Black Swan February 2017

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Welcome to the February edition of the Black Swan newsletter. It has been a busy month for the District Committee, and membership building is a top priority for all as we come up the semi-annual renewals.  Here, Stephanie Chan encourages us all to club success.  If you think you would like to pay back some of your Toastmasters' skills and experience and really make a difference to the Western Australian future orators then read about John Palmer's amazing work with Gavel Clubs. This is the branch of Toastmasters International which caters for the under 18s. I am sure that many club committees will have been asked whether a teen could join their club. I know I have at Northern Lights, and sadly the answer has to be a 'no'.  However, a Gavel Club makes that possible, and if you would like to be involved or might be able to help in any way please give John a call.

And remember....

we encourage articles from members, this newsletter is 'written by Toastmasters, for Toastmasters'. Guidelines for authors are at the end of this newsletter.

Lisa Martin Black Swan Editor

Lisa Martin
Black Swan Editor

District Director's Update

by Leonor Ragan

Hello Dear District 17 Members and Guests.


This last month has passed quicker than ever I can remember and it certainly has been a very busy month. I hope that you all are enjoying and taking every opportunity to advance in some way your communications and leadership education. I most certainly have.


Around the 23 of February our Treasurers should have drafted reminder to forward to our club members for the payment of the next round of renewals. By Friday, 25 of February reminders must be emailed out.


Our team of District Leaders: Trio, Public Relations Manager, Division Directors, Finance Manager, Immediate Pass District Director, Chief Ambassador and Secretary meet on the 4th of February to discuss our progress this year and matters that we need to focus on.  Membership is certainly a priority. Let’s take care of our current members by providing fun and high quality club meetings. If your club has more than 25 members why not visit a club nearby that is struggling or has membership low to share your best practice for having a successful club. Why not invite past members to visit your club? Sometimes a call or email may motivate past members to join the club once again.


To have a look at the progress of your club check this link:


Breaking News - District 17 May Convention


The 2017 District 17 Convention will be a highlight of your Toastmaster year and will be held at the Tradewinds Hotel in Fremantle from Friday 26 May to Sunday 28 May 2017.  Our special visitor and keynote presenter will be Gary Schmidt, the 2009-2010 International President of Toastmasters International who is coming all the way from Portland Oregon, USA. In Gary’s year as International President, Toastmasters adopted a new structure to become a truly international organisation.

  • Learn how to become a better speaker and leader at workshops on: body language, leadership, teamwork, mentoring, preparing for speech contests how and why to compete in a club contest and your personal style.
  • We will have our District International Speech Contest with the winner competing in the World Championship of Public Speaking Contest at the 2017 International Convention in Vancouver, Canada in August 23-26, 2017.
  • Laugh your way through the District Humorous Speaking Contest and learn new skills at the District Table Topics and Evaluation Contests.
  • Make new Toastmaster friends and enjoy other special events – the opening ceremony, dinner dance, the DTM breakfast and, yes, the District Council meeting.

You will get the best value from the Convention by registering for the whole program, but if you can’t do that, you can still enrol for individual sessions which you can’t afford to miss.

Early Bird Tickets – 50 Tickets only at $295 (Full Price $330). Available now until 28 February if not sold out earlier.

  • Register now and join me and others at the 2017 District 17 Toastmasters "Passion to Communicate"


District 17 Gavel Clubs

John Palmer, DTM our District 17 Gavel Club Corrdinator needs volunteers for the Youth Program. It is very inspiring to see how enthusiastic and keen he is about this meaningful program. Please volunteer if you can. Help our youth in WA. Contact John, his mobile number is 042 901 337 or email him at There is more information in John's article  below.

Well done Club officers leaders for your attendance to TLI/COT. I hope that you will share the lessons learned during the Workshops and COT with all the members of your clubs. Looking forward to seeing you soon at the contests. Wishing you very successful contests. Enjoy.

Leonor Ragan, DTM

Leonor Ragan DTM
District Director 2016-17
The Passion to: lead, communicate and achieve your goals

Education Awards January 2017

by Leonor Ragan

CC 01/24/2017 McGee, Gillian Rockingham Toastmasters
CC 01/22/2017 Radhakrishnan, Ash Applecross Toastmasters
CC 01/21/2017 Finnimore, David Kwinana Toastmasters
CL 01/19/2017 Essajee, Hatim Bunbury Club
CL 01/17/2017 Ragan, Leonor Dynamic Speakers
CL 01/16/2017 Basic, Domagoj City of Perth Toastmasters Club
CC 01/16/2017 Bruce, Carole Sunday Sundowners
ACS 01/15/2017 Ghauri, Shahid Curtin GSB Sundowner Toastmasters Club
CC 01/15/2017 Hatzidakis, Mike Curtin GSB
CC 01/15/2017 Kamp, Deborah Christine Northern Lights, Western Australia
CC 1/11/2017 Healy, Rhian P Curtin GSB Sundowner
ACB 1/10/2017 Matthews, Gilbert Jetty Toastmasters
CC 1/06/2017 Burchardt, Angela Millicent Butler Toastmasters Club
CC 1/04/2017 Deveney, Jack Curtin GSB Club
CL 1/03/2017 Buykx, Holly Western Founders Toastmasters Club
CC 1/03/2017 Buykx, Holly Western Founders Toastmasters Club
CC 01/24/2018 McGee, Gillian Rockingham Toastmasters
CC 01/22/2018 Radhakrishnan, Ash Applecross Toastmasters
CC 01/21/2018 Finnimore, David Kwinana Toastmasters
CL 01/19/2018 Essajee, Hatim Bunbury Club
CL 01/17/2018 Ragan, Leonor Dynamic Speakers
CL 01/16/2017 Basic, Domagoj City of Perth Toastmasters Club

Congratulations to the above members for completing their educational awards and achieving their own goals during the month of January!!!

This year our members have completed 83 Competent Communicators, 28 Competent Leaders, 8 Advance Communicators Gold, 9 Advance Communicators Silver, 17 Advance Leader Bronze, 3, Advance Leaders Silver,3 Leadership Excellent Awards and 4 Distinguished Toastmasters.

Distinguished Toastmaster Awards

Our four accomplished Distinguished Toastmasters are: Tom Bielski, Gladys Lavell, Catherine O’Brien and David Nicholas.  These are outstanding achievements by our dedicated members who continue to work and are determinant to achieve their personal goals. We are very proud of your achievements. I wish to acknowledge your dedication. You are an inspiration to all of us. Keep up the excellent work.





On behalf of District 17 leadership, I like to take this opportunity to encourage every member to work on their personal goals and achieve your next level in the educational and leadership path. You can monitor further information in our District 17 website. Take a look at:

Leonor Ragan, DTM

Leonor Ragan DTM
District Director 2016-17
The Passion to: lead, communicate and achieve your goals

Job Vacancies – Pathways Guides

by Sue Fallon

District 17 requires a number of Pathway Guides to prepare a group of clubs assigned to you to prepare for the launch of Pathways in our District

Please read the Job Description. Applicants should send a one page application outlining your Knowledge and Skills (based upon the Job Description).

Enquiries and applications can be emailed to Sue Fallon, Program Quality Director at

 Job Description

 Position Summary

The Pathways Guide is an integral member of the Pathways launch tea. You will work with the Chief Ambassador (CA) and the Program Quality Director (PDQ) while partnering with one Ambassador to prepare the clubs assigned to you for the launch of Pathways in our District. You are the first point of Contact to ring clubs up to speed with the program and on board them seamlessly. You will be responsible for conducting one club visit to each of you assigned clubs and educate club members. You will also provide support to the vice president education (VPE) of the clubs assigned to you by conducting regular virtual support sessions. Your term of service will be 6 months.


  • Read the Pathways Guide Handbook
  • Read the Pathways Learning Experience Presentation Slide Deck and Talking Points and view the Pathways Learning Experience Presentation Recording
  • Read Training Basics’: Getting it Right, Making it Work (Item 102)
  • Develop presentation skills by practising in your club
  • Receive Pathways’ roll out kits for assigned clubs’
  • Coordinate with your Ambassador to conduct one club visit to each assigned club
  • Deliver the Pathways’ Learning Experience Presentation and rollout kit during each club visit
  • Complete and submit a Club Visit Report for each club visit
  • Access Base Camp as a member and a VPE and view all tutorials in the system
  • Follow up with VPEs proactively to ensure they and their club members are comfortable operating in Pathways and Base Camp
  • Conduct regular virtual support sessions with the VPEs of your assigned clubs
  • Collect questions from VPEs during each virtual support
  • Submit questions from VPEs to Wold HQ staff, as needed
  • Provide answers to VPEs
  • Will receive credit for one year of district leader service

Knowledge and Skills:

  • Excellent verbal, written and interpersonal communication skills
  • Organisation and time management skills
  • Discussion r moderation knowledge skills
  • Presentation skills, both in-person and virtual
  • Technology-savvy
  • Self-motivated and able to set and meet own deadlines


Sue Fallon District 17 Program Quality Director Perth Australia

Sue Fallon
District 17 Program Quality Director 2016-2017

Membership Renewals and Membership Building

by Patricia D'Cruze

Membership Dues Renewals

You can start submitting payments for renewals through Club Central beginning February 27. Send your invoices for semi-annual renewals (April-September) out early to all members in your club.

Lodge your first 8 payments with World Headquarters to meet the minimum requirement for the Distinguished Club Program (DCP). Then lodge the remaining payments as you receive them to avoid the last-minute rush by all Treasurers submitting dues. You don’t have to batch the payments as the bank fees are the same if you lodge one membership renewal or 10 as it is calculated on the total transaction amount. Also, note that the Toastmasters International website may slow down with the heavy traffic from around the world. Remember all payments MUST be submitted by 31 March.

Lodging payments on time is extremely important for the upcoming contest season as all contestants and judges must be in ‘Good Standing in a club of Good Standing’. Put simply, it means that payments must be lodged with World Headquarters and not sitting in a club’s bank account by the due date.


You can use the Eligibility-Assistant to check membership status found under the Club Central tab on the Toastmasters International website.

This tool allows club and district officers to check membership status and club status. This information can be used when determining whether or not members are eligible to compete in speech contests.

Please note that only club officers can check the eligibility of members within their own clubs. The same restriction applies to district leaders. For example, an area director can only check members within their area, a division director can only check members within their division, and a district director can only check members within their district.

‘Talk Up Toastmasters’ Contest

Have you kicked off your membership building campaign yet?

At every renewal we lose members, so it is important to have a membership building campaign in place. During the ‘Talk Up Toastmasters’ membership contest, you can encourage your members to invite guests or host a demonstration meeting.

If you add five new, dual or reinstated members to your roster between February 1 and March 31, your club will receive a special ‘Talk up Toastmasters’ ribbon to display on your club’s banner. In addition to the ribbon, qualifying clubs earn a special discount code for 10-percent off their next club order.

Applications and payments for members who join between February 1 and March 31 must be received at World Headquarters no later than March 31. Each member’s join date as listed on the application must be for February or March. The addition of transfer and charter members does not count for credit toward ‘Talk Up Toastmasters’ credit.



Patricia D'Cruze DTM
District 17 Club Growth Director 2016-2017

Logos and branding

Can my club have its own logo or must I to use the Toastmasters logo?

by Almarie Meyer

Some interesting questions were posed at the recent club officer training events. One of these questions made it clear that there are clubs that do not know what is and isn't allowed when promoting Toastmaster Clubs and events.

What is the Toastmasters brand?

TAGLINE:  Where Leaders Are Made


To be the first-choice provider of dynamic, high-value, experiential communication and leadership skills development.


  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Service
  • Excellence


Empowering individuals through personal and professional development.

Why use the standard branding?

The brand will:

  • Communicate a consistent look and message, to increase understanding and global awareness of Toastmasters International
  • Motivate prospective members to join, and make club objectives easier to achieve
  • Increase pride in being a member of Toastmasters

Can I create my own material?

The short answer: Yes, but… There are guidelines to adhere to and approvals to be obtained.

For more information on submitting a trademark request form please go to

Photography Guidelines


Use images of people that look engaged, approachable and empowered. Incorporate images from Toastmasters-related settings:

Club meetings

Presentations and speakers


Conferences and training

Speech contests


Images that should never be used alongside the Toastmasters brand:




Food and appliances (this includes toast and toasters)





Things to remember

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCES Speak with current Toastmasters, leaders and influencers from each target audience and ask them the following: • Why did you join Toastmasters? • Why are you still involved with Toastmasters? • How have you benefited from Toastmasters?

COMMUNICATE FOR YOUR AUDIENCES Communicate clearly by putting yourself in the shoes of your audience. When people are exposed to new information, they ask, “What’s in it for me?” or “What’s my connection here?” You will keep your audience’s interest if your communication is clear, easy to digest and relevant to them.

FOCUS ON RESULTS Emphasize the tangible results, or benefits, of participating in the Toastmasters program. Sometimes it is easy to focus on the features of membership rather than the outcome of being a member.

BE CONVERSATIONAL Communicate in an authentic and approachable manner. When writing on behalf of Toastmasters, don’t be afraid of using conversational phrases such as, “So what’s next?” or, “Here’s how you can join today.” When appropriate, try to avoid being overly formal by using short, simple words and phrases.

Where do I find promotional material to download and use?

Mush easier than creating your own marketing material, is to use existing resources and customise these to your club or event. The Toastmasters International website has a large variety of promotional material in the resource library.




Almarie Meyer
District 17 Public Relations Manager 2016-2017

Club Success over Coffee Break

by Stephanie Chan

Southern River Toastmasters have been diligently revitalising the Club. Our strategy includes educating members in Toastmasters fundamentals through speeches and workshops; creating variety and interest in meetings to overcome routine and mechanical motions; documenting processes to facilitate understanding and management; personal involvement in welcoming guests; and bonding within the club.

Our journey has been painstaking and initial response, slow and uncertain. However, a strong leadership persists in its plans and keeps a watchful eye over its goals. Our efforts are starting to pay dividends as the momentum of remedial actions takes off and we catch glimpses of success.

Our Club introduced a short refreshments break in the middle of the agenda and members gravitate towards mingling as the meeting is still on-going. By contrast, refreshments served at the end of the program saw a lower participation rate as members tended to leave once the meeting had concluded. The most promising signs of success were embodied during such a coffee break.

Club President Roger signs up latest Member Julie

Rather than just handing the New Member's pack over, Roger takes the time to elaborate on the contents of the pack. The Competent Communication and Competent Leadership Manuals are provided with an explanation.




The usually shy and quiet Nish breaks the mould to chat with a guest

Cultural bondage is a powerful force. Capitalise on commonality and familiarity to make guests feel comfortable. Every Member plays their part in engaging guests. Visitors who feel that they have a “friend” in the Club have less hesitation to join than if they considered themselves alone in a strange environment.


Best Networking ever with 4 “generations” of Toastmasters

VPE Anandan engages a guest and returning Member Alex in conversion while S34 Area Director / Club Member Graham looks on.


 Alex... meets Alex

Make the best of coincidences. Returning Member Alex G shares a photo moment with guest Alex C.

The Club must be on the right track where former Members want to re-join when the time is suitable again. Also, the simple act of wanting to re-join the Club signifies that Toastmasters is of value to them. There’s no better testament to visitors.


Get your Manuals signed!

There’s no time wasted for Evaluators Sakthi and Verdine in writing up their feedback while thoughts are fresh in their minds. Southern River Toastmasters are bringing back the habit of getting every Agenda role evaluated and signed off.


Refresh yourself

SAA Jim takes a proper break to re-energise. The Agenda can be very hectic as it hurtles at breakneck speed from start to end. We advocate a short time-out for Members to chill and reflect on the first half of the program without over-taxing their minds.


Success doesn’t need to be quantified by numbers. During the short span of 9 minutes, we had a simultaneous meet & greet of visitors; conversion from guest to Member; networking; mentoring; education and a break from routine. In our books, that’s success. Try it!







Stephanie Chan
Southern River Toastmaster Club

The future of the world is in our hands, yours and mine!

by John Palmer

That’s right; our children (the world’s future) need our help to rule the world in the way it needs to be ruled. Let’s get our kids off their screens and back to oral communication – speaking. Don’t underestimate the difficulty of this task. If you have children or grandchildren you will be aware of their lack of ability and desire to undertake face-to-face communication. But the world’s future leaders will need to have excellent communication skills, almost non-existent in kids today.

So what will it take to turn the tide? Two hours or so a week of your primetime can set a dozen or so students up for a lifetime of excellent communication and leadership skills. How is this possible? By running or assisting with a Gavel club or Speechcraft for Kids (Youth Leadership) program at your kid’s school or church. But it takes a very special type of person to participate:

  • You need to enjoy working with kids.
  • You need to have a couple of hours, probably after school, each week.
  • You have to believe that Toastmasters training will benefit children.
  • You need to be able to acquire a “Working with Children” certificate from the police.

Are you worried there may not be sufficient demand for Toastmasters training in schools? Last year I was asked to set up a second gavel club at Rossmoyne Senior High school and this year another 42 kids have shown interest. Ashburton Drive Primary school has been running a Speechcraft for Kids program for 3 years and we’re about to start our fourth year. Each year we run two programs, each for two terms.  There is no shortage of demand!

What is in it for you personally?

  1. You are helping to save the world!
  2. It may contribute to your Advanced Communicator Gold award.
  3. You’ll gain the satisfaction of seeing kids develop confidence and communication skills.
  4. You’ll hear the most delightful and incredible stories from our young people.


Interested? Please sign up for the upcoming educational on “Youth Programs”, date yet to be determined, or simply contact John Palmer DTM, District 17 Gavel Club Coordinator on or 0429-001-337


John Palmer
District 17 Gavel Club Coordinator


Black Swan Newsletter Guidelines for Authors


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