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Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 8th April, 2019

Time for something sweet

The main purpose of Toastmasters is to get you out of your comfort zone, try something new without worrying about the outcome and discovering latent skills.  This philosophy gets applied in a number different areas, not just standing up at the front and doing a prepared speech.

Tonight one of our newer members, Susie, did just that by taking on the role of Toastmaster, the person who organises and runs the whole meeting, and what a fantastic job she did too.

There’s no doubting that it is a big role, however, it is often made out to be a lot more scary than it actually is.  The secret to being a good Toastmaster, as in all things, is about being prepared and Susie had done just that, meaning that her performance on the night was effortless and a pleasure.

There were a few challenges, mainly due to it being the build up to Easter and we were slightly depleted in our normally swollen numbers, which meant a lot of juggling and a few people stepping in at the last minute, but that’s all part of the fun.

The theme for the evening was Spring Forwards, Fall Back, which led to a history lesson of Daylight Savings Time which Susie blended in beautifully with the history of Toastmasters itself.

The Grammarian, Andrew, picked up on the American nature of the phrase but then shifted expectations by revealing that this, along with many other so-called American words or phrases, are actually English by origin.  Consequently, the word of the day was one just such word “Candy”, a simple word but not one frequently used in this country so a different sort of challenge for the members.

A major thank you to Val, our Ah Counter of the evening.  This was only her second meeting and she’s not even a member yet, but she volunteered to take on the role nevertheless, which takes a lot of guts and you can consider my hat to be well and truly doffed in her direction.  And she did herself proud.

We had three great speakers this evening, Sandie demonstrating her ability to take on feedback by repeating and improving upon her speech from last time.  Elizabeth demonstrated her team building and project planning skills by reporting back on Operation Christmas dinner that her local church put on last year, complete with mouth watering slides and a detailed project planning pack.  Finally, Maria warned us all about the dangers of being sedentary and urged us to increase our levels of movement.

Elizabeth and Maria are more seasoned Toastmasters and yet it was they who ran over time.  Tut tut.  Which meant that Sandie picked up a well deserved Best Speaker ribbon.

In the second half, once the speech evaluations were complete, carried out respectively and admirably by Arthur, Lianna and Elizabeth in her second role of the evening, we moved onto Table Topics.

Club President, Andy, dug out a concept that he’d used before.  We are all passengers on an airship which is about to crash.  There are only two parachutes.  One for the captain (Andy) and one for another person.  All volunteers were given a character on the ship (owner, engineer, stowaway, barman etc) and each person had to plead their case as to why they should get the parachute.

Really impressed that we had three First Timers come up and take part in the fun: Fey, Glen and Sundip all came up and braved the stage and did really well.  Once again it was demonstrated that the only barrier to moving forward is by not trying in the first place.

The Best Table Topic award went to Andrew, who basically let everyone else fight it out whilst he snuck out the door with the parachute.  He also picked up Best Evaluator in his role as Grammarian, aided dramatically by quite a few people being excluded from the vote by going over time.

Our visitor, Glen, surprised us all – including himself – by coming to the front and telling a personal tale which supported the message that Maria had put forward about paying close attention to your health.  As someone who had stated h

e was petrified to speak in front of others, Glen defied all expectations and came across natural and calm, so well done to you sir.

Andy brought the meeting home with the awards for the night as well as a report on all the accolades and awards that the club had been presented with at the Division Contest at the weekend, with huge amounts of credit going to Lianna, Deborah and Andrew for the welcoming video on the website, getting onto BBC Radio Sheffield to talk about Public Speaking and a noble 2nd in the said contest.

The award winners for best in category were:

Sandie for Best Speaker.
Andrew for Best TableTopics.
Andrew for Best Evaluator.

Report by Andrew (General Evaluator)

Our next meeting is Monday 29th April 2019 at 7pm start at the Regent Hotel and, as always, guests are welcome.

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Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 25th March, 2019

With an audience made up of current member and 3 guests the meeting was aptly themed around Community.

If anybody was unsure of proceedings they were soon put right by Sergeant At Arms, Susie who with one loud bang of the gavel brought the meeting to order and following a quick run through the housekeeping she passed over the lectern to the Toastmaster for the evening Lianna.

Lianna gave a brief introduction to toastmasters and the various agendas and voting slips people had on their table which was a good reminder for the members and helpful to the guests to know what, when and why.

Evan was next up explaining his role of Timekeeper, followed by the Gramarian Andrew who explained the type of language he was looking for such as the power of 3. Janet the Ah Counter then informed the room she would be making a note of all the erms and ah’s people used instead of just pausing and waiting for their brain to catch up with their mouth when speaking.

The first part of the night was the prepared speeches, Sandie told us ‘You’re as old as you feel’, Elizabeth explained about ‘A brain to pick, An Ear to listen and a push in the right direction’ when mentoring somebody and current Vice President for Education Maria did her 7 speech on the topic of research and she talked to the room about the different herbs in her garden and cooking.

The second part of the night was the speech evaluations with President Andy evaluating Sandie, Andrew evaluating Elizabeth and Arthur evaluating Maria. All the evaluator gave a series of commends and recommends that both the speaker and the audience could take away and implement in their next speeches.

Mwada the Table Topics Master led the third part of the evening with the impromptu speaking where eight individuals including two of the guests were given a question that they had to answer straight away and the answer had to list between one and two minutes.

In just 6 minutes Elizabeth then had the job of evaluating all the Table Topic speakers and given them all a recommend and commend which she did with.

The final part of the evening was the evaluations of Gramarian, Andrew, Ah Counter, Janet and General Evaluator Steven.

The award winners for best in category were:

Val and Yetunde for First Timers.
Elizabeth for Best Speaker.
Jill for Best TableTopics.
Elizabeth for Best Evaluator.

Report by Steven (General Evaluator)

Our next meeting is Monday 8th April 2019 at 7pm start at the Regent Hotel and, as always, guests are welcome.

 

 

 

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 28th January, 2019

One of the biggest thrills I get in Toastmasters is hearing Icebreakers speeches, someone’s first go at a prepared speech is the most important one they do.  Simply put, it can be seen as their initiation into Toastmasters and this meeting we had 2. On top of that, it was brilliant to see so many newer members taking on roles for the first time.

Mwada took on the role of Sergeant at Arms (SAA)  and did a good job opening the meeting on time and doing the standard notifications.  I think it is easy to underestimate the SAA role, it is an important one to keep the meeting flowing and to keep us on time.

Arthur took on Toastmaster and you know you are in safe and experienced hands with him. Arthur brings an informal vibe to the role that is infectious and lets you have fun while also knowing that we are in safe hands.  His theme for the night was “Change can be good” which formed a solid base for the meeting and was also used as the center for the Table Topics Master. Arthur as always runs a good meeting, handling it well and taking the inevitable last minute changes or problems in his stride.

One of the highlights for me was the timekeeper role which was shared between Sarah and Evan.  Evan has not done the role before but I can honestly say that the two worked together so well that I could not find anyway to improve their performance.  Evan with his exuberant style, made us all laugh when calling time, yes it was just one word “Time” but somehow he made us laugh with that. Sarah did an excellent job of sharing how to do the job, a real pleasure to witness.

Laura took on the AH counter for the first time.  She said that she was nervous but her natural style and confident ownership of the stage did not show this.  She gave us feedback which means that she did listen for our “Ah’s, erm’s, so” etc, a surprisingly difficult thing to do for first timers or experienced.  So another well done.

The grammarian has a similar job to the Ah counter, to listen and observe our language and feedback.  Bridget is one of our most experienced members and it showed, with a positive and energetic feedback session that gave us a lot to think about.  Her word of the day Refresh, was well used and an easy one to get into your talk.

Janet took on the Table Topics Master role for the first time, and gave us very well balanced questions.  What’s more impressive is that she did them all around change, the theme for the meeting. There is no way a visitor to the club could know that this was her first time in the role.  Funny, organised, balanced questions and to time, a very good first go at this job.

Talking about first timers even more, Susie took on possibly the hardest evaluation job due to preparation time, the TT Evaluator.  I know I have said this before, but like Janet, you could not tell this was her first time. She gave us good feedback and I look forward to seeing her do more roles.

The 3 speeches were special.  

Jonathan did his first speech on Pathways, the Icebreaker.  It was funny in some ways that he said how nervous he was but apart from that, if you were really looking, the first few seconds, the speech flowed nicely on what I think were deep and personal topics. Especially to be commended was his use of notes, or in his case lack of notes. A first time speaker who does not use notes (ok he had one small post it note with headings on, but I did not see him refer to it is commendable.  I really am looking forward to his second speech.

Sandie was up next with her Icebreaker speech.  As with Jonathan’s, it was a confident delivery and showed us some of her sense of humour.  Again, if she was nervous it was not obvious and I really enjoyed it. Another second speech I am looking forward to.

Last but not least was Jon, he delivered a speech about a SHED.  I won’t go into that too much apart from it was funny, very funny while still having a heart to it.  I really think that he could use this speech to enter this year’s humorous speech contest. It was nice to see Jon do a prepared speech, we know how good he is at Impromptu speaking and we have seen him do a funny prepared speech before, but somehow he keeps on getting better.

The 3 speech evaluators, AndrewSteven and Maria all did good jobs and Andrew and Steven in particular did well in evaluating and supporting the two Ice Breakers.  Maria had a tough job, she had to find some recommends for Jon speech!

At the end of the evening, our President fed back the results of the annual club visit from our Area Director.  There were a few minor improvement suggestions which the committee are looking at now, but in general, she praised the spirit, fun, innovation and our presence in the area.  A very good report that is no surprise but always nice to hear.

The award winners for best in category were:
Jon for Best Speaker.
Deborah for Best TableTopics.
Andrew for Best Evaluator.
Report by Andy (General Evaluator)

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

 

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 20th August, 2018

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.

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 13th August, 2018

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.

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 23rd July, 2018

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.

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