When I starting working on this post, I really thought that my target audience were members of Toastmasters. After all, I have been saying at club meetings, conferences, training and anywhere else we might happen to gather, that we need to put more emphasis on evaluations. When I began to write, however, it dawned on me that this advice is applicable in the world outside of toastmasters as well.
You see, one of the great parts of Toastmasters is that we evaluate everything; every speech that’s given, every role that’s filled, every meeting that’s held. It really is a great way to improve, but only when the evaluations are worthwhile. It’s been my experience that when a club is struggling, the best place to look for improvement is in the evaluations, because when they improve, everything else gets better too. Here’s why I believe elevated evaluations are the lynchpin to high performance:
It Raises The Standard
Obviously, getting better feedback will raise the standard of the speaker. They will be pushed to become better every time they speak, but it does the same thing for the audience as well. Better evaluations raise the standards of the audience because they are now pushed to become better evaluators. They will have to watch more carefully, listen more attentively and better articulate the ways a speaker can improve.
It’s almost a given that when one person starts making a real effort to improve their level of evaluation, the rest of the club will too. When a new standard has been set, everyone will strive to reach it.
Higher Performance Attracts Higher Performance
Ask any toastmasters club what their biggest obstacle is, and they will tell you it’s membership. Just like most companies that I talk to tell me that employee turnover is their biggest challenge. They’re both wrong.
In reality, the biggest challenge is performance because when everyone is turning in high performance, it attracts more high performers. High performance, though, comes from improved evaluations.
Put into the context of Toastmasters, when everyone in a club starts turning in top performance more people want to be a part of that club. Becoming better communicators is the best form of new member recruitment. The same is true in the business world and it all starts with improved evaluations.
It Improves Club/Company Culture
The best Toastmasters clubs that I have been a part of, like the best companies I’ve worked for, have all had the same feel to them. It’s a culture where everyone is dedicated to helping everyone else succeed because when we reach our personal goals, the entire organization benefits.
Developing this kind of culture isn’t easy, but it starts with holding one another accountable. This again goes back to improving evaluations. When everyone is getting a great evaluation, they feel valued, they feel as though their being held accountable and they feel like they’re making progress. All of these things are building blocks of a great club/company culture.
I truly believe that improving a Toastmasters Club starts with improving the evaluations that are given in that club, but as I’ve learned when writing this post, the same is true in the business world. Elevated evaluations are the lynchpin to high performance. Check back Friday when I share the elements of a great evaluation.