Big Stage Experience

What a great night for Doncaster Speakers. We held our first Big Stage event at Hall Cross School in Doncaster. We all spoke on the big stage with a microphone, this was a great space for us to practice our public speaking in a bigger space.

The evening started with a confident welcoming from Elizabeth has Sergeant at Arms and  our Toastmaster for the evening was Andy. Both were professional and informative, the evening started off with a strong start.

Sharron was Timekeeper for the evening. Sharron was clear on what she expected from us and kept the evening running along smoothly and on time. Stephanie was Grammarian for the evening, this is always a treat for us as Stephanie loves this role and her passion for it always shines through. Susie was the Ah Counter, she told us how much she enjoyed this role and how it has been really helping her with her listening skills especially in her work environment.


Our first speaker of the evening was Bal with a speech entitled The Magic of Thinking BIG. Bal is new to our club but has shown already that she is a great public speaker and her enthusiasm for her topics always uplifts our evenings in a positive way. Steven was her evaluator and gave us a funny but clear evaluation for Bal’s speech at the end.


Our second speaker was Elizabeth with a speech entitled The Great Social Media Review. This year Elizabeth holds the VP for Education role and already has had a massive impact on the club in this role. She is now starting a project to support and help our Social Media with the support of  VP PR Steven, together I believe they will do great things to help promote our club.  Stephanie was her evaluator and gave us a competition standard evaluation. We are lucky to have such talent at Doncaster Speakers.

Our last speaker was Maria with a speech entitled Don’t Give Me Pearls. Maria has really come into her own style of speaking in the last few speeches she has given and her journey through Toastmasters has been great to watch. She holds the stage and the audience very well with her drama skills and confident delivery. Jean was her evaluator and really commended Maria’s performance and her journey she has been on at Toastmaster, it was a very heartfelt and personal evaluation.

The second half of the evening was filled with evaluations, Table Topics and Toastimonials. Bridge was Table Topics Master and what a brilliant session, Bridget always manages to make us all feel relaxed and entertains in whatever role she performs. Arthur evaluated our TableTopics session and spoke to all speakers in such a positive way.

We had Toastimonials from Steven and Bridget about their journey with Toastmasters. What a great way to show guest the impact Toastmasters can have on their professional and personal development.


The evening was evaluated by Lianna giving the General Evaluator report.


The award winners for best in category were:


Elizabeth for Best Speaker

Lianna for Best Table Topics

Stephanie for Best Evaluator

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.

Doncaster Member wins Northern District Toastmasters Competition

Division N Toastmasters Competitions

Well done to our very own fellow member JON.

Firstly he came first in Club Table Topics and Humorous speech competitions then at Area (against 3 clubs clubs) level he again won – and on the 26th October 2019 he represented our Area at Division level.

The Division competition was held at the County Hall in Durham with Jon facing 5 Area winners, covering 20 clubs.

The winner of the Division competition would go through to the final round – The District competition.

In the Humorous speech competition Jon came a credible 2nd which he was elated to hear but he was even more overjoyed when the results of the Table Topics competition was announced:-

The winner of the Table Topics contest is:-…………. Jon from Doncaster!


The District contest will be held in Killarney, Ireland  on 22nd – 24th May 2020. for more details

Division N’ Humorous Speech & Table Topics Competitions Date

Our very own fellow member JON came first in both the Club then Area (3 clubs) level competitions – and now represents our Area at Division level (ie. 5 Area winners, covering 20 clubs). 

If you can make it to Durham, please come along to support Jon and watch/learn/laugh along …. 

DATE: Saturday 26th October, 2019

VENUE:  County Hall, Durham DN1 5UL  (free parking and one mile from the train station)

TIME:  9:30AM to 2:00PM with tea/coffee provided **

Family and friends welcome, includes 2 workshops and contest entry

To Sheffield and Beyond – Area Competition Review

Humorous Speeches and Table Topics

Saturday 12th October 2019 the Toastmasters Area 21 competitions were held between Hull Speakers, Sheffield Speakers and Doncaster Speakers.

It was an exceptional day of quality speakers and entertainment, plus some seriously tough competition, which highlighted just how good our three clubs are.

I am pleased to announce the winners…..  (drumroll knee claps please!)


Area HUMOROUS SPEECH Competition :  



  1. Jon Carvell  (Doncaster Speakers)
  2. Elizabeth Mead (Doncaster Speakers
  3. Darlington Nwankwo  (Sheffield Speakers)


 Area TABLE TOPICS Competition : 

Table Topics

  1. Jon Carvell  (Doncaster Speakers)
  2. Maria Orlovic  (Doncaster Speakers)
  3. Lincoln Smith  (Hull Speakers)

This is a wonderful achievement for our club and I am sure you join me in congratulating everyone who won and took part from all clubs in our Area.

If you would like to take part in the next competition or just want to improve your public speaking then check out our website or come along to one of our meetings on the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month from 7pm at The Regent Hotel Doncaster.

Maybe word of the day but this meeting was not a Guddle!

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Review
Date:- 22/07/2019
Venue:- Regent Hotel, Doncaster
Meeting Theme:- Insanely Great
Word Of The Day:- Guddle

With a powerful bang of the gavel Sergeant at Arms Mwada brought the meeting to order and then followed with the housekeeping rules before handing over to the Toastmaster for the evening Bal.

Bal introduced her theme for the evening and as there were 4 guests in the room she did a good job of explaining the make up of Toastmasters International and how the meeting would take place and what to do when.

Next up was Timekeeper Andy who explained the importance of keeping to time, what the duration section on the agenda was for and which card he would raise when people reached those times on the agenda.

The meeting was one of multitasking for Elizabeth who performed her first role of the night as Grammarian telling the meeting the type of language she was looking out for and she also introduced the word of the day – Guddle (meaning a mess) using examples of how you could fit the word in to a sentence.

Stephanie the Ah Counter described the filler words such as ‘So’, ‘Like’ and ‘Erm’ that people use instead of pausing when thinking what to say next. She also pointed out that people is different parts of the country use different filler words.

Then it was prepared speech time with Jon who was doing the Pathway speech where he had to deliver a speech he had previously done and try and improve on the feedback he received at the time. Jon chose a speech entitled ‘Stress Testing’ and gave us a fun and energetic talk on how following a process to reduce his stress levels left him feeling more stressed.

Unfortunately a couple of other speakers who were due to speak had to drop out prior to the meeting but the gap was expertly filled by Elizabeth with her second role of the evening.

Elizabeth facilitated a new section to the agenda where she invited people to come to the front and to share their Toastmasters journey.

Andrew was first telling everyone the day he learnt how to project his voice better. Lianna told people how she had first found Toastmasters in New Zealand first but did not pluck up courage to go to a meeting till she came back to Doncaster and it had made her find her confidence again. Guest Maureen also got up and gave a introduction to the forthcoming TedX Doncaster event she was helping to organise.

Elizabeth’s third role of the evening followed as Education Session Leader where with the help of Susie she gave a session on the new Pathways website and how to navigate it.

Mwada signalled the start of the second half with another confident bang of the gavel.

Elizabeth back in her Grammarian role reminded everyone of the word of the day.

General Evaluator for the evening Steven explained the importance of listening and giving feedback, a skill everyone needs to learn.

Maria was back up evaluating Jon’s speech from the first half pointing out to all what he had done well and what needed a little more refining.

Elizabeth then evaluated the Toastmaster Journey speeches giving a summary of what they said and pointing out good things they had said and a couple of ideas where they could have improved the speech.

Bringing thoughts of fun and panic in equal measures was the next activity Table Topic. This is the section where someone is given a question and they instantly have to try and talk about that subject for up to 2 minutes. Arthur was the Table Topics Master and he based is questions on the theme of Great. So there were questions such as what is your greatest wish, what is the greatest thing you have ever built and similar questions for the 9 contestants.

Susie the Table Topics Evaluator did very well in summarising the whole session and giving positive feedback to each of the 9 contestants and she did it all in the allotted time of 4 to 6 minutes.

Stephanie the Ah Counter gave people their scores of how many times they used filler words and again explained to try and use a pause instead.

Elizabeth for the final time was up with a Grammarian’s round up of good use of language and how many times the word of the day had been used.

The last evaluation was by Steven who as General Evaluator had the role of evaluating everyone who had not been evaluated during the evening so that was everyone apart from the Jon in the first half and the 9 Table Topic speakers in the second half.

Bal ended the evening by asking the guests for feedback and opening the floor to a question and answer session.

Lastly the ribbons were handed out:-

First Timer – Fiona
Best Speaker – Jon
Best Evaluator – Susie
Best Table Topics – a draw between Mwada and Maureen.

Next meeting is scheduled for Monday 12th August 2019

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