Blog Archives

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday June 10 2017

Shane3The theme for our meeting on Monday 10 July was “A New Chapter”, which was very apt as this was the first meeting for our new committee and for our new President and Toastmaster for the evening Shane Lukas (pictured).  Shane introduced the evening by asking for the audience to give interesting facts and benefits of Toastmasters. He also welcomed our 2 new members Luisa Marija and Stefan Glova.

Andy Howell as Sargent at Arms made sure the room was all set up and that we started promptly which was important as we had 3 speakers all doing Speech 2 Organize Your Speech from the Competent Communication Manual.

Arthur Fenn was the first speaker with a speech entitled “From Grains of Sand” which was a history of glass making. Bridget Pearson as his evaluator identified his passion for the subject, his powerful imagery and use of props and recommended that he watched out for the overuse of facts and his stance.

Josie Bowerman went next with a speech entitled “What a Waste”, she gave another impassioned plea for Culture and the Arts, a very different speech but again backed up with facts and illustrations to emphasis her points. Steven Bisby in his usual humorous style described her as “born in a Thesaurus not a womb” and went on to describe the various methods Josie has used to make her points. He recommended longer pauses and moving around the stage.

Deborah Kershaw was last but far from least as she went on to win Best Speaker with her talk entitled “If at 1st you don’t succeed try try try again!”. She gave us a very personal tale introducing us to Richard who was endeavouring to pass his driving test with Deborah as his 34th instructor!  He passed but not before we were treated to lots of visions of Deborah’s fear for her safety with her rather maverick pupil. Lianna Cairns identified Deborah’s conversational style, good eye contact and no reliance on notes. Lianna recommended that Deborah slow down, pause and enjoy the audience laughter.

The second half of the evening was devoted to our evaluators and Table Topics. Andy Howell set the Table Topics and following on from the theme of the evening invited the audience to speak on momentous events which had changed their lives or careers. We heard from Derek Lucian with his dislike of cows, Jean Stewart with her love of animals, Andrew Miller with his rebranding of his business and Lianna Cairns with her travels to New Zealand and Australia. One of our newest members Stefan Glova  gave Table Topics a go and spoke about how Toastmasters itself and his wish to speak in public was his biggest challenge. Stephanie Bisby evaluated the Table Topics and gave each participant some insightful feedback. The evening was rounded off with evaluations from our Grammarian, Richard Bluck, our Ah Counter Maria Orlovic and myself, Alison Turner as General Evaluator. The meeting kept to schedule with Time Keeper, Jean Stewart doing a thoroughly competent job of waving the cards to make sure we all kept to time.

Best Speaker Award            Deborah Kershaw
Best Evaluator Award          Lianna Cairns
Best Table Topics Award     Lianna Cairns
First Timers Award              Stefan Glova

Report by Alison Turner, General Evaluator

The next meeting is on Monday 24th July 2017.
Visitors are very welcome to come and see what we do!


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!



Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | Monday June 12 2017

The Sergeant At Arms, Maria Orlovic, gave the participants a warning that the meeting was due to start in 2 minutes time.   The room was laid out and the signing in sheet was on the table at the entrance.

The meeting started on time at 7.00pm. Maria welcomed everyone and reminded them of the Toastmaster pledge, she then handed over the floor to the Toastmaster for the evening, Andy Howell.   His introduction to the evening included the information that there were hundreds of thousands of members worldwide and that this membership was growing.   The information provided by both Maria and Andy was especially useful as the participant on the evening included two visitors and a new member.

The theme of the day Andy had chosen was ‘Summertime’.  He then asked the Timekeeper, the Ah Counter and the Grammarian to come forward and explain their roles for the evening.

There was one speech on the evening, given by the Area Director, Pauline Westrop.   This was an Advanced speech entitled “The Roast”. In addition, the Evaluator for this was Shelagh Jones.

Shelagh introduced Pauline and outlined the criteria that needed to be covered in order for Pauline to successfully complete the speech, and the time frame in which this needed to be completed.

It was at this point that the Toastmaster, Andy Howell, delivered a short session on the Easy speak software that is available to members to record Club meetings and members progress.

Following this Maria announced a short interval to enable everyone to network and have a refreshing drink.   At the end of the interval Maria called the meeting back to order.

During the second half of the meeting the Table Topics Master, Josie Bowerman, called volunteers forward to present short a Table Topics.    Taking part was a combination of one of the visitors, some members and the new member.   Josie’s theme was book titles, and the speakers needed, without prior knowledge of these books, to describe what they thought these books were about.   This went extremely well and caused a great deal of amusement.

Alison Turner, as Table Topics Evaluator, provided evaluations on all the speakers and congratulated Table Topics Master on her choice of topic

The evening ended a 9.15pm with a short question and answer session, and then the President of the Club, Derek Lucian, thanked everyone for attending and informed them on future meetings and events.    He then handed out the Awards, which were:


Newcomer Award –    Pam Miller (visitor)

Best Speaker – Pauline Westrop

Best Evaluator (joint award):    Alison Turner and Shelagh Jones

Best Table Topic –  Pam Miller


Report by General Evaluator Jean Stewart.

The next meeting is on Monday June 26th. Visitors are most welcome to come!

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | Monday June 5 2017

Such has been the success of Doncaster Speakers in the last few months an extra session had to be booked in to enable members to do a speech or evaluation role to help get them further through their manuals as the Toastmasters year end looms ever closer.

Low on quantity of people this meeting was high on quality.

Expertly, Sergant at Arms Arthur Fenn brought the meeting to a timely start and hush decended in the room with one fell swoop of the ceremonial hammer.

Toastmaster for the evening Alison Turner took over the meeting and keeping in mind the topic of the day – Technology – she ran a smooth meeting with no need to turn it off and back on again as everything went to plan.

We were entertained by two speakers, first up was Stephanie Bisby who was doing speech 9 of 10 from the Competent Communicator Manual – The Persuasive Speech – persuading us with some good personal examples that we all have a book within us.

Second up was Pauline Westrop who is on the Advanced Manuals and this week her task was to raise a toast. Pauline ticked the box in her manual whilst at the same time doing a job that needed doing as this was her last meeting as Area Director before handing over the chain of honour to Jean Stewart. Jean just happened to be sat next to her so Pauline raised a toast whilst handing over the chains. Multitasking at its best!

The interval then arrived with the chance to have a good old cuppa and a spot of networking.

With another timely bang of the hammer Arthur signalled the start of the second half.

Feedback is the thing that binds the Toastmasters galaxy together and without it life would be like Groundhog Day with nobody learning from their mistakes or successes so we were privileged to have 2 top Evaluators in Jean Stewart and Shelagh Jones giving not only feedback to Stephanie and Pauline but also they gave out hints and tips the whole audience could take away and think about.

Next up was Table Topics where speakers are given a question with no time to prepare and they then have to try and talk for 1 to 2 minutes on that subject. The evening’s Table Topics Master was Maria Orlovic who stuck to the meeting topic of Technology and came up with some great questions such as “Where do you see the Internet in 25 years time?” and “Could you live without technology?”.

The winner of the Table Topics was Josie Bowerman who gave a very compelling argument as to why robots are good for us.

Pauline carried on her multitasking by being Table Topics Evaluator giving all the speakers equal amounts of praise and tips to think about for next time.

A great meeting was had by all including the two guests in the room who commented on how clearly everyone spoke.

With that I’m off, I’ve got a book to write, JK Rowling watch out!


Best Speaker Award– Stephanie Bisby

Best Table Topics Award – Josephine Bowerman

Best Evaluator -Pauline Westrop


Meeting report by Steve Bisby, General Evaluator 


Next meeting is on Monday June 12th. Visitors are very welcome – just come along!

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | Monday April 24 2017

Tonight’s meeting of Doncaster Speakers was a combination of fun, felines and flowers.

Pauline Westrop was Toastmaster for the evening and instantly got us all in the mood with her energy, enthusiasm and even a little poetry.  As Toastmaster, Pauline gets to set the theme of the meeting and she chose “Spring has sprung”.  Right from the start she got everyone thinking about what Spring meant to us and so we were nicely warmed up for the entertainment ahead.

We had three great speeches tonight.

Apparently, Josie Bowerman was delivering her Ice Breaker speech.  I got lost at one point and thought I was back at the Division Competition yesterday, as her story, style and structure was of such a quality.

Her personal brush with death which led her to ensure she took control of her life story and then empowering us to make sure we control our stories, was truly wonderful to hear and I’m not giving anything away when I tell you that she won Best Speech of the night.

Not, of course, to take anything away from Andy Howell and Stephanie Bisby, both of whom were doing the same project, Get Comfortable with Visual Aids.  It is always a pleasure to have two people working at the same level, as watching how two people approach the same task provides an extra element of interest and it clearly highlights how these projects can be interpreted in different ways.

Andy made it very clear Who the Boss is in his household.  His cats.   Dispelling the oft held myth that, somehow, humans have some say in what goes on in the world, the reality was quickly proffered to us.  Using cartoons, photos and even real cat toys, Andy opened the eyes of the unknowing (and in some cases, preached to the converted).

Stephanie’s speech led us through the highs and lows of visiting the land of Oz.  A little misdirection up front, to clarify we’re talking Down Under, not Emerald City – we were given a combination of maps and holiday snaps to highlight her many attempts and subsequent misses, in trying to achieve a life long dream of visiting the Great Barrier Reef.  I’m glad to say she did get there eventually, even if the boat journey out spoiled the experience somewhat.

Before the break, Pauline came back to deliver an education slot to get people interested in the Committee Roles that will be coming up for grabs in the next few weeks and I understand that we have a couple of people showing interest, so well done Pauline.

In the second half, Shane Lukas, Steven Bisby and Richard Bluck gave their speech evaluations to the respective speakers, which took us nicely into Table Topics.  Sarah Saxelby’s first time as Table Topics Master was well organised and delivered questions that were all connected to the Spring theme of the meeting.

Shelagh Jones‘s encyclopedic knowledge of spring flowers nudged her ahead of the crowd to win the Best Table Topic vote, with Shane Lukas’s mountain rescue story coming very close.

And it wasn’t long before Shelagh was back up for another vote winning performance as Grammarian, not only putting us to rights with all of our incorrect usages of the word of the day (altruism), but also identifying those few who had actually used it properly and some very nice observances of the lovely language heard this evening.

One special mention to Bridget Pearson as Ah Counter, who got so enthralled with the speeches and the evaluations that she actually forgot to do her role.

I think we’ll take that as a compliment.

Next meeting is on Monday 8th May and I believe we have 4 speeches already lined up, so I look forward to what should be a cracking meeting.

Report by General Evaluator Andrew Miller

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | Monday April10 2017

The noise grew louder as I neared the door.  It was a familiar sound.  The energetic hum of activity associated with preparation for another Monday night Doncaster Speakers meet.

Groups of people were in action laying out all of the accoutrements necessary for the running of a session, whilst others mingled and caught up with the news since their last meeting.

As the time to start the proceedings drew nearer, the Sergeant-at-Arms for the evening, Jean Stewart thumped the gavel to indicate the two minute warning.

The attendees took to their seats and the meeting started on time with Jean’s welcome, a joke or two followed by the introduction of the Toastmaster.  The meeting was in a safe pair of hands in Michael J. Clarke as Toastmaster, bringing years of experience to the role.  I particularly liked how MJC discharged his responsibility in bite-sized morsels of information.  He gave us a bit of background about the organisation, its beginnings, and its worldwide membership numbers. He explained some of the meeting protocols, such as the reason for all of the applause that will occur as the meeting ran its course.  I also liked how he used the platform of running the meeting as an opportunity to encourage members to ‘get on the committee’, fully aware that the 2016-2017 Toastmaster year was nearing its conclusion and new committee members would be needed.

Just before introducing the Speech Evaluators segment of the meeting, Michael provided further bite-sized bits of information as he explained the protocol of voting and how each person in attendance had the opportunity to give feedback to the various speakers.

Then came the explanation of the Timer role by our very own Pauline Westrop, a  Toastmaster with a significant amount of experience and gave a superb rationale for why we bother with ‘timing’ in the meetings.

Andy Howell introduced his task as our Grammarian and when it came time for his report, he began by tying in the word of the day, Wonderment,  followed by excellent examples of the evening’s array of grammatical display extraordinaire.

Funny man, Steve Bisby produced a mini-speech on the spot as he delivered the message of his role as Ah Counter.  Well done, there.  He later reported on what he had heard throughout the meeting, beginning with a general observation, then onto specific examples, with suggestions for how we might eliminate the use of the ‘ahs and ums’ by replacing them with a ‘pause’ in our speaking action.

Julie Gordon evaluated the Ice Breaker speech given by Deborah Kershaw with style and grace and in a very engaging, conversational manner building great rapport with the audience and Deborah.

The highlight for me, of Andrew Miller’s evaluation of Maria Orlovic’s second speech, was how he supported Maria by encouraging her not to ‘beat herself up’ and focused on her strengths, how Maria will, in time, be able to harness the power of her very ‘personal’ style of delivery.

Lianna Cairns gave a thorough description of the objectives of Sarah Saxelby’s speech and need not have apologised for this being her first speech evaluation.  There was plenty of great feedback as well as helpful suggestions on where Sarah might wish to improve.  Lianna has the unique ability to immerse herself right into the speech she is evaluating, resulting in a very special evaluation indeed.

Bridget Pearson evaluated Jean Stewart’s speech in which she was accepting an award.  There was a bit of confusion in the beginning (due to my lack of forewarning to both Bridget and the Toastmaster MJC), however this did not in the end has any major impact on the outcome.  Bridget began her evaluation by reminding us of the objectives and then asked, “Did Jean do these things –Yes she did!”  A nice touch by a very solid speech evaluator.

The Table Topics session was delivered by Stephanie Bisby with questions which were very conducive to stimulating the imagination.

It was  evaluated by Josie Bowerman, whose fabulous use of the English language, expansive vocabulary and extreme eloquence, sets a bar height to which we should all aspire as members of Doncaster Speakers.  As always, Josie needs no encouragement to deliver her report with anything but enthusiasm, friendliness and a warm smile.

The noise grew dimmer as I left the room and headed for the exit.  The energetic hum of activity was replaced by the sound of gradually fewer and fewer voices, as members and guests said their good-byes and left the room.   Another meeting of the Doncaster Speakers Toastmasters Club had come to a satisfactory end.

Report by General Evaluator  Derek Lucian.


Best Table Topics – Andrew Miller

Best Evaluator (as Table Topics Evaluator) –Josie Bowerman

Best Speaker – Sarah Saxelby

Ice Breaker award – Deborah Kershaw


Next meeting: Monday April 24th. Guests are very welcome to come along and see what we do.

Regent Hotel, Doncaster. 6.45pm for 7pm start. Ends around 9.30pm.

%d bloggers like this: