Listen and Learn
Every speech you give is evaluated by another member of the club, to help you improve. As a speaker there are a number of things you can do to make sure you receive the most benefit every time you speak.
1. Set yourself an objective for each speech. It could be to speak without notes for the first time, control your nerves or stop a particular hand gesture you always use.
2. Tell your evaluator about your specific objective and your general speaking goals, so he/she knows what to consider when evaluating your speech.
3. Highlight any specific points you'd like your evaluator to review. The more the evaluator knows about what you hope to achieve, or any areas you want help with, the more they can help you.
4. During your evaluation, listen carefully. Pay close attention to what's being said. Suspend all judgment or reaction to what you hear. Be receptive and don't criticize the evaluator. Speakers who don't accept evaluations gracefully soon discover that no one wants to evaluate their speeches. If you have something to say to the evaluator, do it at the end of the meeting.
5. Carefully consider each comment and suggestion for improvement. Do rush to judge anything your evaluator says. Immediately dismissing the evaluator means you may be missing out on some valuable feedback. Remember, the evaluator is merely offering his/her opinion of your speech. Some of the opinions and perceptions may be valid and useful to you and some may not. You won't know until you have heard and considered them all.
6. Evaluate your speech yourself. You can usually tell if your speech was well done and achieved it purpose and your objective. You are most likely aware of the mistakes you made. After the speech, write down what you were pleased with and what you need to work on the next time you're preparing a speech.
7. After the meeting, speak to your evaluator. Ask questions about what was said, but be careful not to attack your evaluator. If you believe your evaluator could have said something more effectively or been able to help you more, say so and offer specific suggestions for improvements. If the evaluator didn't mention an area of your speech on which you'd like feedback, discus this at this time.
8. Talk with other club members about your speech. Your evaluator is only one person offering one opinion, so find out what other members thought and ask their advice for improvement.
And when you've done all that, put the feedback you receive into practice, to make your next speech even better!