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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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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 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.

Awards

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

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 12th February 2018

Upon entering the room, I was greeted by the hustle and bustle of excited Toastmasters and several guests.

Debra Kershaw – the club’s VP Membership, Maria Orlovic and Andrew Miller were hard at work to ensure that guests had signed the guest book and all had seats. By 7pm when the meeting started, there was standing room only!

The night was comprised of three speeches from the Traditional Toastmasters program, and one educational session led by Accredited Speaker and Pathways Guide, Clare Crowther.

Lianna Cairns’ speech “Discovering New Zealand” drew cheers from the audience when she pointed out that it was a Yorkshire man who eventually gained the indigenous Polynesians’ trust. Arthur Fenn praised Lianna’s word choice, use of the floor and pacing, recommending that she vary her hand gestures to avoid clasping her hands.

Steve Bisby earned the award of Best Speaker for his speech “The Steve Slam,” which entertained the audience with several wardrobe changes along with a vivid and humorous slide show. Sarah Saxelby earned Best Evaluator for her evaluation, which was entertaining in its own right. She praised Steve’s physicality during the speech but added a note of caution not to turn his back on the audience when referencing the slides.

Andy Howell demonstrated advanced skills in his speech “A Trip Down Memory Lane,” Bridgett Pearson praised how he combined body language, gestures and vivid imagery in his storytelling to connect with the audience. Her recommendations included referencing the title within the speech itself.

Clare Crowther and Tina Norbury offered more insight into the what, when and how of the new educational system, Pathways. Members and guests alike were interested to hear what Pathways has in store, and how this would change the educational experience.

As Toastmaster for the evening, Shane Lukas led us through the meeting expertly. His introductions and transitions were welcoming and seemed effortless. He demonstrated how a Toastmaster can lead with a calm and confident presence.

Stefan Glova made his debut as Table Topics Master.  His welcoming and cheerful smile made speakers feel at ease, as they answered deceptively simple but challenging questions about a variety of service experiences. Stephanie Bisby evaluated the 8 table topics participants expertly.

Jean Stewart kept us laughing in her dual roles as Timekeeper and Grammarian, while still explaining the roles simply for the benefit of guests.

In the role of Ah-Counter, Jon Carvell kept the humour coming with artful use of pauses and repetition.

The meeting closed with a Thank You from Angela Scott, Division E Director, and acknowledgement of all that Doncasters Speakers have achieved so far this year to build a vibrant club. President Shane Lukas accepted the ribbons the club had earned for the Dues Renewal contest in September on behalf of the committee, and then announced that meeting’s winners were:

  • Best Speaker: Steve Bisby
  • Best Evaluator: Sarah Saxelby
  • Best Table Topics: John Carvell

Report by Angela Scott, General Evaluator


Our next meeting is Monday 26th February 2018

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 27 November 2017

Another wonderful evening at Doncaster Speakers, it was a very busy evening with a few new faces which is always a positive.  Three strong speeches were delivered and everyone stepped up to the mark as usually in their roles.  The evening started with a humorous introduction from Andrew Miller as Sergeant at Arms and Stephanie Bisby as Toastmaster.  Stephanie introduced Toastmasters International confidently and told us why she had joined the club. Her theme was ‘Taking Risks’ and she described Toastmasters perfectly as a safe environment to take risks and described Toastmasters as a place to  “Stand up, have a go, fall back and trust us we will catch you and support you through your journey.”

Jean Stewart was Timekeeper, she introduced her role and used the Toastmaster timekeeper’s app to keep us all on time for the evening.  Stefan Glova was Grammarian and introduced the word of the day ‘procrastination’.  Stefan entertained us with his humour and shared language that grabbed his attention. Bridget Pearson was Ah Counter, she gave us a suggestion on’ just taking a pause’ to stop these little niggles from happening. She spoke to all individuals in her evaluation.

Our first speaker was Maria Orlovic with a speech entitled ‘Act Upon It ’, she gave a confident speech which has us all enthralled from start to finish.  Deborah Kershaw evaluated her speech in a positive way and showed how well she had been listening to the speech.

The second speaker was Andy Howell with a speech entitled ‘Beep, Beep’ which was a classic story of good Vs evil using a well-known cartoon programme.  Steven Bisby evaluated his speech in his witty way and gave Andy positive and constructive feedback to work on.

The final speaker was Pauline Westrop with a speech entitled ‘Remembering the miners strike of 84/85’ this was another heartfelt and honest speech. Pauline has the ability to pull us into her personal stories and take us on her journey, very powerful.  Arthur Fenn evaluated her with a personal and positive evaluation.

The second half of the evening was filled with evaluations and Table Topics.  Shane Lukas took on the role of Table Topic Master and gave us another fun session.  Pauline Westrop gave an energetic evaluation of Table Topics and gave feedback to all speakers.

The evening was wrapped up by Lianna Cairns (myself) giving the General Evaluator report and Shane Lucas finished off the evening.  Another successful evening, looking forward to our Christmas themed night!

The award winners were:

  •     Best Speaker, joint winners – Pauline Westrop and Maria Orlovic
  •     Best Table Topics – Jon Carvell
  •     Best Evaluator – Deborah Kershaw

Report by Lianna Cairns, General Evaluator


Our next meeting is Monday 11th December, 2017 with our Members’ Christmas Meeting

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday June 24 2017

About 15 people made the fortnightly pilgrimage to the Regent Hotel for the latest Toastmasters meeting.

Sergeant at Arms Andrew Miller kick started the evening off with one swoop of the hammer and a pause and stare until people took their seats.  Toastmaster for the evening Arthur Fenn highlighted the theme of the meeting as ‘Freedom’ and linked it nicely to his introduction of what Toastmasters is and means to people.  Arthur’s team of helpers came up, Gerard Cahill – Time Keeper, Sarah Saxelby – Grammarian, and Deborah Kershaw – Ah Counter, each came up and explained what their role was and what they would be looking for and reporting on later in the evening.

Part 2, the prepared speeches, was next.   Speech 1 was by Lianna Cairns entitled ‘Viva Las Vegas’ telling the audience about where to find the best deals on ‘the strip’ and now the whole of the group want to know when the team trip to Vegas will be.  Speech 2 by Maria Orlovic explained how her many trips to Italy had not been a success until she worked out what was the best food to eat whilst out there.  Speech 3 was by Pauline Westrop who is working on the Advanced Manual and was doing an interpretive reading from a Charlie Chaplin film.  The Toastmaster thanked the speakers and announced the start of the interval which led to much tea and coffee drinking and informal chat.

The Sergeant at Arms brought the room back to order with another bang on the hammer.  Next up were the evaluations with Andy Howell giving feedback to Lianna, Jean Stewart appraising Maria and Stephanie Bisby giving her thoughts to Pauline.  Also there were good snippets of advice that the whole audience could take away with them.

Part 4 came with the bit most people call ‘the fun part’ as Bridget Pearson introduced Table Topics, this is where the speaker is given a question or statement and straight away without time to think has to do a 1 to 2 minute talk.  This sessions topics were based around various days out when the person felt as free as a bird!  Table Topics evaluator Shelagh Jones made sense of the ramblings by giving all the speakers food for thought on what they had done well and areas that could be improved.

The Ah Counter reported that people had not used many words they should not have used so it looks like the meetings are paying off.  The Grammarian’s report contained all the people who had managed to sneak the word of the day ‘Ameliorate’ in to their speech.  The last report was given by Steven Bisby the General Evaluator who evaluated the evaluators on their well done’s and must try harder bits.

Sarah Saxelby in her other role of VP Education handed out the ribbons for best speaker – Lianna Cairns, Best table topic speaker, a tie between Lianna Cairns and Andrew Miller and best evaluator to herself.

Different people in the roles but it all happens again on Monday 14th August 2017 at 7:00pm. Why not come and join us?

– Report by Steven Bisby, General Evaluator –

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