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

Doncaster Member completes the CL Award

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:- 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

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 24th June, 2019

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

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 10th June, 2019

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

(General Evaluator)

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 13th May, 2019

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
(General Evaluator)

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