Oh what a night, with 3 new people, one returning potential member and some impressive first talks. It upholds the Doncaster Toastmasters tradition of having marvellous, memorable meetings.
As ever, the meeting prep started before the meeting, with the Sargent of Arms (SAA) getting the room ready and guests being greeted and assigned to sit next to an existing member.
The meeting started on time and Maria Orlovic the SAA informed us that she had the power to evict anyone who misbehaved. Now I should point out that we never misbehave, well apart from Jean and we allow that, as she is even funnier when she misbehaves a little bit.
Next up steps our President and Toastmaster for the evening Shane Lukas. Now Shane has done this before and the first time he did it, he was good, this time he was even better. In control, funny and it was a comfortable relaxed meeting, knowing that we had him to lead us through it. Shane explained things in a bit more detail than normal, recognising the fact that we had potential members attending and he even opened the floor to comment on what people thought to Toastmasters.
Steven Bisby the timekeeper came up and in his normal precise and yet funny way, told us about this role. He even kept to time himself. Throughout the night Steven was very solid, keeping precise time and waving the cards about (a bit like a mad man, but with a good purpose) to make sure the speakers, especially the first timers, could see timing transitions.
Stefan Glova was next as AH Counter, which was his first role since joining us. He is there to count all of the um’s , ah’s , er’s, etc. that we use as filler words. He did very well, presenting his opening without any notes and findings in a friendly and enthusiastic way. He had a tough job as there was only one speech and therefore less for him to find, but I think that this bodes very well for his Toast Master future.
Next up was our Grammarian for the evening. Now Shelagh Jones is very experienced and is well known for choosing a word of the day that is challenging and sometimes, in my humble opinion, very hard to pronounce. That said, it is always interesting and educational when Shelagh takes on this role.
However, this time she went above and beyond the call of duty, giving us the word Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia which means a fear of long words. To her credit, she did actually say the word out loud. Shelagh looked around the room at some pretty nervous faces knowing what we were all thinking – how the dickens were we to get that word into our talks? It took a few seconds before her smile appeared and she then told us the real word of the day (a much easier word) was Transient. There was an audible sigh of relief followed by some laughter. She tracked the use of the word-of-the-day and gave us some good examples of good grammar in the talks that help us all to think more about the words which we use.
Next we moved on to the speeches. Tonight we only had the one speaker, but Lianna Cairns filled the role of sole speaker very well. She told us about an accident when she was younger, complete with acting, bandages, dramatic falling to the ground (that looked like it hurt!) and a few wise words for all of us. Jean Stewart her evaluator commended the speech and gave a few bits of advice, which is the norm. An excellent and entertaining speech, as we have come to expect from Lianna.
To round off the first half, Pauline Westrop presented a very well thought out education slot on Competent Leader (CL) awards. This was a brilliant idea as I (Andy Howell) will be presenting a “how-to guide” on CL at the next meeting. Therefore, Pauline saw the opportunity to give the background, interesting facts and motivation for members to go for CL. The session flew by and she even made time for a few questions.
After the break, we had a reminder of the word-of-the-day from the Grammarian and we then went into the Table Topics (impromptu speaking) part of the evening.
Arthur Fenn was the Table Topics Master, and gave us a very personal theme that centred around his need for builders, tree surgeons etc. It was a very consistent theme that all of the topics sprung from and I have never seen a more interactive TT session. He also managed to get the new people speaking which is always a good thing. The talks were impressive from both new and experienced people alike and the winner was actually a first timer Jon Carvell. Jon took to the stage with a confidence, humour and eloquence that we are more used to seeing from veteran Toastmaster speakers.
Derek Lucian was the Table Topics Evaluator, and he sacrificed his chance at being voted Best Evaluator by going over the allocated time, to make sure that every TT speaker got a good evaluation on their speech. Derek is very experienced and that was obvious from the quality of the feedback and by the way that he pitched each evaluation at the level and experience of the person speaking.
As an added bonus, Jon Carvell wrote a poem during the break on the word of the day which was so good, that he was press-ganged (with no real reluctance on his part) to come up and read the poem.
All in all, a brilliant, fun and energetic night that will be remembered.
The award winners were:
- Best Speaker – Lianna Cairns
- Best Table Topics – Jon Carvell
- Best Evaluator – Shared : Jean Stewart and Shelagh Jones
Jean Stewart will be Toastmaster at the next meeting on 23rd October.
Report by Andy Howell, General Evaluator
Our next meeting is Monday 23rd October, 2017