Cranfield Speakers: May 14th with broadcaster Tom Sandars

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.
  5. 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



It went very well and the club really had chance to pull together.  We had a very last minute drop out which were soon covered by other members. Adaptability is a sign of a good Toastmaster in the making

We had a late doubt about the capacity of the venue and the number coming. We decided to stick to our main venue as other option were looking complicated. In the end a good number of the long distance visitors were no shows. It proved wise to stay put and we were rewarded by fewer but much more motivated guests,

Overall I think the event has raised profile of the club, certainly in the Toastmaster world, but also on campus and maybe into the local community.

I really enjoyed it and feel very inspired to go forward.

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