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Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | Monday 27th June 2016

The meeting on Monday June 27th was the last of the Toastmaster year –and what a way to end it!

Outgoing President Jean Stewart was immensely generous in providing a hot buffet for all the members and guests as we arrived.

Full marks go to the staff of the Regent Hotel, Doncaster –and everyone’s thanks to Jean

We had a wonderful clutch of Guests to the meeting. Our Area Director Euan Bayliss enjoyed his “official” visit so much that he and Fiona returned for another dose of Doncaster hospitality. Our new Area 21 Director Pauline Westrop  came to see what she would have to deal with next year! Impressive to have both of them take roles in the meeting.

In addition we had two ladies visiting to see if they want to join the Club in the future –even if the gorgeous buffet is not a regular feature!

Our meeting Agenda was trimmed a little to keep to the reduced time available but we heard speeches from Shelagh Jones, Jean Stewart and Andy Howell with Shelagh and Andy tying for Best Speaker ribbon.

Prue Richmond , one of our visitors, won the Table Topics ribbon and the Best Evaluation went to Bridget Pearson for her evaluation of Andy Howell’s speech.

We held a vote for the new Committee with the following people elected:

President – Derek Lucian

VP Education –Andy Howell

VP Membership –Jean Stewart

VP PR and webmaster – Shelagh Jones

Treasurer  -Andrew Miller

Secretary – Julie Gordon

Sergeant at Arms – Richard Bluck

Jean gave us some amusing and touching reminiscences about her year in office and handed over her ribbon of office to Derek.

Outgoing President Jean Stewart opens gift from Club for her successful year in office

Outgoing President Jean Stewart opens gift from Club for her successful year in office

His first task as President was to present Jean with a flowers, a card and Swarovski pen (pink crystals – what else!) from the members of the club in appreciation of all her work in having the Club be recognised as Presidents Distinguished Status for the year 2015-2016 – a brilliant achievement.

The first meeting of the new Toastmasters year is Monday July 11th. If you would like to come along you are most welcome. Meetings run from 7.00pm to 9.30pm (please arrive by 6.45pm if you can) and there is no entrance charge for visitors.


Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | Monday 13th June 2016

General Evaluator’s report by Jean Stewart

The meeting was opened by the Sgt At Arms, Alison Turner.      Apart from the members there were five visitors who had come along to find out more about Toastmasters.  Also the Area Director, Euan Baylis and his partner, Fiona Dilston, attended and both participated in the evening events.


The theme for Table Topics was Europe


The meeting was opened by the Toastmaster for the evening, Shelagh Jones.     Shelagh’s experience of Toastmasters shone through in the professional way she managed the meeting throughout the evening, and her knowledge of the organisation enabled her to provide in-depth information on what Toastmasters represents.

There were two speakers, Steven Bisby and Sean Gordon.      Steven was presenting his second speech, as a new member of Toastmasters, and Sean was delivering speech 10 from the Competent Communications Manual, which will now enable him to move on to working on the Advanced Manuals.   Both speeches were delivered well and both contained clear messages with a smattering of humour.   Following this their Evaluators provided everyone, including the speakers, with their feedback on these speeches.    They included a couple of recommendations, but overall the standard was so good there was little to recommend.

Following the break Andrew Miller took on the role of Table Topics Master.    He gave each participant the challenge of speaking for up to two minutes on different EU countries.  And as is usual, with no prior warning on the subject matter.    For those members who had visited the country chosen this was covered well, but some of the countries chosen were not known to the speakers, however, they managed nonetheless to cover the 2 minutes well.    This resulted in much hilarity.

The evening finished with the awards.    These were:   Best Speaker awarded to Sean Gordon, the Best Evaluator to Euan Baylis, Best Table Topics shared between Fiona Dilston and Stephanie Bisby, and our newest member won the First Timer Award.

The meeting finished at 9.15pm.

Guests are always welcome at our meetings – please see our meetings page for dates.

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | Monday 23rd February 2016

Meeting report by Alison Turner

With a theme of “Make a Difference” set by our Toastmaster for this evening Sean Gordon Doncaster Speakers met on 23 February at the Regent for its usual fortnightly meeting. The theme was extremely apt as we were treated to a meeting which really did Make A Difference with ample opportunities to learn and hone our public speaking and management skills.

We learnt that Steven Bisby is “a funny man”. Steven was brave enough to deliver his ice breaker speech entitled “Me and Musicals” with tales from his time in the old Civic Theatre and the Odeon Cinema to trips to see his favourite musical Phantom of the Opera. We learnt more about Steven and with his natural humour were transported to the world of musicals with funny stories throughout. Derek Lucian gave a very insightful evaluation of Steven’s speech and easily picked up on the structure, humour and storytelling. Well done Steven and we cannot wait to hear more in your next speech.

Our Grammarian for the evening was Andrew Miller who explained the rhetorical devices he would be looking out for and set us the challenge of using “Affect” as the word for the day. Andrew gave good examples of its use in everyday language and sure enough after a hesitant start in the second half of the meeting we were all using it to great effect.

Unfortunately our second speaker for the evening Andy Howell was unable to deliver his speech due to unforeseen personal circumstances. This was managed very well by Sean, our Toastmaster, with the educational slot being brought forward to the first half of the meeting. Phil Heath was our guest for this evening and he gave us some invaluable tips with a speech entitled “Give your Voice a Voice”. On a subject which Phil is clearly passionate about we learnt to take a deep breath before we speak, exercise the facial muscles, use powerful pauses, vocal variety and tone. He reminded us that the audience is left with an impression of our speech which is often formed not so much by what we say or the words we use but by how we deliver them.

During the second half of our meeting Stephanie Bisby set the Table Topics for the night. Carrying on from the theme “Make a Difference” she asked us such questions as what sporting moment made a difference, what bad habits would we drop and what groups or hobbies had made a difference to us. We heard about the momentous moment when Andy Murray won Wimbledon from Shelagh Jones, turning off the TV from Derek Lucian and time travel from Andrew Miller. But the winner of Best Table Topics was one of our newest members Ben Mullins with his passion for Prog Rock and the Canadian Rock Group Rush and in particular drummer Neil Peart.


Shelagh Jones had a busy evening not only evaluating Table Topics but also being our Ah Counter.  Other roles were taken on by Bridget Pearson as Timekeeper, Jean Stewart as Sergeant at Arms and myself as General Evaluator. And what did I learn in this role?- to be more organised and perhaps move to the front of the room when you are responsible as General Evaluator for introducing all the other evaluators and taking charge of the second half of the meeting. The best evaluator award was jointly won by Derek Lucian and Shelagh Jones – well done to both of them.

A big thank you to everyone who made this meeting the success it was. I do hope everyone attending learnt something that they can incorporate in their future speeches or roles. The next meeting is the Competition night which is to take place at the usual Monday night slot at The Regent on 7th March. See you there.

Toastmasters International 90th Anniversary

Doncaster Speakers Celebrates 90 Years of Toastmasters International

Open Meeting | 23rd March 2015

Toastmasters International 90th Anniversary Invitation There will be a light buffet and tea/coffee! Please book your tickets so we can make sure we have enough food for everyone. CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR TICKETS

Andrew Miller will fly the flag for Doncaster Speakers in Harrogate

Club and Area Speech Contests

Humorous Speech & Table Topics Contest Results

We held our Doncaster Speakers (club-level) Autumn Contest on 8th September: The Humorous Speaking Contest and the Table Topics Contest.
Toastmasters International | Doncaster Speakers | Participants club contest

Doncaster Speakers Table Topics and Humorous Speech Contest Participants, Sept 2014, L-R: Andrew Miller, Sean Gordon, Jean Stewart, Alison Kitchman, Bridget Pearson (front)


Toastmasters International | Doncaster Speakers | Andrew and Jean club winners

Doncaster Speakers Club Contest Winners, Sept 214, L-R: Andrew Miller (Table Topics Contest Winner), Jean Stewart (Humorous Speech Contest Winner)


Club Contest Chair, Gail Powell, said about the Club Contest on 8th September:

“It was, as usual a fun evening, especially as it was the humorous speaking competition. We only had two contenders for the speaker’s competition – Jean Stewart and Sean Gordon – both would have done us immensely proud at the next stage, but in the end Jean’s inimitable style won her the first place.The Table Topics competition was well represented with 5 competitors. It was a very close call for who came first with our President Andrew Miller getting to the post first. His comfortable and accomplished ability to turn a couple of minutes, on an unknown subject, into a mini-speech shone through. The subject of the Table Topics (set by the Contest Chair for the evening Gail Powell) was – If you had to wear a badge with only 5 words on it what would it say and why? Now there’s food for thought!”

The winners (Jean Stewart for Humorous Speaking and Andrew Miller for Table Topics) then competed against the winners from the other Area 15 clubs (Leeds City Toastmasters, Sheffield Speakers, White Rose Speakers, Huddersfield Cummins Toastmasters, Hull Speakers) in our Area 15 Autumn Speech contest, which we hosted at The Regent Hotel again yesterday.

Frederika Roberts, who attended the Area 15 Autumn Speech Contest, said:

“It was a fantastic day with lots of fun/laughter but also many opportunities to learn from watching all the winners from the different Area 15 clubs and network with Toastmasters from outside our own club.  Attending Area/Division/District contests is a brilliant way to observe and learn from great speakers.

The judges had a challenging task as the level was very high in both contests.”

Toastmasters International | Doncaster Speakers | TT participants Trevor Hatib Tony Bairstow Pauline Westrop Andrew Miller

Area 51 Table Topics Participants, L-R:
Trevor Hatib, Pauline Westrop, Andrew Miller, Tony Bairstow

Toastmasters International | Doncaster Speakers | Humorous participants Anthony Day Jean Stewart Alex Kelly Andy Nicholls Claire Crowther

Area 15 Humorous Speech Contest participants, L-R: Alex Kelly, Anthony Day, Jean Stewart, Claire Crowther, Andy Nicholls

Jean Stewart and Andrew Miller made Doncaster Speakers proud: Jean placed 3rd in the Humorous Speech contest, having faced stiff competition, and Andrew Miller placed first in an equally challenging Table Topics contest.

Toastmasters International | Doncaster Speakers |Humorous winners Andy Nicholls Anthony Day Jean Stewart

Area 15 Humorous Speech Contest Winners, L-R: Anthony Day (2nd place), Andy Nicholls (1st place), Jean Stewart (3rd place)

Doncaster Speakers | Toastmasters International | TT winners Andrew Miller Trevor Hatib Pauline Westrop

Area 15 Table Topics Contest Winners, L-R: Pauline Westrop (3rd place), Andrew Miller (1st place), Trevor Hatib (2nd place)


Andrew will now go on to represent Doncaster Speakers in the Division E Table Topics Contest in Harrogate on 26th October!

Go along and support Andrew, watch some great speakers, learn, laugh and network:


Division E Humorous & Table Topics Speech Contests


An Interactive Workshop

Cairn Hotel, 13 Ripon Road, Harrogate, HG1 2JA


TO BOOK: Email (please advise of dietary requirements, including vegetarian)

10.00 am Registration

10.45 am Interactive Workshop

12.00 pm Lunch

1.00 pm Humorous Speech Contest

2.30 pm Table Topics Speech Contest

3.30pm Close

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | Monday 23rd June 2014

General Evaluator’s Report | 23rd June 2014 | By Alison Kitchman


Excellence, energy and excitement exuded from our Monday night Toastmasters meeting at Doncaster Speakers.
Julie Gordon,our Sargeant at Arms,got us out of the starting blocks on time and with all the right equipment and facilities to enable our Toastmaster for the evening, Jean Stewart,to run with the theme of “Competition”. England might be coming home but there are lots of competitions- sporting and otherwise- going on around the world right now. Jean brings great energy and humour to our meetings and dealt seamlessly with a last minute sub as Shelagh Jones took over the role of Grammarian in place of Richard Bluck.  Shelagh pulled out the stops by choosing “excellence” as the word of the day, meaning not “to be perfect” but to “do your best” which is all we can ask of ourselves when we compete with ourselves in striving to speak better.
Our Timekeeper, Michel Ediele, set the goals urging that our speakers would be disqualified if they ran over time with their speech.
One of our newest members, Bridget Pearson, got stuck in to the role of Ah Counter with great enthusiasm urging us to breath, pause and slow down to avoid using the unnecessary crutch words that litter our speech – the “ums”,”ahs”,”you know”… Bridget kept a tally and reported back on the scores in reverse order declaring a tie for the joint winners, Sean Gordon and me with no crutch words at all – result!
Frederika Roberts excelled delivering the only formal speech of the evening – Speech 7 – Research Your Topic entitled “Well-healed”. In a very powerful start, Fred told us she wanted to share with us her “guilty pleasure”. She then whipped off a sheet covering a fantastic display of “to die for” high heeled shoes! Fred’s speech oozed with passion, historical facts and anecdotes.  Did you know men used to wear high heels before women?
well-heeled | Doncaster Speakers | Public Speaking | Toastmasters International
Lisa Johnson, our past President, followed with a fantastic presentation on Evaluation which truly is the “Powerhouse of Toastmasters”. Used safely, feedback motivates and inspires. Lisa suggested – don’t just say “your introduction was boring…” instead suggest ” your introduction could be made livelier with…”! I only wish I had heard Lisa’s tips before this meeting as I was evaluating Fred’s speech, Lisa’s Education slot and the whole meeting as General Evaluator! Oh well – I did my best!
Our table topics session was as funny as ever thanks to Shelagh who also took on the role of Table Topics Master spinning a tale which started “Once upon a time there were 6 men and 4 animals…” Each of our table topic speakers had 2 minutes to continue the story, leaving a “cliff-hanger” for the next speaker. By the time Jean, Sean, Fred, Lisa, Bridget and I had spoken we had an ark stinking of manure with 6 vegetarians, a horse, dog and hens laying eggs, in distress at the thunder, which were fed to the Indians who had come over the hill to kill the men who were trying to defend themselves with a pitchfork! How I won the Best Table Topics Speaker Award I will never know!
Our Best Speaker Award went to Fred and our Best Evaulator Award went to Shelagh.
We were all winners following another great evening. Join us?
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