Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 21st May 2018

Our Sergeant at Arms for the evening, Elizabeth Mead, started the meeting promptly at 7 o’clock, and handed over to our Toastmaster for the evening, Andy Howell, who explained the unusual format the evening would take to launch the new Toastmasters educational programme, Pathways.  Instead of the usual 2 to 3 speeches and an educational session, the first half of the meeting consisted of six speakers all completing the same task: delivering an icebreaker speech to introduce themselves to the club.

All six speeches were fluent and interesting, with approaches ranging from straightforward biography, to life lessons learned, and even an innovative use of props in Jon Carvell’s speech, entitled ‘Labels’. Just to prove that it’s possible to deliver an award-winning speech at any stage of your Toastmasters career, the Best Speaker award was a tie between Zoe Robinson – the newest speaker taking part – and Andy Howell – the most experienced.

In the second half of the evening, an evaluation was delivered for each of the speeches.  All the evaluations provided helpful feedback – both positives and points for improvement – for the speakers.  Best Evaluator award went to Stephanie Bisby for her evaluation of Jon’s speech.  Lianna Cairns then ran an entertaining Table Topic session following the meeting theme of ‘Memories’.  The questions resulted in some excellent impromptu speeches, with the Best Table Topic award going to new member Janet Goodband on only her second occasion of taking part.

Maria Orlovic presented the awards and the evening finished with questions for the Toastmaster and a comment from our guest.  All in all, the meeting was both fun and inspiring.  Thanks are due to everyone who kept the session running smoothly, especially Jon Carvell and Steven Bisby for stepping in to the roles of Grammarian and Timekeeper at short notice.

The award winners for best in category were:

  • Zoe Robinson and Andy Howell for Best Speaker.
  • Janey Goodband for Best TableTopics.
  • Stephanie Bisby for Best Evaluator.

Report by Stephanie Bisby  (in lieu of a General Evaluator)

Our next meeting is Monday 11th June 2018 at 7pm start at the Regent Hotel and, as always, guests are welcome.



Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 14th May 2018

Our Sergeant at Arms for the evening, Evan Williams, started the meeting aplomb for the first time in this role at 7 o’clock, and handed over to our Toastmaster for the evening, Lianna Cairns, who ran the meeting with both fun and efficiency throughout; it was also Lianna;s first time as Toastmaster for the evening and her chosen theme of ‘Learning and Exploration’ matched well with the evening over all, as Evan and Lianna were not the only firsts of the night.

After helpful introductions to the roles of Timekeeper, Ah counter and Grammarian from Mwada Lawan, Steven Bisby and Deborah Kershaw respectively, the main part of the evening began with three prepared speeches.  Mwada and Deborah were also undertaking their roles for the first time.

Our Grammarian set our word for the evening as incredulous and I was filled with incredulity myself to see 3 such well prepared speeches, all at different levels from Pathways, Competant Communicator and Advanced Manuals – and all with different objectives and styles.

Sarah Saxelby gave us a humourous morality tale regarding her “pink dress” and her efforts to fit in it for a friends wedding, Maria Orlovic taught us that we are all onions with her rousing statement of “I am an onion” and magicked comparisons between the humble vegetable and ourselves, but the best speaker of the evening award went to Jean Stewart with “the total package” a sales speech about her own bespoke travel company which Jean mastered with her usual panache and flair.  Elizabeth Mead closed the first half of the meeting with an informative educational presentation sharing her own experiences of Pathways now she has completed her first Icebreaker speech.  All agreed that this was brave to share and Elizabeth even followed on with an impromptu Q&A.

After the break, Derek Lucian gave us a selection of Table Topics (impromptu speaking) prompts – all linked to the theme of the evening, asking speakers to share such as “the most difficult thing you have ever learned” “the thing you have learned today” and “when does a little knowledge become dangerous. The Best Table Topic award went to Deborah who recounted how that day she had been learning to ski and had us all laughing along with her adventure.  Andrew won the Best Evaluator award for his insightful evaluation of Jeans sales speech, which included both commendations and helpful recommendations for Jean, no easy task for such a wonderful and seasoned speaker as Jean.

All in all, the meeting was the holy trinity of support, fun and education which keeps me attending every meeting possible.

The award winners for best in category were:

  • Jean Stewart for Best Speaker.
  • Deborah Kershaw for Best TableTopics.
  • Andrew Hodge for Best Evaluator.

and Janet Goodband received her ;First Timer’ award for first time speaking in front of the group with a delightful table topic about the importance of repetition in learning– congratulations!

Report by Jon Carvell, General Evaluator (1st time)

Our next meeting is Monday 21st May 2018 (in lieu of the Bank Holiday) at 6.45pm for 7pm at the Regent Hotel and as always, guests are welcome.  This will be a special Pathways ‘official launch’ speeches showcase!

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 23rd April 2018

Our Sergeant at Arms for the evening, Maria Orlovic, started the meeting promptly at 7 o’clock, and handed over to our Toastmaster for the evening, Sarah Saxelby, who kept the meeting running smoothly and efficiently throughout, and set an interesting theme for the evening, Reflections.

After helpful introductions to the roles of timekeeper, Ah counter and Grammarian from Ben Clottey, Diran Gill and Arthur Fenn respectively, the main part of the evening kicked off with two prepared speeches.  Lianna Cairns delivered a fluent, funny performance with her speech ‘I Hate Running’, but the best speaker award on this occasion went to Elizabeth Mead for her honest and thoughtful Icebreaker speech, entitled ‘This is Me’.  Andy Howell closed the first half of the meeting with an informative educational presentation explaining how members can get started on using the new online system, Pathways, to support their learning.

After the break, Maria Orlovic provided a varied and thought-provoking selection of table topic (impromptu speaking) prompts – all linked to the theme of the evening, asking speakers to reflect on the past and future – and the result was an entertaining second half of the meeting. The Best Table Topic award went to a first-time visitor Zoe Robinson who gave an honest and fluent speech despite her nerves.  Bridget Pearson fended off stiff competition from the excellent speech evaluators to win the Best Evaluator award for her whistlestop evaluation of all the table-topic speakers, which included both commendations and helpful recommendations for all the speakers – no small feat in the time available.

All in all, the meeting was both fun and educational.

The award winners for best in category were:

  • Elizabeth Mead for Best Speaker.
  • Zoe Robinson for Best TableTopics.
  • Bridget Pearson for Best Evaluator.

and Ben Clottey received his Competant Communicator award – congratulations!

Report by Stephanie Bisby, General Evaluator

Our next meeting is Monday 14th May 2018 at 6.45pm to 7pm at the Regent Hotel and, as always, guests are welcome.

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 9th April 2018

What a great night once again. The theme chosen by our ToastMaster for the evening Bridget Pearson was: Embrace the change

Onboarding our new members

Just prior to this meeting the Doncaster Speakers Committee had met and had agreed on testing out an idea to help new members ‘ease’ in to the club and get a good understanding of some of the roles by asking them to shadow the Time Keeper, Ah! Counter and Grammarian.
Just before the meeting began we asked our newest attendees, Christina Narz, Diran Gill and Mwada Lawan to shadow those roles.

The evening

We had a guest, Evan, who has attended a previous session on guest evening and was eager to experience another session.

The evening was opened by our Sergeant At Arms – Arthur Fenn who then introduced our Toastmaster for the evening Bridget Pearson.

Bridget shared with the room a brief history and understanding of Toastmasters, she shared why she’s part of the club and the progress she’s made.  It’s great to hear why other’s have joined and the impact their progress is having on them.  Bridget filled the role of Toastmaster with confidence and humility, she was a great host of the evening and kept everything running smoothly.

Our Evaluators

Steven Bisby introduced the Time Keeper role and as we always enjoy and have come to expect, he began his explanation of the role with a humorous and related story about the British Summer Time change, that all of his clocks had automatically changed time except for his alarm clock making him late. He explained the importance of good time keeping in speeches and explained the purpose of his colour coded reminder boards.

Bridget then invited Jane Franckeiss to give the audience an understanding of the Grammarian role.  Jane highlighted the fact that this was a challenge for her at the best of times and of course, this is why we take on these roles because it helps us develop those skills from a listening and observational point of view.  Jane chose her word of the day as Rotund which effectively means round/spherical and can relate to a person being of that shape or it can mean a full bodied understanding of something too.

Deborah Kershaw then gave us an overview of the Ah! Counter role and like Jane, Deborah pointed out that she has the record for the most ah’s although I expect this is more her feeling than fact, we’re all guilty of um’ing and ah’ing from time to time and the benefit of this role is it makes us much more attuned to it which then helps us prevent using the word ourselves.

Prepared Speech

Owing to a last minute unfortunate cancellation of another speaker we only had the one prepared speech but what an amazing speech it was.  Introduced and evaluated by Ben Clottey, Derek Lucian delivered an exceptional speech from the Advanced Communication Manual – Interpretive Reading, the 3rd project The Melodrama.

Derek’s speech was entitled ‘The Prisoner of Second Avenue’

The objectives of his speech were:
– To understand the concept and nature of the monodrama
– To assume the identity of a character and to portray the physical and emotional aspects of this character to an audience.

The story Derek portrayed revolved around the escalating problems of a middle-aged couple living on Second Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York City. Mel Edison, the main character, has just lost his job after many years and now has to cope with being unemployed at middle age, during an economic downturn.

It was as though we were at the lyceum in Sheffield watching professional actors, Derek’s performance was 2nd to none, it was incredibly moving, well paced and packed with emotion.

Prepared Speech Evaluation

After the break we heard a wonderful evaluation on Derek’s speech from Ben. What was particularly great for me when I listened to Ben’s feedback was that he didn’t simply tell Derek how well he’d done, he mirrored some of the tonality, body language and emotion as he explained why they were great.

Impromptu Speeches – TableTopics

TableTopics was great fun and as we had more time available, we were able to have much more of the audience participate.

Stephanie Bisby was our TableTopics Master.  Stephanie explained the process, the times and purpose of the impromptu speaking to the audience and then presented her topics in a different way than the usual.  The audience members who had ‘volunteered’ to participate were invited 1 by 1 by Stephanie and asked to pick a folded piece of paper at random which had their respective question/scenario.  All of the questions were nicely tied to the theme of the evening and in terms of the speeches given by the toastmasters, they ranged from very humorous through to serious and educational.

TableTopics evaluation

Maria Orlovic was the TableTopics evaluator, and gave a really great evaluation to the room, she began with some general observations that everyone could relate to and then gave individual pointers per person.  Maria was very animated, very thorough and gave a remarkable evaluation with great recommendations.

Evaluator Reports

After Deborah and Jane gave their respective reports on the Ah’s!, use of language and the use of the word of the day – which was used much more extensively in the first half of the evening than the latter, Steven announced the time keeping and who therefore was in the running for best in category.

Just prior to the awards Maria gave a fantastic summary of the previous day’s competition, sharing her experience of the day and how proud and pleased she was at how well Doncaster had done and also inspired our members to put themselves forward for future competitions sharing her feelings that the quality of speeches she’s witnessed at Doncaster Speakers is definitely competition standard.


The award winners for best in category were:

  • Derek Lucian for Best Speaker.
  • Andy Howell for Best TableTopics.
  • Maria Orlovic for Best Evaluator.

In addition, for getting up and participating in TableTopics as a first time speech, Christina, one of our newest members received the award for First Timer.

And very well deserved awards they were too.


Feedback from our newest members in the room who had been shadowing the TimeKeeper, Grammarian and Ah! Counter said that they really valued the experience.

All in all, a fantastic and enjoyable evening.

Report by Shane Lukas, General Evaluator

Our next meeting is Monday 23rd April 2018 


Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 26th March 2018

As a member of Toastmasters you are given the ability to find the balance between taking the path that suits you best and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone.

Maria Orlovic has been an active member of the club for well over a year, is a committee member and half way through her Competent Communicator manual, yet this was her first time as Toastmaster.  We may be able to find a clue as to what’s going on under the surface by the fact that the them she chose for the evening was “Feel the fear and do it anyway”.

As is most frequently the case, there was no reason to feel the fear in the first place, as Maria did an excellent job.  Introducing the meeting with a personal story to get us all involved and keeping the meeting flowing throughout, linking the sections without issue.

Once again we had a mix of experienced and new members in the audience, including Elizabeth Mead and Kieran Fox who became members that very evening, so welcome to them.

Due to illness, we were down to only the one speaker tonight unfortunately, however, it was a great pleasure to have Matthew Pennington over from Sheffield Speakers.  Despite being an experienced Toastmaster, he wanted to have another go at his Ice Breaker, the very first speech in the Competent Communicator manual, entitled About Me.

Naturally, it was very accomplished with slides and audience interaction aplenty.  The basic structure was a True/False quiz based around alleged facts from his life.  This meant that everyone got involved and were entertained throughout.

Later on Stephanie Bisby was to give an extremely polished evaluation of Matthew’s speech.  Delivering without notes, Stephanie gave a really well structured presentation, with great use of body, voice and language.  Clear and specific commendations and recommendations for Matthew whilst including the whole audience in her delivery.

We were also blessed today to have an education slot from one of the more experienced Toastmasters, Andrew Miller, designed for all of the new members to the club, of which there have been quite a few recently.  Acknowledging that it can be a little overwhelming starting at the beginning, this Introduction to Toastmasters gave them a guide on what to focus on first.

In the second half, the Table Topics were run by Lianna Cairns, all nicely connected to the theme of the day: how to overcome various phobias.  As well as some stalwarts, it was great to see a number of people coming up to the front for the first time, including Terence, our first time visitor.  Very accomplished they were too.  The winner of the evening was our colleague from Milton Keynes, Ben Clottey, who is working in the Doncaster area and has become an honorary Doncastrian over the last few months.

The Table Topics were evaluated by Arthur Fenn, who entertained us all whilst giving some very useful and supportive feedback for each and every participant.  Come the subsequent vote, Arthur managed to take away the award for Best Evaluator for the evening.

The other evaluations came from our Grammarian, Stefan Glova, who had to try and follow what we were all saying, despite English not being his first language – and our Ah Counter, Bridget Pearson who gave everyone a thorough debrief on their superfluous wordings.

A diary date reminder from Maria about the Area Competition in Hull on 8th April and our next meeting the day after and another throughly enjoyable meeting was wrapped up.

Do come along to the next meeting on Monday 9th April, we’re always open to welcoming more people into the fold.  Remember, if anything is making you feel nervous about coming, feel the fear and do it anyway.

The award winners were:

  •     Best Speaker – Matthew Pennington
  •     Best Table Topics speaker – Ben Clottey
  •     Best Evaluator – Arthur Fenn

Report by Andrew Miller, General Evaluator

Our next meeting is Monday 9th April 2018 

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 12th March 2018

Monday 12th March was the first of our competition nights for 2018 (there are usually two each year). Members competed in two categories of the Club competition (International Speech and Evaluation) to go through to the Area competition in Hull. The winners of that round will compete in the District Competition in Chester, and so on up to the District competition, which is being held in Ireland this year, and eventually the International finals.

Derek Lucian gave a polished and informative speech on the origins of rhetoric, so that the Evaluation contest competitors were challenged to find recommendations as well as positive comments.  Nevertheless, all the contestants provided effective and balanced evaluations, with Andrew Miller earning first place and Andy Howell second place.

The second half of the evening was devoted to the International Speech contest, in which entrants have free choice of subject, though the talks are often motivational or inspirational in nature.  Once again, Andrew Miller took first place with his talk entitled “When We Were Very Young”, and this time second place went to Lianna Cairns for “When Are You Going to Start Acting Like an Adult?”

Thanks go to all involved in arranging the competition, including the Chief Judge, Pauline Westrop, Competition Chair, Shane Lukas, and the timekeepers and counters, Arthur Fenn and Steven Bisby, as well as everyone who acted as judges on the evening.  We wish our representatives the best of luck at the area contest.

Report by Stephanie Bisby – with thanks

Our next meeting is Monday 26th March 2018 at 6.45pm to 7pm at the Regent Hotel and, as always, guests are welcome.

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