Black Swan January 2017

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Happy New Year to you all. Please enjoy this first newsletter for 2017.  January is a time for new beginnings, and it is time for us to look afresh at our goals for the remainder of the Toastmaster year. Leonor particularly wants you all to be aware of the incentive the committee are offering for clubs who achieve their membership goals - there is a convention ticket up for grabs if your club meets the goal of 20+ members after the next round of renewals!  See Leonor's update for full details.

This is an issue about new ideas; new meeting formats, and new club formats.  If you want inspiration to drive an exciting new meeting format, read about how Golden Gourmet at Kalgoorlie have been innovative in their approach - and by thinking 'out of the box' they have got themselves 'on the move'!  Literally!  Or consider the stand up comedy event by Tom Bielski, maybe a humorous meeting is in order at your club.  Perth Competitive Speakers Club have taken it one step further and have a whole new club format.  This is a fabulous illustration of the way that different thinking can help to bring different results.

We encourage articles from members, this newsletter is 'written by Toastmasters, for Toastmasters'.

Lisa Martin Black Swan Editor

Lisa Martin
Black Swan Editor

District Director's Update

by Leonor Ragan

Welcome back for another exciting and productive year in Toastmasters.

We hope that your Christmas and New Year holiday season was fun, restful and uplifting and that you had the opportunity to spend time with loved ones and friends.

The trio started the New Year’s work very early in January. We travelled on the Tuesday 3rd January for our overseas Mid-Year District Leadership Training. We were privileged to spend time with Toastmasters International Directors and Advisors from Regions 12 and 13. We learned so much from other district leaders from China, Korea, Australia, Japan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, New Zealand and India. We shared our new ideas which help all of us to use our resources for the benefit our members and the exciting news regarding the “Pathways Educational Program”.


Every Club that achieves membership of 20 or more or if the club membership was less than 16 as of 1st July 2016 and achieves plus 5 members   and submit their renewals fees to Toastmasters International by 29th March 2017 will go into the draw for a Full Attendance Ticket to the District Convention in May 26 to 28 May at the Trade Winds in Fremantle.


The club officer training will commence in only a few weeks. Be prepared to gain expertise and share your knowledge with your fellow club officers! If you have aspiring members in your club who may like to take on a club leadership role in the future, please encourage them to attend one of our TLI sessions as well. This round of TLI is important to help you as you return to regular meetings, head into International and Evaluation contests and plan your personal and club goals for this Toastmasters year. Re-evaluate your club success plan and adjust it if necessary to suit your club’s circumstances to achieve your goals and your club member’s goals for a successful outcome before the end of June. All your hard work will be recognized but most importantly you will learn along the way and gain personal satisfaction from knowing that you have help others to find their passion for public public speaking and leadership. Set your goals high, plan a way to achieve them and ask for help if you need it. All the District officers are willing to help, advise or encourage whenever YOU need us. We are all here to serve you. I’m looking forward to seeing and talking to as many club officers as possible.

District Leadership Nominations

I encourage you to express your interest in becoming a District Leader commencing July 1 2017. Please submit your completed form before the 28th of February 2017. District leader positions include District Director, Program Quality Director, Club Growth Director, Public Relations Manager, Division Director, Area Director, Finance Manager, Logistics Manager, and Administration Manager. Please lodge your Expressions of interest to:

Area Directors Prepare for Second-Round Club Visits

You can nurture the relationship between your clubs and district through to your club visits. Please start planning for your second round of club visits. You can begin your visits anytime now and do consider what assistance your clubs require early on to get you final plan in place while there is still time to implement any recommendations based on your observations from your first visit.


I encourage everyone to challenge themselves to be test speakers outside of their club area and division. It really is a learning experience not to miss, volunteer as a speaker.


Our Convention Chair, his team and our Program Quality Director are finalizing the program and speakers very soon and registration for early bird registration will commence shortly. Get in as soon as the registration is open. We are all very excited and I can hardly wait. The weekend is full of educational workshops, learning from each other, fun and more fun. Save the date from the Friday, 26th of May to Sunday 28th May 2017

Our Keynote Speaker, Gary Schmidt, Past International President of Toastmasters International is all set to arrive in Perth on the 23rd May.

First President Distinguish Club in District 17

As a result of running our TLI/COT in early December our Canning Vale Toastmasters Club achieved the 10th DCP (Distinguished Club Program) goal and qualified as a President’s Distinguished Club and the first club with 10 goals in our District and the first club in the world to reach 10 goals. Well done, Canning Vale Toastmasters club! Congratulations to the club officers and club members for your outstanding commitment to excellence.  We hope that you are enjoying your club experience and having fun while you are achieving!

Save the date: Darren LaCroix

Darren LaCroix is presenting to District 17 on the 9th and 11th of February at TLI/COT and there will be a Saturday morning workshop from 10am - 12 midday. Darren LaCroix is a keynote speaker, author, comedian and founder of The Humour Institute, Inc. He is the 2001 World Champion of Public Speaking. Watch this space for further details.

Click here for a youtube video about Darren

New Appointments

During this month we have appointed the following District Officers to replace officers who could not continue for work or personal reasons:

David Hatton, new New N23 Honorary Area Director, and Ian Hart, new S33 Honorary Area Director. Please help me to welcome David and Ian to the district team.

Wishing you a wonderful learning journey and success in 2017


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


District 17 Educational Awards December 2016

by Sue Fallon


ACB 12/15/2016 Hatton, David James Currambine Toastmasters
ACS 12/18/2016 Ong, Marlene Sue-Hooi Sunday Sundowners Toastmasters Club
ACS 12/18/2016 Hughes, Colin Armadale Toastmasters
ALB 12/18/2016 Hinscliff, Ross G. Banyandah Toastmasters Club
ALB 12/04/2016 Kumar, Bharath Curtin GSB Sundowner Toastmasters Club
CC 12/15/2016 Fielding, Susan Lorraine Sunday Sundowners Toastmasters Club
CC 12/14/2016 Hutchings, Shona Victoria Quay Club
CC 12/07/2016 Devenish-Meares, Caroline Victoria Quay Club
CL 12/15/2016 Hatton, David James Currambine Toastmasters
CL 12/14/2016 McMurray, Cathryn E. Banksia Speakers Toastmasters Club
CL 12/10/2016 Nicholson, David UWA


    Wonderful result for your December awards - 11 Educational & Leadership awards lodged in the month of December – your superb work continues District 17 Toastmasters!

    Your achievements continue to be lodged and our District Members are continuing to work on and receive recognition for their personal goals, as well as contributing to the Distinguished Club Program for their Clubs.

    As anticipated there were fewer awards lodged during December, nevertheless, terrific achievements – 1 Advanced Communicator Bronze, 3 Advance Communicator Silver, 3 Competent Communicators, 3 Competent Leader and 1 Advanced Leader Bronze. An award achieved and lodged is always a celebration!

    Make sure you are achieving your goals, and be sure to let your Vice President Education know about your personal goals.


New Contest Forms

by Sue Fallon

Here is a reminder about the new contest forms as I discussed in the last newsletter. The links to the new forms are below.

All Contests

The new Contest Results Form gives the Chief Judge instructions to follow to determine the winners when the Chief Judge and Tally Counters leave the speaking area. When the form is handed to the Contest Chair there are further instructions to clarify the announcement of results by the contest chair.

Evaluation Contest

A new form has been created for evaluation contestants to use during their five-minute preparation time. This form ensures consistency and fairness by standardising the materials contestants can use to prepare. It is a blank form and is to be provided to all evaluation contestants to make preparatory notes during the speech using this notes sheet only, in order to prepare for their verbal evaluation.

Clarification from Toastmasters International:

“After the test speech, the contestants will have five (5) minutes to use the same notes sheet to prepare their evaluation. Additionally, the rulebook does not specify how many notes sheets should or can be given to the contestants. As such, the quantity is considered to be a leadership opportunity for the contest chair. Any decision made must be considered fair for all contestants.

In regards to using other paper (i.e. palm cards), because the Evaluation Contestant Notes Sheet is the only item listed, this is the only item that evaluation speech contestants are intended to use to prepare for their evaluation. Please also be aware, the notes sheet should not be used prior to the contest. Furthermore, the sheet should be blank prior to the start of the test speech.“


Sue Fallon District 17 Program Quality Director Perth Australia

Sue Fallon
District 17 Program Quality Director 2016-2017

First impressions

by Patricia D'Cruze

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Every year in January and February, we get an influx of queries as potential members make their New Year’s resolutions or goals to tackle their fear of public speaking.

Club websites play a major role in attracting new members, so keeping them up-to-date with essential information is vital.

Does your website have the current meeting day, time and contact person clearly displayed?

Do you respond to queries in a timely manner - preferably within 24 hours?

Has your website been tested on different platforms? Sometimes a form that is easily filled on a laptop does not work on a mobile device.

Does your Guest Pack have the latest information and has the application form been updated with current membership fees?


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

Membership Building Contests

by Patricia D'Cruze

Talk Up Toastmasters – 1 February–31 March 2017

Join up five new, re-instated or transfer members during the months of February and March and your club will be awarded the annual ‘Talk Up Toastmasters’ contest. If your club qualifies, you’ll will receive a ‘Talk Up Toastmasters’ ribbon to display on your club banner. It is important that the dates members join or re-join are within the period for the contest (1 February 2017 – 31 March 2017).

Marvellous Membership

This contest is a District 17 Membership Contest which runs from 1 July 2016 – 30 April 2017.

The first criteria for the Marvellous Membership Contest is that your club must:

  • Obtain the 1st DCP point for 4 new members
  • Obtain the 2nd DCP point for 4 more new members

That is eight new members in total across the competition period.

The second criteria is the semi-annual payments for 20 members must be paid by the due date (30 September 2016 and 31 March 2017).

Membership Awards will be presented at the 2017 District 17 Convention in May in Fremantle


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

Your 2017 Toastmaster Challenges

by Almarie Meyer

What are you doing to get out of your comfort zone this year?

Here we are in a brand new 2017. Never seen before and never to be seen again. Have you made some New Year's resolutions? Are some of those linked to Toastmasters?

Here are 10 suggestions for a Toastmasters challenge:

  1. Are you new to Toastmasters and have never taken on the role of Toastmaster or General Evaluator? Give it a go. It may be daunting at first, but it gets easier every time you do it.
  2. Have you never been a club officer before? Why not assist your current club officers in their roles? They will appreciate the help, you will learn something new, and having been an understudy you will be able to take up the role at the next election if you are enjoying it.
  3. Have you never competed in a contest before? The International speaking and evaluation contests will be held at your club very soon. To enter in the speaking contest you need to have completed 6 speeches, but the evaluation contest is open to beginners.
  4. Have you never visited a club other than your own? Visit another of the 82 clubs out there in WA or even one further afield if you travel to the East Coast or overseas. Many clubs have low membership and would love to have a guest speaker or guest evaluator visit their club.
  5. How about organising a contest if you don't want to compete. There are club, area and division contests where you can help. Talk to your VPE or Area Director.
  6. Would you like to present a training workshop? Perhaps lead a breakout session at club officer training. The TLI Training group is always looking for new presenters. Contact me or speak to your area director.
  7. Run a membership drive for your club. Get a couple of fellow club members together and dream up an interesting idea. Don't forget to take photos and write up the story.
  8. Write an article for your local newspaper about a themed club meeting or contest and include a good quality photograph. The community newspaper will be happy to publish it.
  9. When was the last time you took your CL manual to a club meeting? What do you still need to do to complete that manual? If you have already completed yours, get a new one and start again.
  10. Are you mentoring someone in your club? More than one? Now is the time to put your hand up to mentor a new or an experienced member. Is there someone you admire? Ask them to mentor you. We are all still learning and can teach each other.

Take up one or more of these challenges and let me know how it goes. I would love to hear your stories.




Almarie Meyer
District 17 Public Relations Manager 2016-2017

Talkabout Toastmasters Club 40th Anniversary

by Leonor Ragan

Congratulations to the Talkabout Toastmasters Club for achieving this milestone. We wish them the best success moving forward. There is immense potential for future membership growth. Great to see that some fundamental changes have been done to revitalize the club thanks to the efforts of their club members, club officers, the club coach and the Disrict Leaders.  Well done!

Talkabout club venue is now at: Mount Claremont Community Centre, Montgomery Avenue, Mount Claremont, WA 6008 with plenty of parking available. The meetings are every 2nd and 4th Wednesday at 7pm. The next meeting is on Wednesday, 25th January. Contacts are: Karen Tregenza: 0421552110-93414180, Peter McDonnell: 93442176 and Peter Harrison email: Keep up the great work, the club mission and members mission.










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

Only in Kalgoorlie

by Judith Allen

Early in December, at the invitation of E14 Area Director Morrie Goodz, I attended meetings at two of Kalgoorlie’s three Toastmasters Clubs.  Over the past six years since Touch of Gold was first started, I’ve visited a number of times, and was looking forward to catching up with old and new members.

Touch of Gold’s meeting was its last for the year, and was well attended by members, visitors and guests, including Marilyn Southern from Esperance.  It was a lively meeting, beginning with an enthusiastic welcome by President Nathan Ellis, and featuring all the hallmarks of a typical Toastmasters meeting, including a Round Robin. These have been an integral part of Touch of Gold since its first meeting six years ago, and whenever I attend I’m impressed by their quality and creativity.  The meeting was fun - a great mix of informality and professionalism and Marilyn, who is interested in forming a Toastmasters Club in Esperance, was given a taste of Toastmasters at its best.

The following evening was Golden Gourmet’s monthly dinner meeting – with a difference! Only in Kalgoorlie could you have a progressive meal and meeting with members transported by bus to each location.   It was all on board at the home of Morrie and Robin where members left their cars so they could travel all together in “style”. 

Hover over the pictures to reveal the details:

After a warm welcome by organiser Tracy Browning, the meeting was declared open by President  Robin Lonsdale, and we got straight into the Round Robin.   Bus driver Paul Browning and Timer Morrie were so well organised, we arrived at our first stop just as the Round Robin finished. Entrée was followed by the first speech, an Icebreaker, then it was back onto the bus, and off to our second stop for main course and more speeches.  Not a moment was wasted. As we travelled across town, Robin conducted the first round of Table Topics and evaluations until we arrived at our second stop.A delicious spread was followed by two more speeches, then we were rounded up by the diligent timer, and onto the bus for the final trip and more Table Topics. Evaluators were quick to note the speakers’ creative use of body language as our trusty driver sped to the final destination – our starting point.

Evaluations and reports rounded off a wonderfully creative meeting before we were served a delicious array of desserts and a final round of drinks.   The dinner meeting was such a success that members voted to make it an annual event.  I came away wondering how we could follow their example at our city clubs, and Marilyn was sold on Toastmasters as an organisation.  With the support of Kalgoorlie Toastmasters, a new club in Esperance is sure to be a success.

My thanks go to all Morrie and Robin for their hospitality, and to all Kalgoorlie members for making this visit a most memorable and enjoyable experience.

Judith Allen DTM
Eastern Division Director



A Toast to Laughs

by Tom Bielski

I joined Toastmasters International about 5 years ago to fulfil a secret dream: to do stand-up comedy.  A friend had been a member of Victoria Park Toastmasters club among many others, and suggested that Toastmasters could help me overcome my fear of public speaking and allow me to perform a stand- up routine. After two years I took the plunge and stepped onto the stage at Black Bettys at the Brisbane Hotel. It was a difficult but rewarding experience.

I discovered that many other toastmasters shared my dream, so I decided to organise a comedy show exclusively for Toastmaster comedians. I sent out an expression of interest and received replies from 20 interested toastmasters. We picked the 20th of October as the date and started to organise the event.

Many members of Victoria Park Toastmasters Club helped with the organising, operating the sound and lights equipment; helping with ticket sales and operating the drinks stand. After a successful Facebook and other marketing campaigns, the night came upon us.

Fourteen Toastmaster members took to the stage in front of an approximate crowd of 100. I was the MC for the evening under the guise of Tommy White, and the seven acts of the first half wowed the audience with their performances. Keith Green as the security guard did his best to ensure that everyone was safe; Mary O’Connor described his recent operation in gory detail; Daz Monteiro gave us some information about Bollywood; Simon Yamchikov entertained the crowd with his particular style of humour; Holly Buykx told us why she does not go to weddings anymore; John Haynes gave us an unusual political speech; and Daz Poynter gave us some serious dating advice.

After the break the second half was just as good as the first. It was opened by Karen Warner gave her best bogan impersonation; Charles Fisher was the dry taxman; Tom Fraser talked about being a Kiwi; Tam Tang gave some cultural advice; Amit Sardal learned a lot from a little boy; Danny Majoski gave us some of his life observations; and finally Leo Abbs talked about his mid-life crisis.

The crowd roared with laughter for two hours and after the show the comedians received many accolades from the audience. It was a fantastic experience for everyone. The audience enjoyed the show and the comedians gained some valuable experience in a comedy-gig setting. In fact, we plan to repeat the show again at other clubs wanting to raise some funds.

If you would like to organise a comedy show at your club, please drop me a line at For a preview of a Toast to Laughs, go to YouTube below.

Tom Bielski
VPE Terrace Speakers Toastmasters Club

Competitive Speakers Perth - Changes!

by Martin O'Connor


Why has Competitive Speakers Perth just undergone a rebrand?  What does this mean for the club?  What does this mean for our members?

In November 2016, Competitive Speakers Perth had issues.  In a few months we had gone from 23 members to 10 members.  We cancelled a meeting due to very low attendance and our venue wasn’t available in January. What could be done?  As it turned out, everyone chose to step up and help the club out.  Our District Director found us a new venue, Committee Members all wanted to ensure the club was a success and had three separate meetings to discuss ideas.   Members turned up to participate in a business meeting.

We asked members what they loved about the club and what they didn’t. We implemented the changes on Jan 11th and had a very positive meeting and two guests both agreed to sign up as members.  They both spoke very highly of the club organisation, standard and felt the club would be able to help them meet their goals.

Here’s a picture of all the happy smiling faces of people that attended our last club meeting.



Lots of ideas were discussed.  Here are the main changes we agreed upon:

  1. New Venue - Tom Dadour Community Centre, Subiaco
  2. New Meeting Time - start at 630pm
  3. Removed the requirement of dual membership, while maintaining Advanced / Specialty club status.
  4. The only person you ever compete against is yourself.
  5. Group feedback reduced from 7 mins to 4 mins
  6. Maintain mix of evaluation styles - group and individual
  7. Allow members to give any kind of TM manual speeches, but still offer members opportunity to give competition speeches,
  8. Include a theme - subject, speech or focus.


We will be focussing on Improvisation at our next meeting on the 25th January.  There will be a number of interactive improvisation activities, while keeping a speaking slot open for anyone who would like to deliver a project or competition speech.  Guests from other clubs are most welcome to fill this role (speaking in a different venue with new faces can be a challenge and you will receive a valuable group evaluation – contact our VPE Almarie Myer).  Come along and experience how we’ve changed as a club and how we can help you improve as a speaker and speech writer!


[Insert picture “MartinOConnor.CompetitiveSpeakersChanges.AuthorPic” here]


Martin O'Connor 
President - Competitive Speakers Perth Toastmasters Club

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