Black Swan December 2012

Black Swan
December 2012

The Newsletter of Toastmasters District 17

Editor: Vicky Post

In this issue

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  • Leonor Ragan



Happy New Year

New Years resolutions! A concept that fills us with either hope or dread. How often have you made resolutions in a half drunken but well intended stupor at midnight on New Years eve, only to break that same resolution a week into January?

Don’t feel special – you are not alone.

I gave up on New Year’s resolutions a long time ago. I realised at some stage what I was doing and decided it wasn’t really working for me. I still maintain that one advantage of ageing is experience. You have to live under a rock to avoid gaining a bit of experience  as you mature chronologically. Yes, I’m still talking about us humans and not a good Cheddar cheese!

Some time after Christmas but before the end of the year, I sit down with poised pen and consider what I intend to achieve in the year to come. I call these challenges goals. I used to set myself far too many. Being a happy-go-lucky optimist, I usually think I can manage to shed about the size of a small human in weight, get fit, run a marathon, achieve my DTM, buy a house, start a business, travel the globe. And that’s just the first half of the year!

Then I realised that year after year I achieved maybe 2 or 3 of my goals and I had to admit that even as a multi-tasking female I had limitations and my blonde brain could only focus on 2-3 things at a time. That’s the experience talking again in case you wondered….

So this year I have set myself 3 goals. 3 different areas of my life I have chosen to make changes to this year. I know many of the New Age preachers will tell you to set goals in the six areas of your life, i.e. social, spiritual, career, personal development, etc. I have tried to do this in the past and have come up short every time. 3 goals are the maximum for this blonde brain.

I’m not here to tell you how to set goals for your future. However, I can encourage you to consider what you plan to achieve in 2013 and commit it to paper. Goals that are thoughts are less likely to manifest.

If like me you are determined to have an outstanding year, then I would encourage you to drop the resolutions and get serious. Set yourself some real goals. Just make sure they are achievable.

Good luck and have an outstanding 2013



Vicky Post, DTM

Black Swan Editor

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District Governor Report

I hope you are all taking a well earned break from Toastmasters over the Festive Season.

Most clubs have had some very social Christmas meetings. From all accounts these have been a resounding success with plenty of “Roasts” and good will amongst members.

A highlight for the month was Robyn Lloyd being awarded her second Distinguished Toastmaster Award. To achieve one DTM is a milestone, but to receive a second DTM really shows a members dedication and passion for Toastmasters. Robyn is an inspiration to us all.

Just prior to Christmas I sent out the following District Governor’s Xmas message to all District and Club Officers. I would like to share the email will all our members in District 17. As club members you are also responsible for the development of Toastmasters in WA. Our members are the critical element to making District 17 and it’s clubs the success they are today and will continue to be in the future.

“Hello fellow District 17’s District and Club Officers,

As your District Governor I would like to personally recognise and thank you all as District and Club Officers for the dedication, effort and time you have invested into Toastmasters over the last 6 months.

Thanks to your efforts, District 17 is excelling in meeting the needs of its members. This is reflected in the your club’s results in new membership, membership retention, individual member’s educational awards that have been logged on at Toastmasters International and the Distinguished Club Program results so far.

Hopefully you will recharge your batteries over your well deserved break from Toastmasters over the next couple of weeks. However, be prepared for the traditional influx of new member enquiries in the new year. I guess it’s to do with all the New Year resolutions of overcoming the fear of public speaking and wanting to improve one-self.

2013 will be an outstanding year for Toastmasters in Western Australia.

District 17 is aiming to be President’s Distinguished in the first year of the new criteria for the Distinguished District Program. With your assistance in looking after your club members, this should be achieved.

Our District Convention is pretty much guaranteed to be a landmark event with the President of Toastmasters International, John Lau and his wife attending. Together with Rory Vaden as the main workshop attraction, plus all the Competition Finals, it will be a huge success. Save the dates of the 24, 25 and 26 of May 2013 for your District “Jewel in the Crown” Convention at the Kings Hotel, Perth It is an event not to be missed.

Thank you again for the dedication to Toastmasters over the last 6 months. I would like to remind you that the District Officers from the Area Governors and above are here to help and support you and your club members. Please let us know if you need our assistance. The sole purpose of the District is to serve our members.

I wish you all a very merry festive season and happy new year and look forward to seeing you at the Toastmaster Leadership Institute training (incorporating the Club Officer Training) in February 2013.

Let us all excel in Toastmasters in 2013.



Ross Wilkinson, DTM
District 17 Governor 2012/13

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Ellenbrook Celebrates 100th Meeting

From humble beginnings and a fledgling assembly of District officers and local visitors at the demonstration meeting, Ellenbrook Toastmasters has grown in strength and character to a lively and mature Toastmasters club. We celebrate our one hundredth meeting on Wednesday 30 January 2013, 7:00pm 90 Main Street, Ellenbrook, above the library.

You are most welcome to attend, please RSVP to so we can arrange catering.

Martin Lindsay, DTM

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Water Corporation Reversed

On December 18th 2012, we had a totally back to front meeting to wind-up for Christmas. The meeting was a great success. There was lots of laughter during this meeting full of twists, turns, confusion and improvisation

Our Central Division Governor Leonor Ragan, experienced this bizarre but fun meeting.

The Water Corporation Toastmasters Club is going from strength to strength, with members showing real improvement in their public speaking skills and meetings being truly enjoyed by everyone.



Igor van de Ploeg


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Why You Should Compete

The second half of the Toastmasters year is here and that can only mean one thing – your club’s International Speech and Evaluation contests are right around the corner. If you are like myself you did not join Toastmasters to be a speech contestant; you joined to build your confidence and learn how to give better speeches. As a result recruiting speech contestants can be difficult at times. No one likes to brag about how they won their club’s speech contests only to confess that they were the only contestant!

I want to encourage all Toastmasters to enter this round of upcoming contests. You might be thinking that you are not interested in competition glory or winning trophies, but the value of speech contests is much deeper than this. Why should you enter a contest? Consider the following points:

  1. Pressure – a competitive or assessed environment often makes people nervous. I remember going for my driving test. I could drive perfectly fine, but when it came to my test, I became nervous. I have found that the same thing happens in speech contests. If you are too comfortable speaking to your club then test your skills in a much more pressurised environment. You may be surprised by what you learn about yourself.
  2. Time – do you have a problem with going over time? In a speech contest if you go over time then you are OUT! When that red light comes on in a contest and you not near the end of your evaluation or speech fear permeates your being. Speaking in speech contests forces you to fear the red light and discipline yourself with your timing.
  3. Refinement – when we give project speeches at our clubs we note down the commendations and recommendations, but that is where the speech ends, never to be given again. In a speech contest, if you progress to a higher level, you can give the speech again and improve it along the way. This improves your ability to edit a speech and take on board feedback from your audience.
  4. Different audiences – the best way to challenge yourself and improve your speaking skills is to talk to different audiences. If you are too comfortable talking to your club members then enter a contest. If you make it to a higher level of competition you will be speaking to larger and more diverse audiences. This improves your ability to project your voice, utilise the stage and master your eye contact.
  5. Share a message – is there an important message you think other people need to hear? Then the International Speech contest is for you. If you want to share an important lesson or message with a larger group of people then speaking to them in a contest gives you that platform.

Above all else – the most important aspect of competing in a speech contest is learning about yourself when you don’t win. If you win, you were the best speaker on the day, and that is what you take away. When you don’t win and you thought you should have it forces you to reflect as to why the winner won and why you did not. The old adage is correct – “you learn more about yourself in defeat than in victory.”

I hope you seriously consider entering the next round of contests. You have nothing to lose, but a bounty of rewards to collect.

John Pawley, DTM

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A Novel Way to Promote Your Club

We have all seen those strange square bar codes attached to advertisements in magazines and newspapers. You scan it with your mobile phone and it takes you to the website of the promoter.

Did you know that you too can produce these QR codes really easily, using mobile phone apps or web applications that are free?

Try or search “QR Barcode scanner” for Android or Iphone. These apps will not only read and translate the codes, but allow you to create your own!

Type in “http:/” to generate the code


Place this on any promotional poster and it gives an instant link to your club website for anyone with a smart phone.

Get creative with new technology, forget rip off tabs, this is the world of instant connectivity. Use the new technology to help potential new members find you and connect instantly.



Martin Lindsay, DTM

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Going for Gold!

Our number one Gavelier, Ravi Doddi, pictured below with John Palmer, has just completed the requirements for his Advanced Communication Silver award. He has completed his CC manual, and 4 advanced manuals plus he has given 2 workshops from the “Better Speaker Series”. His advanced manuals consist of Technical Presentations and Persuasive Speaking for his ACB and Storytelling and Public Relations for his ACS. I would never have recommended three of the four manuals but they were his choice and he completed them well.

The requirements for the Advanced Communicator Gold are 2 more advanced manuals, mentoring a new member and running a Success/Communication, Success/Leadership, or Youth Leadership module. Ravi can certainly complete 2 more advanced manuals (he already has them), and he can mentor a new member of our Gavel club. At this point I cannot see how Ravi can coordinate and conduct a Success/Communication, Success/Leadership, or Youth Leadership module. Nevertheless, Ravi is certainly going for gold in completing his speech manuals for his ACG. Well done Ravi!

John Palmer DTM, Gavel Club Coordinator

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Gourmet Christmas


Toastmasters Christmas meetings can be a lot of fun and the one held at the Fremantle Gourmet club was no exception. Pascale had managed to secure a two course traditional dinner, which was well received and particularly delicious. We had program of 5 prepared manual speeches and an impromptu speech given by a visitor all the way from China, Peter from Beijing 1 club.

Members and guests had embraced the spirit of the meeting and came dressed accordingly. The secret Santa ensured that we all had a funny little present to take home.

I could rabbit on and on about the sensational highlights of the evening, but I prefer to let the photos tell their own story.

Our first meeting of the year will be held at Rosie O’Gradys as usual and will be on Thursday 17th January at 6.00 for a 6.30pm start. Guests are welcome.




Vicky Post, DTM
VPPR Fremantle Gourmet Club


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