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North Bucks Members’ Blog

A motley crew of  Toastmasters and guests gathered in the round to enjoy an evening of Table topics tips and demonstrations, followed by Tantalising Tall Tales.

Louise led a topics interactive workshop and showcased types of topics and how to adapt to the very terrified. Explanations of the styles were given between speakers, and audience participation was encouraged to add to the event. All of the speakers had no other roles on the night, which shows the importance of arriving early and being prepared for the event.

First up was Garth with his explanation behind him becoming a successful author

Second was Anna who explained why she kept a dragon in her house

Third was Harsheed who is a secret government agent ,with a job of putting us off travelling on Bank Holidays

Delphine did an animated demonstration about a police hat  .

Cecile ,a guest, talked of her passions in life.

The most outstanding performance was that of Veselina , who spoke for the very first time, about her love of surfing ,including picture words, triads and great body language. She was a clear winner.

Tall tales included green fingered graham…..fake

Carmel’s dodgy lodger…true

Louise’s  x rated canal hijack….false

Jims regaled a previous story of a farmer and his 3 daughters,  which gave him 3rd place. It was no more true than the first time we heard it!

Tim sold us the invention of the gnome away product to ensure your garden is gnome free….totally fake, but hilarious, and 2nd place

Mick won with a story of how he was thrown out of church! Complete with demo at the end.

Maggie held the entire event together, and Steve and Seema  kept time.

Those of you who did not come missed a fabulous evening. Photos will go on the facebook page shortly.

Our next meeting is on the 6th June.

We are looking to fill many roles,so please sign up now.

We have one evaluator so far,and four speakers.Please sign up as a matter of urgency as we have just a week to go.

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


Our May Day meeting was led by Steve,who threw in some facts about the day. Uthpala was a time keeper for the first time.

Harsheed was welcomed back with a joke delivery, as well as the ‘ah’ counter role.

Maggie volunteered to make any assessments for the leadership manual,and Carmel reminded us she had a leaflet to explain the leadership track.

Tim’s table topics were about having to report on an event.

Roger regaled stories of exploding foods. Steve stunned with a butterfly plague. Carmel commandeered camels into Baghdad. Sue sparkled with fire at a fireworks factory. Sue won best topics, and Lynda evaluated.

Jennifer was on speech 8 where she talked about ‘Death by Powerpoint’ It was a contrast of not only how Powerpoint ‘kills speech, kills the speaker and the audience feel they are dying too’ ,but also how the space shuttle’s faults were missed due to Powerpoint reports.The end was stunning and thought provoking. Maggie evaluated Jennifer.

Carmel evaluated Delphine who talked about environmental issues and clothing. Fun facts and super sketches illustrated the benefits of going organic. Delphine won best humour.

Tim introduced Micks advanced speech about Bobby Moore, which was a passionate journey through Micks past. The secret to a great speech is to add incredible passion to draw the audience in. In Mick’s case, this was real passion,and appealed to the whole audience. Tim’s evaluation won best evaluator.

Louise introduced one of our newer members,Garth,who is on his 3rd speech. His speech was entitled ‘Raw Revelation’ and took the audience on an emotional journey through adversity and hope, darkness and light, ending with a personal poem. Louise’s evaluation reflected the sensitive nature of this speech.

Mick and Garth won the best speech prize together, though Mick gallantly gave the trophy to Garth.

Jim was general evaluator and reminded those who use Powerpoint to use the correct button to black out screens. He awarded the General Evaluator’s Award to Uthpala for her first timekeeper experience.

Louise, as grammarian with word of the day ‘discombobulated’, praised word pictures,alliteration and triads in some of the speeches.

We had 2 guests,Suzanne who was met and welcomed in the car park,and Gareth. Both enthused about the warm welcome and agreed to return.

We have an extra meeting in May, a ‘Tall tales’ evening on the 30th. We have the large room and plan to showcase what Toastmasters does for people. It will include a buffet and table topics demonstration. Flyer to follow

Maggie is chairing this event as part of her leadership program. Louise agreed to be interviewed by MK business about speaking secrets.

Lynda is now officially Area Governor Elect from next year,and Sue talked about her journey through the last year. Lynda is requesting more committee involvement and our elections will be held at the next meeting. Please contact Lynda direct.

On a personal note,I felt this was an exemplary meeting. Having been with the club since it chartered in 2005,I was amazed to see how members have developed since joining us. There is a warm welcome at our club,and we have been described as ‘family’ by some….a true accolade.

Next Meeting : Thursday 16th May. 19:15 for 19:30 start at Willen.

Jim led the meeting with a theme of paraprosdokian, which means a tale with a twist. Jim’s wicked sense of humour set the theme for the evening, along with Foundation as word of the day from Steve. Frank was multitasking with a timely joke, timekeeper and speech.

Garth led his first topics with a mix of themes,which tested imagination. Louise led with a story of life as a dolphin, convincing enough to be offered a fish! Delphine followed with a Ted talk,though admitted she wanted to be a dolphin instead. Noor,a returning guest told us about why speaking was important to him. Caroline explained speaking was important in her job and urged support for Age uk. She won the trophy.
Maggie’s evaluation and advice was along the lines of good story telling.

Chris returned from University to explain about deviance in sport. The best grammar was ‘avoiding detection deepens the deviance’ after talking about the amount of drug use in sport. Linda evaluated and gave clear advice on improving the future presentation with powerpoint alterations.
Frank’s 3rd speech was about looking after neighbourhoods, with general safety advice. Louise praised his improvement and gave extra advice about moving away from notes.
Margaret’s 9th speech rallied us to tax the rich….less! Margaret showed how her journey has taken her from timid to tiger by following the manual! Mick evaluated with a very lively demo of Mick Jagger, winning him best evaluator and humour.

Femi’s smooth talker award went to Jim. Tim was general evaluator, praising people appropriately, and made a few added recommendations. He added if there was nothing to add as an improvement, evaluators could explain that the speech or topic was exemplary. We had feedback from those who attended the competition, and a reminder about our forthcoming meeting where the new committee will be discussed. Please remember, we want you on the committee to be part of the bigger team, and move towards your leadership goal. More information on this is on the Facebook page.

Our 4 guests gave good feedback, and one has already joined us, welcome to Veselina.

Next Meeting : 2nd May. Sign up for roles on

The clocks may have sprung forward, but there was still a winter chill in the air for another Thursday meeting at Willen.

Joined by first-time guest AJ, and returning guest Seema, everybody settled down for another evening of fantastic speaking, presided over with warmth and humour by Mick as TME for the evening.

For table topics, Jim asked our contestants to speak on the subject of various motivational phrases.

Carmel was challenged to talk about the last time she did something for the first time and regaled us with her hunt for a lodger. Louise, returning after some time away (Welcome back!) was asked to talk about the last time she failed at something and told of her failed attempt at DIY, complete with a pink hammer, and a builder in pink underpants. Margaret told us about her house full of marmalade, ready for the rest of the year and AJ, stepping up to the plate, suggested that we should not put off until tomorrow what we can do today. Another returnee, Chris, did an excellent first-time job as Topics Evaluator, and AJ was a well deserved winner.

On to the prepared speeches.

From the CC Manual, Steve delivered Speech 9 attempting to persuade everybody that comicbooks are not just for kids, accompanied by a visual presentation. Margaret, evaluating, praised the research and the depth of knowledge, but observed that maybe, emotion is not Steves strongest point.

Tim delivered Speech 1 from the Professional Speaker Advanced Manual, the Keynote Address. He delivered a motivational speech about turning negatives into positives, which was appreciated by all. Carmel evaluated, praised Tims motivational skills, but observed that he could have had a punchier opening.

Maggie delivered Speech 4 from the Storytelling manual,
the Emotional story. Her story, Bagatelle, told the story of two childhood sweethearts, forced apart by World War II, and their snatched moments of joy as their life proceeded. This was an emotional tour de force which Tim evaluated with skill, making particular example of the way in which Maggie noted the passing of time, and her vivid descriptions.

Finally, Garth delivered his second speech from the CC manual, the structured speech, about some great pieces of art, and how we could understand them better if we tried to understand how the artist felt at the time of creation. Jim, evaluating, praised Garths strong points, his delivery and his warm smile, and offered one word of advice, practice.

As Grammarian, Margaret introduced us to the word of the day, lugubrious, whilst Seema did a fine job as Timekeeper. Mick led the meeting in a group General Evaluation before Tim presented the award for Best Speaker to Maggie, for Best Evaluator to Margaret, and for Best Humour to Carmel.

Next Meeting : 18th April

The threat of incoming snow didn’t deter the crew of North Bucks Speakers as, accompanied by a plethora of guests, we bunkered down at The Well for our second meeting of the New Year.

As Topics Master, Tim presided over a good introductory session, managing to draw in speeches from 3 of our guests, asking everybody about a time when they tried something new.

Margaret talked about the time she tried scuba diving.
Garth, a first-time guest, talked about how emptying his head helped him to get further in his fitness regime.
Maryon, another first-time guest, also had a story about scuba diving, whilst Seema, a returning guest, talked about her experiences with Amateur Dramatics. Jim evaluated, and the award for Best Topics was won by Garth.

The prepared speeches saw an array of speeches from across the manuals. Maggie was presenting a speech from the ‘Speaking To Inform’ manual about the art of Appalachian Clog Dancing. Accompanied by Tim on guitar, she explained the roots of this form of dance, before a bravura demonstration. Mick evaluated, and praised the clarity of the explanation and the quality of the demonstration.

Next up was Michael, with Speech 4 from the Competent Communication manual. Following on from New Year’s Resolutions, Michael’s speech ‘My Perspectives on Health and Fitness’ touched on many areas of health, but was particularly potent with regard to setting achievable goals. Femi’s evaluation was, as always, precise and valuable, and he noted Michael’s clear message.

Paul presented his Icebreaker speech, describing a turning point in his life and how it affected him. This was a touching first speech, full of grammatical flair. Delphine, making a welcome return to evaluation praised the depth it gave us to Paul, and offered tips on moving away from notes.

Finally, Frank gave us his Icebreaker, explaining how a speech about him, couldn’t really tell us about the real him, and with his usual understated humour, he talked about self identity and how difficult it is to convey ‘what makes me me’. John’s first evaluation picked up on the humour and the quality of the speech.

As Grammarian, Jaimen, a guest from Bedford Speakers, praised the quality of the grammar, Margaret identified a flaw with the Smooth Talker Award before presenting the prize to Maryon for her Table Topics. As General Evaluator, Carmel just about covered everything with her usual good grace and humour.

The best Speaker award went to Michael. John won Best Evaluator. Steve, as Toastmaster for the evening won Best Humour, and the meeting only overran by about ten minutes.

The meeting was attended by 15 members, and 7 guests, 3 of whom have now signed up, or are in the process of doing so.

Next meeting : The Excellent Evalauations Workshop, on the 31st January. All welcome.

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.

Jim was our Toastmaster for the evening guiding us purposefully through the evening with the timely theme of New Years Resolutions, entertaining us at intervals with New Year anecdotes and quotes both poignant and humorous.
Paul was our timekeeper for evening, doing this role for the first time, well done Paul.
Femi took on the Grammarian role and gave us the word ‘Ebullient’ meaning brimming over with enthusiasm, this was well used and a number of other good uses grammar were commended in the report too so well done Femi
Maggie was our Ah-Counter and picked up on a number of us for tutting. this is a common habit that we are often not aware of so thank you for focussing our attentions so we can be guarded in future. The smooth milk chocolate bar went to Jim (will we have to start weighing him?)
Margaret stepped in as Jokemaster at short notice and recalled the famous humorous quotation from Sir Winston Churchill on being drunk. A sobering thought Margaret after the Xmas indulgences!
Table Topics was led by John whose ebullience brought us four expert sales pitches from the audience:
Rich gave us ‘The man’s pan!’ …”Become Jamie Oliver” with BMW rubber feel handle. to win him Best Table Topics Award.
Steve saved us from the ‘onesie’ instead praising the features of one tiger-skin rug with cunning space saving features!
Frank gave us a carefully calculated sales patter on the remarkable ‘his and hers’ wallet set, one being notably smaller than the other! The humour was quite Frankly brilliant!
Jennifer finally showed us all what we were missing in or lives with the Rubiks Cube Keyring… how did we ever manage without one!
Jennifer doing project #7, researched the facts about dreaming and gave us a fascinating array of evidence that some of the greatest inventions and works have been literally been dreamed up. So dreaming is not so dreamy after all. Clear use of flipchart to reinforce the plethora of information well done to you another great speech under your belt.
Margaret also doing project #7, researched smoking tobacco and enlightened us with facts for and against, medical evidence and explained origins promotions burden on healthcare, causal links and balance gracefully with life choices. This was both informative and engaging well done Margaret.
Mick delivering a speech from the advances manual storytelling, told us a true life story of his ‘White Knight’ who saved the family from ill fate, having set up a new life in MK. The storytelling was a delight to listen to and the ending left us with a warm cosy glow that will linger for some time, and scooping Best Speaker Award for the evening.
Firstly Carmel won the Best Evaluator Award for her most excellent Table Topics Evaluation reminding that a summary is always helpful when casting votes at the end of the Topics session.Steve gave us a succinct appraisal of Jennifer dream speech and added a personal touch with his empathy to the IT analogy of how the brain records, replays and erases. We always relish evaluations so remember to step forward with a big buoyant smile.

Frank, after being taken aback by the complexity of the role of evaluator made an excellent paced evaluation of Margaret’s speech demonstrating careful listening and analysis of the structure and content and the speakers accomplishment of the manual requirements well done earning him the GE award for an excellent first evaluation.

Rich finally gave us his ebuillient evaluation of Micks speech pointing out the richness of the storytelling and struggled to give tips other than using those powerful pauses.

Tim was the General Evaluator praising the standard and giving some sage tips for improving. We had overlooked the Toastmaster Banner and the flip chart stand but none the worse for wear, please remember the handovers as demonstrated, plain and simple hand over command of the lectern as if it were ‘The helm/wheel of the ship’.
Presidential notices future events
Freddie Daniells Evaluation workshop Thursday 31st January
NBS Tall Tales 4th February at the Slug and Lettuce – Maggie has offered to host this.
NBS Speech and Evaluation Contest 21st Feb
Finally as I forgot to mention it in my GE a big thanks to Roger who sat alongside Paul timekeeping for the first time ‘just in case’ a great example of mentoring support in action.
We had 14 in members in attendance including Rich who became our newest member on the night. and our guests Seema and Uthpala.

‘I want to show you gezellig’

This was Louise’s introduction to Amsterdam in the winter.It’s a word that has no English equivalent,but means cozy ,quaint or general time spent with loved ones.

 This advent meeting,recreated gezellig with scented candles,fairy lights and a cosy 14 people. 

Louise was the TM of the meeting,complete with flashing santa hat.

Facts about the Christmas traditions were relayed,including the 12 days of Christmas mince pie fest… each day of Xmas! 

In the absense of our President and VPE, multitasking was in order, yet we managed to get everyone involved.

 Antonia kept us on time, Hina was the grammarian and Femi, the um counter.

 Jim opened with a seasonal joke.

 Louise took on the VPE role, reminding us that the website is designed to sign up for roles, confirm attendance and also to send notice in advance of non attendance.

 The other benefit is being able to see the speech and leadership progress. 

Jim has put the Panto meeting on the site, so please confirm your attendance too.

Paul took on topics with an advent calendar theme,and slickly took us through the pictures.

 Micks train picture led to a hilarious tale of bribing guards to get on a train he missed anyway.

 Tony,returning as a guest told us about space stations

. Hina decided her picture was luxury train travel, despite being a jail picture, which caused much merriment.

 Jim told an old tale of the fairy and how she ended up on top of the tree. He won best topics.

 Femi was persuaded to evaluate at short notice, and his evaluation was as superb as his speech last week, winning best evaluator.

Johns icebreaker was simply stunning,with a star in the making….humour, quotes and no notes added to it.

 He won best humour and best speech.

 Dan, guesting from Cranfield, gave a clear evaluation and applauded Johns efforts.

 Maggie had us making curious cat compositions as she told the story of the grey cat.

 Jim gave a textbook evaluation. 

Steve took us on a Springsteen spectacular on his vocal variety topic, which Tyronne evaluated, praising the content.

 Our new guest, Rich was so impressed with the meeting, he agreed to join and come to the Panto. He’s been a TM in Mexico prior to this.

Jennifer was first time GE, always a difficult role, as there is so much to cover. 

Jennifer enjoyed the set up and the ambiance of the soft lighting and candles.

 Jim took on presidential duties. Next meeting – 20th December, NBS Panto.

Come to North Bucks Speakers on the 20th December, for our most excellent Christmas pantomime, Jack & The Beanstalk. There’s no script, there’s no cast – it all gets made up on the evening.

With buffet food, a Secret Santa and all the merry mirth you might merit, why would you be anywhere else? For more details, click the attached flyer :

Flyer – NBS 2012 Panto Jack & the Beanstalk