a fish why he/she is unable to climb a tree is the perfect example of a poor evaluation.

Or asking a singer as to why he/she is not juggling some balls while singing.

An effective evaluator is a keen observer who knows what to point out to aid the performer/speaker for his/her future performances. To give a clearer and more practical suggestions to the person you are evaluating is far more effective.

Start off by highlighting what are the small actions that he can develop slowly to further improve what he/she is already great at. That way, you are being insightful and practical

The 3 points above is just a beginning framework for those of you who wants to start giving a far more effective evaluation in the first place. In my future posts, I will share with you how you can give evaluations that not only empowers people, you might even be the catalyst towards them being the best at who they are.

Why I Still Believe In Educational Communication

Build Value To Build Relationships

In an age where content creation means that you can equalize your relevance to the market place, being “pitchy” is a given. Most platforms, be it your traditional or the social media route, wants you to be beaten into submitting to the paid advertising pathway.

So how did a 3 decades old way of marketing or communicating your unique propositions, start becoming relevant again?

Or did we just manage to dumb ourselves out?

In the past, most sales communication centered around the manipulation or conviction of emotional triggers to elicit a response. Copywriting manuals did not just exist about 5 years back. It has always been around. Propagated and expounded by charismatic individuals. Back then, the medium of such messages came about via televisions.

These days, the same methods are applied, only this time around via well scripted paid online advertisements. Where people are coaxed subconsiously into submitting details or queries, thus pre qualifying them as leads/possible clients.

However, this method seems to always appear too slick and gimmicky for me. The premise has always been about a trade off, between…”Why not you sacrifice your time and details, in exchange for the secrets I can share with you?” And of course this premise works superbly well for consultants and salespeople.

On the flip side however, I am a big advocate of an educational communication model. Where I share over a period of time, educational contents for you to leverage on. After which I build an established trust in your mind as being credible and an authority of my subject matter. Then I invite you to share your resources in exchange for mine.

I know it sounds a tad idealistic and slow, but will you not want to buy or work with people who provides value first? Instead of asking for your time and resources first, to then demonstrate their propositions?

If you can provide tangible and intangible values, with your content and communication over a sustainable period of time, the key likelihood of me being a returning client and user is higher.

We have seen countless individuals who made it bigger in their personal pursuits by providing their resources and contents first, before asking nicely for a reciprocation.

Justin Bieber for example (I know it’s a poor example), dished out songs after songs, even from his younger days,to finally coming on tops in terms of following and influence. He provided value first, and educated his listeners on his styles and resources. People were hooked.

Educational communication is not new. But it has taken a backseat due to the nature of it being cultivating rather than an immediate profiting. In this unprecedented time, maybe you and I can do a little better by reliving its effectiveness and impact.

How To Overcome Your Anxiety During Public Speaking

It is not that far fetched for me to say this.

Even professional speakers feel the jitters when it comes to speaking in public. Yes, even if they have done it a gazillion times over the course of their professional lives. Cause no audience is ever the same.

So what does that make you? A non professional aspiring public speaker. Or even perhaps an aspiring content creator on YouTube. And perhaps a small business owner who is trying to create branding videos. Will you feel the same fear and get anxious all over?

The need to manage and overcome performance anxiety is real. Most public communicators go through a zone of fear and uncertainty, that zooms them into an unexplained state of irrationality.

So how do you manage a bit of that dreadful anxiety?

Here are some quick hacks I use for myself.

Minimize Your Preparations

This may seem contradictory to the norm of being competent. However, I have discovered over the course of my coaching engagements, that 7 out of 10 aspiring speakers fluffed as a result of being over prepared.

Yes. Over preparations.

Over preparations in most cases put a level of unnecessary stress on the speaker. The speaker will have that immense need of wanting to tick off all that preparations in his head. Leaving no room for errors can sometimes be the exact reason why people become more anxious than they should be.

Preparations should put you in a state of being able to navigate expertly and flexibly during the presentation. It should not be a straight jacket that paralyzes you.

Regulate Your Breathing

What has breathing got to do with managing your anxieties as a speaker?

Plenty.

There have been many times when my inability to control my breathing, led me to losing my voice and stage presence.

The anxieties you have as a public speaker or presenter can be the cause and effect of irregular breathing. A speaker who is anxious will not breathe properly. Likewise, when you do not breathe properly, anxiety will set in. Therefore it is important you take note of the following with regards to breathing in managing your anxities.

  • Be aware of your positional posture. A wide and relaxed posture aids in allowing more air to be breathed in and regulated.
  • Breathe deeply and slowly. Take intentional deep breaths before you speak.
  • Pause and regulate. Speaking fast is the surest way to lose your breathing patterns and create unnecessary stress. Relax
  • Breathe through your nose. It is amazing just how many people are not aware that breathing through the mouth is not just more taxing, it also does not help with anxiety management.
  • Relax. Relax. Relax. While it may seem easier said than done, it actually is quit manageable. Relaxation requires the practice of being able to quieten or shutting down your lizard brain. When you relax, your breathing becomes manageable.

progression not perfection

Most speakers believe in that unverified claim that competency lies in the perfect delivery of your speech. Where your voice does not crack, you are maintaining eye contact, your words come out fluently and everything is done in one perfect take.

Well, here’s the great news. You need not buy into that “perfect” bullshit.

Delivering a speech is not an Olympic sport. Meaning that there are no actual parameters by which you can be judged and marked with. The pressure and anxiety of “meeting some invisible benchmarks” can be crippling. What you need to do is to manage the controllable aspects of your delivery or presentation. Understand that most of the anxieties is actually happening inside your mind, rather than it being manifested in reality. So, if you can instead manage your priorities and expectations, you are more likely to succeed at managing your public speaking anxieties.

Some of the progressive expectations you can have for yourself include,

  • To speak freely with sincerity
  • To have a good networking session
  • To share your expertise with love
  • To teach a good knowledge

Public speaking anxiety is manageable and definitely not something that you have to suffer in silence with. Usually, all it takes is a bit of perspective framing coupled with practical techniques to help you out.