One of the biggest thrills I get in Toastmasters is hearing Icebreakers speeches, someone’s first go at a prepared speech is the most important one they do. Simply put, it can be seen as their initiation into Toastmasters and this meeting we had 2. On top of that, it was brilliant to see so many newer members taking on roles for the first time.
Mwada took on the role of Sergeant at Arms (SAA) and did a good job opening the meeting on time and doing the standard notifications. I think it is easy to underestimate the SAA role, it is an important one to keep the meeting flowing and to keep us on time.
Arthur took on Toastmaster and you know you are in safe and experienced hands with him. Arthur brings an informal vibe to the role that is infectious and lets you have fun while also knowing that we are in safe hands. His theme for the night was “Change can be good” which formed a solid base for the meeting and was also used as the center for the Table Topics Master. Arthur as always runs a good meeting, handling it well and taking the inevitable last minute changes or problems in his stride.
One of the highlights for me was the timekeeper role which was shared between Sarah and Evan. Evan has not done the role before but I can honestly say that the two worked together so well that I could not find anyway to improve their performance. Evan with his exuberant style, made us all laugh when calling time, yes it was just one word “Time” but somehow he made us laugh with that. Sarah did an excellent job of sharing how to do the job, a real pleasure to witness.
Laura took on the AH counter for the first time. She said that she was nervous but her natural style and confident ownership of the stage did not show this. She gave us feedback which means that she did listen for our “Ah’s, erm’s, so” etc, a surprisingly difficult thing to do for first timers or experienced. So another well done.
The grammarian has a similar job to the Ah counter, to listen and observe our language and feedback. Bridget is one of our most experienced members and it showed, with a positive and energetic feedback session that gave us a lot to think about. Her word of the day Refresh, was well used and an easy one to get into your talk.
Janet took on the Table Topics Master role for the first time, and gave us very well balanced questions. What’s more impressive is that she did them all around change, the theme for the meeting. There is no way a visitor to the club could know that this was her first time in the role. Funny, organised, balanced questions and to time, a very good first go at this job.
Talking about first timers even more, Susie took on possibly the hardest evaluation job due to preparation time, the TT Evaluator. I know I have said this before, but like Janet, you could not tell this was her first time. She gave us good feedback and I look forward to seeing her do more roles.
The 3 speeches were special.
Jonathan did his first speech on Pathways, the Icebreaker. It was funny in some ways that he said how nervous he was but apart from that, if you were really looking, the first few seconds, the speech flowed nicely on what I think were deep and personal topics. Especially to be commended was his use of notes, or in his case lack of notes. A first time speaker who does not use notes (ok he had one small post it note with headings on, but I did not see him refer to it is commendable. I really am looking forward to his second speech.
Sandie was up next with her Icebreaker speech. As with Jonathan’s, it was a confident delivery and showed us some of her sense of humour. Again, if she was nervous it was not obvious and I really enjoyed it. Another second speech I am looking forward to.
Last but not least was Jon, he delivered a speech about a SHED. I won’t go into that too much apart from it was funny, very funny while still having a heart to it. I really think that he could use this speech to enter this year’s humorous speech contest. It was nice to see Jon do a prepared speech, we know how good he is at Impromptu speaking and we have seen him do a funny prepared speech before, but somehow he keeps on getting better.
The 3 speech evaluators, Andrew, Steven and Maria all did good jobs and Andrew and Steven in particular did well in evaluating and supporting the two Ice Breakers. Maria had a tough job, she had to find some recommends for Jon speech!
At the end of the evening, our President fed back the results of the annual club visit from our Area Director. There were a few minor improvement suggestions which the committee are looking at now, but in general, she praised the spirit, fun, innovation and our presence in the area. A very good report that is no surprise but always nice to hear.
The award winners for best in category were:
Jon for Best Speaker.
Deborah for Best TableTopics.
Andrew for Best Evaluator.
Report by Andy (General Evaluator)
Our next meeting is Monday 11th February 2018 at 7pm start at the Regent Hotel and, as always, guests are welcome.
The meeting tonight had a great vibe with an excellent turn out and 3 lovely guests.
It was Sandie’s first time as SAA and she got us off to a good start by taking the gavel with gusto, giving the usual 1 min warning and explaining in a clear and concise way of all the things we should be aware of, such as where the fire escape door was, phones off etc. Sandie then gave our ToastMaster of the evening Lianna a very warm welcome.
Lianna has now lots of experience as TM & reminded us from the off how all the dedicated roles taken at the meetings will help with our leadership skills. Tonight’s theme was “Happiness” and Lianna asked us all to try and start our day with giving at least 3 smiles a day to people we meet and even the odd ” how do” and as we travel down our given path we should endeavour to “enjoy the journey”.
Our Timekeeper this evening was Janet. It was Janet’s first role tonight she and reminded us of the importance of keeping to times and how this would be achieved. Janet obviously enjoyed this task and I’m sure this will lead to taking on many other roles.
Stephanie as Grammarian is always a joy to see and hear. Stephanie picks up on phrases, nuances and general grammar that many of us miss. The word of the day was Elation/Elated and it was interesting to see this incorporated into many speeches.
The Ah counter role was taken by Mwada and explained that she would be watching out carefully for all those irritating filler words that we all sometimes use. It is really great to see how infrequent certain ah’s and so’s are being used as we all gain more confidence with each passing meeting.
The Toastmaster then introduced the 2 evaluators. First was Elizabeth who was evaluating Laura’s speech “Nuts & Crackers” which was a very moving and thought provoking reminder of the problems of mental health. Second was Steven who was evaluating Andy speech “Random” . Andy delivered this well with upbeat ” good times” approach to life which will defeat the ” bad times” any day.
Maria kindly stepped up to the plate with an educational session and welcomed our guests. Maria reminded us about the last session a few weeks ago and of the the hard work involved in becoming a Pathways champion.
After the votes for best speaker the Toastmaster ended the first half for a well earned 15 minute break.
Sandie then called the meeting to order and introduced the Toastmaster back to the lecturn. As TM Lianna kept the meeting running smoothly with some great humour thrown in before asking the Grammarian to remind us of the word of the day and give us all an update on how we were all performing.
The General Evaluator was up next and explained the importance of evaluations and how they can be a positive influence to all the speakers.
Elizabeth and Steven then came forward and each gave an honest and valuable assessment of Laura and Andy’s speeches.
Table Topics will always be one of the most popular if not a little terrifying part of the night and this was no exception with Bridget asking 6 people including Jon and Susie ( guests ) the questions of Dr Seuss. These were really thought provoking with “why fit in when you were born to stand out” and “to the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world”
It was great to have Michael back tonight and as table topic evaluator he gave all the contestants sincere & honest feedback.
With the end of the night looming our TM Lianna asked for reports from the ah counter, grammarian , timekeeper & general evaluator before a short Q&A session. Lianna handed over to Andy to ask for any guest feedback . This was given by all 3 guests tonight who said they had thoroughly enjoyed it. Andy finished off a brilliant night by handing out the awards.
The award winners for best in category were:
Andy Howell for Best Speaker.
Elizabeth Mead for Best TableTopics.
Stephanie Bisby for Best Evaluator.
Report by Arthur Fenn (General Evaluator)
Our next meeting is Monday 22nd October 2018 at 7pm start at the Regent Hotel and, as always, guests are welcome.
Another wonderful evening at Doncaster Speakers, we are very lucky to have such a positive supportive group. The evening started with a confident introduction from Laura has Sergeant at Arms and Jean has Toastmaster.
Jean introduced Toastmaster International confidently and told us about the new Pathways programme. Her theme was ‘Achievement’ and this theme was woven in throughout the evening by all participants.
Arthur was Timekeeper; he introduced his role and used a great story about time to keep us all enthralled. Pauline was Grammarian and introduced the word of the day ‘eclectic’. Pauline told us what her role was and shared language that grabbed her attention in her evaluation. Andrew stepped in at the last minute has Ah Counter, and gave us a clear description of the role. He spoke to all individuals in his evaluation.
Our first and only speaker of the evening was Maria with a speech entitled ‘What Is Digital?’ she gave a confident speech and tonight was a true reflection of her journey at Toastmasters and how much she has progressed over her 18 months here. Steven stepped in at the last minute to evaluate her speech and delivered a confident and detailed evaluation. He used the ‘commend, recommend and commend’ evaluation technique to deliver his evaluation.
Andrew delivered an Educational slot on the Humour and Table Topic competition we have coming up in the next few months. He certainly persuaded us to come along to the sessions to support and join in with this brilliant event.
The second half of the evening was filled with evaluations and Table Topics. Andy took on the role of Table Topic Master and gave us another fun session. Stephanie gave an thoughtful evaluation of Table Topics and gave feedback to all speakers.
The evening was wrapped up by Lianna giving the General Evaluator report and Andy finished off the evening. Another successful evening, looking forward to the next meeting Monday 20th August.
The award winners for best in category were:
Maria Orlovic for Best Speaker.
Arthur Fenn for Best TableTopics.
Stephanie Bisby for Best Evaluator.
Report by Lianna Cairns (General Evaluator)
Our next meeting is Monday 20th August 2018 at 7pm start at the Regent Hotel and, as always, guests are welcome.
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.
Arthur Fenn was our trusty Sergeant at Arms for the meeting and introduced our reliable Toastmaster Maria Orlovic. Maria confidently told us the theme for the evening of “The Power of Perspectives”. She ran the meeting with no notes giving us a solid background of Toastmasters and even got the word of the day into her delivery.
Our meeting Timekeeper Mwada Lawan did extremely well, starting her introduction with “good to see everyone”, which I felt was a nice touch. It was the first time she has done this role, well done Mwada! Grammarian Andrew Miller and the Ah Counter Shane Lukas all explained their role and what they would be looking out for towards their feedback.
Andrew announced an inspiring word of the day TRANSMOGRIFY, which rendered its own enjoyment as everyone who follows is encouraged to use it.
We only had one speech this evening and this was by Andy Howell, who did speech 3 from the story telling manual, “Tell a story with a moral”. His speech was called “Maybe” and it was a Buddhist tale centred around luck and realism. He delivered it well with appropriate body language and a clear message for the audience to take away. Steven Bisby cleverly evaluated Andy in a story telling style starting with “Once Upon a Time”. He stated the objectives well and picked out specific examples from Andy’s speech which engaged the audience well. My only ‘recommend’ for Steven was to think of a different adjective, other than “good”.
Pauline Westrop held the education session on Perceptions of Membership. She encouraged members to get involved in all aspects of Toastmasters to develop themselves, and reminded us that organising a social night is always welcomed! Unfortunately, Pauline went a little overtime.
Elisabeth Mead was out table topics master for the evening, getting us to describe what was on the pictures she displayed. The pictures ranged from a ruined building to an art installation in London- Elisabeth rounded up many volunteers who willingly stepped up to the challenge. Lianna Cairns evaluated Elisabeth and the table topic speakers using encouraging words and lots of eye contact, however, she became a little distracted by laughing at Arthur’s hilarious delivery on ‘dirty, dirty pigeons’ and unfortunately went overtime.
The evaluations from the Ah Counter Shane Lukas, Grammarian Andrew Miller and General Evaluator Bridget Pearson carried us towards the meeting conclusion. Guest feedback and the usual awards presentation followed. Our returning visitor Laura Costa decided to join the club (also gaining her First Timer ribbon for taking part in Table Topics), and we also met first time visitor.
Tonight was Shane’s last night as President of the club- on behalf of the club I would like to say thank you for all your input over the last year- it is much appreciated!
What a wonderful meeting, giving us the power of perspectives in many ways! The award winners for best in category were:
- Andy Howell for Best Speaker
- Jon Carvell for Best TableTopics
- Steven Bisby for Best Evaluator
Report by Bridget Pearson (General Evaluator)