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Jamie Pickering


What Makes a Good Introduction?

An introduction is usually the first time a group gets to know a little about a speaker. It is very important to point the audience in the proper direction in order to prepare them for the presentation the speaker is about to give. When you are the Toastmaster of the Day in a Toastmaster's meeting or possibly the Master of Ceremonies in a more formal setting, your introduction of the speaker should include some very important points. Here are some suggestions of the items to include in an introduction:
  • Purpose of the presentation or speech - What is the goal of the speech?
  • Topic of the speech - Provide a general idea of what the speech will be about or some fact leading into the topic.
  • Credibility of the speaker - What knowledge or background makes this person a credible presenter of the topic?
  • Title of the presentation - Titles are an integral part of all presentations, most speakers will use the title within their speech in order to get their main point across.
  • Name of the presenter - Always conclude your introduction with the person's name and lead the audience in applause.
These are just a couple of suggestions for making a good introduction. If possible, the speaker should write his/her own introduction for the emcee. The Toastmaster of the Day is responsible for contacting each speaker and getting the introduction from them prior to the meeting. If the Toastmaster of the Day/emcee prepares an introduction for a speaker, it should be reviewed by the speaker prior to the meeting/event (the introduction should help to put the speaker at ease - if the speaker knows what is going to be said, they'll be more comfortable and relaxed going into the presentation). The speaker can use a good introduction to set the stage for the presentation. The Toastmaster will come across as more professional by delivering a well written, rehearsed introduction for each speaker during a meeting. Used properly, introductions can really create a more effective overall meeting.

Tips for Effective Speech Evaluations

  • Talk with the speaker you will be evaluating PRIOR to the meeting to discuss any specific presentation skills that you should focus on. This will also let you know beforehand what speech project they will be delivering.
  • Study the project objectives and the evaluation guide in the manual PRIOR to the meeting.
  • Record your impressions of the speech in the manual along with your answers to the evaluation guide.
  • Before the speaker begins, look back through some of the previous evaluations in their manual. This may help you as the evaluator to understand if there are certain qualities that the speaker has had trouble with in the past and has hopefully been trying to improve.
  • Prepare your oral evaluation using the evaluation questions ONLY as a guide. Do not simply read the questions and answers from the manual during your oral evaluation. Make your evaluation like a mini-speech in content and delivery. Try to cover one point on attainment of purpose (of the topic in the manual), one point on organization, one point on delivery, suggestions for improvement with the next speech, and what you liked best about the speech or what the speaker's greatest asset is. Your oral evaluation should be encouraging and end on a note of praise.
  • Be sure to point out a speaker's valuable assets, such as a sense of humor, a smile, or a pleasant voice.
  • Give the speaker something to improve on with their next speech. Even the most advanced speakers can improve in some area. No one gains from a "whitewash" evaluation.
  • Tailor your evaluation to the speaker. If you are evaluating a newer Toastmaster (such as someone who does does not yet have their CTM), spend more time focusing on their positive qualities and provide 1 or 2 areas that they can improve in. If you have the daunting task of evaluating a more advanced Toastmaster, focus more on what can be improved. Whatever level of speaker you are evaluating, though, be sure to include both positive points as well as suggestions for improvement. Remember that this should be a positive, learning experience for the speaker.
  • Do not simply tell the speaker what needs to be improved. Tell them how they can improve in those areas.
  • After the meeting, return the speaker's manual and add a verbal word of encouragement that might not have been mentioned in your oral evaluation.
  • Overall, your evaluation is the best way for the speaker to get feedback and make improvements. It is your duty to make the evaluation process a positive, learning experience for entire club. Please read the "Effective Speech Evaluation" booklet included in your New Member Kit from Toastmasters International for additional information.

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