What a beautiful end to a Toastmaster year.
The meeting was opened by Pauline in her capacity as Sergeant At Arms for the evening who then introduced Derek, the president of Doncaster Speakers and filling the role of Toastmaster for the evening.
As part of his welcome speech, Derek announced the theme of the day – Lessons Learned – and shared with the members and our guest insights about the impact Toastmasters International is having as it continues to grow and reach more people through its growing number of clubs, members and number of countries in which it now has a presence.
In addition, Derek announced that our Toastmasters Club, Doncaster Speakers, had continued to maintain the highest rating that Toastmasters International gives to its clubs for a second year.
Toastmasters International rates its clubs on how well they encourage members to pursue their personal public speaking and leadership goals. President’s Distinguished is the highest rating and we’re proud that Doncaster Speakers has continued to meet the standards required to achieve it. This wouldn’t be possible without the exemplary commitment by the committee and President Derek.
We had the privilege of having a guest, Stefan. His feedback at the end of the meeting was that this is exactly what he’s looking for in order to develop his presentation and public speaking skills.
The meeting flowed wonderfully with our evaluators each introducing their respective roles to the members and guest.
Andy Howell as Time Keeper
Arthur Fenn as Ah Counter
Lianna Cairns as Grammarian
Lianna declared that her chosen word of the day was ‘Cohesion’ and encouraged the speakers to fold in that word or as a bonus, incorporate ‘Cohesive Community’ in to their speech.
Derek was remarkably quick to fold that in to his description of Doncaster Speakers!
The first speaker, Steven Bisby, was introduced by his speech evaluator Josie Bowerman. Josie explained that Steven was delivering a speech based on project 5 of the competent communications manual ‘Your Body Speaks’ and that Steven’s focus is on conveying gestures and body movements that would compliment and emphasise points he was making.
Steven’s speech, entitled Raffleing – a misleading title that reflects Steven’s witty sense of humour and was actually about refereeing. The title was reminiscent of an occasion where Steven has mis-heard the word Refereeing. His speech was incredibly funny as well as informative. His body conveyed his message and the speech was complimented further with his array of props including a referee’s whistle.
The 2nd speaker for the evening was Jean Stewart. Jean was introduced by her evaluator Alison Turner. Alison informed the audience that Jean was basing her speech around project 2 of the Advanced Communications manual, Story Telling. Project 2 is Let’s Get Personal.
Jean certainly met the objectives of the project title. Jean’s speeches are always incredibly humorous and as her story was an experience of trying to fit in to a dress that would make her appear 2 sizes smaller but was unable to fit in to it without wrecking the dress the audience were in tears of laughter.
Our 3rd Speaker was Stephanie Bisby. Stephanie was introduced and evaluated by Shelagh Jones. Shelagh explained that Stephanie was completing her Competent Communications manual by delivering this particular speech. The speech was based on Project 10 – Inspire Your Audience. A daunting requirement in my opinion.
If it was daunting for Stephanie it didn’t show. Stephanie delivered a very moving speech, sharing a very sad episode in her life where an old friend of hers had died but this death had motivated Stephanie to live life to the full. Stay young at heart and take on the attitude that life’s too short and she inspired the audience to take on the same view, be a little more adventurous and make the most of our lives. Stephanie’s speech left me with a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye.
After the 3 prepared speeches and before we broke for coffee, Derek delivered the annual ceremony that takes place at the year end Toastmasters Clubs. The dismantling of the current committee and relieving members of their roles of the previous 12 months and appointing the newly elected committee members for 2017/2018.
Derek performed this duty with professionalism, passion and a hint sadness which reflected the end of an era as he would discontinue his role as President.
The new committee members are filling big shoes and have great standards to continue to maintain.
After the coffee break we heard the speech evaluations.
Josie gave her feedback with such dynamism it was delivered as though she’d had a week to prepare it. It was incredibly thorough. Her recommendations for Steven included the very good suggestion of setting up a video camera to monitor some of the points she’d raised so that he becomes more self aware in the future.
Alison gave her evaluation of Jean’s speech. She demonstrated that she’d observed very attentively and gave 3 recommendations for consideration to Jean.
Shelagh gave a very heart felt evaluation of Stephanie sharing with the members some of Stephanie’s journey within Toastmasters and Shelagh’s pride in Stephanie’s progression was clear.
Andrew Miller filled the role of Table Topics Master. Andrew Miller is not one for sticking to the status quo and this meeting was no exception. Whilst continuing to meet the purpose of Table Topics – to develop thinking on the spot – Andrew introduced a brilliant twist.
He invited members up in pairs. For each pair there was a theme that reflected a role within Toastmasters. The first role was that of Toastmaster and specifically around the selection of a theme for the meeting.
Steven Bisby and Jean Stewart were invited and asked to spend their allocation of time suggesting themes for the coming months and why they made those suggestions. The themes included ‘Staying Pale in July’ and Steven gave a football related theme for August connecting us back to his speech and reminding us that Football season starts in August.
Derek and Shelagh were invited to describe their favourite speeches throughout their time at Toastmasters. As the theme of this session was that of Time Keeper, each had an allocation of 30 seconds to talk about their favourite speech, not more and not less. Once the 30 seconds was up the other person would share their recollection. They continued to alternate in this fashion for the allocated period of 3 minutes.
The next pair were Arthur Fenn and Alison Turner. The theme of this session was the role of Ah Counter. The pair were invited to talk about the Sheffield conference for their 3 minutes. As soon as one of them er’d, ah’d or um’d the audience were to shout out and then the other person would have to continue to talk.
The final duo were invited to take on a duel! In the spirit of a Rap Battle, Josie Bowerman and Stephanie Bisby – our Grammarian Queens – had to demonstrate their grammarian skills bouncing off each other’s creatively linguistically charged sentences. Sadly, I personally lack the skills to better describe it! Yes, you’ve guessed it, the theme of this session was the role of Grammarian.
Pauline Westrop, in addition to her role of Sergeant at Arms was also TableTopics Evaluator. In light of the change of format Pauline had her work cut out for her but this didn’t stop her giving exemplary feedback to all concerned and especially to Andrew for his ingenuity in putting together such a great TableTopics session.
Derek closed the day by announcing the awards for the evening.
Best Speech Award went to Stephanie for her inspiring speech.
Best Evaluator Award went to Josie for her incredibly thorough and energetic evaluation of Steven.
Best Table Topics Award went to the duelling duo – Josie and Stephanie
Well done and well deserved.
Report by Shane Lukas, General Evaluator
The next meeting, the first of the new Toastmasters year, is on Monday July 10th.
Visitors are most welcome to come and see what we do!