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What does the Topics Evaluator do?

The main purpose of the Topics Evaluator role is to provide a short evaluation for each of the table topics speakers in the form of a spoken report.

The main responsibilities of the Topics Evaluator are:

  • To take notes during the table topics section of the meeting
  • To prepare a short evaluation for each speaker giving constructive feedback and encouragement
  • To deliver all of the evaluations within the allotted time

During the meeting

Speak to the Topicsmaster

During the break, speak to the Topicsmaster to get the following information:

  • the general theme (if any) for the table topics session
  • the names of the potential speakers – this will help ensure you that you are clear of the name of each speaker when they are introduced

Make notes

During the table topics session make notes on each of the speeches, ensuring that you watch the speaker as well as listen.

Identify possible commendations (positive comments) and recommendations (suggestions for improvement) for each speaker. Remember to make a note of the topic each speaker was invited to tackle – when you give your report it is important to be able to remember who spoke about what!

Prepare your evaluations

The amount of time you have for each speaker will depend on the number of speakers, but in any case these evaluations will need to be less detailed than a full speech evaluation.

A typical session could have as few as four speakers and as many as eight or even ten but the allocated time will generally stay the same (usually 4-6 minutes), so tailor your evaluations accordingly. Make sure you do not run out of time or a speaker may miss out on being evaluated!

Try to identify at least one commendation and one recommendation for each speaker. If there is time, sandwich your recommendation between two brief commendations but keep it focussed – typically you will have a minute or less for each speaker.

As far as possible try to finalise your notes for each speaker on the fly. The time available between the final topics speaker and your report is quite limited – just the Timekeeper’s summary of the speech timings followed by a minute for voting.

Give your evaluations

Give a brief introduction, such as “In our table topics session today we six speakers gave impromptu speeches on the theme of ‘super powers’. As Topics Evaluator it is my job to provide feedback for each speaker.”

Also try to introduce each speaker in a consistent way, for example: “Our first speaker was Aaron who told us what he would do if he was invisible for a day.” As with a full speech evaluation, do not waste time by summarising what the speaker said – the audience knows this already.

Wrap up your report with a general positive comment such as: “Well done to all of our speakers – I thought everyone responded very creatively to a challenging topic!”

It is your job to evaluate the topics speakers, not the Topicsmaster. By all means make a brief comment in your introduction that you found the session “enjoyable”, “challenging” or perhaps “highly topical” but do keep it brief and do not offer any recommendations for the Topicsmaster – that is for the General Evaluator to do.