Being evaluated is part of a Toastmasters International club meeting.

Each speaker is assigned an evaluator who completes a form in a manual and delivers a 3 ½ minute talk about the speaker’s effort. The evaluators are offering an opinion, based upon their knowledge and the guidelines in the manual.

It is possible for one evaluation to point out something that can make a significant difference for us. More likely, over time, we will notice a pattern in the comments from different people that will help us improve.

To speed up our improvement, we can add another source of wisdom. Our own.

That is … We can evaluate ourselves.

We know what we were working on for that presentation, and we are well situated to judge whether we nailed it or not and to notice other aspects of the talk that we want to work on the next time.

But, we walk from the stage with only our memory of what just happened. And sometimes that is a bit foggy.

Here are ideas for capturing your talk without making a big production of it, and by only spending about $7.00 to add a tool to your kit.

  1. Video record your talk: Place your phone in an Octopus Style Portable Table Top Tripod. You can find this on Amazon for about seven dollars. Put it on the table in front of you. Focus in on someone in the front of the room, and hit record as you are being introduced. Stop it when you get back to your seat.

You don’t have to record high-quality video or audio. Only you are going to see it. You can watch and listen on your phone, or “cast” to a TV, evaluate and learn, and then delete. Or, you can upload it to YouTube with the setting on PRIVATE and watch it again a few talks later to see how you have improved. A bonus might be to share it with someone else to review and comment.

  1. Audio record your talk: Sometimes setting up the camera might be more than we want to do. At the very least, audio record your talk.

Your phone has an audio recording feature built in. Mute the speaker on your phone, and turn on AirPlane Mode, so there are no interruptions. Hit record as you are being introduced, carry the phone to the front of the room and place it on the lectern, or if you sat up close to the front, just leave it on the table at your seat. Now you have an audio recording that you can evaluate.

  1. Next Level: You can use a full-size tripod for better camera placement, and add a lavalier microphone. A better audio recorder is a bonus. With video editing software, you can replace the camera audio with the better audio file. You can also use a better video camera than your phone. Over time, you might accumulate some video and audio files that you can use for more than self-evaluation. Maybe you will make a product!

Let’s not rely on the opinion of someone else to evaluate our speaking efforts, and let’s not trust our memory. With your smartphone and a $7.00 tripod, you can know what just happened.