Author Archives: Doncaster Speakers
Doncaster Speakers member Lianna has completed the Toastmasters Competent Leadership (CL) award.
The Competent Leadership manual comprises of 10 projects that focuses on different leadership skills providing background information and an assignment that requires serving in one or more specified meeting or club roles.
The roles such as Evaluator, Timer, Toastmaster, Ah-Counter and General Evaluator are carried out during normal club meeting and then on top of these extra roles are needed such as joining the club’s committee and helping organise the 2 annual Toastmaster competitions which comprise of prepared speeches and TableTopics.
Well done to Lianna as only around 4% of Toastmasters world wide actually finish the manual.
This is an extra arm to the Toastmasters Competent Communicator manual and Pathways where a member has to complete a series of speeches all looking at difference aspects of talking and communication to helping improve speaking in public.
For more details about Doncaster Speakers visit the website:- https://doncasterspeakers.org.uk/ or why not come to a meeting which are held on the second and fourth Monday of the month at the Regent Hotel Doncaster from 7pm
Every meeting is special, but this one was extra ordinary as we ended our Toastmaster year and thanked Andy for his year as club President.
A year which saw Doncaster Speakers reach the highest Toastmaster club recognition level, known as “President’s Distinguished” and welcomed more new members, keen to improve their public speaking skills in a fun and supportive environment.
From the start, Zoe grabbed our attention with a purposeful blow of the gavel, bringing everyone’s focus to the meeting. After key facilities messages, she handed the meeting to our President and Toastmaster for the evening Andy, who set the theme as “On the shoulders of giants”. His key message was to inspire all to build and reach their goals, whilst enjoying the journey they take. He also kept the meeting flowing in true Toastmaster style and introduced the various roles throughout.
In explaining the timekeeper role, Andrew also touched on the capability of the brain and the importance of time. Elizabeth took on the Grammarian role for the first time and as well as setting out to provide feedback on language, she set the word of the day as Copacetic. This looked daunting for some, but turned out to be widely used after her rather copacetic explanation of its meaning. Jill was our Ah Counter of the evening, hearing those filler words and sounds we miss ourselves and providing and excellent summary in her later feedback, to reinforce the message.
Two prepared speeches and an education slot were central to the first half. Sarah conveyed a wonderful “Friends, Fear and Fun” story of doing the Moonwalk in support of Breast Cancer awareness. Lianna gave her “Why the UK” case for the best place to live. Jon tested us on “The Art of Listening” via distracting perspectives with a hidden meaning, to challenge our thinking. It was one of those meetings where you felt very enriched inside, beckoning you to step outside the box.
Steven then gave a very thorough evaluation of Sarah’s Speech, with particularly useful analysis . Deborah evaluated Lianna’s speech adding humour and triple power descriptions such as “delectable, delightful delivery”. Alongside all evaluators for roles and speeches on the night who delivered reports within time, she won the Best Evaluator award at the end.
Elizabeth was back in the second half as our Table Topic Master, throwing different impromptu questions to ten willing volunteers under her theme of “You were there” moments in history. You may have been asked to suddenly speak about Live Aid or the First Man on the Moon or the cloning of Dolly the Sheep. As usual there was laughter for the creative and support all round. No surprise that our recent Table Topics Division champion Jon, came first in the Best Table Topics vote. Next up was Bal, who is a recent new member and should be called ‘Bal the Brave’ for taking on the role of Table Topics Evaluator; something many avoid early on their Toastmaster journey. Instead she picked up varied positive points in her feedback, alongside well delivered constructive feedback for everyone. All other evaluators followed with their reports – time, grammar, ah counting and the overall General Evaluator report by Maria ended the formal feedback of the meeting.
Andy gave an inspirational outgoing speech as club President, including highlighting a list of club achievements by the club members from the past year, that brought both smiles and pride.
This was followed by thanks and applause by everyone for Andy’s leadership. Then the ceremonial medal handover to incoming President Maria took place, who officially closed the meeting and Toastmaster year July 2018 to June 2019.
The winners of the ribbons for the meeting were….
Sarah for Best Speaker
Deborah, Best Evaluator
Jon, Best Table Topics
Achieve your most audacious goals
Rat a tat tat went the gavel, the room drew quiet as Jean in the role of Sergeant At Arms got the meeting underway right on time. With housekeeping instructions, clear and understood including “not to jump on the bus home” (in the case of a fire alarm), the lectern was passed over to the Toastmaster for the evening Bal.
Bal welcomed everyone to the meeting and gave us a brief introduction to herself and how much being part of the club had already made a difference to her personally. This was a perfect segue to the introduction of the theme for the meeting that was ‘Achieve your most audacious goals’.
Arthur was the Timekeeper for the evening and reminded us all of the allocated timings for speeches and where we could find them on the agenda. In his authentic style he finished off his segment with a fun fact that was ‘Time passes faster in your face than it does at your feet’.
Andrew was the grammarian and demonstrated the breadth and depth of his knowledge and experience by not only clearly explaining the role of the grammarian but also the choice of his words to describe what he would be looking out for including, richness, culture and embellish. A true feast for those of us that have a passion for words. Andrew skillfully connected his choice of the word of the day ‘Extraordinary’ to the overall meeting theme.
Elizabeth in the true spirit of Doncaster Speakers carried out two roles in one meeting, the first as Ah Counter in which she had clearly prepared for evidenced by the production of chart to capture any of the typical filler words. Pauses were recommended to speakers to try and avoid getting added to the chart.
There were two prepared speeches for the meeting, the first from Maria entitled, To Be or Not To Be. Maria gave us an overview of not only the difference between management and leadership but went on to explain her own personal style, complete with print outs that she skillfully attached to the lectern for us all to see. The speech was delivered with energy and enthusiasm and although it did run over time it was both informative and entertaining.
Lianna, was the second speaker with her speech entitled, Have You Ever, she immediately grabbed everyone’s attention with her opening line, asking if they had every had a near death experience. What followed was a wonderful story with a happy ending and many key messages and actions that we could all apply in our own lives.
Speech evaluations were carried out by Jean and Bridget. Jean offered Maria suggestions as to how she could condense a detailed speech topic to ensure it fitted a time slot, feedback that we could all take on board
Bridget gave Lianna an excellent evaluation, reviewing the objectives of the speech clearly and contrasting previous feedback that Lianna had been given with her own feedback. Quite a complex task delivered in true Bridget very easy style, clearly demonstrating that her priority was that Lianna received lots of commends and recommends supported by examples as to how she could apply the recommends.
The second role Elizabeth carried out was Table Topics Master, with her persuasive charm Elizabeth managed to encourage the majority of us to take to the floor with quite a challenging quest of first imagining ourselves as a famous actor and then what career we would have had if we had chosen something different. The alternative careers ranged from fire eaters to sausages (yes sausages, anything goes and the more creative the better) and in-between we had a show jumper, complete with actual jumping after a quick trot and unsuspecting guest Ian laying down to act as the fence to give us the full effect.
Andy took on the role of Table Topics Evaluator and managed to give each person a clear commend and recommend demonstrating his abilities on how to evaluate the differing styles of speakers. His quality of feedback was consistent to all speakers which takes exceptional listening, planning and time management skills, a job very well done.
Having all recovered from the joviality, the meeting moved on to the awards. As his time as President comes towards the end of the term Andy once again presented the awards for the evening. Jean was presented with a certificate for Select Distinguished Area, thus acknowledging goal attainment and dedication to the mission of the district.
The award winners were
Lianna for Best Speaker
Deborah (With help from Ian) for Best Table Topics
Sarah for Best Evaluator
Report by Sarah
Here comes summer
Tonight Elizabeth was our toastmaster, she did a brilliant job from start to finish, tenaciously welcoming everyone and making sure instructions were clear to our 2 guests of the evening. Before the break she encouraged everyone to “Chat to people!”
Steven was our Sergeant at Arms for the evening, he spoke clearly, threw in a bit of his usual dry humour and did an accurate job of keeping the meeting running to time. This skill came in handy for Steven tonight as he also confidently covered the role of Timekeeper. He excellently delivered two roles without hesitation, thanks for stepping in, Steven!
The theme for the evening was ‘Here comes Summer’, which I felt was very apt after all the sunny weather we’ve had recently – gets people in the mood for summer.
The Grammarian, Susie, delivered her role with her usual enthusiastic and smiley manner. She explained her role well and maintained confidence and poise. The word of the day was “tenacious”, which was used quite a lot by our members, including some multiple uses in one sentence throughout the evening! Susie reminded us all of the word at the beginning of the second half, stepping in front of the lectern and showing the word printed off on the A4 page, which I found useful. Her feedback at the end was thorough – she picked out different examples of language used and complimented the members.
Our Ah Counter of the evening was Arthur who encouraged us to avoid using filler words. He reviewed the ahs/ums usage towards the end of the meeting, telling us that there were quite a few erm/so combinations tonight. One of his recommends to Stephanie was “use the pauses to keep the flow going”. He got a big laugh from the floor when telling Andy about his use of “a couple of buts”.
This evening we did something a little differently. Andy enthusiastically delivered his speech from entitled “five minute guide” all about self-defence. Stephanie was Andy’s speech evaluator and she did a great job of introducing Andy before his speech, she read out his speech objectives and reminded everyone to “pay attention, enjoy the speech and make notes”.
Instead of just the ordinary one evaluation, Lianna then led a session asking all members to publicly feedback their thoughts on his speech. She encouraged people to get involved, leading from example with “I’ll start off”, and then proceeding to give Andy a bit of positive feedback. She listened very intently to everyone’s points and the conclusion was excellently delivered. I thought this was a great way to feedback and also gave new members fresh ideas of ways to evaluate a speech.
Maria also delivered speech 6 from the level 2 pathways “Team Collaboration” manual, the purpose of this project is to demonstrate your ability to listen to what others say. She did an excellent job giving the audience a TableTopics summary. She also led the TableTopics after the break and ensured she met her objectives of listening to the speakers and feeding back well.
Jon was the table topics evaluator and did a grand job of giving every speaker a commend and recommend. His body language was really good, he was humorous, it was just a shame he went a little over time.
Andy brought the meeting home with the awards for the night. A few congratulations are in order.
One to Jon for winning 3rd place at District 71 TableTopics competition and also to Steven for completing his Competent Communication manual. We are very proud at Doncaster Speakers for the dedication and commitment of our members.
The award winners for best in category were:
Becky for Best TableTopics.
Jon for Best Evaluator.
Report by Bridget
Time for something sweet
The main purpose of Toastmasters is to get you out of your comfort zone, try something new without worrying about the outcome and discovering latent skills. This philosophy gets applied in a number different areas, not just standing up at the front and doing a prepared speech.
Tonight one of our newer members, Susie, did just that by taking on the role of Toastmaster, the person who organises and runs the whole meeting, and what a fantastic job she did too.
There’s no doubting that it is a big role, however, it is often made out to be a lot more scary than it actually is. The secret to being a good Toastmaster, as in all things, is about being prepared and Susie had done just that, meaning that her performance on the night was effortless and a pleasure.
There were a few challenges, mainly due to it being the build up to Easter and we were slightly depleted in our normally swollen numbers, which meant a lot of juggling and a few people stepping in at the last minute, but that’s all part of the fun.
The theme for the evening was Spring Forwards, Fall Back, which led to a history lesson of Daylight Savings Time which Susie blended in beautifully with the history of Toastmasters itself.
The Grammarian, Andrew, picked up on the American nature of the phrase but then shifted expectations by revealing that this, along with many other so-called American words or phrases, are actually English by origin. Consequently, the word of the day was one just such word “Candy”, a simple word but not one frequently used in this country so a different sort of challenge for the members.
A major thank you to Val, our Ah Counter of the evening. This was only her second meeting and she’s not even a member yet, but she volunteered to take on the role nevertheless, which takes a lot of guts and you can consider my hat to be well and truly doffed in her direction. And she did herself proud.
We had three great speakers this evening, Sandie demonstrating her ability to take on feedback by repeating and improving upon her speech from last time. Elizabeth demonstrated her team building and project planning skills by reporting back on Operation Christmas dinner that her local church put on last year, complete with mouth watering slides and a detailed project planning pack. Finally, Maria warned us all about the dangers of being sedentary and urged us to increase our levels of movement.
Elizabeth and Maria are more seasoned Toastmasters and yet it was they who ran over time. Tut tut. Which meant that Sandie picked up a well deserved Best Speaker ribbon.
In the second half, once the speech evaluations were complete, carried out respectively and admirably by Arthur, Lianna and Elizabeth in her second role of the evening, we moved onto Table Topics.
Club President, Andy, dug out a concept that he’d used before. We are all passengers on an airship which is about to crash. There are only two parachutes. One for the captain (Andy) and one for another person. All volunteers were given a character on the ship (owner, engineer, stowaway, barman etc) and each person had to plead their case as to why they should get the parachute.
Really impressed that we had three First Timers come up and take part in the fun: Fey, Glen and Sundip all came up and braved the stage and did really well. Once again it was demonstrated that the only barrier to moving forward is by not trying in the first place.
The Best Table Topic award went to Andrew, who basically let everyone else fight it out whilst he snuck out the door with the parachute. He also picked up Best Evaluator in his role as Grammarian, aided dramatically by quite a few people being excluded from the vote by going over time.
Our visitor, Glen, surprised us all – including himself – by coming to the front and telling a personal tale which supported the message that Maria had put forward about paying close attention to your health. As someone who had stated h
e was petrified to speak in front of others, Glen defied all expectations and came across natural and calm, so well done to you sir.
Andy brought the meeting home with the awards for the night as well as a report on all the accolades and awards that the club had been presented with at the Division Contest at the weekend, with huge amounts of credit going to Lianna, Deborah and Andrew for the welcoming video on the website, getting onto BBC Radio Sheffield to talk about Public Speaking and a noble 2nd in the said contest.
The award winners for best in category were:
Sandie for Best Speaker.
Andrew for Best TableTopics.
Andrew for Best Evaluator.
Report by Andrew (General Evaluator)
Our next meeting is Monday 29th April 2019 at 7pm start at the Regent Hotel and, as always, guests are welcome.
With an audience made up of current member and 3 guests the meeting was aptly themed around Community.
If anybody was unsure of proceedings they were soon put right by Sergeant At Arms, Susie who with one loud bang of the gavel brought the meeting to order and following a quick run through the housekeeping she passed over the lectern to the Toastmaster for the evening Lianna.
Lianna gave a brief introduction to toastmasters and the various agendas and voting slips people had on their table which was a good reminder for the members and helpful to the guests to know what, when and why.
Evan was next up explaining his role of Timekeeper, followed by the Gramarian Andrew who explained the type of language he was looking for such as the power of 3. Janet the Ah Counter then informed the room she would be making a note of all the erms and ah’s people used instead of just pausing and waiting for their brain to catch up with their mouth when speaking.
The first part of the night was the prepared speeches, Sandie told us ‘You’re as old as you feel’, Elizabeth explained about ‘A brain to pick, An Ear to listen and a push in the right direction’ when mentoring somebody and current Vice President for Education Maria did her 7 speech on the topic of research and she talked to the room about the different herbs in her garden and cooking.
The second part of the night was the speech evaluations with President Andy evaluating Sandie, Andrew evaluating Elizabeth and Arthur evaluating Maria. All the evaluator gave a series of commends and recommends that both the speaker and the audience could take away and implement in their next speeches.
Mwada the Table Topics Master led the third part of the evening with the impromptu speaking where eight individuals including two of the guests were given a question that they had to answer straight away and the answer had to list between one and two minutes.
In just 6 minutes Elizabeth then had the job of evaluating all the Table Topic speakers and given them all a recommend and commend which she did with.
The final part of the evening was the evaluations of Gramarian, Andrew, Ah Counter, Janet and General Evaluator Steven.
The award winners for best in category were:
Val and Yetunde for First Timers.
Elizabeth for Best Speaker.
Jill for Best TableTopics.
Elizabeth for Best Evaluator.
Report by Steven (General Evaluator)
Our next meeting is Monday 8th April 2019 at 7pm start at the Regent Hotel and, as always, guests are welcome.