Blog Archives

Maybe word of the day but this meeting was not a Guddle!

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Review
Date:- 22/07/2019
Venue:- Regent Hotel, Doncaster
Meeting Theme:- Insanely Great
Word Of The Day:- Guddle

With a powerful bang of the gavel Sergeant at Arms Mwada brought the meeting to order and then followed with the housekeeping rules before handing over to the Toastmaster for the evening Bal.

Bal introduced her theme for the evening and as there were 4 guests in the room she did a good job of explaining the make up of Toastmasters International and how the meeting would take place and what to do when.

Next up was Timekeeper Andy who explained the importance of keeping to time, what the duration section on the agenda was for and which card he would raise when people reached those times on the agenda.

The meeting was one of multitasking for Elizabeth who performed her first role of the night as Grammarian telling the meeting the type of language she was looking out for and she also introduced the word of the day – Guddle (meaning a mess) using examples of how you could fit the word in to a sentence.

Stephanie the Ah Counter described the filler words such as ‘So’, ‘Like’ and ‘Erm’ that people use instead of pausing when thinking what to say next. She also pointed out that people is different parts of the country use different filler words.

Then it was prepared speech time with Jon who was doing the Pathway speech where he had to deliver a speech he had previously done and try and improve on the feedback he received at the time. Jon chose a speech entitled ‘Stress Testing’ and gave us a fun and energetic talk on how following a process to reduce his stress levels left him feeling more stressed.

Unfortunately a couple of other speakers who were due to speak had to drop out prior to the meeting but the gap was expertly filled by Elizabeth with her second role of the evening.

Elizabeth facilitated a new section to the agenda where she invited people to come to the front and to share their Toastmasters journey.

Andrew was first telling everyone the day he learnt how to project his voice better. Lianna told people how she had first found Toastmasters in New Zealand first but did not pluck up courage to go to a meeting till she came back to Doncaster and it had made her find her confidence again. Guest Maureen also got up and gave a introduction to the forthcoming TedX Doncaster event she was helping to organise.

Elizabeth’s third role of the evening followed as Education Session Leader where with the help of Susie she gave a session on the new Pathways website and how to navigate it.

Mwada signalled the start of the second half with another confident bang of the gavel.

Elizabeth back in her Grammarian role reminded everyone of the word of the day.

General Evaluator for the evening Steven explained the importance of listening and giving feedback, a skill everyone needs to learn.

Maria was back up evaluating Jon’s speech from the first half pointing out to all what he had done well and what needed a little more refining.

Elizabeth then evaluated the Toastmaster Journey speeches giving a summary of what they said and pointing out good things they had said and a couple of ideas where they could have improved the speech.

Bringing thoughts of fun and panic in equal measures was the next activity Table Topic. This is the section where someone is given a question and they instantly have to try and talk about that subject for up to 2 minutes. Arthur was the Table Topics Master and he based is questions on the theme of Great. So there were questions such as what is your greatest wish, what is the greatest thing you have ever built and similar questions for the 9 contestants.

Susie the Table Topics Evaluator did very well in summarising the whole session and giving positive feedback to each of the 9 contestants and she did it all in the allotted time of 4 to 6 minutes.

Stephanie the Ah Counter gave people their scores of how many times they used filler words and again explained to try and use a pause instead.

Elizabeth for the final time was up with a Grammarian’s round up of good use of language and how many times the word of the day had been used.

The last evaluation was by Steven who as General Evaluator had the role of evaluating everyone who had not been evaluated during the evening so that was everyone apart from the Jon in the first half and the 9 Table Topic speakers in the second half.

Bal ended the evening by asking the guests for feedback and opening the floor to a question and answer session.

Lastly the ribbons were handed out:-

First Timer – Fiona
Best Speaker – Jon
Best Evaluator – Susie
Best Table Topics – a draw between Mwada and Maureen.

Next meeting is scheduled for Monday 12th August 2019


Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | 9th June 2014

General Evaluator’s Report | 9th June 2014 | By Lisa Johnson

Change is Good!

Evolution | Change | Doncaster Speakers | Toastmasters International

Credit: Human Evolution by Bryan Wright on Flickr

This was a meeting brimming with possibility and it did not disappoint! Andrew Miller led the proceedings masterfully as Toastmaster of the Evening and introduced the guests followed by his theme; “Change is Good.” He kicked off with a slightly tongue in cheek analogy to evolution reminding us all that we’d still be slithering around on the ground on our bellies were it not for change (or was that afterwards in the bar?!)

The “main course” of any Toastmasters meeting is the prepared speeches and tonight we were graced with the gourmet feast of not one, but two, speech 10 contestants! Every member of Toastmasters is encouraged to work through the Competent Communicators manual and this involves completing ten types of speeches. Speech 10 is the culmination of many hours of practice over many months / years and whilst it’s theme is “To Inspire” it is a showcase of skills learnt in the previous 9 speeches, so body language, vocal variety, structure, stagecraft etc are all important in this speech whilst delivering a powerful, inspiring message.

Mark Powell’s speech entitled “The Letter” told the tale of 2 incidents that occurred in his role as a police officer and was a reminder to us that reward and praise often does not come to us from the sources we expect (i.e. from his bosses when he pulled out all the stops to solve an “unsolveable” hit and run case (the only clue from a 10 year old witness being that it was “a bald man in blue or black car”) and that actually inspiration came from a handwritten letter from the little girl who had been knocked down thanking him for catching the man that hurt her. There were a few misty eyes in the house when the tatty letter was produced – a simple but highly effective visual aid as Shelagh Jones pointed out in her evaluation of the speech.

Jamie Godfrey’s speech “Take a Walk on the Child Side” invited us to revisit some of our childhood pleasures. His touching tale of his twin son and daughter being delighted anew every morning by “THE BIRDIES!!” in the garden, together with a pivotal movie moment from The Lego Movie “EVERYTHING IS AWESOME” had inspired him to think about reintroducing some of the things that he had enjoyed as a child, just for fun! As we approach middle age life can become about work, paying the mortgage, juggling appointments… so why not do something that used to make you happy, be it trampolining, pogo-sticking or just collecting Panini stickers JUST FOR FUN! Richard Bluck evaluated Jamie’s speech and gave some useful feedback on volume (i.e. Jamie doesn’t really DO quiet!”). Nevertheless Jamie narrowly pipped Mark to the post in swiping the award for Best Speaker.

We had a short Education slot from our President, Gail Powell where she announced the nominations for next year’s committee and shared the sad news that this meeting would be her last as President as she cannot attend the next meeting and the new committee takes over in July.

After the break our Sergeant-At-Arms, Jean Stewart masterfully banged her gavel to reconvene and our Timekeeper, Bridget Pearson (taking on her first role having only joined as a member that week!) kept us on track for the impromptu part of the evening; Table Topics, flashing her green, yellow and red cards for the 1-2 minute speeches. Mark Powell as Table Topics Master gave us a series of “well known phrases” and asked us to fabricate a story about how the terms came about. All I can say is that he is a brave man asking Jean Stewart to explain the origins of “a cock and bull story!” and as for Richard Bluck’s “blowing hot and cold”..he had us in stitches with his impressions of a glass blower (it could have been a lot worse methinks!). The Table Topics were evaluated by Jean Stewart whose observation skills have come on in leaps and bounds and the award for best Table Topic was shared by Gail Powell and Alison Kitchman.

Throughout the evening our Grammarian Alison Kitchman challenged us to use the “Word of the Day”..except tonight to keep us on our toes it was two words of the day. Two words that sound similar but have different meanings are apparently known as an hominism; the two words chosen were “Affect” and “Effect” and they were mainly used correctly! Our Ah-Counter Michel Ediele performed the role brilliantly for the first time, congratulating Gail on “keeping him busy” with her Ah’s and Um’s! The Best Evaluator award was deservedly won by Shelagh Jones.

After Lisa Johnson had evaluated “everything and everyone that had not yet been evaluated” it fell to Gail Powell to present the awards , invite us to a Club BBQ on 24th August and remind us to “save the date” and bring along even more guests for the next meeting on Monday 23rd June!

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | Monday 24th Feb 2014

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Monday 24th February 2014


Monday’s meeting served up yet another mixture of polished public speaking and on the spot oratory, interspersed with humour and insight. Tonight’s audience, slightly larger than usual, was boosted by the presence of 4 guests and this led us to make an extra special effort to ensure they felt involved throughout the evening.

Optimism Quote

Thanks for the image to ‘Symphony of Love’ on Flickr. Original photo attribution: Vincent van der Pas, on Flickr

Our Sgt At Arms, Michel Ediele, did an excellent job of welcoming our visitors, and the rest of our members helped out ably when there wasn’t enough of Michel to go round! Our Toastmaster for the evening, Alison Kitchman, took the time to explain the Toastmaster role and the agenda for the rest of the evening. Alison then explained how she had been inspired by words from a book for the meeting theme and how optimism can make us more effective. The tone set by Alison was both calm and engaging – perfect for a Toastmaster.

The three prepared speeches were all rather different in theme and content. Andrea Pashley described a schoolgirl skiing holiday with the ‘Face’, her Icebreaker speech. Sean Gordon told us ‘How Butterflies received their painted wings’ and Julie Gordon very poignantly described life with a sufferer with Asperger’s syndrome. All three speeches were well received with little to choose between each.

Derek Badger delivered an Education Session about Evaluation and then set about practising his preaching by delivering his own evaluation of Andrea’s speech.  Andrew Miller and Fred Roberts both gave useful feedback to Sean and Julie’s speeches.

As usual, TableTopics provided most of the evening’s laughs. A special mention must go to Mark Powell (the winner) with his conkers, with close competition from our guest Heera Singh and his invention of a perpetually full fridge. TableTopics was hosted by Lisa Johnson – who successfully managed to persuade 3 of our guests to risk all (well done to them!).   Lisa’s topics struck a good balance between originality and opportunity for the speaker.

The word of the evening “Positive” was nominated by our Grammarian, Shelagh Jones.   This dovetailed well with the meeting theme of optimism (even if it wasn’t picked up by some of us – like me!).   Shelagh’s comments and observations regarding the use of words throughout the meeting deservedly won the best Evaluator award – although, as she conceded, we were spoilt for choice by the very high quality of language used by all.

Best Speaker award went to Andrea Pashley – always a big achievement for an icebreaker speech.   Despite the distraction of a slightly croaky voice, Andrea did a fine job of controlling any nerves and made minimal use of notes. Well Done!

The next Doncaster Speakers meeting is on Monday 10th March.  If you want to improve your public speaking skills, grow your confidence or develop your leadership skills, you won’t find a better value and more supportive environment to do this in!

%d bloggers like this: