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Doncaster Member completes the CL Award

Doncaster Speakers member Lianna has completed the Toastmasters Competent Leadership (CL) award.



The Competent Leadership manual comprises of 10 projects  that focuses on different leadership skills providing background information and an assignment that requires serving in one or more specified meeting or club roles.

The roles such as Evaluator, Timer, Toastmaster, Ah-Counter and General Evaluator are carried out during normal club meeting and then on top of these extra roles are needed such as joining the club’s committee and helping organise the 2 annual Toastmaster competitions which comprise of prepared speeches and TableTopics.

Well done to Lianna as only around 4% of Toastmasters world wide actually finish the manual.

This is an extra arm to the Toastmasters Competent Communicator manual and Pathways where a member has to complete a series of speeches all looking at difference aspects of talking and communication to helping improve speaking in public.

For more details about Doncaster Speakers visit the website:- or why not come to a meeting which are held on the second and fourth Monday of the month at the Regent Hotel Doncaster from 7pm


Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report Monday 10th June, 2019

Achieve your most audacious goals

Rat a tat tat went the gavel, the room drew quiet as Jean in the role of Sergeant At Arms got the meeting underway right on time.   With housekeeping instructions, clear and understood including “not to jump on the bus home” (in the case of a fire alarm), the lectern was passed over to the Toastmaster for the evening Bal.


Bal welcomed everyone to the meeting and gave us a brief introduction to herself and how much being part of the club had already made a difference to her personally.  This was a perfect segue to the introduction of the theme for the meeting that was ‘Achieve your most audacious goals’.


Arthur was the Timekeeper for the evening and reminded us all of the allocated timings for speeches and where we could find them on the agenda.  In his authentic style he finished off his segment with a fun fact that was ‘Time passes faster in your face than it does at your feet’.


Andrew was the grammarian and demonstrated the breadth and depth of his knowledge and experience by not only clearly explaining the role of the grammarian but also the choice of his words to describe what he would be looking out for including, richness, culture and embellish.  A true feast for those of us that have a passion for words.    Andrew skillfully connected his choice of the word of the day ‘Extraordinary’ to the overall meeting theme.


Elizabeth in the true spirit of Doncaster Speakers carried out two roles in one meeting, the first as Ah Counter in which she had clearly prepared for evidenced by the production of chart to capture any of the typical filler words.  Pauses were recommended to speakers to try and avoid getting added to the chart.


There were two prepared speeches for the meeting, the first from Maria entitled, To Be or Not To Be.  Maria gave us an overview of not only the difference between management and leadership but went on to explain her own personal style, complete with print outs that she skillfully attached to the lectern for us all to see.  The speech was delivered with energy and enthusiasm and although it did run over time it was both informative and entertaining.


Lianna, was the second speaker with her speech entitled, Have You Ever, she immediately grabbed everyone’s attention with her opening line, asking if they had every had a near death experience.  What followed was a wonderful story with a happy ending and many key messages and actions that we could all apply in our own lives.


Speech evaluations were carried out by Jean and Bridget.   Jean offered Maria suggestions as to how she could condense a detailed speech topic to ensure it fitted a time slot, feedback that we could all take on board


Bridget gave Lianna an excellent evaluation, reviewing the objectives of the speech clearly and contrasting previous feedback that Lianna had been given with her own feedback.  Quite a complex task delivered in true Bridget very easy style, clearly demonstrating that her priority was that Lianna received lots of commends and recommends supported by examples as to how she could apply the recommends.


The second role Elizabeth carried out was Table Topics Master, with her persuasive charm Elizabeth managed to encourage the majority of us to take to the floor with quite a challenging quest of first imagining ourselves as a famous actor and then what career we would have had if we had chosen something different.   The alternative careers ranged from fire eaters to sausages (yes sausages, anything goes and the more creative the better) and in-between we had a show jumper, complete with actual jumping after a quick trot and unsuspecting guest Ian laying down to act as the fence to give us the full effect.


Andy took on the role of Table Topics Evaluator and managed to give each person a clear commend and recommend demonstrating his abilities on how to evaluate the differing styles of speakers.  His quality of feedback was consistent to all speakers which takes exceptional listening, planning and time management skills, a job very well done.


Having all recovered from the joviality, the meeting moved on to the awards.  As his time as President comes towards the end of the term Andy once again presented the awards for the evening.  Jean was presented with a certificate for Select Distinguished Area, thus acknowledging goal attainment and dedication to the mission of the district.


The award winners were

Lianna for Best Speaker

Deborah (With help from Ian) for Best Table Topics

Sarah for Best Evaluator


Report by Sarah

(General Evaluator)

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report|Monday 25th April 2016

General Evaluator’s Report by Sean Gordon

The theme for this evening’s meeting was celebrating achievements.
Jean Stewart opened the evening as Sgt at Arms, dealing with housekeeping arrangements before handing over to our Toastmaster for the evening, Alison Turner. As Toastmaster, Alison made sure the evening ran smoothly. In her opening speech, Alison presented some facts and figures about Toastmasters before going on to talk about how our own club, Doncaster Speakers, operates.

Shakespeare photo sourced from Pixabay


We had two speeches this evening, the first by Stephanie Bisby. This was Stephanie’s speech number 4 from the Competent Communications Manual which centres on, ‘how you say it,’ through the use of voice and entitled ‘Brush up your Shakespeare’. An excellent speech by Stephanie and as expected a great use and command of the English language and I know the club will look forward to hearing more from Stephanie as she works through her Competent Communicator projects.
Shelagh Jones was the evaluator for Stephanie’s speech. In methodical style, Shelagh’s evaluation was a balance of highlighting the positive and making recommendations to Stephanie to help her develop her speaking skills.
The second speech of the evening was by Jean Stewart. This speech is from the Humorously Speaking Manual, part of the Advanced Communication Series, entitled, ‘On-off switch only, please’. As always Jean can make me laugh and so it was with the rest of the audience. Well done Jean.
Julie Gordon was the evaluator for Jean’s speech. Julie has an eye and an ear for detail and gave a good balance of positives, but not forgetting the recommendations for improvements we all like to hear.
The Education Session was led by Bridget Pearson with a focus on, ‘Reducing stress for speaking. This evening Bridget explained how one should prepare well their speech allowing natural pauses to BREATHE! And speak naturally with good use of voice and body. Sean Gordon was then invited to the floor to demonstrate how not to do it (and believe me that is hard), followed by the same short speech of how to do it. I can tell you that I received great feedback from the audience, especially from our visitors, who said they thought that it could not be the same speech as they were so different. This is positive proof that when it comes to public speaking, Toastmasters works!
Table Topics was run by Richard Bluck and and the topic of the evening was, ‘Quotes from Shakespeare’, a great, but challenging topic, which had everyone thinking.
The session was evaluated by Derek Lucian who gave interesting feedback to everyone, but touching on different areas with each individual. I great evaluation, well done.
Andrew Miller was the Ah Counter for the evening. Andrew gave us some really good ideas about how to avoid using filler words and presented the group with very detailed and individual feedback that will certainly help speakers to work on avoiding those ‘ums’ and ‘errs’.
We were kept to time throughout the meeting by our timekeeper Steven Bisby. Steven as usual brought his own style of humour, which I love, when he explained the role of timekeeper.
Catherine Winfield did a fantastic job as Grammarian. Catherine gave a wonderful word of the day and provided some great examples of its use.
As always the meeting was full of energy and fun and our next meeting is on 9th May 16 – guest are always welcome, and there is no requirement to book in advance.


Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | Monday 12th October 2015

Report from Toastmaster meeting 12th October 2015

The theme of the meeting was ‘What’s in a Name?’. The meeting started at 7.00pm and was opened by the Sgt at Arms, Julie Gordon, and the Toastmaster for the evening was Richard Bluck. He explained the thinking behind the theme of the evening and had even looked up the meanings of some of the members’ first names.

What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

The other roles filled, were Timekeeper, David Allen; Grammarian, Andrew Miller; and Ah Counter, Bridget Pearson. They were introduced to the meeting by Richard and explained their role for the evening. Andrew introduced the word for the evening which was Derive (v) and the (n) Derivation. He invited people to introduce the word into their various times carrying out presentations etc.

First speaker was Jean Stewart, whose speech was from the Advanced Manual on Humorously Speeches and was entitled: ‘Well Woman Clinic’. This was evaluated by Shelagh Jones. The Second speaker was Shelagh Jones and the speech was entitled: ‘The Award goes to’ and was evaluated by Sean Gordon.

Before the break Andrew Miller introduced the Education Session and from the group was able to identify subjects for future Education Sessions. After the break Julie called the meeting to order and Richard welcomed everyone back. This was the time for Evaluators to provide feedback to the group and pointers to enable the speakers to pick up on feedback on best practice and with some recommendations.

Following this the Table Topics Master introduced the Table Topics challenge and this was taken up by seven members of the group. The theme for these followed the evening theme of ‘What’s in a name?’. The Grammarian, Ah Counter and Timekeeper were able to provide feedback on how the evening had related to their roles.

At the end of the evening, the President, Jean Stewart, informed the group that the Area Director, Euan Bayliss, would be attending the next meeting on 26th October and has volunteered to take on the role of General Evaluator. Also she reminded the group that Andrew Miller will be representing the Club at the Division Table Topics Contest on 25th October and invited members to attend if they wished to do so.

The evening finished with the awards. Best Speaker Award went to Shelagh Jones, and the Table Topics Award was shared between Andrew Miller and Derek Lucian, with Evaluator Award going to Alison Turner. The meeting closed at 9.05pm.

The next meeting will take place at 7pm on 26th October at the Regent Hotel, Doncaster – all are welcome.

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | Monday 12th January 2015

General Evaluator’s Report | Doncaster Speakers | Public Speaking | Leadership

“Oaths, Promises & Resolutions”

Report by General Evaluator Richard Bluck

After missing a few recent meetings it was my pleasure once again to attend a club meeting of Doncaster Speaker’s and act as General Evaluator. We were also fortunate to welcome 2 guests to the meeting, Zoe Rodgers and Lee Parish, both of whom had never been to a Toastmasters meeting before, yet who were both brave enough to join in – more of that later on.

The meeting was kicked-off by our Sgt at Arms for the evening, Karry Chadburn, who in-turn introduced our Toastmaster, Sean Gordon. Sean choose ‘Oaths, Promises and Resolutions’ as the theme for the evening, and then earnestly reminded us all of our commitments and duties as Toastmasters – a timely prompter given the time of year (especially to those who hadn’t attended for a while!).

Oath | Promise | Resolution | Pinky Swear | Doncaster Speakers | Public Speaking | Leadership | Doncaster

A special mention must go to Alison Kitchman, who stepped in as Ah-Counter at literally zero notice, when it was suddenly released by all that the scheduled Ah Counter hadn’t turned up! Not only that but Alison went on to give a polished explanation of the pitfalls of Err’s and Ah’s and went on to win best Evaluator award. Bravo! Top marks must also go to Andrew Miller, who stepped-in for Lisa Johnson to deliver a 15 minute education session on ‘Finding New Members for Your Club’. Despite it being Lisa’s material, Andrew gave us a fluent, engaging and thought provoking interpretation with his usual style of vocal variety and body language.

The evening’s single speech was delivered by Julie Gordon, ‘Afternoon Tea’, a charming reminisce of a visit to Grandma’s, through the eyes of a child. Julie’s speech objective was to use words effectively and this was fully accomplished with, in the words of her Evaluator Derek Lucian, ‘a feast of language’.

Bridget Pearson, as Grammarian, gave us a challenging word of the Day, ‘Augury’, a sign of things to come. Fortunately, this challenge was met by three of those present, so well done to you.  TableTopics was ‘mastered’ by Alison Kitchman who cleverly chose the theme of New Year’s resolutions and the hows and whys thereof. As is often the case, TableTopics can reveal a bit more of us all than we expect and this was true here! Credit must go to Zoe Rodgers who told us about how she would set about going on a diet, and to Lee Parish who described how he would rid himself of his tattoo’s. Not only that, but Lee’s effort won him best TableTopics speaker. Well Done!

Overall a fine meeting, and looking forward to the next one.

Interested in developing your public speaking and leadership skills? Come along as a guest.  Our next meeting is Monday 26th January 2015 at The Regent Hotel in Doncaster. 

Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | 29th May 2014

General Evaluator’s Report | 19th May 2014

“Lessons Learnt the Hard Way”

So. What did Monday night bring us this time by way of Toastmastery delights?

Hot on the heels of the previous meeting due to the Bank Holidays in May, it was great to see so many people there, as well as a returning visitor giving us a second go.

Sean Ryan was in charge this time, taking on the Toastmaster role with his usual levels of energy and delight, clearly and precisely taking us through what Toastmasters is about and the size of the organisation.

Ever Tried Ever Failed Samuel Beckett

Image Credit: The Happiness Speaker

His theme of the day was “Lessons Learnt the Hard Way”. Based on his personal reflections on the progress he’d made over time and that problems he’d faced were really just things to learn from. That things don’t happen straight away, but you need to keep pushing to see the benefits. He even brought in a fantastic quote from Beckett:

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter.

Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”


This inspired Jean Stewart, as grammarian, to provide us with “Persevere”as the word of the day. Along with the promise of a chocolate bar if anyone managed to use it 10 times in the evening. Now there’s a glass and a half of challenge.

There were two planned speeches this evening. Richard Bluck was delivering Speech 6 from the Competent Communications Manual and was titled “Stuck at Work”. The focus of Speech 6 was to bring in vocal variety into the delivery. His story of how he got stuck in America when the Icelandic Ash Cloud went up. Richard has a very calm and measured style of delivery and was concerned that he comes across as monotone. But, whilst the variation may not be as extreme as some others, the subtlety of his intonation and variation, possibly has more impact. A very funny and engaging tale told in a very entertaining way.

The second speaker was Gail Powell and this was Speech number 10 !! This means that Gail has completed all the speeches in the first speech manual and is now able to move onto the more advanced projects. This final speech pulls together all of the lessons learnt from before and requires the speaker to inspire the audience with their message. As it is such a special speech, more time is allowed in which to get the point across, being 10 minutes maximum, instead of the usual 7.

Gail’s speech was titled “Living a Conscious Life”and launched off with another quote, this time from “The Matrix”to set up the theme of looking at things in a different way, especially if you know they aren’t agreeing with you. The specific context was to explain why she had recently turned virtually vegetarian following a number of experiences, including working with a vegan and nearly choking to death on a piece of beef. But Gail didn’t go down the ‘cute animals’route, but the impact that intense animal farming is having on the world. She illustrated the different elements of the carbon footprint created by animal flood production by using giant colour coded paper chains. The most astounding fact of the night was that lamb shipped in from New Zealand has a smaller footprint than home grown lamb, purely down to the type of feed used.

Food for thought and no mistake (or pun intended).

Following the speeches, Shelagh Jones delivered an excellent education session on what is required in the different roles of the Committee members. A useful topic as the new Committee will be voted in very soon.

Moving into the second half, the General Evaluator introduced Jean and Shelagh again who had been evaluating Richard and Gail’s speeches respectively. Andrew gave a great explanation around the importance of evaluation, as well as a comparison between Toastmasters and a Jimi Hendrix guitar solo. It’s nothing without the feedback !! Which successfully produced the biggest groan of the evening from the audience.

Following the very eloquent and well-structured speech evaluations, we moved on the fantastic improvisation round, Table Topics.

Sean Gordon had his first taste of being in charge of this section and, working with the overall theme, pulled together a series of questions around learning, failing and regrets.

Despite some pretty tough questions, everyone pulled out some cracking Table Topics.

Special highlights include a sterling performance from Bridget, our visitor of the evening, who was happy to volunteer. Despite only being her second visit, she delivered her topic like a pro, bringing in structure, fluidity and humour.

Then there was Andrew Miller (again) who, when asked to come up with something he’d regretted not asking, realised that he hadn’t taken the opportunity during the break to ask Jean if the promise of chocolate bar was true. Just in case, he shamelessly (but humorously) crowbarred in enough usages of “Persevere”to qualify for any prize, should it exist.

It didn’t!

Moving towards wrap up, Andrew Miller, as General Evaluator, gave the overall picture and then it came to presentation time for the awards.

The award for Best Speech went to Gail Powell whilst Lisa Johnson grabbed the pennant for Best Evaluator. And, in the absence of the promised chocolate bar, Andrew was compensated by getting the award for Best Table Topic.

A really good night and looking forward to the next one on the 9th of June where we will enjoy not one, but TWO speech 10’s plus a speech from one of the advanced manuals. So really high quality to look forward to there.

In addition, we will be voting for the new Committee. So, if you didn’t make it this time – Fail Better – and get along on the 9th.


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