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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.


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 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 March 2018

Monday 12th March was the first of our competition nights for 2018 (there are usually two each year). Members competed in two categories of the Club competition (International Speech and Evaluation) to go through to the Area competition in Hull. The winners of that round will compete in the District Competition in Chester, and so on up to the District competition, which is being held in Ireland this year, and eventually the International finals.

Derek Lucian gave a polished and informative speech on the origins of rhetoric, so that the Evaluation contest competitors were challenged to find recommendations as well as positive comments.  Nevertheless, all the contestants provided effective and balanced evaluations, with Andrew Miller earning first place and Andy Howell second place.

The second half of the evening was devoted to the International Speech contest, in which entrants have free choice of subject, though the talks are often motivational or inspirational in nature.  Once again, Andrew Miller took first place with his talk entitled “When We Were Very Young”, and this time second place went to Lianna Cairns for “When Are You Going to Start Acting Like an Adult?”

Thanks go to all involved in arranging the competition, including the Chief Judge, Pauline Westrop, Competition Chair, Shane Lukas, and the timekeepers and counters, Arthur Fenn and Steven Bisby, as well as everyone who acted as judges on the evening.  We wish our representatives the best of luck at the area contest.

Report by Stephanie Bisby – with thanks

Our next meeting is Monday 26th March 2018 at 6.45pm to 7pm at the Regent Hotel and, as always, guests are welcome.

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 9 October 2017

Oh what a night, with 3 new people, one returning potential member and some impressive first talks. It upholds the Doncaster Toastmasters tradition of having marvellous, memorable meetings.

As ever, the meeting prep started before the meeting, with the Sargent of Arms (SAA) getting the room ready and guests being greeted and assigned to sit next to an existing member.

The meeting started on time and Maria Orlovic the SAA informed us that she had the power to evict anyone who misbehaved.  Now I should point out that we never misbehave, well apart from Jean and we allow that, as she is even funnier when she misbehaves a little bit.

Next up steps our President and Toastmaster for the evening Shane Lukas.  Now Shane has done this before and the first time he did it, he was good, this time he was even better.  In control, funny and it was a comfortable relaxed meeting, knowing that we had him to lead us through it.   Shane explained things in a bit more detail than normal, recognising the fact that we had potential members attending and he even opened the floor to comment on what people thought to Toastmasters.

Steven Bisby the timekeeper came up and in his normal precise and yet funny way, told us about this role.  He even kept to time himself.  Throughout the night Steven was very solid, keeping precise time and waving the cards about (a bit like a mad man, but with a good purpose) to make sure the speakers, especially the first timers, could see timing transitions.

Stefan Glova was next as AH Counter, which was his first role since joining us.  He is there to count all of the um’s , ah’s , er’s, etc. that we use as filler words.  He did very well, presenting his opening without any notes and findings in a friendly and enthusiastic way. He had a tough job as there was only one speech and therefore less for him to find, but I think that this bodes very well for his Toast Master future.

Next up was our Grammarian for the evening. Now Shelagh Jones is very experienced and is well known for choosing a word of the day that is challenging and sometimes, in my humble opinion, very hard to pronounce.  That said, it is always interesting and educational when Shelagh takes on this role.

However, this time she went above and beyond the call of duty, giving us the word Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia which means a fear of long words.  To her credit, she did actually say the word out loud.  Shelagh looked around the room at some pretty nervous faces knowing what we were all thinking – how the dickens were we to get that word into our talks?  It took a few seconds before her smile appeared and she then told us the real word of the day (a much easier word) was Transient.  There was an audible sigh of relief followed by some laughter.   She tracked the use of the word-of-the-day and gave us some good examples of good grammar in the talks that help us all to think more about the words which we use.

Next we moved on to the speeches.  Tonight we only had the one speaker, but Lianna Cairns filled the role of sole speaker very well.  She told us about an accident when she was younger, complete with acting, bandages, dramatic falling to the ground (that looked like it hurt!) and a few wise words for all of us.  Jean Stewart her evaluator commended the speech and gave a few bits of advice, which is the norm.  An excellent and entertaining speech, as we have come to expect from Lianna.

To round off the first half, Pauline Westrop presented a very well thought out education slot on Competent Leader (CL) awards.  This was a brilliant idea as I (Andy Howell) will be presenting a “how-to guide” on CL at the next meeting.  Therefore, Pauline saw the opportunity to give the background, interesting facts and motivation for members to go for CL.    The session flew by and she even made time for a few questions.

After the break, we had a reminder of the word-of-the-day from the Grammarian and we then went into the Table Topics (impromptu speaking) part of the evening.

Arthur Fenn was the Table Topics Master, and gave us a very personal theme that centred around his need for builders, tree surgeons etc.  It was a very consistent theme that all of the topics sprung from and I have never seen a more interactive TT session.  He also managed to get the new people speaking which is always a good thing.  The talks were impressive from both new and experienced people alike and the winner was actually a first timer Jon Carvell.  Jon took to the stage with a confidence, humour and eloquence that we are more used to seeing from veteran Toastmaster speakers.

Derek Lucian was the Table Topics Evaluator, and he sacrificed his chance at being voted Best Evaluator by going over the allocated time, to make sure that every TT speaker got a good evaluation on their speech. Derek is very experienced and that was obvious from the quality of the feedback and by the way that he pitched each evaluation at the level and experience of the person speaking.

As an added bonus, Jon Carvell wrote a poem during the break on the word of the day which was so good, that he was press-ganged (with no real reluctance on his part) to come up and read the poem.

All in all, a brilliant, fun and energetic night that will be remembered.

The award winners were:

  • Best Speaker – Lianna Cairns
  • Best Table Topics – Jon Carvell
  • Best Evaluator – Shared : Jean Stewart and Shelagh Jones

Jean Stewart will be Toastmaster at the next meeting on 23rd October.

Report by Andy Howell, General Evaluator

Our next meeting is Monday 23rd October, 2017

New committee for 2017-2018

Introducing our Committee for the 2017-2018 Toastmasters year which starts today.

President – Shane Lukas

VP Education – Sarah Saxelby

VP Membership – Deborah Kershaw

VP PR – Maria Orlovic

Treasurer – Andrew Miller

Secretary – Jean Stewart

Sergeant at Arms – Arthur Fenn

Immediate Past President – Derek Lucian

Good luck to everyone for an enjoyable and successful year!

Picture shows left to right: Derek Lucian, Arthur Fenn, Andrew Miller, Deborah Kershaw, Jean Stewart, Sarah Saxelby, Shane Lukas.

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | Monday June 26 2017

What a beautiful end to a Toastmaster year.


The meeting was opened by Pauline in her capacity as Sergeant At Arms for the evening who then introduced Derek, the president of Doncaster Speakers and filling the role of Toastmaster for the evening.


As part of his welcome speech, Derek announced the theme of the day – Lessons Learned –  and shared with the members and our guest insights about the impact Toastmasters International is having as it continues to grow and reach more people through its growing number of clubs, members and number of countries in which it now has a presence.


In addition, Derek announced that our Toastmasters Club, Doncaster Speakers, had continued to maintain the highest rating that Toastmasters International gives to its clubs for a second year.


Toastmasters International rates its clubs on how well they encourage members to pursue their personal public speaking and leadership goals.  President’s Distinguished is the highest rating and we’re proud that Doncaster Speakers has continued to meet the standards required to achieve it.  This wouldn’t be possible without the exemplary commitment by the committee and President Derek.


We had the privilege of having a guest, Stefan.  His feedback at the end of the meeting was that this is exactly what he’s looking for in order to develop his presentation and public speaking skills.


The meeting flowed wonderfully with our evaluators each introducing their respective roles to the members and guest.


Andy Howell as Time Keeper

Arthur Fenn as Ah Counter

Lianna Cairns as Grammarian


Lianna declared that her chosen word of the day was ‘Cohesion’ and encouraged the speakers to fold in that word or as a bonus, incorporate ‘Cohesive Community’ in to their speech.


Derek was remarkably quick to fold that in to his description of Doncaster Speakers!


The first speaker, Steven Bisby, was introduced by his speech evaluator Josie Bowerman.  Josie explained that Steven was delivering a speech based on project 5 of the competent communications manual ‘Your Body Speaks’ and that Steven’s focus is on conveying gestures and body movements that would compliment and emphasise points he was making.


Steven’s speech, entitled Raffleing – a misleading title that reflects Steven’s witty sense of humour and was actually about refereeing.  The title was reminiscent of an occasion where Steven has mis-heard the word Refereeing.  His speech was incredibly funny as well as informative.  His body conveyed his message and the speech was complimented further with his array of props including a referee’s whistle.


The 2nd speaker for the evening was Jean Stewart. Jean was introduced by her evaluator Alison Turner.  Alison informed the audience that Jean was basing her speech around project 2 of the Advanced Communications manual, Story Telling.  Project 2 is Let’s Get Personal.


Jean certainly met the objectives of the project title. Jean’s speeches are always incredibly humorous and as her story was an experience of trying to fit in to a dress that would make her appear 2 sizes smaller but was unable to fit in to it without wrecking the dress the audience were in tears of laughter.


Our 3rd Speaker was Stephanie Bisby.  Stephanie was introduced and evaluated by Shelagh Jones.  Shelagh explained that Stephanie was completing her Competent Communications manual by delivering this particular speech.  The speech was based on Project 10 – Inspire Your Audience.  A daunting requirement in my opinion.


If it was daunting for Stephanie it didn’t show.  Stephanie delivered a very moving speech, sharing a very sad episode in her life where an old friend of hers had died but this death had motivated Stephanie to live life to the full.  Stay young at heart and take on the attitude that life’s too short and she inspired the audience to take on the same view, be a little more adventurous and make the most of our lives. Stephanie’s speech left me with a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye.


After the 3 prepared speeches and before we broke for coffee, Derek delivered the annual ceremony that takes place at the year end Toastmasters Clubs.  The dismantling of the current committee and relieving members of their roles of the previous 12 months and appointing the newly elected committee members for 2017/2018.


Derek performed this duty with professionalism, passion and a hint sadness which reflected the end of an era as he would discontinue his role as President.

The new committee members are filling big shoes and have great standards to continue to maintain.

After the coffee break we heard the speech evaluations.


Josie gave her feedback with such dynamism it was delivered as though she’d had a week to prepare it.  It was incredibly thorough.  Her recommendations for Steven included the very good suggestion of setting up a video camera to monitor some of the points she’d raised so that he becomes more self aware in the future.


Alison gave her evaluation of Jean’s speech.  She demonstrated that she’d observed very attentively and gave 3 recommendations for consideration to Jean.


Shelagh gave a very heart felt evaluation of Stephanie sharing with the members some of Stephanie’s journey within Toastmasters and Shelagh’s pride in Stephanie’s progression was clear.


Andrew Miller filled the role of Table Topics Master.  Andrew Miller is not one for sticking to the status quo and this meeting was no exception.  Whilst continuing to meet the  purpose of Table Topics – to develop thinking on the spot – Andrew introduced a brilliant twist.


He invited members up in pairs.  For each pair there was a theme that reflected a role within Toastmasters.  The first role was that of Toastmaster and specifically around the selection of a theme for the meeting.


Steven Bisby and Jean Stewart were invited and asked to spend their allocation of time suggesting themes for the coming months and why they made those suggestions.  The themes included ‘Staying Pale in July’  and Steven gave a football related theme for August connecting us back to his speech and reminding us that Football season starts in August.


Derek and Shelagh were invited to describe their favourite speeches throughout their time at Toastmasters.  As the theme of this session was that of Time Keeper, each had an allocation of 30 seconds to talk about their favourite speech, not more and not less.  Once the 30 seconds was up the other person would share their recollection.  They continued to alternate in this fashion for the allocated period of 3 minutes.


The next pair were Arthur Fenn and Alison Turner.  The theme of this session was the role of Ah Counter.  The pair were invited to talk about the Sheffield conference for their 3 minutes.  As soon as one of them er’d, ah’d or um’d the audience were to shout out and then the other person would have to continue to talk.


The final duo were invited to take on a duel!  In the spirit of a Rap Battle, Josie Bowerman and Stephanie Bisby – our Grammarian Queens – had to demonstrate their grammarian skills bouncing off each other’s creatively linguistically charged sentences.  Sadly, I personally lack the skills to better describe it!  Yes, you’ve guessed it, the theme of this session was the role of Grammarian.


Pauline Westrop, in addition to her role of Sergeant at Arms was also TableTopics Evaluator.  In light of the change of format Pauline had her work cut out for her but this didn’t stop her giving exemplary feedback to all concerned and especially to Andrew for his ingenuity in putting together such a great TableTopics session.


Derek closed the day by announcing the awards for the evening.


Best Speech Award went to Stephanie for her inspiring speech.

Best Evaluator Award went to Josie for her incredibly thorough and energetic evaluation of Steven.

Best Table Topics Award went to the duelling duo – Josie and Stephanie


Well done and well deserved.


Report by Shane Lukas, General Evaluator


The next meeting, the first of the new Toastmasters year, is on Monday July 10th. 

Visitors are most welcome to come and see what we do!



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