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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 

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.

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report| Monday July 25 2016

Report by General Evaluator Shelagh Jones

New President Derek Lucian was Toastmaster for the meeting and gave us the theme of “Possibilities” – appropriate for the beginning of a new Toastmasters year.


The start of the meeting was a bit disorganised as Sergeant at Arms Sean Gordon was late to arrive, but two guests were warmly welcomed and had their early questions answered.

Derek gave a comprehensive introduction to open the meeting and introduced Time Keeper Julie Gordon, Ah Counter Andrew Miller and Grammarian Steve Bisby.

Steve’s Word of the Day was Appropriately which was picked up enthusiastically and used throughout the meeting.

Bridget Pearson introduced the Ice Breaker speech of her mentee, new member Julie Pitcher. Julie gave us a touching and heart-warming portrait of her life with Sally, a retired guide dog who gave years of service to Julie’s mother.

The purpose of the Ice Breaker speech is two-fold – to tell the audience a little bit about yourself and to establish where your skills are at the start of your Toastmasters journey so you can see your progress as you work through the manuals.

Bridget’s evaluation showed Julie where she is starting and where she can develop with future speeches

Michael J Clarke introduced Stephanie Bisby who gave Speech 5 from the Competent Communicator manual which focuses on Body Language. Entitled “Dancing Through Life” Stephanie wove together lessons from her time learning dance at university with the skills we need to develop as speakers, giving an enjoyable speech which earned her the Best Speaker award.

Mentoring is an essential part of the Toastmasters programme, and one which Doncaster Speakers continues to develop within the club. Jean Stewart gave a wide-ranging overview of how mentoring works, both for mentor and mentee. You can read a synopsis of what she said here.

After the break Derek Lucian was Table Topics (impromptu speaking) master and it was encouraging to see both guests (Gerard Cahill –First Time award) and new members take part , with the Best Table Topics award being shared by long-time member Andrew Miller and one of our newest members Sarah Saxelby.

Alison Turner evaluated the Table Topics speakers and gave valuable feedback to all.

Andrew Miller’s Ah counter report helped us all recognise those crutch words (and broken sentences!) which take away from the impact of our words.

Steve Bisby gave his first evaluation as Grammarian and introduced us to such concepts as “doing an Andy Murray” and the invaluable advice of replacing our umms and errs with the Word of the Day to achieve the double whammy of praise from both Ah counter and Grammarian! This was an outstanding debut performance which won him the Best Evaluator Award.

At the end of the meeting President Derek Lucian lead a lively discussion of various matters to do with the Club including inviting anyone interested in helping to organise the D71 District conference in Sheffield in November 2017 to come along to a planning meeting on September 8th.

He also presented certificates to recognise recent achievements by three members:

Advanced Communicator  Bronze (ACB)  – Jean Stewart and Shelagh Jones

Competent Communicator – Sean Gordon

The next meeting is on Monday August 8th and guests are most welcome to come along and join us.

Sean Gordon receives Competent Communicator Award

Sean Gordon received his Competent Communicator award at the meeting on Monday July 25.

The Competent Communicator manual consists of ten projects which each cover one of the components of making a great speech, and is the start of the communication path to Distinguished Toastmaster.

Many congratulations to Sean!Sean Gordon CC July 25 2016

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | Monday 11th July 2016

This is the report from General Evaluator Sean Gordon.

Our Sergeant at Arms Alison Turner opened the meeting promptly, ensuring that everything was in place, fire procedures were understood, phones switched off and if caught short everyone knew where to go.

We had eleven members attend the meeting, including new member Julian Leanne, but it is the holiday season. This was made up by four guests; Lianna Cairns, Sharon Davies, Sarah Saxelby and Bartek Marzec and everything was set for a great evening.

Our Toastmaster for the evening and his first time in the position was Shane Lukas. Shane is a new member, only joining our club on 11 Apr 16. Shane set the theme for the evening, ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’.

Feel the Fear

I was impressed by Shane’s performance, as anyone who has taken the role of Toastmaster will tell you it is challenging, but Shane rose to the occasion. Well done.

Our Grammarian, Stephanie Bisby gave The Word of the Day; Encourage, Encouragement, Encouraging, an excellent word which proved popular throughout the evening.

We had two speakers for the evening; Bridget Pearson with a speech titled, ‘Smell the Fear’ – how very appropriate – and Steven Bisby with a speech titled, ‘I didn’t Order that Phantom’, both entertaining and enjoyable speeches.

The speech evaluators were Julie Gordon and Jean Stewart respectively. Both gave a  good account of themselves.

The speeches were followed by an Educational Session given by Andy Howell who turned the session around on its head by asking the audience, what they wanted from these sessions? Having just begun a new year in Toastmasters, it was a good question to ask.

Our Toastmaster for the evening, Shane then closed the first part of the meeting and we enjoyed a break.

The second part of the evening belongs to the Evaluators and the ‘Fun Part’ Table Topics.

First the serious part of evaluating; Doncaster Speakers do fantastic in this area and it is important for we all learn to do better by giving this important feedback.

Table Topics, for those who do not know, it is impromptu speaking where the Speaker is given an unknown subject and must speak between 1 to 2 minutes and no one knows where the speech may lead to. The Table Topic Master for the evening was Andy Howell and his theme was to tell a Tall Tale and for the audience to surmise whether it was true or false. Truly original for me and I liked it.

Table Topics was evaluated by Jean Stewart, who did a quick and efficient job.

Finally the awards were announced by Jean Stewart.

Best Speaker                     Bridget Pearson

Best Speaker Bridget Pearson

Best Evaluator   (A tie)   Stephanie Bisby

Jean Stewart

Best Table Topic (A tie)  Stephanie Bisby

Shelagh Jones

First Timers                         Sarah Saxelby

Lianna Cairns

Sharon Davies

I, and dare I say it everyone, had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Our next meeting is on Monday July 25th and guests are very welcome to attend (no charge, of course). There is a list of upcoming meetings here


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