If you’re training food critics, you probably send them to Tojo’s, not McDonald’s. Critics rise to the level of the quality of what’s served to them. (In theory.)
If you’re holding an evaluation contest — as VanCore did this week — you try to bring in an accomplished speaker. There’s just more … substance there for the contestants to test their chops on.
We got a good one in Lori Collerman, a longtime Toastmaster who belongs to not one but, count ‘em, four local clubs. So involved is Lori in club work that her speaking skills were suffering. So she graciously agreed to come sharpen them up with us.
And Lori delivered, with a rocking five-minute speech about the three things it takes to be supernaturally successful. When she was done, and everybody had toweled off, our three contestants — VanCore vets Cory, Borzo and Mary-Lou — prepared their compliment sandwiches.
It was frankly a bit hard to find “bread” for these sandwiches – the “challenges” that bracket the praise. But they did.
A good evaluation tackles three dimensions of the speech: Content, Organization, and Delivery.
Content: Was it just good, new, interesting and maybe important stuff you learned?
Organization: Was the speech clear and easy to follow?
Delivery: Did the speaker make you forget you had to go to the bathroom?
It is dangerous work, being an evaluator in a formal competition. You have three and a half minutes. Go under and you waste valuable time. Go over and — boom — you’re disqualified.
In the end Cory was judged the winner. He takes home a bag of gavels and an official vanity license plate that reads: E-VAL-U-8-R.
(Actually, no. Cory just wins the represent VanCore at the upcoming Area Evaluation Contest.)
But in some ways Borzo, who came second, had the best, tightest evaluation of the day. It was his evaluation of the evaluators:
“I’d like the names and addresses everyone who voted against me,” he deadpanned.