Blog Archives

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.


Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | Monday November 28th

The meeting started on time and was attended by 16 people, 14 members and two visitors.    Julie Gordon was the Sergeant at Arms for the evening and provided the meeting with provided details of facilities and timing of mid-meeting break.
She introduced the Toastmaster for the evening, Andy Howell.    Andy gave a strong introduction to the meeting, introduced his theme of “All Change”  and welcomed the visitors by name.    He then took control of the entire meeting introducing the members taking on various roles.


First, Steve Bisby explained his role at Timekeeper and explained how timings could be found on the agenda.  Then Bridget Pearson explained the role of Grammarian and introduced the word of the day “Deviation” or “Deviating”.    She explained that she would like everyone involved in presenting, evaluating etc to see if they could include one of these words in their presentations.

The Ah Counter, Stephanie Bisby, explained how use of certain words, through habit rather than as part of an effective speech, can detract from the speech delivery.

There were four speeches during the evening and each was preceded by their evaluator introducing the speech and details re timing etc.

First, Shelagh Jones introduced Jean Stewart whose speech was from the Advanced Manual “Special Occasions”, entitled “Who is this person?”   Then Andrew Miller introduced the second speaker, Julie Gordon, whose speech was Number 6 from the Competent Communication Manual and was entitled “Never Judge a Book by its Cover”.

The third Evaluator was Shane Lukas who introduced Derek Lucian whose speech was entitled “The Cremation of Sam McGee” and was from the Advanced Manual “Interpretive Poetry”.    The last Evaluator, Alison Turner introduced Gerard Cahill who was presenting his Ice Breaker speech on “Moving to England”.

Every speech had a strong element of humour and this contributed to what was already and relaxed and fun evening.

Following the break the Sergeant at Arms invited everyone to re-join the meeting.   It was at this point that the Grammarian reminded everyone of the “Word of the Day”.

All four evaluators provided feedback to the meeting on each of the speakers.    They all provided congratulations of what went well and also provided some recommendations for improvements.

Derek Lucian introduced Table Topics, and despite having rounded up some volunteers during the break, he asked if anyone else wanted to volunteer.   Both the visitors volunteered and gave two minute presentations.    They were followed by members of the Club.

The General Evaluator, Jean Stewart, gave the meeting an overview of the meeting.    This was followed by the Toastmaster who invited questions from the meeting.

The President, Derek Lucian, provided details of future events and also presented the awards.    He then closed the meeting and thanked everyone for contributing to successful meeting.


Best Speaker – Julie Gordon

Best Evaluator – Bridget Pearson

Best Table Topics – Andrew Miller

(Meeting report by Jean Stuart)


The next meeting on December 12th is our Christmas Party – please contact the Club if you want to come. Tickets £13.50, booked by Dec 2nd.

The first meetings in January are Monday Jan 9th and Monday Monday Jan 23rd -guests are most welcome to come along (no charge).

Meet Julie and Sean Gordon

Julie and Sean Gordon are one of several couples who have joined Doncaster Speakers over the years.
julie-and-sean-gordonJulie says:

In my job as an MD the focus of my role is on meeting people, developing client relationships and getting the message out there about the business. I needed something to help build my confidence in doing this and I decided to give Toastmaster’s Doncaster Speakers a go.

After a few weeks as a member, the club hosted a guest evening and I invited Sean along. I asked him because we were looking for something we could get stuck into together. We are really busy individuals and often like ships that pass in the night, but joining Toastmasters together means we have something we can share. Sean was a bit of a reluctant guest on that first evening, but soon realised how much fun it all was.

For me, having Sean around at the meetings to say, “You did great, I’m really proud of you,” is such a confidence boost.

We help each other prepare for our roles and run ideas past each other. We aren’t afraid to say, “That doesn’t work well… perhaps try this…”  We also listen to each other practising our speeches, although I do get a bit impatient when I’ve heard Sean’s jokes for the tenth time!

I honestly can’t think of a downside to being a Toastmaster’s Couple, and I think it brings a positive dimension to the Club. Sean is a bit of a character and I think members enjoy the banter we share as a couple… and empathise with me!

It’s all good fun!


We will be adding more about members on our new Meet The Members page 

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | Monday October 24th

The meeting was extremely well attended with a total of 17 members plus guests present. As a result it was nearly a ‘standing room only’ event – which was pleasing to see. The Toastmaster for the meeting was Julie Gordon. Her theme for the meeting was “A Safe Place to Learn”.

Julie took care to introduce guests to the protocols of a Toastmasters meeting, paying particular attention to use of the feedback slips. She then went on to guide us through the rest of the meeting, displaying a calmness and control throughout. Later on she capably chaired an Educational Session on the topic of ‘Building a Speech Introduction’,

The evening featured three very contrasting, but high quality, speeches delivered by Jean Stewart, Derek Lucian and Shane Lucas. Jean’s speech, from the Special Occasion Speeches manual, was in praise of Lady Clementine Churchill, wife of Sir Winston, Britain’s greatest wartime leader. Derek’s speech, a reading, came from the story of Canadian Roger Woodward who, as a 7 year old, was swept over the the horseshoe falls at Niagara and miraculously survived. Finally, Shane’s speech told us the tale of the his family’s day out trekking to and from the summit of Mount Snowdon. Shane’s speech won the best speaker vote.

Table topics was chaired by recent new member Gerard Cahill, and served up the usual collection of inspired improvisation and blatant balderdash. The winner was Shelagh Jones, who presented her case to be elected as President of the United States (as convincing as either of the actual candidates). Stephanie Bisby evaluated Table topics and won best evaluator award. 

Overall, a successful evening, particularly regarding the education session based around audience participation and feedback. This provides a useful template for the future.

(Meeting report by Richard Bluck, General Evaluator).

Our next meeting is on Monday November 14th, at the Regent Hotel, Doncaster, starting at 6.45pm for 7pm. Guests are very welcome to join us – no need to book, and no charge.

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | Monday October 10th

Sometimes a Toastmaster meeting takes place in spite of whatever is going on in our lives   – and our meeting on Monday was one of those….

Steve Bisby stepped in as Toastmaster with just a few hours’ notice and chose the very appropriate theme of “Anything Goes”.

Alison Turner brought the room to rights and started us just a few minutes late.

Qasam Javaid took the role of Ah counter and did an excellent job, despite its being his first time.

Andrew Miller gave us “Esoteric” as our Word of the Day which many of us managed to use imaginatively. His evaluation of the use of language during the meeting won him Best Evaluator award.

Julie Gordon was, as ever, an excellent time-keeper.

It is always a big event when a new member makes his Ice Breaker speech so it was a real pleasure to hear Shane Lukas tell us (with excellent examples from his own life) that there is “Always a Better Way”.

Jean Stewart gave us a very thought-provoking session of Table Topics with questions based around personal development which was won by Stephanie Bisby.  Bridget Pearson gave every speaker points both to commend and to suggest future improvements.

Pauline Westrop is a member of the club, and as such evaluated the whole meeting. But she is also our Area Director and expanded her evaluation to cover all aspects of club performance and governance. It was satisfying to hear her recognition of where we are doing well and to receive her suggestions as to where we can improve.

Steve, with his warm manner and gentle humour lead an excellent meeting despite his short time for preparation.

Our next meeting is on October 24th at the Regent Hotel, starting at 6.45pm for 7pm and visitors are most welcome to come along and see what we do.

Humorous and Table Topics Speech Contests Sept 26 2016

We had two excellent Speech Contests at our meeting on Monday September 26th.

Bridget Pearson was Contest Chair for both and did a magnificent job both beforehand (there is such a lot of printing and organising of people!) and in leading the contests in a calm, assured manner. Well done!

Shelagh Jones was Chief Judge for the Humorous contest, shadowed by Shane Lukas who was Chief Judge for the Table Topics contest.

Derek Lucian and Julie Pilcher were Timers and Counters, with Pauline Westrop as Sergeant at Arms, assisted by Julie Gordon.

A great team who delivered enjoyable and well-run contests.

Humorous Speech Contest

Entrants (left to right) : Andrew Miller (first place); Jean Stewart (second place); Andy Howell

Humorous Speech Contest 2016 Entrants

Table Topics Speech Contest

Entrants (left to right): Jean Stewart; Andrew Miller (first place); Sean Gordon; Natalia Skorczewska (second place); Andy Howell (third place).

Table Topics contest 2016 contestants


Andrew, Jean and Natalia will go on to represent the club in the Area 21 contest at Jury’s Inn Sheffield on Sunday October 9th, 1pm-4pm. Everyone is invited to come along and support them!

Our next meeting is Monday October 10th – guests are very welcome to join us at the Regent Hotel, Doncaster at 6.45pm for start at 7pm.

%d bloggers like this: