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Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 8th October, 2018

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.


Area 21 Spring Speech contests

Hull Speakers hosted the first ever Area 21 Spring Speech contests and Doncaster Speakers took a full part with a strong supporting team for the entrants – Bridget Pearson and Michael J Clarke in the International Speech contest and Michael J Clarke and Andrew Miller in the Evaluation contest.

Michael J Clarke won the International Speech contest and Andrew Miller won the Evaluation contest – both will now go forward to the Division E contests in Birmingham on April 23.
A further congratulation to Area Director Pauline Westrop (also a member of Doncaster Speakers) for arranging an excellent contest.

Thanks to Steve Bisby for the photos!

Area 21 Int Speech Contestants

Area 21 International Speech contest winner Michael J Clarke

Area 21 Evaluation Speech Contestants

Area 21 Evaluation Speech contest winner Andrew Miller

Club Speech contests March 13 2017

Club contest winners (l to r) – Michael J Clarke, Bridget Pearson and Andrew Miller

The audience were treated to two thrilling competitions on Monday March 13th!

The contestants for the International Speech Contest were:

Stephanie Bisby – “The One Thing”

Michael J Clarke  –  “Maxwell”  

Andrew Miller  – “Mathematics can change your life”

Bridget Pearson  –  “Never EVER lose hope” 

The Winner was Bridget Pearson and second place went to Michael J Clarke. 


Evaluation Contest

The test speech entitled “My Father the Hero” was delivered by Jean Stewart.

The contestants were 

Michael J Clarke

Andrew Miller

Alison Turner 

The Winner was Michael J Clarke and second place went to Andrew Miller


Officials (for both contests)

Contest Chair – Jean Stewart

Chief Judge – Pauline Westrop

Timekeepers/Counters   – Sarah Saxelby and Josie Bowerman with Maria Orlovic.

Sergeant at Arms – Steve Bisby

Thanks to you all for your help! 

The two winners from each contest go on to the Area 21 Competition which will be held on Sunday April 2nd, 1.30-4pm at the Holiday Inn Express in Hull.

If you would like to come along then register at


Our next meeting on Monday March 27th will be a special Guest evening so if you have been thinking about coming to see what we do, this is your chance ! 6.45pm for 7pm start at the Regent Hotel, Doncaster.  No charge for visitors!

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | Monday February 13 2017

In my role as General Evaluator it is my pleasure to round up this meeting. The three words I used in my evaluation of the meeting were perspective, innovation and humour. So how did the evening live up to this.

The theme for the evening set by Shelagh Jones, as Toast Master was “A different perspective”. Shelagh had ensured that right from the outset of the evening her theme was put into action. Shelagh achieved this by making sure all those playing a role were aware of the theme and the need to bring a “different perspective” to each role.

To this end Shane Lukas, our Sergeant at Arms, laid out the room with all the chairs around 3 sides to make a large space for speaking. This layout brought a fresh perspective and was not without its challenges in terms of eye contact. But as Shane rightly pointed out as we Toast Masters can all be asked to speak in different settings we should be challenging ourselves at every opportunity.

We were treated to 3 very different speeches.

Gerard Cahill gave a very entertaining and humorous speech entitled “The Robots Are Coming” and in an innovate approach was asked by Andrew Miller, his evaluator, to give his own perspective of what could have been done better in the opening, body and conclusion of his speech. A different perspective indeed.

Pauline Westrop, our second speaker did a “Press Release on Speech Session” with questions and answers at the end. This was a challenging speech to control and also challenged our time keeper Sarah Saxelby as there were different timings for both the body of the speech and the question and answer session. Shane Lukas who always challenges himself was both Pauline’s speech evaluator as well as our Sergeant at Arms.

The deserved winner of Best Speaker went to the third speaker, Bridget Pearson who gave a powerful and emotional speech straight from her heart entitled “Ignorance Isn’t Bliss”. Michael J Clarke as her speech evaluator rightly informed the meeting that it was speeches like this which keeps him coming to Toast Masters.

Lianna Cairns had a novel approach to Ah Counter as the Ah Counter DJ, whilst new member Josie Bowerman clearly demonstrated her love of language in the Grammarian role with an innovate approach being taken to the word of the day being the banned words of Nice, Good and Great. Josie shared the Best Evaluator ribbon with Michael J Clarke.

The first half of the evening was rounded up by Jean Stewart with the Do’s and Don’ts of Body Language. Again this was challenging to Jean given the room layout and the IT letting her down.

The humour of the evening was provided by Pauline Westrop who not only gave a speech but organised an innovate “hecklers” session instead of the usual Table Topics. We all rose to the challenge and had a go with the best heckler being Jean Stewart. Andy Howell in his first time in this role did a good job of evaluating as Table Topics Master.

I hope this evaluation gives all those who were unable to attend a flavour of how innovate and full of humour the evening was. Hats off to Shelagh in engineering this “Different Perspective” and ensuring it was embraced by all.

Meeting report by Alison Turner, General Evaluator for the meeting.


Our next meeting is on Monday February 27.  Guests are very welcome to come along and see what we do.

We are also having a special Guest Evening on Monday March 27th starting at 7pm at the Regent Hotel.

Evaluation – the Powerhouse of Toastmasters | Michael J Clarke

Michael J Clarke

On Monday Jan 30th 2017 the club took advantage of the fifth Monday in the month to hold a Strictly Speaking and Evaluation event.

Michael J Clarke gave a masterly explanation of exactly why he considers Evaluation to be the Powerhouse of Toastmasters. We are delighted he has agreed that we can share it here so it can reach a wider audience.

Thank you Michael!

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | Monday January 23 2017

Why do we come to Toastmasters?  For the most part it is to improve our speaking skills and as a social event.

But there is always more to each meeting than that.  At this meeeting I was moved by a tale involving true love during WW2, learnt the value of challenging even the most basic of assumptions (Does 1+1 really = 2) and heard a first time speaker deliver an eloquent talk on relationships that really hit home.  And to top off an already brilliant evening, we then had a trumpet solo at the end.    Please keep on reading to get the full story.

Jean Stewart opened the evening on time and did the announcements in her inimitable style that always gets the evening off to a good start.

We had 6 new people attend, which made it very important that the night went well.  Shane Lukas was the Toastmaster (host) for the evening and he made sure that they felt welcome, and that the evening went smoothly with an easy going control of the meeting and of course and good humour. Shane’s theme for the meeting was “Best Foot Forward”.

Lianna Cairns took on timekeeper for the first time.  It is an important role which she executed with a clarity and focus that is rare to see in someone doing it for the first time.

Grammarian for the day was one of our resident word smiths Shelagh Jones, who always chooses interesting and challenging words.  The word of the day was Diurnal, Shelagh gave us the definition ( during the day or daily; of each day ) and some examples of how it is used in context.   The aim for the night was for us mere linguistic mortals to use the word correctly throughout the night, sadly it was only used 3 times but this then gave Shelagh time to point out other good (and not so good) uses of the English language.

Richard Bluck is an experienced member and took on the role of the Ah counter with an aim to help us all reduce the amount of filler words that we use (like ah, so, urmm). He presented each speaker with what they did and some guidance, with most just using a couple of these words and just a few examples where there were a lot of repeats.  Always good guidance to help us all remove these distractions from our talks.

On the night we had 2 prepared speeches, delivered by speakers who were miles apart in experience but both were delivered very well.

First was Natalia Skorczewska who was presenting her very first prepared talk called People come and go, which I found to be emotional, information and eye opening when seen from her point of view.  It is a talk that I will remember for a long time.  Presentation wise, Natalia has a natural style that came across very well and helped the emotion of her speech.  If this was her Ice Breaker first talk, I will certainly be looking forward to her next.

Bridget Pearson is Natalia’s mentor and took on the job of evaluating her talk.  Bridget gave good feedback and even used her acting skills to give Natalia some hints on what she could improve as far as body language goes.  As ever with Bridget, it was an energetic and informative session that will help Natalia next time.

The second speech was by Andrew Miller. He is an excellent speaker but this time he had the challenge of preparing and delivering a talk with very little notice.   His subject of A fun Challenge was indeed a challenge to the audience perceptions of mathematics, assumptions and stress and was well received by the audience.  Sadly he was pushed for time and has a request which I fully back to present this again but with a bigger time slot.

Pauline Westrop evaluated Andrew, which is a tough job, but she was up for it and presented him with the good points and the areas however small that he can improve on.  She also did the very important thing of addressing each Andrews pre talk concerns one by one which gave him the feedback that he wanted.

Shane then finished the first half with his second role of the evening, a 15 minute education slot called Hot to Host where he set the scene on how to host a talk using Triggers to help you get in the right frame of mind.  He then opened up to contribution from the audience to share our hints and tips.  A very fun, educational session that I took some tips from.


The second half of the evening was dominated as per normal by the Table Topics, our impromptu speaking segment.

Hats off to Gerard Cahill who was our table topics master.  He somehow managed to get 5 of the new people speaking, which is impressive.  The topics were varied, a mix of difficulties but all thought provoking and challenging in their own ways with lots of opportunity for humour.  Very entertaining and the standard of the first time talkers was impressive.

Michael J Clarke took to the stage to evaluate the table topics.  As a founding member and long-time toastmaster, when he gives feedback it is always well thought out and extremely useful.  I particularly liked the level at which he gives his recommendations to the experience level of each person.  Simple general recommendation to the 5 first timers and more in-depth to the more experienced.

The final segment of the night is evaluation where we hear feedback from various people on the night.  The General Evaluator (i.e. me) gave feedback on the general and specific highlights to those that did not have feedback (toastmaster, Timekeeper, evaluators etc).  As I was not booed of the stage or the subject of rotten fruit being thrown I assume I did ok.


We had an extra special ending to the evening, with Natalia (our first speaker) attending on her birthday, Bridget smuggled in her trumpet (No idea how she did that as she sat next to Natalia all night) and she led us on a Happy Birthday rendition, a good end to the night. Listen to it here! 

At Toastmasters we are all about development and trying new things and having our limits pushed.  With that in mind, we can vote for winners of the Evening.  Jean our immediate past President gave out he awards :

5 first time speaker ribbons (that might be a record)

Best Speaker was Natalia who also won an ice breaker ribbon

Best Table Topics went to Josephine, first time attending and gave the WW2 love story that moved us all

Best Evaluator was shared between Shelagh (Grammarian) and Pauline (Speech Evaluator)

It was my first time as General Evaluator, and it was a pleasure to do so on such a brilliant night.



Meeting report written by Andy Howell


Next meeting is on Monday February 13th starting at 7.00pm at the Regent Hotel.

Guests are very welcome to attend (no charge, of course!). Probably a good idea to have your meal before you come as we end around 9.315-9.30pm!



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