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Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 11th June 2018

Bridget Pearson stepped up as Sergeant at Arms to open the meeting and introduce our Toastmaster for the evening Stefan Glova.  Stefan’s chosen theme for the evening was “for the first time” to embrace his first time in the role and encourage others to do the same.  He welcomed first time visitor Laura Costa and York EbOrators club visitors Lynn Gregory and Kay Frederico.

Warmth and humour radiated from our Toastmaster and throughout the evening’s proceedings which flowed with ease.  Our meeting Timekeeper Andy Howell, Grammarian Kay Frederico and the Ah Counter Pauline Westrop all explained their role and what they would be looking out for towards their feedback.  Kay announced an inspiring word of the day – Euphoria, which rendered its own enjoyment as everyone who follows is encouraged to use it.

The first speech by Bridget Pearson was to practice her unique Dr Seuss style delivery for an upcoming Christening, and included phrases such as “shoes full of feet” riddled with vibrant splashes of familiar childhood rhyme.  Her speech evaluator Lynn Gregory gave the winning evaluation, delivering articulate feedback with eloquence and providing useful suggestions for every person in the room.

Our second speech came from Lianna Cairns who championed standing out instead of simply fitting in and won the ribbon for best speaker.  As always, she took us on a journey with moments of excitement and quiet suspense.  Andrew Miller as her evaluator, summed up all the positive points to reinforce the speech impact and demonstrated his recommendation, so that actions spoke louder than words.

Club President Shane Lukas held the education session on Committee Selection.  A summary of each club committee role was provided and then the members were asked to nominate and vote (as required).  From 1st July 2018, the Doncaster Speakers committee was announced as:  Andy Howell (President), Maria Orlovic (VP Education), Deborah Kershaw (VP Membership), Lianna Cairns (VP Public Relations), Elizabeth Mead (Sergeant at Arms), Andrew Miller (Secretary), Jon Carvell (Treasurer), Arthur Fenn (Support to VP Membership), and Shane Lukas (Immediate Past President).

With such a buoyant meeting where all evaluations are held after the break, our first timer may have thought the pace would then slow.  However, Arthur Fenn introduced the impromptu part of the evening as Table Topic Master.  Seven volunteer speakers were challenged to respond with a short speech when asked about how they would live in a named unusual place – being given anything from a swamp, the Grand Canyon, an iceberg, a kipper factory to the Regent Hotel itself.  The speeches and master were evaluated by Jean Stewart in her familiar rapturous style.

The evaluations from the Ah Counter, Grammarian and General Evaluator carried us towards the meeting conclusion.  Guest feedback and the usual awards presentation followed, plus Doncaster Speakers was presented a special club ‘Talk Up Toastmasters Award’ for membership growth.

What a fantastic meeting, positively ‘euphoric’ in many ways!  The award winners for best in category were:

  • Lianna Cairns for Best Speaker.
  • Jon Carvell for Best TableTopics.
  • Kay Frederico for Best Evaluator.

Report by Maria Orlovic (a ‘first time’ General Evaluator)

Our next meeting is Monday 25th June 2018 at 7pm start at the Regent Hotel and, as always, guests are welcome.

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Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 26th March 2018

As a member of Toastmasters you are given the ability to find the balance between taking the path that suits you best and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone.

Maria Orlovic has been an active member of the club for well over a year, is a committee member and half way through her Competent Communicator manual, yet this was her first time as Toastmaster.  We may be able to find a clue as to what’s going on under the surface by the fact that the them she chose for the evening was “Feel the fear and do it anyway”.

As is most frequently the case, there was no reason to feel the fear in the first place, as Maria did an excellent job.  Introducing the meeting with a personal story to get us all involved and keeping the meeting flowing throughout, linking the sections without issue.

Once again we had a mix of experienced and new members in the audience, including Elizabeth Mead and Kieran Fox who became members that very evening, so welcome to them.

Due to illness, we were down to only the one speaker tonight unfortunately, however, it was a great pleasure to have Matthew Pennington over from Sheffield Speakers.  Despite being an experienced Toastmaster, he wanted to have another go at his Ice Breaker, the very first speech in the Competent Communicator manual, entitled About Me.

Naturally, it was very accomplished with slides and audience interaction aplenty.  The basic structure was a True/False quiz based around alleged facts from his life.  This meant that everyone got involved and were entertained throughout.

Later on Stephanie Bisby was to give an extremely polished evaluation of Matthew’s speech.  Delivering without notes, Stephanie gave a really well structured presentation, with great use of body, voice and language.  Clear and specific commendations and recommendations for Matthew whilst including the whole audience in her delivery.

We were also blessed today to have an education slot from one of the more experienced Toastmasters, Andrew Miller, designed for all of the new members to the club, of which there have been quite a few recently.  Acknowledging that it can be a little overwhelming starting at the beginning, this Introduction to Toastmasters gave them a guide on what to focus on first.

In the second half, the Table Topics were run by Lianna Cairns, all nicely connected to the theme of the day: how to overcome various phobias.  As well as some stalwarts, it was great to see a number of people coming up to the front for the first time, including Terence, our first time visitor.  Very accomplished they were too.  The winner of the evening was our colleague from Milton Keynes, Ben Clottey, who is working in the Doncaster area and has become an honorary Doncastrian over the last few months.

The Table Topics were evaluated by Arthur Fenn, who entertained us all whilst giving some very useful and supportive feedback for each and every participant.  Come the subsequent vote, Arthur managed to take away the award for Best Evaluator for the evening.

The other evaluations came from our Grammarian, Stefan Glova, who had to try and follow what we were all saying, despite English not being his first language – and our Ah Counter, Bridget Pearson who gave everyone a thorough debrief on their superfluous wordings.

A diary date reminder from Maria about the Area Competition in Hull on 8th April and our next meeting the day after and another throughly enjoyable meeting was wrapped up.

Do come along to the next meeting on Monday 9th April, we’re always open to welcoming more people into the fold.  Remember, if anything is making you feel nervous about coming, feel the fear and do it anyway.

The award winners were:

  •     Best Speaker – Matthew Pennington
  •     Best Table Topics speaker – Ben Clottey
  •     Best Evaluator – Arthur Fenn

Report by Andrew Miller, General Evaluator


Our next meeting is Monday 9th April 2018 

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 26th February 2018

Standing still is the path to stagnation and the beauty of Toastmasters is how easy it is for people to grab opportunities to push themselves, even if by just a little bit.  Appropriately, the theme for this week’s meeting was “Learning and Development” and our Toastmaster of the evening was Jon Carvell, who has been a member for only three weeks and straight away has taken a stab at the top job of the day.

Providing an extra jangle to the nerves was the healthy number of new faces in the audience.  As well as a couple of visitors, we also had four new members amongst the throng, which can throw an extra bit of responsibility onto the shoulders.  We must of course, welcome aboard Diran, Hussain, Mwada and Christina and look forward to their first steps within the club.

In the meantime, Jon Carvell carried out his duties with aplomb, giving a great introduction to the meeting and setting an engaging and welcoming atmosphere.  Above all, I felt like the front of the stage was a safe place to be, entirely due to the way that Jon had set things up.

The various roles being undertaken for the evening were introduced by Jon with grandeur and humour as he created dramatic titles for each position, including the Princess of Prose, Stephanie Bisby who, as Grammarian introduced “Endeavour” as word of the day.  From there it was onto the meat of the meeting.

Unusually, we only had one speaker tonight.  Lianna Cairns with a speech entitled “What is Phonics”.  This was the 8th speech from the main programme, of which there are 10, so Lianna is very close to being awarded the Competent Communicator award.  The them for this speech was to Get Comfortable with Visual Aids and Lianna chose to use a combination of slides and props to get her message across.

Lianna’s was able to draw on her experience as a primary school teacher to educate us all about how the English language is taught these days and the things that every child has to learn.  An introduction to Phonics, the current curriculum system, was an eye opener for a number of people in the audience, the majority of whom are probably more familiar with the old parrot fashion approach to learning.  I even learnt how I should have been holding my pen all these years.  Let’s see if that can improve my handwriting.

The second half saw eventual evaluator award winner Jean Stewart, give a glowing review of Lianna’s speech followed by the improvised section of the meeting, Table Topics.  Organised by Arthur Fenn this week, volunteers were given various scenarios where they had to give a farewell speech to someone that was important to them.   Challenging but interesting, the award for best Table Topic of the evening was given to Becky Pennington, President of the Sheffield club who was visiting this evening in order to ensure that Doncaster Speakers maintain the high standards that they have developed.

One of the most challenging roles of the evening is that of Table Topics Evaluator, as the feedback is delivered almost instantaneously.  Stefan Glover took on the challenge for the first time and in his second language.  Another great example of pushing oneself.

The next challenge for everyone is the Club Competition, which takes place at the next meeting on 12th March.  Everyone is welcome to attend and get involved in some way, shape or form – in fact, one of the day’s new members has asked to compete in the Evaluation contest.  Not even 24 hours on the register and he’s already pushing to seek out new experiences.  Excellent effort.

This means that the next meeting of the usual format will be on 26th March, but anyone wanting to visit and watch a competition in action is more than welcome to do so.

In conclusion, it was great to see so many people taking steps to learn and develop by pushing themselves into new places.  At the same time, everyone can choose the pace that suits them, so those steps can be tiny little ones.

As a wise man once said, “It’s not the pace at which we move forwards that matters, but that we move.”

I look forward to seeing you all at either the competition on the 12th March or our next regular meeting on 26th March.

The award winners were:

  •     Best Speaker – Lianna Cairns
  •     Best Table Topics speaker – Becky Pennington
  •     Best Evaluator – Jean Stewart

Report by Andrew Miller, General Evaluator


Our next meeting is Monday 12th March 2018 which is a club competition

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 27 November 2017

Another wonderful evening at Doncaster Speakers, it was a very busy evening with a few new faces which is always a positive.  Three strong speeches were delivered and everyone stepped up to the mark as usually in their roles.  The evening started with a humorous introduction from Andrew Miller as Sergeant at Arms and Stephanie Bisby as Toastmaster.  Stephanie introduced Toastmasters International confidently and told us why she had joined the club. Her theme was ‘Taking Risks’ and she described Toastmasters perfectly as a safe environment to take risks and described Toastmasters as a place to  “Stand up, have a go, fall back and trust us we will catch you and support you through your journey.”

Jean Stewart was Timekeeper, she introduced her role and used the Toastmaster timekeeper’s app to keep us all on time for the evening.  Stefan Glova was Grammarian and introduced the word of the day ‘procrastination’.  Stefan entertained us with his humour and shared language that grabbed his attention. Bridget Pearson was Ah Counter, she gave us a suggestion on’ just taking a pause’ to stop these little niggles from happening. She spoke to all individuals in her evaluation.

Our first speaker was Maria Orlovic with a speech entitled ‘Act Upon It ’, she gave a confident speech which has us all enthralled from start to finish.  Deborah Kershaw evaluated her speech in a positive way and showed how well she had been listening to the speech.

The second speaker was Andy Howell with a speech entitled ‘Beep, Beep’ which was a classic story of good Vs evil using a well-known cartoon programme.  Steven Bisby evaluated his speech in his witty way and gave Andy positive and constructive feedback to work on.

The final speaker was Pauline Westrop with a speech entitled ‘Remembering the miners strike of 84/85’ this was another heartfelt and honest speech. Pauline has the ability to pull us into her personal stories and take us on her journey, very powerful.  Arthur Fenn evaluated her with a personal and positive evaluation.

The second half of the evening was filled with evaluations and Table Topics.  Shane Lukas took on the role of Table Topic Master and gave us another fun session.  Pauline Westrop gave an energetic evaluation of Table Topics and gave feedback to all speakers.

The evening was wrapped up by Lianna Cairns (myself) giving the General Evaluator report and Shane Lucas finished off the evening.  Another successful evening, looking forward to our Christmas themed night!

The award winners were:

  •     Best Speaker, joint winners – Pauline Westrop and Maria Orlovic
  •     Best Table Topics – Jon Carvell
  •     Best Evaluator – Deborah Kershaw

Report by Lianna Cairns, General Evaluator


Our next meeting is Monday 11th December, 2017 with our Members’ Christmas Meeting

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 13 November 2017

Numbers were lower than usual this week, mainly due to holidays (who knew November was such a popular time for travel?) but what the group lacked in size it made up for in enthusiasm.  Sergeant at Arms for the evening, Lianna Cairns, opened the meeting at 7:00 (give or take an unavoidable delay of a minute or two), and got us off to a flying start by delivering the announcements in her usual clear and unflappable style, despite stepping into the role at very short notice.

Arthur Fenn introduced the main business of the evening in a friendly and approachable manner, and then kept the meeting flowing smoothly as he introduced the individuals performing various roles for the evening: Pauline Westrop as Grammarian, Steven Bisby as Ah Counter and Stefan Glova as timer.  All three performed their roles meticulously throughout the evening.

Our first speaker was Lianna Cairns, who received a well deserved ‘Best Speaker’ ribbon for her talk entitled ‘Anything for a Bargain’, a sentiment with which I’m sure many of our members would agree (we are from Yorkshire, after all), even if we may not have gone quite as far for a bargain as she did.   Her evaluator, Pauline Westrop, received ‘Best Evaluator’ award for her thoughtful and powerfully delivered feedback on Lianna’s speech.

The second speaker was Stephanie Bisby, presenting a modern twist on a traditional folk tale as part of the advanced Storytelling manual.  Stuart Hunt bravely stepped in at the last minute to deliver his first ever evaluation, which he did clearly and enthusiastically.

The second half of the evening featured Table Topics (short impromptu speeches) set by Bridget Pearson around themes relating to the recent Steel City conference and the speeches delivered there.  Topics varied from the conventional, such as buying a new dress for the conference, to the intriguing, such as ‘Who would you be if someone stole your identity?’  The winning Table Topic was delivered by our Toastmaster for the evening, Arthur Fenn, with a humorous take on the assigned subject: his reaction to finding himself fifteen months pregnant.

Following the General Evaluator’s report, Arthur wrapped up the evening with a quick Q&A session and then presented the awards for Best Speaker and Best Evaluator, while Past President Jean Stewart kindly stepped in to present Arthur with his award for Best Table Topic.

The award winners were:

  •     Best Speaker – Lianna Cairns
  •     Best Table Topics – Arthur Fenn
  •     Best Evaluator – Pauline Westrop

Report by Stephanie Bisby, General Evaluator


Our next meeting is Monday 27th November, 2017

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 23 October 2017

Another brilliant evening at Doncaster Speakers, it was filled with fun, energy, two amazing speeches and confidently delivered roles by all members .  The evening started with an introduction from Pauline Westrop as Sergeant at Arms and Jean Stewart as Toastmaster. Jean praised us all for being a high performing club, well done everyone for your continuous support and dedication to this.

Arthur Fenn was Timekeeper for the evening, he introduced his role and was waving the cards clearly at the back to keep us all in time for the evening.  Steven Bisby was Grammarian and introduced the word of the day ‘discombobulation’.   Steven was clear on what he was going to be looking out for and spoke to individuals when giving feedback.  Maria Orlovic was Ah Counter, she gave a personal story to introduce this role- what a great touch and a clear description of the role at the start of the evening and when evaluating at the end.

Our first speaker was Andrew Miller with a speech entitled ‘The Steel City Conference’, he persuaded a few more of us to sign up and attend the conference in Sheffield.  Derek Lucian evaluated his speech in a new creative way and asked the audience for our views and opinions on how well Andrew had met the speech objectives.

The second speaker was Pauline Westrop with a speech entitled ‘Would you save a life?’ which was filled with raw emotion and passion on her subject.  It gave us all something to take home and think about for the evening.  Bridget Pearson evaluated her speech with a warm personal approach and gave positive feedback to Pauline’s speech and also some constructive feedback.

Andy Howell delivered an excellent Educational session on ‘competent leaders easy speak’ it was a clear presentation to follow, we learnt a lot from it and also it encouraged us all to try out new roles.

The second half of the evening was filled with evaluations and Table Topics.  Stefan Glova took on the role of Table Topic Master and used this session to get hints and tips from us to help him in his new journey in the UK- fantastic idea! Stephanie Bisby gave a thoughtful evaluation to the Table Topics session and made sure she fed back to everyone that participated giving them one star and a wish.

The evening was wrapped up by myself (Lianna Cairns) giving the General Evaluator report and Jean finished off the evening.  Thank you for a great evening everyone and hope you all enjoy the ‘The Steel City Conference.’

The award winners were:

  • Best Speaker – Pauline Westrop
  • Best Table Topics – Stuart Hunt
  • Best Evaluator – Stephanie Bisby


Report by Lianna Cairns, General Evaluator


Our next meeting is Monday 13th November, 2017

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