For a distinguished Toastmasters club with a membership in the high 30s, this was an extraordinary night never witnessed previously by most of its membership. For unlike a typical buoyant turnout, only 6 members could attend this second meeting in the holiday month of August.
However, just like life and public speaking may throw up unforeseen challenges, all saw the prospect for extra practice as an opportunity and got stuck right in. Our newest member Sandie, bravely stretched herself and took on the role of Grammarian. The more experienced members took on two roles to compliment her move – with Arthur as Toastmaster and Table Topics Master, Steve as Timekeeper and Speech Evaluator, Andy as Ah Counter and Speech Evaluator, Andrew as Speaker and Table Topics Evaluator and Maria as Sergeant at Arms and Speaker. Instead of the full General Evaluator feedback of a normal meeting towards the end, all attendees gave Sandie verbal feedback with added focus instead.
Sandie did a superb job in her first Grammarian role, highlighting such vivid gems as “constructed a sentence to paint a picture” and setting the word of the day as “procrastination”. Andy as Ah Counter challenged all to use pauses and avoid the use of so’s (at the start of a sentence) and um’s. Andrew holds the most competition wins, but this evening he launched into the new Pathways programme with his Icebreaker speech “Tales From the Inside” that focused on his Toastmasters journey. His Speech Evaluator Andy, reminded us that Andrew “stayed for the challenge, stayed for the change”. Maria gave her ‘Evaluation and Feedback’ project second speech aiming to demonstrate applied feedback and gave a different spin to her original speech about new digital technologies. Her Evaluator was Steve, who had identified initial strengths and suggested improvements in his thorough approach that was appreciated and proved effective.
Everyone sharpened their concentration and mobility to keep pace with the various roles they played. Plus every person got the opportunity to take part in Table Topics. This impromptu short speeches session hovers on the edge of whacky at times, and this time Arthur brought politics into the equation. He stated that he was Prime Minister, had sacked his cabinet and gave each speaker a nominated Minister portfolio to solve the countries problems. As I said, it was an extraordinary meeting.
The award winners for best in category were:
Andrew Miller for Best Speaker.
Andy Howell for Best TableTopics.
Andrew Miller for Best Evaluator.
Report by Maria Orlovic (in lieu of a General Evaluator)
Our next meeting is Monday 10th September 2018 at 7pm start at the Regent Hotel and, as always, guests are welcome.
Another wonderful evening at Doncaster Speakers, we are very lucky to have such a positive supportive group. The evening started with a confident introduction from Laura has Sergeant at Arms and Jean has Toastmaster.
Jean introduced Toastmaster International confidently and told us about the new Pathways programme. Her theme was ‘Achievement’ and this theme was woven in throughout the evening by all participants.
Arthur was Timekeeper; he introduced his role and used a great story about time to keep us all enthralled. Pauline was Grammarian and introduced the word of the day ‘eclectic’. Pauline told us what her role was and shared language that grabbed her attention in her evaluation. Andrew stepped in at the last minute has Ah Counter, and gave us a clear description of the role. He spoke to all individuals in his evaluation.
Our first and only speaker of the evening was Maria with a speech entitled ‘What Is Digital?’ she gave a confident speech and tonight was a true reflection of her journey at Toastmasters and how much she has progressed over her 18 months here. Steven stepped in at the last minute to evaluate her speech and delivered a confident and detailed evaluation. He used the ‘commend, recommend and commend’ evaluation technique to deliver his evaluation.
Andrew delivered an Educational slot on the Humour and Table Topic competition we have coming up in the next few months. He certainly persuaded us to come along to the sessions to support and join in with this brilliant event.
The second half of the evening was filled with evaluations and Table Topics. Andy took on the role of Table Topic Master and gave us another fun session. Stephanie gave an thoughtful evaluation of Table Topics and gave feedback to all speakers.
The evening was wrapped up by Lianna giving the General Evaluator report and Andy finished off the evening. Another successful evening, looking forward to the next meeting Monday 20th August.
The award winners for best in category were:
Maria Orlovic for Best Speaker.
Arthur Fenn for Best TableTopics.
Stephanie Bisby for Best Evaluator.
Report by Lianna Cairns (General Evaluator)
Our next meeting is Monday 20th August 2018 at 7pm start at the Regent Hotel and, as always, guests are welcome.
A new team but an experienced Toastmaster equals a good combination for our second meeting of the new Toastmaster year. I was looking forward to the night, we had 3 speakers, a first timer on the table topics and every indication was that it was going to another brilliant night. I was not mistaken!
As ever the night starts off with the Sergeant at Arms (SAA), or does it? I think that people sometimes do not realise how much work goes into setting the night up with our VP Education (Maria) and our Toastmaster working with people to arrange roles. They help set up the basics so that we can enjoy the night.
But back to the start, Mwada took on the role of SAA and opened the meeting on time, giving us the basics and her own story which is a strength of hers. This was the first time that she had done the role and she did well.
Then we had Lianna step up and take on the Toastmaster (TM) role which is the person running the night. Lianna always brings a energy and smile to any role she does. It was obvious from the start that she had everything under control and she handled the inevitable last minute changes or issues with a deft and assured hand.
Lianna’s theme for the evening was New Beginnings which was apt and deliberate as at the start of the TM year we see a lot of changes and challenges to people taking on new roles.
We had Deborah explain the important of Timekeeping and although she proclaimed at the start that she was not that prepared (proving this by not taking her glasses up to the front) there was no way you could tell. She told us a brilliant story on timekeeping and yet again we were all in capable hands.
Pauline took on the Ah counter role, looking out for all of those little words we use like Ah, Um, Erm and as you would expect she simultaneous (and I still not sure how she did it) put us at ease and yet watched us like a hawk.
Maria was the grammarian and her role is to look for good and bad use of words plus give us the word of the day. Inspired by her own day, she bought the word of the day – Pandemonium to life with a great story and examples of it’s use.
We had a full house of 3 speeches planned, as ever they go with the least experienced speaker going first:
First up was Laura, who did her Pathways Ice Breaker, evaluated by Maria. Her speech “Who am I” was a good way for us to get to know Laura and see how she handles talking in public so that we can help her with feedback. It is hard to believe that this was a first speech as she used no notes and she confidently stood away from the lectern. Looking forward to her next speech.
Next up was Elizabeth, evaluated by Stephanie. Elizabeth, doing her 2nd Pathways speech “What’s in the box?”. She took us to a dark place where she bravely told us, and even used props, to demonstrate her fear/phobia of buttons. To expand on her journey she gave us other examples of fears and overall did a very good and heartfelt speech.
Lastly was Steven, evaluated by Arthur who was giving his speech 9 from the Competent Communicator manual called “Everyone Needs A VA” in which he should Persuade with Power. Steven is an experienced speaker and you can tell from the way he set out the speech and aided it with props. Steven is no stranger to humour and he used it well to make his point. In the end, he persuaded me that I need a VA (Virtual Assistant) to help me with the things I am too lazy, inexperienced, unorganised or just hate doing (In my mind tax returns falls under all of those).
One thing I like about Elizabeth and Steven’s speech titles was that you could not guess the speech content from the title. I think that this can be a good way to peak people’s interest and therefore make them more interested in what is being said.
Just before the end of the first half, in response to some feedback we have had from newer members, Andrew presented a education session on club roles. It was an inspirational session, that I think will encourage new members to try roles and existing members (like me) to try that role again that isn’t their favourite. Andrew got over to all of us, that roles are there as a development opportunity and that anyone can do any role. This includes evaluation roles that can appear to be only for the experienced but in reality anyone in the club can evaluate anyone, it’s all down to your opinion in the end of the day.
After the break and a quick reminder of the word of the day we had the speech evaluation.
The Speech Evaluators all gave great feedback that I am sure the speakers will benefit from. Evaluation itself is a skill that has to be honed and it was good to see that each of the evaluators have grown in confidence. One special mention, as I was a bit jealous of her bravery, was Stephanie evaluation with no notes. This made for a powerful evaluation that was not interrupted by note reading.
Next was the Table Topics (TT), run for the first time by Jon. Now Jon is getting a well deserved reputation for being very at home doing a TT, but we were all interested to see how he was at running them. I am glad to say that his first TT was a roaring success full of humour and with topics that were challenging but easy to grasp hold off. A very impressive first time.
Bridget was up next to evaluate the TT. Bridget brings an energy to any presentation that she does but has recently, through experience, been even better at feeding back giving useful, detailed comments with examples of how she thinks they can improve..
The less said about the General Evaluator (i.e. me) going overtime on my evaluation the better. But what is a man supposed to do when there was so much good stuff in one meeting!
Yet another meeting filled with laughter from a great club and great members.
The award winners for best in category were:
Steven Bisby for Best Speaker.
Pauline Westrop for Best TableTopics.
Stephanie Bisby for Best Evaluator.
Report by Andy Howell (General Evaluator)
Our next meeting is Monday 13th August 2018 at 7pm start at the Regent Hotel and,
as always, guests are welcome.
Arthur Fenn was our trusty Sergeant at Arms for the meeting and introduced our reliable Toastmaster Maria Orlovic. Maria confidently told us the theme for the evening of “The Power of Perspectives”. She ran the meeting with no notes giving us a solid background of Toastmasters and even got the word of the day into her delivery.
Our meeting Timekeeper Mwada Lawan did extremely well, starting her introduction with “good to see everyone”, which I felt was a nice touch. It was the first time she has done this role, well done Mwada! Grammarian Andrew Miller and the Ah Counter Shane Lukas all explained their role and what they would be looking out for towards their feedback.
Andrew announced an inspiring word of the day TRANSMOGRIFY, which rendered its own enjoyment as everyone who follows is encouraged to use it.
We only had one speech this evening and this was by Andy Howell, who did speech 3 from the story telling manual, “Tell a story with a moral”. His speech was called “Maybe” and it was a Buddhist tale centred around luck and realism. He delivered it well with appropriate body language and a clear message for the audience to take away. Steven Bisby cleverly evaluated Andy in a story telling style starting with “Once Upon a Time”. He stated the objectives well and picked out specific examples from Andy’s speech which engaged the audience well. My only ‘recommend’ for Steven was to think of a different adjective, other than “good”.
Pauline Westrop held the education session on Perceptions of Membership. She encouraged members to get involved in all aspects of Toastmasters to develop themselves, and reminded us that organising a social night is always welcomed! Unfortunately, Pauline went a little overtime.
Elisabeth Mead was out table topics master for the evening, getting us to describe what was on the pictures she displayed. The pictures ranged from a ruined building to an art installation in London- Elisabeth rounded up many volunteers who willingly stepped up to the challenge. Lianna Cairns evaluated Elisabeth and the table topic speakers using encouraging words and lots of eye contact, however, she became a little distracted by laughing at Arthur’s hilarious delivery on ‘dirty, dirty pigeons’ and unfortunately went overtime.
The evaluations from the Ah Counter Shane Lukas, Grammarian Andrew Miller and General Evaluator Bridget Pearson carried us towards the meeting conclusion. Guest feedback and the usual awards presentation followed. Our returning visitor Laura Costa decided to join the club (also gaining her First Timer ribbon for taking part in Table Topics), and we also met first time visitor.
Tonight was Shane’s last night as President of the club- on behalf of the club I would like to say thank you for all your input over the last year- it is much appreciated!
What a wonderful meeting, giving us the power of perspectives in many ways! The award winners for best in category were:
- Andy Howell for Best Speaker
- Jon Carvell for Best TableTopics
- Steven Bisby for Best Evaluator
Report by Bridget Pearson (General Evaluator)
Bridget Pearson stepped up as Sergeant at Arms to open the meeting and introduce our Toastmaster for the evening Stefan Glova. Stefan’s chosen theme for the evening was “for the first time” to embrace his first time in the role and encourage others to do the same. He welcomed first time visitor Laura Costa and York EbOrators club visitors Lynn Gregory and Kay Frederico.
Warmth and humour radiated from our Toastmaster and throughout the evening’s proceedings which flowed with ease. Our meeting Timekeeper Andy Howell, Grammarian Kay Frederico and the Ah Counter Pauline Westrop all explained their role and what they would be looking out for towards their feedback. Kay announced an inspiring word of the day – Euphoria, which rendered its own enjoyment as everyone who follows is encouraged to use it.
The first speech by Bridget Pearson was to practice her unique Dr Seuss style delivery for an upcoming Christening, and included phrases such as “shoes full of feet” riddled with vibrant splashes of familiar childhood rhyme. Her speech evaluator Lynn Gregory gave the winning evaluation, delivering articulate feedback with eloquence and providing useful suggestions for every person in the room.
Our second speech came from Lianna Cairns who championed standing out instead of simply fitting in and won the ribbon for best speaker. As always, she took us on a journey with moments of excitement and quiet suspense. Andrew Miller as her evaluator, summed up all the positive points to reinforce the speech impact and demonstrated his recommendation, so that actions spoke louder than words.
Club President Shane Lukas held the education session on Committee Selection. A summary of each club committee role was provided and then the members were asked to nominate and vote (as required). From 1st July 2018, the Doncaster Speakers committee was announced as: Andy Howell (President), Maria Orlovic (VP Education), Deborah Kershaw (VP Membership), Lianna Cairns (VP Public Relations), Elizabeth Mead (Sergeant at Arms), Andrew Miller (Secretary), Jon Carvell (Treasurer), Arthur Fenn (Support to VP Membership), and Shane Lukas (Immediate Past President).
With such a buoyant meeting where all evaluations are held after the break, our first timer may have thought the pace would then slow. However, Arthur Fenn introduced the impromptu part of the evening as Table Topic Master. Seven volunteer speakers were challenged to respond with a short speech when asked about how they would live in a named unusual place – being given anything from a swamp, the Grand Canyon, an iceberg, a kipper factory to the Regent Hotel itself. The speeches and master were evaluated by Jean Stewart in her familiar rapturous style.
The evaluations from the Ah Counter, Grammarian and General Evaluator carried us towards the meeting conclusion. Guest feedback and the usual awards presentation followed, plus Doncaster Speakers was presented a special club ‘Talk Up Toastmasters Award’ for membership growth.
What a fantastic meeting, positively ‘euphoric’ in many ways! The award winners for best in category were:
- Lianna Cairns for Best Speaker.
- Jon Carvell for Best TableTopics.
- Kay Frederico for Best Evaluator.
Report by Maria Orlovic (a ‘first time’ General Evaluator)
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