Behind The Mask!

General Evaluator’s Report                            Doncaster Speakers 28th October 2019


Behind the Mask


With Halloween a matter of days away our Toastmaster for the evening, Bridget Pearson, picked up on this theme but took it in a different direction.  Referencing a personality profiling test she’d taken recently, she explained how many of us wear masks as we go about life and hide who we truly are.


Everyone that came up to the front was encouraged to share something about themselves that they might not normally reveal and Bridget had even provided us with a cut out mask that we could use for protection, if we so wished.


Linking in with this theme was the Word of the Day – Obscure – set by our Grammarian, Stephanie Bisby.  Stephanie had stepped in at the last minute to take on this role and she took a moment to drop her mask to admit that there had been a fair amount of chaos behind the scenes whilst she tried to get prepared for it.


Onto the speakers and one of our newest members, Maureen Sydney gave us her Ice Breaker speech, revealing how an early childhood trauma (a neighbour didn’t laugh at her joke!!) left her convinced that she wasn’t funny.  Experience, however, has taught her that beliefs are there to be challenged and that is why she has selected Engaging Humour as her Pathway through Toastmasters.  A very accomplished speech with great movement around the stage – and plenty of natural humour throughout – so belief well and truly shattered there.


Next up was Sharon Whitehouse with her second speech from Pathways.  The intention of this speech is to put it out there, get some feedback and then incorporate that feedback into the next speech – very possibly the same one.  Sharon shared her personal story of getting freaked out whilst swimming when she thought she saw a shark coming towards her – even though she was in a lake with no sharks in it.  Committed to overcoming her fears she worked on herself until she was able to go swimming in open water, getting up close and person with genuine sharks.  Some great descriptive language all the way through and it will be fascinating to see how this speech develops.


Speech 3 came from Bal Purewal, now on her fourth speech from Presentation Mastery and her theme was all about the magic of thinking BIG.  To change our situation we need to change our actions. To change our actions we need to change our thoughts.  Bal is such an energetic, engaging speaker with a very accomplished grasp of the English language, her speeches are always entertaining.


Finally we had Stephanie Bisby, who hasn’t been around for a while due to work commitments and certainly hasn’t done a prepared speech at club for almost two years.  However, it didn’t show with a truly spooky campfire style story called the Face at the Window.  Well told, beautifully crafted and based on a personal experience, whilst there was a lot of quality on show tonight, no-one will begrudge the fact that Stephanie won the Best Speaker ribbon.


After a well earned break we had our evaluators giving their reports on the speeches we’d just heard.  Lianna Cairns, Susie Marsh, Elizabeth Mead and Steven Bisby reported back respectively.


A double success at the Bisby household as Steven walked off with the Best Evaluator ribbon.  Sounds like some sort of conspiracy to me 😉


We then got to the blood rush that is Table Topics ably hosted for the first time by Sundip Murwaha.  Simple, straightforward questions which gave people plenty of places to go and yet, at the same time, can be quite fiendish, such as “If you had a flying carpet, where would you go?” really got people thinking.


The winner of Best Table Topic was Bal Purewal who answered the question “If you had a time machine, what would you do?” by going back in time by half an hour and re-doing her speech.  Loud, energetic and funny it certainly stood out, although the quality was good across the board.


As VP of Education, Elizabeth Mead took on the awards ceremony in the absence of our President. As well as handing out the winning ribbons referred to above and the Ice Breaker ribbon for Maureen, she was also able to announce Jon Carvell’s excellent performance at the Division Contest on Saturday (winner of Table Topics and runner up in the Humorous Speech) and was able to hand over the President’s Distinguished Club award to last year’s President, Andy Howell for achieving the best possible result for the club.


Steeped in quality and fun it was another great meeting.  We meet again on 11th November.  Get there for 6.45pm, ready for a 7pm start and I’m sure that, bearing mind the date, it will be a meeting to remember.

Published by Doncaster Speakers

Doncaster Speakers meet at 7pm on selected Mondays at the Regent Hotel, Doncaster. We welcome guests. Please check our website for details of forthcoming meetings.

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