As you might know, I joined Toastmasters a few months ago. My motivation is to improve my public speaking skills while also expanding my social circle.
I’ve learned many things from the experience. One of them is what I call the “evaluation mindset.”
Since the first time I joined, I was instantly impressed by the culture of evaluation in Toastmasters. There are several speakers in each meeting, and every speaker has an evaluator who will evaluate his or her speech. In addition, there is also a general evaluator who will evaluate the overall quality of the meeting.
The nice thing about the evaluation is that it’s encouraging rather than critical. The focus is on making you improve, not on pointing out your mistakes. Another interesting thing is that no matter how good you are, there are always points for improvements. You never hit the ceiling; you can always be better.
A speech evaluation consists of three parts:
- Strengths: the things that the speaker did right. Rather than just giving vague praise, the evaluator will give you specific examples of what you have done right.
- Points for improvements: the things that the speaker can improve. The evaluator will tell you not just where to improve, but also how to do it. She will give you specific suggestions.
- Summation: a summary of the two parts above, and some final encouragement.
This is an effective method for improving someone’s public speaking skills. However, I believe we can take this concept further and apply it to our entire lives.
An evaluation mindset can help you improve your life. You can evaluate your day, your week, or your year. You can also evaluate your projects or your roles.
Here is how to evaluate your life:
- Figure out what you have done right. Have you achieved a goal? Have you made progress on something? Then acknowledge and celebrate it. It can motivate you to move further.
- Find points for improvements. What could you do better next time? What specific action can you take for that?
- Write down the lessons you learn. Don’t let the nuggets of wisdom go uncaptured. By writing them down, you can review them in the future.
It’s up to you how exactly you do it. The important thing is that you adopt the mindset. Don’t be satisfied with where you are; instead, aim to constantly improve.
How do you evaluate and improve yourself? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
Photo by Sebastien Wiertz