Front Range Toastmasters


  Motivation Factor– Money or Recognition

Alan Wong

Money gives one freedom.  Freedom to do things and to have things.  Recognition is more in the lines of fame.  To be recognized.  My belief is recognition is way down my list of importance.  If anything, I work hard NOT to be recognized.  I’m not in search of fame.  I’m not a rock star or celebrity.  It does not interest me.  If these are the only two things to choose from, I am choosing Money.  

Entrepreneur need, hard work or smart work. 

Alan Wong

There’s a saying that says work smarter, not harder.  Some of us do not know how to work smarter.  But we all can work harder.  Ideally, we would want to work hard AND smart.  But if I had only one choice, I would choose to work harder.  You can always learn to work smarter.  Some of the smartest people I know work smart and they’re lazy.  Hardworking people only know how to work hard and that’s a great trait that can never be taken away. 

  Practice makes perfect

Alan Wong

The answer is an astounding yes.  It’s why athletes train hours before the event.  It’s why comedians practice hours and hours to give a 10-minute stand-up routine.  It’s why if we practice for hours and hours to give a 5-minute speech, it’s going to be perfect.  We get what we put into it.  This pertains to everything in life.

Approach Mistakes

 Alan Wong

Mistakes are bound to happen to all of us in all situations.  We learn from mistakes more than when things go right.  It’s how we improve and it’s the only way to be better.  First, we have to recognize that a mistake was made.  Once we identify the mistake, then we can take steps to not repeat the mistake and to make changes to improve and be better.  Otherwise, if everything is perfect, then everything is stable.  There’s no need to change or improve.  Mistakes are the best learning tools we have. 

Evaluating the Evaluation

Robin McIntosh

As someone who is on the sensitive side of the spectrum, I can tell you that not all constructive criticism lands well. Early in my Toastmaster life, I was eager to hear how my speeches were received. “You move too much on stage,” said one evaluator. “You don’t move enough on stage,” said a different evaluator. “You speak too slow,” opined a fellow member.  “You need to slow down your speech,” expounded the fourth evaluator. What I found was that there were a lot of different opinions and not all feedback is warranted. Still, it is important to get an evaluation, for three reasons:

1, if you are speaking in front of a crowd, there will be those that do not agree with your opinion and it is a valuable lesson to learn to develop a barrier to negative feedback. Some call it thick skin. I feel it is putting everything in perspective. If I am stating my opinion, why can’t someone state theirs?

2, evaluations teach self-awareness. Learning to assess the audience and yourself during your speech is invaluable. Before Toastmasters I could not think on my feet and actually could not recall what I said or did on stage. Evaluations give us tools to step outside ourselves and take a look from the audiences’ point of view.

3, there is always room for improvement.  Each evaluation has nuggets of truth that will resonate with the speaker when brought to their attention. Little nuances that an audience member could see that the speaker could not.

During our Toastmaster journey, each of us will get evaluations, some better than others, but most will have the best of intentions behind them. An evaluation is one person’s opinion. The speaker should evaluate the evaluation for areas of improvement that make sense and ring true.

I personally had one evaluation from a well-seasoned toastmaster that made me want to quit Toastmasters. He was highly regarded (and still is) and he thought I was seasoned enough to handle a critical critique. He must have thought I was shooting for perfection or a career in public speaking.  Neither is close to the truth.  I have glossophobia which is the fear of public speaking. My goal is to conquer that fear which I do twice a week in two different clubs. After writing a rebuttal to the evaluation and an entire speech about it (neither has anyone seen), I decided to continue my journey and hope for a better or different evaluator the next time. I must admit I was more than a little nervous, but I survived the next speech and have done many, many more since.  I have completed my DTM and had the opportunity to speak on the stage a couple of times at a District Conference.

When we evaluate, understand that people are in Toastmasters for many different reasons. Our main goal is to help the speaker get perspective and point out what they did well.  It is more important for the speaker to want to speak again which is how they grow. To presume the evaluation is the mechanism for growth is overly simplistic.  It is the repetition and the experience of speaking and listening and providing feedback that creates the growth. After all, there is a very old saying, “Practice makes Perfect.” Striving for perfection has its drawbacks, but there is nothing wrong with getting better. Evaluations help us get better.


  1. Revathy Sukumaran Permalink

    Excellent narration about evaluation. In my opinion, evaluation is little extra challenging than a speaking role.

  2. Alan Wong Permalink

    Great answers even if they’re my own. I don’t remember my responses to the questions. Heck I don’t even remember what I had for lunch yesterday. As I read over the answers, I agree with what I said. I think there are some beliefs that are timeless and can be applied no matter the times. I agree with Robin’s comment. Evaluations are key’s to success. If we don’t listen and apply the evaluation, what’s the point in talking?

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