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Special Meeting with broadcaster Tom Sandars

Flirted! Fondled! Seduced! The art of great oratory is how it leaves you feeling. One of many powerful messages from Tom’s educational speech.

Twenty four Toastmasters, visiting Toastmasters and most welcome guests gathered for a hugely memorable and entertaining evening. Tom took Best Speaker,Award,  John took Best Evaluator, Andy took Best Tabletopic Speaker, and Paul took Best use of Humour, the Smooth talker Award and was presented with his Icebreaker pin. Further (back dated) Icebreaker pins went Amani and Alex. Jim took the General Evaluator’s Award for an excellent introduction and evaluation of Paul and his Icebreaker talk.


As Jokemaster, Karel warmed the night up with a joke hinged around his favourite excuses for not handing homework and assignments in. If his zip drive hasn’t just blown up then his printer has just caught a virus and is in strict quarantine, but in the limit on medical grounds it comes down to sore eyes, eyes that never sore a good reason to do the work in the first place.

Becky and her son Dylan choose a selection of toys to inspire the table topics sessions. Their evaluator was Amaia.  Becky named her topics speakers:

  1. John had the toy Nissan Mx and put it into a race, but it lost out Mercedes pulling a trailer loaded with a lawnmower.
  2. Atma had Buzz light-year and took him along with three million others into a stampede to catch the first flight to Mars before remarking we should in fact stay and look after the Earth better.
  3. Andy was given two green maracas which he tried out as earrings before preferring to use them as  noisily as possible and deciding everyone should buy them for the children of the frazzled looking parents.
  4. Tom was given a bag of marbles and decided not to open them as he didn’t want to loose any when presenting to a live audience.

Amaia’s evaluation picked out good approaches and great messages in the session. She recommended that Tom would improve with greater use of the stage area, that John didn’t need to stress the detailed model numbers of his toy cars, and that mention of Toystory would gave Buzz light-year a better context.

The were four prepared speeches including Tom’s educational Speech:

  1. Jim introduced Paul with his Icebreaker talk entitled “An unexpected career path”
        Ironman Paul had become frustrated at being excluded from 18th birthday parties in pubs on the grounds of being under-age.   He was inspired and tackled the intricacies of graphic design software and produced his own fraudulent proof of age ID and it worked a treat on the doormen. Emboldened he forayed further into graphic design through college, through university and then into a career, but alas the counterfeiting got left behind!!
    Jim, in his evaluation, noted how proficient a performance it was for any speaker let alone and and could be tweaked by omitting the us of notes.
  2. Andy stepped up to introduce Amani, who at 20 minutes notice came up with a “Story of hope” as her fourth Competent Communicator Project “How to Say it”
        Amani’s story related to a cousin learning to walk and talk. He was not a baby but a 26 year old man who had been caught up in a car crash. Her family were repeatedly told there is no hope that they should switch of life support and then that he would never walk or talk again. The never lost hope and they kept going. He lived and in time tried to walk and couldn’t, and tried to walk and couldn’t, and tried to walk and did just a little.
    In his evlauation Andy really commended Amani’s ability to step up with little notice and give such a strong talk in simple clear and colourful words. One never needs to apologize for chocking up with emotion just make allowance for it in that touching moment.
  3. Maxime introduced Daniel and Tom’s Talk-show role play entitled ‘Climate change science today’. Tom interviews Daniel for his second advanced Communicating to Video project.
        At the heart of the interview is the new EU science project on high end climate change abatement up to 2100 that has just been won by a consortium involving Daniel and Cranfield University.  The interview touched on Climate Change Scepticism, the evidence for climate change, what that actually means, the project, the nature of its team of principal investigators, and its global collaborations with key stake holders such as America and China.
        The evident planning and clear concise answers with anecdotes were amongst Maxime’s commendations in his evaluation. The recommendations focussed on better managed eye contact between camera, host and audience, better vocal modulation, and greater use of hand gestures.
  4. John (Club President) introduced Tom Sandars with his educational talk entitled “Small is beautiful in a big way!”A short talk about radio and television broadcasting – how it works as a means of mass communication, and the contrasts with public speaking.
       With an opening roar of “HELLO WEMBLEY”and help of Barrack Obama and Bill Clinton’s oratory and broadcasting Tom drew out many contrast and similarities.  Broadcasters don’t have the distractions of the audience and aim to have a relaxed conversation where their microphone is their best friend. Orators need to up the tone and energy and roar in short catchy memorable poetic stanzas. They are both about creating connection to the audience, a connection that can be lost by the slightest detail, such as a questionable tie or a questionable way a word was pronounced.  Everyone needs to put 10% more omph into speaking via radio/ electronic media to avoid sounding flat.  Practising and videoing it is a really good way of ironing out any off details and making changes.
    Bill Clinton was offered as an example of a great public speaker who could connect with the audience of a stadium in an intimate conversational style creating a rapport with everyone and leaving each of thousands of women feeling individually flirted with simultaneously. People remember little of what you say but a lot of how you make them feel, Bill Clinton treats speaking like Jazz in the you have a structure but also improvise.
        John’s fun evaluation heaped commendations on Tom for his hair and great blue eyes. Why isn’t Tom a Toastmaster already was the recommendation. It is Toastmasters’ loss. The talk was a tour de force summary of the entire Competent Communicator manual.

Atma was General Evaluator (and Vice President of Education) and picked many features of this action packed meeting. He was very encouraging of the efforts of everyone especially those in a role for the first time and some at little notice.

  • Minjie was very effective as Sergeant at Arms calling order, organising the room, and the ballots.
  • Matt kept the night on track as Time keeper.
  • Stephen was Ah Counter and noted numerous offenders including Tom.
  • Amani came to the rescue to cover as Grammarian with her word of the day “Spring”. Spring was used one to two times by many people and overall the levels of Grammar were high.

Prepared by Daniel Sandars (Special event chair)
Thanks guys you ALL made this happen

Fifteen toastmasters and three most welcome guests enjoyed a lively night with a packed agenda in the learning and development room at Cranfield University. WELL EARNED Awards: Andy Table-topics, Paul Humour, Atma General Evaluators award, Maxime Best Speaker, and Andy Smooth talker award. HUGE Congratulations: founding father Jim on his award of Distinguished Toastmaster  (after  8 years work), and John on his election as next Area 44 governor. Next meeting 14th of May with VIP visits from broadcaster Tom Sandars and Area Governor Lynda Andrews.


  1. Isaiah outlined plans for the gala awards dinner with inauguration of the new toastmaster of the year award on 18th June, thus hold this date and await full announcement,
  2. Becky proposed the new executive committee for 2014/2015 who were voted in unanimously and they are:
    President: Atma Prakash
    Vice President Education: Becky Piper
    Vice President Membership: Isaiah Allison
    Vice President Public Relations: Daniel Sandars
    Treasurer: Becky Piper
    Secretary: Maria Pawula
    Sergeant-at-Arms: Minjie Cai
    IT Support: Jim Reynolds
    Immediate Past President (and Area Governor Elect) John Schell
  3. Daniel outlined plans for the next meeting on the 14th May which is a special event with broadcaster Tom Sandars.

The meeting

Paul gave us the word of the day ‘Action’.

Atma gave us the joke “laughter maybe the best medicine, but not if you are laughing at your new bride’s mistakes.”[1]

Jim developed a fun table-topics session around St George’s day.

  1. What modern dragon would you slay? Minjie decided to find favour with the spiritual dragons from the East to calm the seas.
  2. How should the English celebrate? Paul fancied time out for a nap and a bottle of scotch
  3. What would you be sainted for? Andy was too dark a character to be a saint but wanted to be remembered for preventing war and violence by teaching people how to communicate, reflect and reconcile.
  4. Who would you make a saint? Début table-topics speaker Jee decided that she would canonize anyone who can communicate well.

Allison gave us a commanding talk on “the power of words” for his fifth Competent Communicator (CC)  project “your body speaks”. He showed us how water behaved very differently with the type of noise and that pleasant harmonious noise lead to the most beautiful structures. Mankind is 70 percent water, thus we benefit from calming positive words.

Maxime gave a really fascinating talk on “perspective” sparked by his observations of his changing view of England as seen by air. This was also a fifth CC project talk. It was fascinating to learn that base 12 counting use the phalanges (proximal, intermediate and distal) of the hand’s fingers.

Becky tackled one of her Advance Leader Bronze educational speeches entitled “Service and leadership”. These speeches are heavily predefined and the challenge to the speaker is to bring them to life. To aid her in this endeavour she used hand made power point slides and threaded in personal anecdotes. A good leader should aim to make staff look good rather than self look good.

The meeting leadership roles were carried out by: Amani (Toastmaster of the evening), Daniel (General evaluator), Atma (Timekeeper, Vice President education, Joke master, sergeant at arms), and Paul (Grammarian, and Ah counter).

Prepared by Daniel Sandars 23/4/2014

Every year, each Toastmasters club is asked to participate in several contests, with the winners having the possibility of representing their club at the next level and ultimately in the International Club.

The International Speech Contest is currently ongoing, and North Bucks has a real success story to report.

At our meeting on 6th March, Delphine was a well deserved winner of this contest and went forward to represent North Bucks in the Area 44 Contest.

This contest was held on the 29th March, where Delphine again triumphed against representatives of all 4 clubs in Area 44.

The next round was the Division G contest in April. Delphine again triumphed, and goes forward to represent Division G in the District Contest. District might not sound that impressive, but the District is actually the whole of UK and Ireland, and the contest is held at the conference in Ireland in May. To get this far means that Delphine’s speech is effectively the best presented by all 23 clubs for this contest this year.

This is a great achievement and all of us at North Bucks, and I am sure Area 44, are very proud of her and wish her all the best in the District Contest.


CONGRATULATION to the elected incoming 2014-2015 Executive Committee

President: Atma Prakash
Vice President Education: Becky Piper
Vice President Membership: Isaiah Allison
Vice President Public Relations: Daniel Sandars
Treasurer: Becky Piper
Secretary: Maria Pawula
Sergeant-at-Arms: Minjie Cai
IT Support: Jim Reynolds
Immediate Past President (and Area Governor Elect) John Schell

The transition begins at the Gala dinner on the 18th June and occurs at the end of the club meeting on June 25th. The new and old committees will then have a joint meeting.

Well done Atma, Becky, John, Minjie, Isaiah, Jim and Maria. I look forward to working with you all over the coming year at Cranfield Speakers

Prepared by: Daniel Sandars 24/04/2014

Mac nearly swept the board winning Table-topics speaker and shared the Humour award with Daniel. Sue presided over Northampton Speakers’ second meeting with five welcome guests and four visiting Toastmasters at the Billing Road venue. There were two prepared speeches with Dave A giving his Icebreaker speech and Sue giving a trial of her competition speech called Magic Words.


The St Patrick day theme was picked up by Daniel as Toastmaster and Topics master.

The Word of the Day was Banshee, a loan word in the English language taken from the Irish meaning Female Fairy. A little challenging for easy use, but Mac described driving, with his wife, through France like a Banshee.

Daniel got the laugh with his joke about the savvy ditzy blond who got a Mayfair bank to securely park her priceless Mercedes as security for a fortnight in return for £15.50 interest on a £5000 loan.

[Our] Dave A gave his icebreaker charting his life from Leeds in Yorkshire as a builder’s son down to Northampton to learn his trade in Engineering. From there he made his mark in history the day he signed the marriage register before embarking on parenthood and a role in nurturing the next generation as both father and school governor. Along the way he learned the meaning of looking busy was to working hard to find the opportunities and nurture the future.

Lynda A evaluated Dave picking out the wonderful job he did of telling us about his life with a lovely story telling style and great body language.

Our second talk was given by Sue on the subject of “magic words” that described how in youth magic words like Abracadabra and even please didn’t really work for Sue. Naturally a quiet and reserved woman Sue found in later in life some words did begin to weave magic like the progressive ability to be able to communicate for herself and find help in the form of Toastmasters. That kind of magic started to bring a dream job and a dream man into her life.

Dave M evaluated Sue and drew attention to the very strong use of triads (the power of three) in both the structure of the talk and how Sue used the stage area. In this case three bits of the floor/stage were claimed for three magic spells.

In the St Patrick’s Day Table-topics session we had

  1. Mac inherited a four leaved clover with one wish left. His tale took him on a frantic banshee drive across France trying to find investment property for his wife’s modest inheritance. Tired and half starved, having underestimated distances and times in France, his wife stooped to pick a four leaved clover in the lay-by.  As she straightened she saw a restaurant and there they met an estate agent who found them the house –a wish come true.
  2. In the midst of the potato famine in Ireland [starved and luckless] Dave M, who didn’t inherit the four leaved clover, embarked ship for the Americas. On landing he discovered that this vast vast land could be the land of the free. You didn’t need peerages, positions in society, or connections. If you worked hard and made good you could become the mayor and beyond that the President.
  3. Dave M’s descendant Lynda A got to inherit a moonshine whiskey still set in an Irish peat bog. She would soon get busy bottling off the medicinal stuff for her relatives and friends. There would be good parties around that still, but the more disreputable of us best not wonder too far into the peat bog lest it be a one way trip.
  4. Dave A did wonder around that peat bog but tripped over and discovered the golden harp of Ireland sticking out of the peat. With this he could fake it and make it as any musician in any band. He used it to bring the whole of Led Zeppelin and thus real music back to its best.



Our timekeepers for the night were Noor and Steven.

Sue has the opportunity to appear on radio Northampton with a new member of the club. She also began to take soundings for the first committee of the club, describing each role in turn

Next meeting 7th April (three weeks hence) at Billing Road. Three speakers have come forward so far. Contact Sue to participate in a role.

Another great evening at Cranfield Speakers club with Jim as TME peppering the audience with paraprosdokian phrases, most of which were understood! [For example, Make every guest feel at home – even if you wish they were at home]

See us here:

[Alice gave us ‘Happiness’ as the word of the day.]

Maria was Table Topics master for the first time with a simple but very effective theme of colours and objects with willing victims choosing blind from 2 envelopes one containing a colour and one containing an object.

Maxime had a green person and said it reminded him of his grandma

Amani had a blue object which reminded her of the sea and the sky

Eva a brave guest had a pink holiday in Australia

and the winner was Paul Cross who had purple clothing, which given his recent demonstration of sartorial elegance was rather apt.

For the prepared speeches we had Alex deliver his Ice Breaker on cultural phenomena and he demonstrated that he already has considerable speaking skills demonstrating confidence at the podium. He was evaluated by Becky with an insightful evaluation at a level appropriate to Alex’s skill, which was already beyond Ice Breaker level.

We then had Allison introduce Amaia with a speech entitled Looking in the Mirror an intriguing title which had us all fooled until the end. Amaia entertained us with a story about her stern and impatient father teaching her to drive. She in turn taught him to use his new mobile phone and realised that impatience was in the genes. What she saw looking in the mirror was her father’s face!

Allison in his evaluation gave lots of deserved praise and recommended the use of pauses to slow the pace to give the audience time to appreciate the abundant humour in the speech

Rose Marie then introduced Maxime for his speech entitled There Is Plenty Of Time. Maxime talked about many different aspects of time, how people measure it, how people use it and assured us there was plenty of it for us to become older and wiser. He won best speech. Rose Marie in her evaluation praised the progress he had made in his journey through Toastmasters and encouraged him to venture out a bit more into the speaking area.

Andy introduced Daniel’s advanced speech from the manual for Communicating on Video. As a first for Cranfield we were treated to a formal videoed communication from Daniel on the use of modern social media with stories of the good the bad and the ugly of Facebook and others. [Entitled: Every researcher should have a social media presence. He won Smooth Talker award from the ‘Ah’ counter Paul Cross who in turn won the General Evaluator’s Award for stepping into that role at the last minute.]

Andy’s perceptive evaluation won him Best Evaluator.

The Humour award went to Amaia for her hilarious recounting of her experience of being taught to drive by her father and her revenge with the mobile phone.

Daniel reminded everyone about the next meeting being our international speech and evaluation contest and asked for volunteers for both contestants and officials.

Andy reminded all members that their payments of £42 are now due in order for the club to pay TMI by the end of them month

Next meeting 26th March 2014 Contest Night Guests welcome.

Prepared by Jim and Edited by Daniel, 13/3/2014

In “Speeches that Shook the World” (BBC4, 6 November), the poet, writer and broadcaster Simon Armitage went in search of the ‘alchemy’ that can transform the written word into a great speech.

Many of the speakers featured in the programme were very well known – Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and Earl Spencer for example – while others may be less familiar, such as Colonel Tim Collins addressing his troops before going into battle in Iraq in 2003; or Pauline Pearce, a local resident spontaneously challenging rioters on the streets of Hackney in 2011. Other contributors included Philip Collins, once a speechwriter for Tony Blair; the human rights activist Peter Tatchell; and the actor Charles Dance.

The commentary and analysis were often illuminating. The ‘rhymes and half rhymes’ in the line-endings of Churchill’s speeches appealed to Armitage’s poetic sensibilities – ‘beach’, ‘street’, ‘believe’, ‘see’, ‘fleet’ – while vocal coach and actor (notably in The Thick Of It) Vincent Franklin introduced us to Logos, Ethos and Pathos. No, not The Three Musketeers but the 3 persuasive elements of classical rhetoric, as defined by the Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle.

  • Logos – structure, logic and explanation
  • Ethos – trust and sincerity
  • Pathos – emotion

Or to put it another way, if effective speech-making is the art of persuasion, then you need to appeal to the mind, the heart and the guts. To do this, you must first identify what it is that you want people to know, to feel and to do.

Franklin also explained ‘the ladder of abstraction’, from the top rung (the big idea or concept), via the middle rung (the decisions needed to realise the big idea) to the bottom rung (the real things required to achieve it). This was well illustrated by the example of raising educational standards (the big idea) through investing in schools (the middle rung) and reducing class sizes (the bottom rung). According to Franklin, good speeches range up and down this ladder.

Other classical tricks of the trade put in an appearance including Anaphora (repeating words or phrases for effect); Praeteritio (drawing attention to something by saying you’re not going to talk about it); and Hendiatris (the Rule of 3). These were well illustrated in turn by extracts from speeches by President Kennedy, Barack Obama and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

Armitage also tackled the power of language to shock, divide and inflame, notably what has become known as the ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech by Enoch Powell in 1968.  In contrast, the climax of the programme was a speech that he felt demonstrated how the combination of the right words, a strong argument and powerful delivery could change the mindset of a whole nation: Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech from exactly 50 years ago this year.

Reflecting on the programme, fellow and prospective members of Toastmasters will be reassured, encouraged and delighted to learn that much of the advice provided by Armitage and his expert guests echoed the objectives of speech projects in the Toastmasters ‘Competent Communicator’ manual – e.g. setting out a clear structure (Organise Your Speech); choosing the right words (How To Say It); and improving your delivery by varying your pace, pitch and power …. and using pauses (Vocal Variety).

Toastmasters can’t promise to turn you into a speaker of Martin Luther King’s calibre overnight, but we can help you find your public speaking voice. So if you dream of speaking well in public, why not drop in to one of our meetings. Guests are always welcome. Please see the Calendar pages for details.


For a detailed analysis of Earl Spencer’s eulogy at the funeral of Princess Diana, see the Toastmaster magazine of December 2003

Theme: Summertime
Register for roles and attendance at D71
Daniel Sandars (TME)

Let Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald’s luxurious rendition of this Gershwin classic be your inspiration: Summertime






North Bucks Speakers are hosting a Tall Tales event on Thursday May 30th. As well as the Tall Tales contest, there will also be a Table Topics workshop. This evening is open to all. Refreshments will be provided, but do please bring drinks or any other nibbles to share.

Flyer – NBS Tall Tales 2013


North Bucks Speakers are delighted to host an Evaluation Workshop lead by Freddie Daniells DTM. on Thursday 31st January 2013.
Arrive at 7.15 for starting at 7.30pm at the Well at Willen.
This will be an interactive workshop examining the processes of evaluations and demonstrating how to master the techniques of effective evaluations to increase benefits to speakers and evaluators alike and thereby overall club development. For further details, please see the attached flyer : Exceptional Evaluations
Please come along to benefit from this opportunity to learn volumes from a successful and experienced, Distinguished Toastmaster and our current District Governor Freddie Daniells Entry is free and refreshments will be provided and why not bring a friend along who may be interested.