Such has been the success of Doncaster Speakers in the last few months an extra session had to be booked in to enable members to do a speech or evaluation role to help get them further through their manuals as the Toastmasters year end looms ever closer.
Low on quantity of people this meeting was high on quality.
Expertly, Sergant at Arms Arthur Fenn brought the meeting to a timely start and hush decended in the room with one fell swoop of the ceremonial hammer.
Toastmaster for the evening Alison Turner took over the meeting and keeping in mind the topic of the day – Technology – she ran a smooth meeting with no need to turn it off and back on again as everything went to plan.
We were entertained by two speakers, first up was Stephanie Bisby who was doing speech 9 of 10 from the Competent Communicator Manual – The Persuasive Speech – persuading us with some good personal examples that we all have a book within us.
Second up was Pauline Westrop who is on the Advanced Manuals and this week her task was to raise a toast. Pauline ticked the box in her manual whilst at the same time doing a job that needed doing as this was her last meeting as Area Director before handing over the chain of honour to Jean Stewart. Jean just happened to be sat next to her so Pauline raised a toast whilst handing over the chains. Multitasking at its best!
The interval then arrived with the chance to have a good old cuppa and a spot of networking.
With another timely bang of the hammer Arthur signalled the start of the second half.
Feedback is the thing that binds the Toastmasters galaxy together and without it life would be like Groundhog Day with nobody learning from their mistakes or successes so we were privileged to have 2 top Evaluators in Jean Stewart and Shelagh Jones giving not only feedback to Stephanie and Pauline but also they gave out hints and tips the whole audience could take away and think about.
Next up was Table Topics where speakers are given a question with no time to prepare and they then have to try and talk for 1 to 2 minutes on that subject. The evening’s Table Topics Master was Maria Orlovic who stuck to the meeting topic of Technology and came up with some great questions such as “Where do you see the Internet in 25 years time?” and “Could you live without technology?”.
The winner of the Table Topics was Josie Bowerman who gave a very compelling argument as to why robots are good for us.
Pauline carried on her multitasking by being Table Topics Evaluator giving all the speakers equal amounts of praise and tips to think about for next time.
A great meeting was had by all including the two guests in the room who commented on how clearly everyone spoke.
With that I’m off, I’ve got a book to write, JK Rowling watch out!
Best Speaker Award– Stephanie Bisby
Best Table Topics Award – Josephine Bowerman
Best Evaluator -Pauline Westrop
Meeting report by Steve Bisby, General Evaluator
Next meeting is on Monday June 12th. Visitors are very welcome – just come along!
Report by General Evaluator Shelagh Jones
New President Derek Lucian was Toastmaster for the meeting and gave us the theme of “Possibilities” – appropriate for the beginning of a new Toastmasters year.
The start of the meeting was a bit disorganised as Sergeant at Arms Sean Gordon was late to arrive, but two guests were warmly welcomed and had their early questions answered.
Derek gave a comprehensive introduction to open the meeting and introduced Time Keeper Julie Gordon, Ah Counter Andrew Miller and Grammarian Steve Bisby.
Steve’s Word of the Day was Appropriately which was picked up enthusiastically and used throughout the meeting.
Bridget Pearson introduced the Ice Breaker speech of her mentee, new member Julie Pitcher. Julie gave us a touching and heart-warming portrait of her life with Sally, a retired guide dog who gave years of service to Julie’s mother.
The purpose of the Ice Breaker speech is two-fold – to tell the audience a little bit about yourself and to establish where your skills are at the start of your Toastmasters journey so you can see your progress as you work through the manuals.
Bridget’s evaluation showed Julie where she is starting and where she can develop with future speeches
Michael J Clarke introduced Stephanie Bisby who gave Speech 5 from the Competent Communicator manual which focuses on Body Language. Entitled “Dancing Through Life” Stephanie wove together lessons from her time learning dance at university with the skills we need to develop as speakers, giving an enjoyable speech which earned her the Best Speaker award.
Mentoring is an essential part of the Toastmasters programme, and one which Doncaster Speakers continues to develop within the club. Jean Stewart gave a wide-ranging overview of how mentoring works, both for mentor and mentee. You can read a synopsis of what she said here.
After the break Derek Lucian was Table Topics (impromptu speaking) master and it was encouraging to see both guests (Gerard Cahill –First Time award) and new members take part , with the Best Table Topics award being shared by long-time member Andrew Miller and one of our newest members Sarah Saxelby.
Alison Turner evaluated the Table Topics speakers and gave valuable feedback to all.
Andrew Miller’s Ah counter report helped us all recognise those crutch words (and broken sentences!) which take away from the impact of our words.
Steve Bisby gave his first evaluation as Grammarian and introduced us to such concepts as “doing an Andy Murray” and the invaluable advice of replacing our umms and errs with the Word of the Day to achieve the double whammy of praise from both Ah counter and Grammarian! This was an outstanding debut performance which won him the Best Evaluator Award.
At the end of the meeting President Derek Lucian lead a lively discussion of various matters to do with the Club including inviting anyone interested in helping to organise the D71 District conference in Sheffield in November 2017 to come along to a planning meeting on September 8th.
He also presented certificates to recognise recent achievements by three members:
Advanced Communicator Bronze (ACB) – Jean Stewart and Shelagh Jones
Competent Communicator – Sean Gordon
The next meeting is on Monday August 8th and guests are most welcome to come along and join us.
Congratulations to Jean Stewart on achieving her Advanced Communicator Bronze certificate.
To do this Jean completed two Advanced manuals, “The Entertaining Speaker” and “Humorously Speaking”.
There were 5 projects in each manual making 10 projects in all.
“Speeches for Management”
From the Toastmasters International Advanced Communicator Series
by Lisa Johnson, Immediate Past President, Doncaster Speakers
Now that several of our members have completed the 10 speeches in the Competent Communicator manual it is fascinating to start to hear the variety of speeches tackled in those members’ chosen Advanced Manuals, they can chose from over 20 manuals, everything from “The Entertaining Speaker”, and “The Special Occasion Speech” through to “Communicating on Video” and “Public Relations.”
On Monday 13th February one of our members, Derek Lucian, delivered Speech 1 from the “Speeches by Management” series. The speech project was “The Briefing” and Derek used an excellent timed PowerPoint presentation to trial a speech he plans to deliver at work. Despite being a long-standing member of Doncaster Speakers, I had never come across a speech from this manual so I delved into what is involved as it seemed a very relevant topic to many members and potential guests considering dipping their toe into joining a speaking club!
The projects covered in “Speeches for Management” are :
1. The Briefing
2. The Technical Speech
3. Manage and Motivate
4. The Status Report
5. Confrontation – The Adversary Relationship
I had no idea that by coming along to The Regent on a Monday evening for a fun evening, I could also learn to deal with confrontation and how to handle myself professionally in an argument! Several of the Advanced speeches are a bit different to the basic Toastmaster speeches in that they include handling Q&A sessions and as ever ensuring timings are adhered to in both the speech and the feedback sessions is a key objective. From my observations working large corporations at the start of my career I sincerely wish that many of our Managers had had the foresight to join Toastmasters as many hours were wasted with meetings over-running, interminable Q&A sessions or conversely Q&A sessions that lasted only seconds as we had “run out of time.” I can’t say I was entirely blame-free on that front either!
For anyone in business or thinking of going into business I would thoroughly recommend coming along to a taster session at Doncaster Speakers and chatting to our members about how becoming a member has helped them in their career.
Doncaster Speakers meet every 2nd and 4th Monday of the month at The Regent Hotel in Doncaster. Our next meeting is Monday 24th March and this is a club competition evening, though guests are of course welcome to come along and watch. Usual meetings will resume on 14th April 2014.
Doncaster Speakers Meeting Monday 13th February 2014
“Rain and Rainbows”
As ever, Monday’s dose of Toastmasters provided an excellent mix of humour, professionalism and some thought-provoking formal and impromptu speeches! Gail Powell was an excellent Toastmaster of the evening and chose the theme of the meeting “Rain and Rainbows”.
Our three members delivering prepared speeches were Alison Kitchman, Sean Gordon and Derek Lucian. Although 2 of the speeches had a seasonal link to Valentine’s Day, they differed vastly; Alison’s speech explored the roots of this romantic feast-day and offered suggestions to men wishing to impress their ladies whilst Sean’s speech relived the Valentine’s Day massacre allegedly triggered by Al Capone. Derek’s speech was from an Advanced Manual selected to hone his Business Speaking skills and we were treated to an abridged version of a speech designed to win grant aid from a funding authority.
Our Toastmaster was ably assisted by our Sergeant-at- Arms (our newest member and native French-speaker, Michel Ediele), Timekeeper (Derek Badger), Ah Counter (Jean Stewart) and Grammarian (Andrea Pashley) whilst Speech Evaluators were Sean Ryan, Shelagh Jones and Julie Gordon. Our General Evaluator, Lisa Johnson, re-iterated that the role of the Evaluators is to ensure evaluations contained a good mix of commendations and recommendations and inspire the speakers to go away with positive points for action and a better feel for where their strengths lie. Andrea’s chosen “Word of the Day” was “INSPIRE”. Our Education slot was provided by Mark Powell who tried to unravel some of the mysteries of D71 which he unveiled was not in fact a war-ship but the web-site used by Toastmasters for planning meetings and tracking member’s progress!
After the break our Table Topics Master, Derek Lucian, invited members to deliver an impromptu speech for 1-2 minutes on a variety of Rain and Rainbow themed topics. We were delighted to welcome a good number of guests to the meeting, although on this occasion none of them chose to have a go at Table Topics! We never throw guests in at the deep end but sometimes first timers choose to “take the plunge” and it is always a treat for our regular members to hear new styles and voices! Fred Roberts expertly fed back with a mini commendation and recommendation neatly packaged for each Table Topics speaker.
The meeting was wrapped up by Gail who presented awards for Best Speaker (Alison Kitchman), Best Evaluators (Fred Roberts and Andrea Pashley) and presented (with a becoming blush), the best Table Topics award… to her good self!