Meeting report by Alison Turner
With a theme of “Make a Difference” set by our Toastmaster for this evening Sean Gordon Doncaster Speakers met on 23 February at the Regent for its usual fortnightly meeting. The theme was extremely apt as we were treated to a meeting which really did Make A Difference with ample opportunities to learn and hone our public speaking and management skills.
We learnt that Steven Bisby is “a funny man”. Steven was brave enough to deliver his ice breaker speech entitled “Me and Musicals” with tales from his time in the old Civic Theatre and the Odeon Cinema to trips to see his favourite musical Phantom of the Opera. We learnt more about Steven and with his natural humour were transported to the world of musicals with funny stories throughout. Derek Lucian gave a very insightful evaluation of Steven’s speech and easily picked up on the structure, humour and storytelling. Well done Steven and we cannot wait to hear more in your next speech.
Our Grammarian for the evening was Andrew Miller who explained the rhetorical devices he would be looking out for and set us the challenge of using “Affect” as the word for the day. Andrew gave good examples of its use in everyday language and sure enough after a hesitant start in the second half of the meeting we were all using it to great effect.
Unfortunately our second speaker for the evening Andy Howell was unable to deliver his speech due to unforeseen personal circumstances. This was managed very well by Sean, our Toastmaster, with the educational slot being brought forward to the first half of the meeting. Phil Heath was our guest for this evening and he gave us some invaluable tips with a speech entitled “Give your Voice a Voice”. On a subject which Phil is clearly passionate about we learnt to take a deep breath before we speak, exercise the facial muscles, use powerful pauses, vocal variety and tone. He reminded us that the audience is left with an impression of our speech which is often formed not so much by what we say or the words we use but by how we deliver them.
During the second half of our meeting Stephanie Bisby set the Table Topics for the night. Carrying on from the theme “Make a Difference” she asked us such questions as what sporting moment made a difference, what bad habits would we drop and what groups or hobbies had made a difference to us. We heard about the momentous moment when Andy Murray won Wimbledon from Shelagh Jones, turning off the TV from Derek Lucian and time travel from Andrew Miller. But the winner of Best Table Topics was one of our newest members Ben Mullins with his passion for Prog Rock and the Canadian Rock Group Rush and in particular drummer Neil Peart.
Shelagh Jones had a busy evening not only evaluating Table Topics but also being our Ah Counter. Other roles were taken on by Bridget Pearson as Timekeeper, Jean Stewart as Sergeant at Arms and myself as General Evaluator. And what did I learn in this role?- to be more organised and perhaps move to the front of the room when you are responsible as General Evaluator for introducing all the other evaluators and taking charge of the second half of the meeting. The best evaluator award was jointly won by Derek Lucian and Shelagh Jones – well done to both of them.
A big thank you to everyone who made this meeting the success it was. I do hope everyone attending learnt something that they can incorporate in their future speeches or roles. The next meeting is the Competition night which is to take place at the usual Monday night slot at The Regent on 7th March. See you there.