I’m serving as an evaluator at my local speakers club, Harrovians, this evening. The club is affiliated to Toastmasters International and encourages evaluators to follow a well established structure when evaluating speeches:

Commend, Recommend, Commend.

I was about to post an item about this but then checked and realised that last July I posted an item here entitled ‘sandwich feedback‘ which is much the same thing.

I won’t repeat what I said last year. Instead let me amplify those thoughts.

I believe that when we provide feedback we do it to motivate the other person. One of the challenges is to get the balance right. The more experienced the speaker the more interested they will be in the constructive observations (the ‘recommends’ element of the praise sandwich. Certainly that’s true for me. It’s always nice when someone cares enough to package the constructive feedback inside some positive comments but what I’m most interested in is how to enhance my current efforts.  I’m lucky. I typically get rated 4 or 5 out of 5 by over 90% of every audience I address. But I’m not complacent and am always keen to improve and get better – whilst accepting that you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

The degree to which someone packages their feedback is an indication of how constructive they are seeking to be or how simply critical they are. If the latter then perhaps they have their own agenda.

The bottom line is that constructive feedback is only worthwhile if the recipient is in listening mode and is interested in taking the feedback on board.  What can you do to help ensure that happens?