How do you grade? Jeff Bailey blogs about Toastmaster evaluations and the slippery slope they create. Since one of Toastmasters major missions is to get folks who are not comfortable speaking in public to cross the divide into the world of perhaps even enjoying it, there certainly is a need for gentleness in helping people’s fragile confidence. Public speaking is often quoted as the #1 fear among adults.But what about the people who speak frequently, or are forced to speak (when was the last time a client really cared about the feelings of their sales rep?)? What about those sales folks who livelihood depends on the presentations they make? What about parents and what they communicate for those brief 18 years before they send their precious not-so-little ones out into the real world? If all these folks hear is sugar-coated, it’s a safe bet their message lacks the complete effectiveness that is desired.I watch people all the time who clearly have either:

  1. Not gotten a good evaluation of the effect they have while communicating, or
  2. Don’t care or didn’t listen to the feedback.

All too often when the communicator is a higher-up, the emporer’s clothers are just splendid. This is another danger point of evaluations, when the evaluator is at risk.Regardless of the politics, the feelings involved, and the tenuous relationship that may exist, embracing candid and frank evaluations and working at change is the best way to get better. In sales? Ask your clients what they heard. The same technique can work for parents, managers, teachers, and probably most anyone else. Want the real truth? Ask a kid! (My kid asked today, “Why is daddy so mean to me?” This less than 15 minutes after I hung the moon. The reason? I asked him to wash his hands before he sat down at the table!)

Get a good evaluation. Then get better.

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