The noise grew louder as I neared the door. It was a familiar sound. The energetic hum of activity associated with preparation for another Monday night Doncaster Speakers meet.
Groups of people were in action laying out all of the accoutrements necessary for the running of a session, whilst others mingled and caught up with the news since their last meeting.
As the time to start the proceedings drew nearer, the Sergeant-at-Arms for the evening, Jean Stewart thumped the gavel to indicate the two minute warning.
The attendees took to their seats and the meeting started on time with Jean’s welcome, a joke or two followed by the introduction of the Toastmaster. The meeting was in a safe pair of hands in Michael J. Clarke as Toastmaster, bringing years of experience to the role. I particularly liked how MJC discharged his responsibility in bite-sized morsels of information. He gave us a bit of background about the organisation, its beginnings, and its worldwide membership numbers. He explained some of the meeting protocols, such as the reason for all of the applause that will occur as the meeting ran its course. I also liked how he used the platform of running the meeting as an opportunity to encourage members to ‘get on the committee’, fully aware that the 2016-2017 Toastmaster year was nearing its conclusion and new committee members would be needed.
Just before introducing the Speech Evaluators segment of the meeting, Michael provided further bite-sized bits of information as he explained the protocol of voting and how each person in attendance had the opportunity to give feedback to the various speakers.
Then came the explanation of the Timer role by our very own Pauline Westrop, a Toastmaster with a significant amount of experience and gave a superb rationale for why we bother with ‘timing’ in the meetings.
Andy Howell introduced his task as our Grammarian and when it came time for his report, he began by tying in the word of the day, Wonderment, followed by excellent examples of the evening’s array of grammatical display extraordinaire.
Funny man, Steve Bisby produced a mini-speech on the spot as he delivered the message of his role as Ah Counter. Well done, there. He later reported on what he had heard throughout the meeting, beginning with a general observation, then onto specific examples, with suggestions for how we might eliminate the use of the ‘ahs and ums’ by replacing them with a ‘pause’ in our speaking action.
Julie Gordon evaluated the Ice Breaker speech given by Deborah Kershaw with style and grace and in a very engaging, conversational manner building great rapport with the audience and Deborah.
The highlight for me, of Andrew Miller’s evaluation of Maria Orlovic’s second speech, was how he supported Maria by encouraging her not to ‘beat herself up’ and focused on her strengths, how Maria will, in time, be able to harness the power of her very ‘personal’ style of delivery.
Lianna Cairns gave a thorough description of the objectives of Sarah Saxelby’s speech and need not have apologised for this being her first speech evaluation. There was plenty of great feedback as well as helpful suggestions on where Sarah might wish to improve. Lianna has the unique ability to immerse herself right into the speech she is evaluating, resulting in a very special evaluation indeed.
Bridget Pearson evaluated Jean Stewart’s speech in which she was accepting an award. There was a bit of confusion in the beginning (due to my lack of forewarning to both Bridget and the Toastmaster MJC), however this did not in the end has any major impact on the outcome. Bridget began her evaluation by reminding us of the objectives and then asked, “Did Jean do these things –Yes she did!” A nice touch by a very solid speech evaluator.
The Table Topics session was delivered by Stephanie Bisby with questions which were very conducive to stimulating the imagination.
It was evaluated by Josie Bowerman, whose fabulous use of the English language, expansive vocabulary and extreme eloquence, sets a bar height to which we should all aspire as members of Doncaster Speakers. As always, Josie needs no encouragement to deliver her report with anything but enthusiasm, friendliness and a warm smile.
The noise grew dimmer as I left the room and headed for the exit. The energetic hum of activity was replaced by the sound of gradually fewer and fewer voices, as members and guests said their good-byes and left the room. Another meeting of the Doncaster Speakers Toastmasters Club had come to a satisfactory end.
Report by General Evaluator Derek Lucian.
Best Table Topics – Andrew Miller
Best Evaluator (as Table Topics Evaluator) –Josie Bowerman
Best Speaker – Sarah Saxelby
Ice Breaker award – Deborah Kershaw
Next meeting: Monday April 24th. Guests are very welcome to come along and see what we do.
Regent Hotel, Doncaster. 6.45pm for 7pm start. Ends around 9.30pm.