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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 10 2017

Shane3The theme for our meeting on Monday 10 July was “A New Chapter”, which was very apt as this was the first meeting for our new committee and for our new President and Toastmaster for the evening Shane Lukas (pictured).  Shane introduced the evening by asking for the audience to give interesting facts and benefits of Toastmasters. He also welcomed our 2 new members Luisa Marija and Stefan Glova.

Andy Howell as Sargent at Arms made sure the room was all set up and that we started promptly which was important as we had 3 speakers all doing Speech 2 Organize Your Speech from the Competent Communication Manual.

Arthur Fenn was the first speaker with a speech entitled “From Grains of Sand” which was a history of glass making. Bridget Pearson as his evaluator identified his passion for the subject, his powerful imagery and use of props and recommended that he watched out for the overuse of facts and his stance.

Josie Bowerman went next with a speech entitled “What a Waste”, she gave another impassioned plea for Culture and the Arts, a very different speech but again backed up with facts and illustrations to emphasis her points. Steven Bisby in his usual humorous style described her as “born in a Thesaurus not a womb” and went on to describe the various methods Josie has used to make her points. He recommended longer pauses and moving around the stage.

Deborah Kershaw was last but far from least as she went on to win Best Speaker with her talk entitled “If at 1st you don’t succeed try try try again!”. She gave us a very personal tale introducing us to Richard who was endeavouring to pass his driving test with Deborah as his 34th instructor!  He passed but not before we were treated to lots of visions of Deborah’s fear for her safety with her rather maverick pupil. Lianna Cairns identified Deborah’s conversational style, good eye contact and no reliance on notes. Lianna recommended that Deborah slow down, pause and enjoy the audience laughter.

The second half of the evening was devoted to our evaluators and Table Topics. Andy Howell set the Table Topics and following on from the theme of the evening invited the audience to speak on momentous events which had changed their lives or careers. We heard from Derek Lucian with his dislike of cows, Jean Stewart with her love of animals, Andrew Miller with his rebranding of his business and Lianna Cairns with her travels to New Zealand and Australia. One of our newest members Stefan Glova  gave Table Topics a go and spoke about how Toastmasters itself and his wish to speak in public was his biggest challenge. Stephanie Bisby evaluated the Table Topics and gave each participant some insightful feedback. The evening was rounded off with evaluations from our Grammarian, Richard Bluck, our Ah Counter Maria Orlovic and myself, Alison Turner as General Evaluator. The meeting kept to schedule with Time Keeper, Jean Stewart doing a thoroughly competent job of waving the cards to make sure we all kept to time.

Best Speaker Award            Deborah Kershaw
Best Evaluator Award          Lianna Cairns
Best Table Topics Award     Lianna Cairns
First Timers Award              Stefan Glova

Report by Alison Turner, General Evaluator

The next meeting is on Monday 24th July 2017.
Visitors are very welcome to come and see what we do!

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