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Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 9 October 2017

Oh what a night, with 3 new people, one returning potential member and some impressive first talks. It upholds the Doncaster Toastmasters tradition of having marvellous, memorable meetings.

As ever, the meeting prep started before the meeting, with the Sargent of Arms (SAA) getting the room ready and guests being greeted and assigned to sit next to an existing member.

The meeting started on time and Maria Orlovic the SAA informed us that she had the power to evict anyone who misbehaved.  Now I should point out that we never misbehave, well apart from Jean and we allow that, as she is even funnier when she misbehaves a little bit.

Next up steps our President and Toastmaster for the evening Shane Lukas.  Now Shane has done this before and the first time he did it, he was good, this time he was even better.  In control, funny and it was a comfortable relaxed meeting, knowing that we had him to lead us through it.   Shane explained things in a bit more detail than normal, recognising the fact that we had potential members attending and he even opened the floor to comment on what people thought to Toastmasters.

Steven Bisby the timekeeper came up and in his normal precise and yet funny way, told us about this role.  He even kept to time himself.  Throughout the night Steven was very solid, keeping precise time and waving the cards about (a bit like a mad man, but with a good purpose) to make sure the speakers, especially the first timers, could see timing transitions.

Stefan Glova was next as AH Counter, which was his first role since joining us.  He is there to count all of the um’s , ah’s , er’s, etc. that we use as filler words.  He did very well, presenting his opening without any notes and findings in a friendly and enthusiastic way. He had a tough job as there was only one speech and therefore less for him to find, but I think that this bodes very well for his Toast Master future.

Next up was our Grammarian for the evening. Now Shelagh Jones is very experienced and is well known for choosing a word of the day that is challenging and sometimes, in my humble opinion, very hard to pronounce.  That said, it is always interesting and educational when Shelagh takes on this role.

However, this time she went above and beyond the call of duty, giving us the word Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia which means a fear of long words.  To her credit, she did actually say the word out loud.  Shelagh looked around the room at some pretty nervous faces knowing what we were all thinking – how the dickens were we to get that word into our talks?  It took a few seconds before her smile appeared and she then told us the real word of the day (a much easier word) was Transient.  There was an audible sigh of relief followed by some laughter.   She tracked the use of the word-of-the-day and gave us some good examples of good grammar in the talks that help us all to think more about the words which we use.

Next we moved on to the speeches.  Tonight we only had the one speaker, but Lianna Cairns filled the role of sole speaker very well.  She told us about an accident when she was younger, complete with acting, bandages, dramatic falling to the ground (that looked like it hurt!) and a few wise words for all of us.  Jean Stewart her evaluator commended the speech and gave a few bits of advice, which is the norm.  An excellent and entertaining speech, as we have come to expect from Lianna.

To round off the first half, Pauline Westrop presented a very well thought out education slot on Competent Leader (CL) awards.  This was a brilliant idea as I (Andy Howell) will be presenting a “how-to guide” on CL at the next meeting.  Therefore, Pauline saw the opportunity to give the background, interesting facts and motivation for members to go for CL.    The session flew by and she even made time for a few questions.

After the break, we had a reminder of the word-of-the-day from the Grammarian and we then went into the Table Topics (impromptu speaking) part of the evening.

Arthur Fenn was the Table Topics Master, and gave us a very personal theme that centred around his need for builders, tree surgeons etc.  It was a very consistent theme that all of the topics sprung from and I have never seen a more interactive TT session.  He also managed to get the new people speaking which is always a good thing.  The talks were impressive from both new and experienced people alike and the winner was actually a first timer Jon Carvell.  Jon took to the stage with a confidence, humour and eloquence that we are more used to seeing from veteran Toastmaster speakers.

Derek Lucian was the Table Topics Evaluator, and he sacrificed his chance at being voted Best Evaluator by going over the allocated time, to make sure that every TT speaker got a good evaluation on their speech. Derek is very experienced and that was obvious from the quality of the feedback and by the way that he pitched each evaluation at the level and experience of the person speaking.

As an added bonus, Jon Carvell wrote a poem during the break on the word of the day which was so good, that he was press-ganged (with no real reluctance on his part) to come up and read the poem.

All in all, a brilliant, fun and energetic night that will be remembered.

The award winners were:

  • Best Speaker – Lianna Cairns
  • Best Table Topics – Jon Carvell
  • Best Evaluator – Shared : Jean Stewart and Shelagh Jones

Jean Stewart will be Toastmaster at the next meeting on 23rd October.

Report by Andy Howell, General Evaluator

Our next meeting is Monday 23rd October, 2017


Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | Monday June 26 2017

What a beautiful end to a Toastmaster year.


The meeting was opened by Pauline in her capacity as Sergeant At Arms for the evening who then introduced Derek, the president of Doncaster Speakers and filling the role of Toastmaster for the evening.


As part of his welcome speech, Derek announced the theme of the day – Lessons Learned –  and shared with the members and our guest insights about the impact Toastmasters International is having as it continues to grow and reach more people through its growing number of clubs, members and number of countries in which it now has a presence.


In addition, Derek announced that our Toastmasters Club, Doncaster Speakers, had continued to maintain the highest rating that Toastmasters International gives to its clubs for a second year.


Toastmasters International rates its clubs on how well they encourage members to pursue their personal public speaking and leadership goals.  President’s Distinguished is the highest rating and we’re proud that Doncaster Speakers has continued to meet the standards required to achieve it.  This wouldn’t be possible without the exemplary commitment by the committee and President Derek.


We had the privilege of having a guest, Stefan.  His feedback at the end of the meeting was that this is exactly what he’s looking for in order to develop his presentation and public speaking skills.


The meeting flowed wonderfully with our evaluators each introducing their respective roles to the members and guest.


Andy Howell as Time Keeper

Arthur Fenn as Ah Counter

Lianna Cairns as Grammarian


Lianna declared that her chosen word of the day was ‘Cohesion’ and encouraged the speakers to fold in that word or as a bonus, incorporate ‘Cohesive Community’ in to their speech.


Derek was remarkably quick to fold that in to his description of Doncaster Speakers!


The first speaker, Steven Bisby, was introduced by his speech evaluator Josie Bowerman.  Josie explained that Steven was delivering a speech based on project 5 of the competent communications manual ‘Your Body Speaks’ and that Steven’s focus is on conveying gestures and body movements that would compliment and emphasise points he was making.


Steven’s speech, entitled Raffleing – a misleading title that reflects Steven’s witty sense of humour and was actually about refereeing.  The title was reminiscent of an occasion where Steven has mis-heard the word Refereeing.  His speech was incredibly funny as well as informative.  His body conveyed his message and the speech was complimented further with his array of props including a referee’s whistle.


The 2nd speaker for the evening was Jean Stewart. Jean was introduced by her evaluator Alison Turner.  Alison informed the audience that Jean was basing her speech around project 2 of the Advanced Communications manual, Story Telling.  Project 2 is Let’s Get Personal.


Jean certainly met the objectives of the project title. Jean’s speeches are always incredibly humorous and as her story was an experience of trying to fit in to a dress that would make her appear 2 sizes smaller but was unable to fit in to it without wrecking the dress the audience were in tears of laughter.


Our 3rd Speaker was Stephanie Bisby.  Stephanie was introduced and evaluated by Shelagh Jones.  Shelagh explained that Stephanie was completing her Competent Communications manual by delivering this particular speech.  The speech was based on Project 10 – Inspire Your Audience.  A daunting requirement in my opinion.


If it was daunting for Stephanie it didn’t show.  Stephanie delivered a very moving speech, sharing a very sad episode in her life where an old friend of hers had died but this death had motivated Stephanie to live life to the full.  Stay young at heart and take on the attitude that life’s too short and she inspired the audience to take on the same view, be a little more adventurous and make the most of our lives. Stephanie’s speech left me with a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye.


After the 3 prepared speeches and before we broke for coffee, Derek delivered the annual ceremony that takes place at the year end Toastmasters Clubs.  The dismantling of the current committee and relieving members of their roles of the previous 12 months and appointing the newly elected committee members for 2017/2018.


Derek performed this duty with professionalism, passion and a hint sadness which reflected the end of an era as he would discontinue his role as President.

The new committee members are filling big shoes and have great standards to continue to maintain.

After the coffee break we heard the speech evaluations.


Josie gave her feedback with such dynamism it was delivered as though she’d had a week to prepare it.  It was incredibly thorough.  Her recommendations for Steven included the very good suggestion of setting up a video camera to monitor some of the points she’d raised so that he becomes more self aware in the future.


Alison gave her evaluation of Jean’s speech.  She demonstrated that she’d observed very attentively and gave 3 recommendations for consideration to Jean.


Shelagh gave a very heart felt evaluation of Stephanie sharing with the members some of Stephanie’s journey within Toastmasters and Shelagh’s pride in Stephanie’s progression was clear.


Andrew Miller filled the role of Table Topics Master.  Andrew Miller is not one for sticking to the status quo and this meeting was no exception.  Whilst continuing to meet the  purpose of Table Topics – to develop thinking on the spot – Andrew introduced a brilliant twist.


He invited members up in pairs.  For each pair there was a theme that reflected a role within Toastmasters.  The first role was that of Toastmaster and specifically around the selection of a theme for the meeting.


Steven Bisby and Jean Stewart were invited and asked to spend their allocation of time suggesting themes for the coming months and why they made those suggestions.  The themes included ‘Staying Pale in July’  and Steven gave a football related theme for August connecting us back to his speech and reminding us that Football season starts in August.


Derek and Shelagh were invited to describe their favourite speeches throughout their time at Toastmasters.  As the theme of this session was that of Time Keeper, each had an allocation of 30 seconds to talk about their favourite speech, not more and not less.  Once the 30 seconds was up the other person would share their recollection.  They continued to alternate in this fashion for the allocated period of 3 minutes.


The next pair were Arthur Fenn and Alison Turner.  The theme of this session was the role of Ah Counter.  The pair were invited to talk about the Sheffield conference for their 3 minutes.  As soon as one of them er’d, ah’d or um’d the audience were to shout out and then the other person would have to continue to talk.


The final duo were invited to take on a duel!  In the spirit of a Rap Battle, Josie Bowerman and Stephanie Bisby – our Grammarian Queens – had to demonstrate their grammarian skills bouncing off each other’s creatively linguistically charged sentences.  Sadly, I personally lack the skills to better describe it!  Yes, you’ve guessed it, the theme of this session was the role of Grammarian.


Pauline Westrop, in addition to her role of Sergeant at Arms was also TableTopics Evaluator.  In light of the change of format Pauline had her work cut out for her but this didn’t stop her giving exemplary feedback to all concerned and especially to Andrew for his ingenuity in putting together such a great TableTopics session.


Derek closed the day by announcing the awards for the evening.


Best Speech Award went to Stephanie for her inspiring speech.

Best Evaluator Award went to Josie for her incredibly thorough and energetic evaluation of Steven.

Best Table Topics Award went to the duelling duo – Josie and Stephanie


Well done and well deserved.


Report by Shane Lukas, General Evaluator


The next meeting, the first of the new Toastmasters year, is on Monday July 10th. 

Visitors are most welcome to come and see what we do!



Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | Monday June 12 2017

The Sergeant At Arms, Maria Orlovic, gave the participants a warning that the meeting was due to start in 2 minutes time.   The room was laid out and the signing in sheet was on the table at the entrance.

The meeting started on time at 7.00pm. Maria welcomed everyone and reminded them of the Toastmaster pledge, she then handed over the floor to the Toastmaster for the evening, Andy Howell.   His introduction to the evening included the information that there were hundreds of thousands of members worldwide and that this membership was growing.   The information provided by both Maria and Andy was especially useful as the participant on the evening included two visitors and a new member.

The theme of the day Andy had chosen was ‘Summertime’.  He then asked the Timekeeper, the Ah Counter and the Grammarian to come forward and explain their roles for the evening.

There was one speech on the evening, given by the Area Director, Pauline Westrop.   This was an Advanced speech entitled “The Roast”. In addition, the Evaluator for this was Shelagh Jones.

Shelagh introduced Pauline and outlined the criteria that needed to be covered in order for Pauline to successfully complete the speech, and the time frame in which this needed to be completed.

It was at this point that the Toastmaster, Andy Howell, delivered a short session on the Easy speak software that is available to members to record Club meetings and members progress.

Following this Maria announced a short interval to enable everyone to network and have a refreshing drink.   At the end of the interval Maria called the meeting back to order.

During the second half of the meeting the Table Topics Master, Josie Bowerman, called volunteers forward to present short a Table Topics.    Taking part was a combination of one of the visitors, some members and the new member.   Josie’s theme was book titles, and the speakers needed, without prior knowledge of these books, to describe what they thought these books were about.   This went extremely well and caused a great deal of amusement.

Alison Turner, as Table Topics Evaluator, provided evaluations on all the speakers and congratulated Table Topics Master on her choice of topic

The evening ended a 9.15pm with a short question and answer session, and then the President of the Club, Derek Lucian, thanked everyone for attending and informed them on future meetings and events.    He then handed out the Awards, which were:


Newcomer Award –    Pam Miller (visitor)

Best Speaker – Pauline Westrop

Best Evaluator (joint award):    Alison Turner and Shelagh Jones

Best Table Topic –  Pam Miller


Report by General Evaluator Jean Stewart.

The next meeting is on Monday June 26th. Visitors are most welcome to come!

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | Monday June 5 2017

Such has been the success of Doncaster Speakers in the last few months an extra session had to be booked in to enable members to do a speech or evaluation role to help get them further through their manuals as the Toastmasters year end looms ever closer.

Low on quantity of people this meeting was high on quality.

Expertly, Sergant at Arms Arthur Fenn brought the meeting to a timely start and hush decended in the room with one fell swoop of the ceremonial hammer.

Toastmaster for the evening Alison Turner took over the meeting and keeping in mind the topic of the day – Technology – she ran a smooth meeting with no need to turn it off and back on again as everything went to plan.

We were entertained by two speakers, first up was Stephanie Bisby who was doing speech 9 of 10 from the Competent Communicator Manual – The Persuasive Speech – persuading us with some good personal examples that we all have a book within us.

Second up was Pauline Westrop who is on the Advanced Manuals and this week her task was to raise a toast. Pauline ticked the box in her manual whilst at the same time doing a job that needed doing as this was her last meeting as Area Director before handing over the chain of honour to Jean Stewart. Jean just happened to be sat next to her so Pauline raised a toast whilst handing over the chains. Multitasking at its best!

The interval then arrived with the chance to have a good old cuppa and a spot of networking.

With another timely bang of the hammer Arthur signalled the start of the second half.

Feedback is the thing that binds the Toastmasters galaxy together and without it life would be like Groundhog Day with nobody learning from their mistakes or successes so we were privileged to have 2 top Evaluators in Jean Stewart and Shelagh Jones giving not only feedback to Stephanie and Pauline but also they gave out hints and tips the whole audience could take away and think about.

Next up was Table Topics where speakers are given a question with no time to prepare and they then have to try and talk for 1 to 2 minutes on that subject. The evening’s Table Topics Master was Maria Orlovic who stuck to the meeting topic of Technology and came up with some great questions such as “Where do you see the Internet in 25 years time?” and “Could you live without technology?”.

The winner of the Table Topics was Josie Bowerman who gave a very compelling argument as to why robots are good for us.

Pauline carried on her multitasking by being Table Topics Evaluator giving all the speakers equal amounts of praise and tips to think about for next time.

A great meeting was had by all including the two guests in the room who commented on how clearly everyone spoke.

With that I’m off, I’ve got a book to write, JK Rowling watch out!


Best Speaker Award– Stephanie Bisby

Best Table Topics Award – Josephine Bowerman

Best Evaluator -Pauline Westrop


Meeting report by Steve Bisby, General Evaluator 


Next meeting is on Monday June 12th. Visitors are very welcome – just come along!

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | Monday May 22 2017

Monday’s meeting was certainly a special one for many reasons.  The theme was set by Arthur Fenn, as Toastmaster, “The Beauty of Simplicity”.

Arthur Fenn took on the Toastmaster role for the first time and he did a cracking job.  He confidently handled the meeting from start to finish, despite the usual hiccups that often occur. He gave a succinct description of the theme, too.

Shelagh Jones took on the Sergeant at Arms role with professionalism and poise, with everything set up ready to go. Her style allows people to feel like everything is under control.

I would like to give a special mention to Andrew Miller who stepped in at the last minute to cover the all important Time keeper role. Bravo!

We had two fantastic speakers on Monday night: Maria Orlovic and Andy Howell.

Maria was up first and presented a fascinating and well thought out 3rd speech from the Competent Communicator Manual, entitled “Making a good first impression”.  Her speech challenged all of us on what we look at and how we make assumptions on what we are told and see. I particularly enjoyed her opening story about the ‘man’ in the white van, and the ‘older’ ‘male’ doctor. I felt it was by far her best speech to date and bodes well for her next speeches.

The second speech, which was introduced by his evaluator Shelagh Jones, was Andy’s 10th and final speech of the Competent Communicator Manual.  In this, as Shelagh explained very well, Andy had to use all of the techniques from the last 9 speeches to inspire the audience.

He did extremely well in a speech entitled “Roar and a Whisper” where he inspired the audience to listen to the Roar of fear, but also the whisper that is logic.  The aim was not to be fearless, but rather to not be ruled by fear.  The speech had a good balance of humour and sincerity.

Derek Lucian then held an education session where we elected the new Committee for 2017/18.  Well done to all those elected but in particular to Shane, who will be our next President.

After a break, when everyone had the chance to get to know us, we started back with Pauline re-introducing our word of the day, ‘succinct’.

Ordinarily, the person who uses the word the most will get a special mention.  However in this case, as Derek used it 5 times, which was not very succinct, he was disqualified and Dave, on this first ever visit, got the Grammarian stamp of approval for getting the word in when standing up and delivering his table topic speech.

Lianna Cairns positively jumped at the chance to be Table Topics master, and she did well with a variety of “What would you be and Why” topics.  You could not tell it was her first time in the role as she delivered it with an energy and enthusiasm that belied any nerves she might have been feeling.  As ever table topics was fun and Dave, our first time visitor took the opportunity to stand up and speak and this earnt him a well-deserved first timer ribbon.

Shane Lukas did a wonderful job of the Ah Counter role, making it both funny and informative; outlining the need to be aware of our habits to be able to do something to change them. He specifically focused on the journey from unconscious incompetence to unconscious competence. I also enjoyed his use of chocolate bars to emphasise his points: a regular kit-kat was given to Arthur for him to “take a break” and pause more and a kit-kat chunky given to Andy to reward him for long pauses.

Andrew Miller gave a very succinct and helpful review of the table topics speakers in his role of Table Topics Evaluator.  This is a tough job due to the lack of preparation time.  Lianna did help him by sending the questions in advance, something that every TT master should do if possible.

This was my second time of being a general evaluator, and I have found that experience is a great teacher. I feel this time I delivered a more rounded and organised evaluation so I have definitely learnt from the last time I did it- which was a lot more chaotic!

Overall, it was a high-quality Doncaster Speakers meeting filled with adrenalin, fun and as always- valuable lessons to learn.



Best Table Topics Speaker: Andy Howell

Best Evaluator: Andrew Miller

Best Speaker: Andy Howell


Meeting Report by General Evaluator Bridget Pearson


Our next scheduled meeting 12th June.  We hope to see you there!

We are squeezing in a special extra meeting on Monday June 5th  – you are welcome to come to that as well.












Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | Monday May 8 2017

With a packed full agenda, Andy Howell opened the meeting on time and efficiently, before handing over to Derek Lucian, our President and TM of the Evening. Derek’s theme of  “The Magic of the Maxim” was indeed magical- it set the scene for all at the meeting to be positive and engage with the theme.

Stephanie Bisby, Alison Turner and Shelagh Jones were clear and efficient with their roles as Grammarian,Timekeeper and Ah Counter. All explaining the roles well. Word of the Day was Steadfast, and Stephanie gave us information about the word and it’s connection with Doncaster, too.

Lianna Cairns delivered Speech 2, Andy Howell  Speech 9,  and Steven Bisby Speech 4 from the Competent Communicator manual.  I delivered Speech 2 from Specialty speeches. The standard was as high as Competitive speech events- a joy to all who were  listening. Well Done everyone!

The Evaluations were as High a standard,too,  from Stephanie Bisby, Shelagh Jones, Jean Stewart and Andrew Miller.

Jean was Table Topic Master and the Theme of Sayings and maxims was superb. Very thought provoking and a great challenge for the volunteers. Everybody accepted the challenge including one of our visitors – in at the deep end- why not!

Continuing the sprinkle of magic on our performances, Bridget Pearson delivered a well structured and thorough evaluation of Table Topics, supportive comments, indeed.

The meeting ran to Time, and my only wish was that we had recorded it- I thought it was a model meeting to aspire too. The meeting had it all- Laughter and Learning together.

Thank-you everyone- Doncaster Speakers is one of the strongest clubs in the organisation- and with tonight’s meeting, we can see why.

Pauline Westrop – General Evaluator

Best Table Topics Speaker award – Lianna Cairns

Joint Best Evaluators – Andrew Miller for evaluation of Pauline’s speech and Shelagh Jones as Aah Counter

Best Speaker award -Lianna Cairns


Our next meeting is on Monday May 22nd. Visitors are very welcome to attend!

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