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 Nice Guys Finish Last and Finish Best?

When I was growing up, the phrase “Nice guys like you will always finish last,” kept cropping up like some bad karma. It is not hard to figure out at which phase of my life, this statement made its appearance. Yeaps, you got it right. The dating phase of my life. The phase where people looked at my pimpled face and the book I was holding, and was able to give me a dating diagnosis.

It did not help also that during that phase, I did not have barrels of confidence stocked up in my warehouse of self esteem. To me, being reclusive and protected from interactions, were the best ways to slide though my growing years.

So why would nice guys finish last? Or for that matter, nice girls too? I mean, that for every Forrest Gump, there was the equivalent Ugly Betty right? The perennial examples of chivalry and niceties. Yet always slacked into thinking that whatever they did were never good enough.

Growing up and trying to find a road map towards dating success was tough. It did not mean that I did not have girl friends. It just meant that those girls looked at me as a treasure chest for their whines and cries of dismays, when the bad boys cocked up their lives. Tears wet my shoulders every single time. As I lent both corners or my anatomy to the whirlpool of emotions. I was, as what they called me then, “My best guy friend.”

So question is, “Are nice guys really doomed?”

The answer is a convincing, “No.”

Having been at the end of that tormenting statement for eons, I realized that it is pretty much untrue.

By all accounts, nice guys can finish last, yet finish best.

Here’s 3 reasons why I know so.

Maturity Takes Time

Women for all the fickleness that they may display sometimes, are still pretty much grounded. They prefer stability over anything else. They may be entertained and whipped into delight, yet they still wanna have that assurance that they can come home and cozy up. And when they visualize that in their minds, they can only picture that with a man who is nice. Nice enough to prepare drinks. Nice enough to massage their weary feet. Nice enough to have a sensible and thoughtful conversation. In other words, the it may take a while for a woman to appreciate that, but trust me, they will. And that means, you will probably be the last person on their mind. Yet, you will win them over.

Being Nice Is A Necessity

Too much emphasis has been placed on the fact that being nice will place you on the path of being taken advantage of. While that may be true in some context, it is however an exception to the norm. People still value the traits of being gentlemanly, being thoughtful, being polite, being patient and being accommodating. While there are man/woman who will manipulate of twist circumstances to assure their leading positions, it usually does not last. Don’t think too much into it. That’s how the Universe works. Being nice may slow your progress or delay the intended gratifications. Yet, time and time again, history has shown that being nice brings you places. People generally will trust you. People will place competency over flamboyance. People will value your nice traits over flashy displays of ego. Being nice may make you arrive last. But you will arrive with assurance.

Happy Endings Are True

The movie “Little Nicky” starring Adam Sandler resonates strongly with this point. In this story, Lil’ Nicky was manipulated by his jealous and overbearing brothers into relinquishing his possible ascension as the favorite son of the Devil. Lil Nicky was just a nice and cuddly antithesis to the Devil himself. Yet at the end of the movie, due to his inexplicable nice nature, he was always triumphing over the evil deeds his brothers had planned out. He got support and assistance from everyone who connected with him.

The point I am making here is that, if you are a nice person, your chances of perhaps being successful is nearer to the 100% mark, compared to if you are not nice to even begin with. Nice people may be overlooked. Nice people may be disregarded. Nice people may be misrepresented. Yet nice people are also the ones who create the best outcomes for any situation.

Nice people play the long game. Yet they always will want to play a good and satisfactory game. So while they may walk out of the field last, they will also be the most happiest and contented.

How To Tell A Story Like A Bad Ass

Photo by ready made on Pexels.com

I conducted an online workshop yesterday evening on the topic of story telling. Specifically, I was aligning my message for those wanting to be a speaker. How to incorporate story telling techniques into your speech crafting and delivery.

There are a lot of workshops, programs and masterclasses these days, that dwell on story telling. Most of these focus on the importance of stories in any message. Story telling is definitely not new, but has been renewed to serve a more compelling reason.

I touched on the new era of Data Storytelling and Visual Storytelling, as some of the areas, speakers like yourself should read into. An example I gave was that in the past, most businesses had separate departments that seemed disjointed. The Marketing Department and the Statistics Department. The Marketing team were responsible for crafting out stories and narratives, for salespeople to go out and bring profits. These profits will then be translated into figures and statistics by the Statistics team. On the flip side, the Statistics team will then provide the Marketing team with proofs and evidences to highlight which segments within a business needed more branding, marketing and exposure.

However, these days, most business have warmed up to the idea that both departments need to be mashed up. Thus the term Data Storytelling. In essence, can you tell a story from my data? Or can you generate data from my story?

So question is, how can you excel at being a bad ass storyteller?

Am going to share with you only one insight in this post. For you to ponder and apply in your next narration. Ready?

All right. The idea that I want to expound here is this aspect called,

Be Specific!

Yes, be specific. Be meticulously detailed when you narrate and share your story. The more details you are able to shed light into a character or the message of your story, the more engaged your audience will be. Why is this so?

There is a science to this, which I found perfectly illustrated here in this article.

There is a reason why we vividly recall stories of our yesteryears, like Rapunzel, Snow White and the poisoned apple, Beauty and the Beast, The 3 Little Pigs and such. Most of the characters or stories had a visual or specific connotations attached to them. It could have just been a wolf for the little girl. Yet, we remember the story as the cunning wolf who dressed as the Grandmother of Little Red Riding Hood. It could have been just a pig. Yet, masterful storytellers used 3 little pigs that were hounded by the big, bad wolf. And Snow White had an evil stepmother who was also a witch that had a magic mirror. Amazing!

In short, your audience and listeners are dying to play your stories in their own imaginative minds like a movie reel. The chances of engagement are higher when you are able to craft and deliver a story that deep dives into very specific details.

So the next time, you are trying to craft out a story into your speech, remember that paying attention to the details, is more important than the delivery itself.

Remember Harry Porter? He was not just a boy wizard. He was the boy wizard that had a permanent scar on bis forehead, etched on by a maniacal bald wizard.