Black Swan July 2014

Black Swan July 2014

The Newsletter of Toastmasters District 17

Editor: Judith Allen




Welcome to the first Black Swan for the 2014 – 2015 Toastmaster year.  This issue brings the first of the monthly reports from our District Leaders and articles from both new and regular contributors: the impressions of a First Timer at Convention and the first in a series of educational articles by a very experienced Toastmaster.

The success of Black Swan depends on all of you as both contributors and readers.  As editor, I look forward to bringing you the latest news  from District 17 each month.

Judith B Swan

 Judith Allen Black Swan Editor
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District Governor Report

What a Start!

What a start we have had to the Toastmasters year here in District 17! WOW! I stated at the District Council Meeting in May that this was going to be an awesome year, and so far you are all showing me that it will indeed be.

Toastmasters Leadership Institute and Club Officer Training

We have held three successful TLI sessions in Perth, LGET, Ian and Northern Division Governor, Maree, travelled to Kalgoorlie to train the club officers there and I am heading to Karratha soon to do the same. I have seen the feedback from many of you and feel confident that you now understand the role you have undertaken for the next term and will all serve your club members well. These TLI sessions would not have been so successful without the dedicated preparation by our LGET, Ian and his team. Congratulations to all of you for presenting a marvellous training.

Educational Achievements

Already this year we have had a plethora of educational awards submitted by almost 50 members. The pinnacle of these, of course, is our Distinguished ToastMaster achievers. Already 4 dedicated members have completed their DTM Award:  Lisa Evans from Northern Gourmet Toastmasters Club, whose award was accidentally recorded in June but has now been corrected, William Placanica from Willetton Toastmasters Club, Pascale Amberville-Colby from Perth JusTalk Toastmasters Club and Graham Macdonald from Murdoch Southsiders Toastmasters Club. Congratulations to you all from every member of our District, we are so proud of you. It is wonderful to see that three of these awards are for first time achievers:  Lisa, our past District Secretary, and William and Graham, both past Area Governors. I am looking forward to presenting your medallions and pins at our November Council Meeting. Only 1% of all Toastmasters who join our organisation achieve this award, so it is indeed a great honour and accomplishment. I’m sure there are more awards on the horizon and this year we will have much to celebrate.

International Convention in Kuala Lumpur

This month, as many of us head to International Convention to be a part of history, we join Toastmasters from around the world for the very first time outside of North America. It will be busy and filled with entertainment, education and excitement. I look forward to seeing many of you in Kuala Lumpur to celebrate our achievements for last year, and to bond in a way that only International Convention can ensure. It will be a week filled with memories to treasure, friendships to be made and learning that will enhance your whole life. Cherish each moment and have fun.

90 Year Celebrations

As I mentioned at our TLI sessions, this year is the 90th anniversary of Toastmasters and I encourage your club to recognise this outstanding achievement in some way. You may like to hold a special meeting or a themed meeting. If your club has a milestone to celebrate or not, there is no excuse for not having a celebration this year. I anticipate seeing many articles in Black Swan flaunting your revelries!

In just one month we have achieved much as a team. I hope you have had fun at your meetings and at our trainings already held. Look forward to much more fun as the year progresses. Have an amazing August!

As always, if you have a question or need information, I am only a phone call or email away.

Ph – 0407 851 361     email –


Robyn Richards DTM
District 17 Governor 2014-2015




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Convention First Timer

My first time at Convention (and I had a ribbon pinned to my chest to prove it). I was at the Power up on the Peninsula Convention held at the lovely waterfront Sebel Hotel in Mandurah over three days in May.

On collection of my bag and passes and completion of my Toastmaster’s knowledge quiz, I lodged it in the box with fingers crossed, hoping to win a prize. Next the  evaluation contest where members delivered great feedback and tips concerning the pause, use of stage and gestures, vocal variety, and setting the scene.  (Furiously writing down tips).

I had been very excited all week and really looking forward to the Sunday Program.  First up, Brad Hogg told his story from a small boy from the country who became more and more confident as a cricketer and who now plays for Australia. What enthusiasm and charisma and charm!

Brad was telling the story of his early cricketing years right up to the time of playing for Australia; a very down to earth person who practised and practised and realized he had to get over his shyness and speak confidently to gain entry into a team and stay there.  (Similar to Toastmaster members really!)
A great inspirational speech!

Next up the Table Topics contest and then to the Master Class with Olivia Schofield.  Where else can you get your speech evaluated from an international high class speaker and receive feedback, find out your strengths and get tips for your stance?

Olivia shared her wisdom and advised the speakers on stage to pretend to be a rock star. It’s amazing the transformation and the changes it made to the person conveying the speech.   The speech was remarkably improved with more confidence and a great delivery with improved gestures.

The Terrace Club was honoured by our member Debbie who was a contestant in the Humorous Speech Contest, with her speech “Feral Goat Herding 101”.  She achieved 2nd place and brought a trophy with pride to our next meeting.

The weekend certainly exceeded my expectations. It may have been my first time, but I am sure it won’t be my last. I urge anyone who hasn’t been to a convention to attend next year; you won’t regret it.  Maybe live it up for the whole weekend or one day.

The convention was more than I expected and I am planning to attend an International convention in the future.

Bonnie Sweetman
Terrace Club


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Debunking the 55%, 38% 7% Rule

Any student of public speaking has had this rule rammed down their throats in books, by facilitators and in feedback sessions. Most of us have blithely accepted this precept at face value. Would it surprise you to know that these percentages are a myth? Where did these percentages come from?

No one would argue that non-verbal expression and tonality are inconsequential to effective communication. Yet, logically does it make sense to relegate the words to a meagre 7% of the message?

Dr C E Johnson, a certified trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming wrote in 1994 in Anchor Point magazine:

“If these percentages were real it would mean that the learning of foreign languages could be greatly abbreviated. After all, if the words only account for 7% of the meaning of communication, we should all be able to go to any country in the world and simply by listening to the tone and carefully observing body language, be able to accurately interpret 93% of their communications”

Many years ago when I first arrived to live in Paris I remember going into the supermarket to buy milk and making signs of milking a cow to indicate what I wanted, I think that gorgeous looking Frenchman still thinks anyone from Afrique du Sud is peculiar, if not mad!

As presenters, we learn to work with words, because a few well-chosen words, in particular, powerful verbs, can make the difference between a mediocre speech and a speech that enthrals. Words that evoke our emotions, that enthral, capture and entertain the heart.

Parts of this article were published in the January 2006 Toastmaster magazine by Judith Pearson DTM and seem to have gone largely unnoticed. This misinterpretation of Mehrabian’s rules still colours many club evaluations.

So where did this rule come from? Professor Albert Mehrabian conducted two studies and published the results in 1971. He arrived at two conclusions. Firstly, there are basically three elements in any face to face communication – words, tone of voice, and facial expression. Secondly the non-verbal elements are particularly important for communicating feelings and attitude. The full explanation of the Misinterpretation of Mehrabian’s rule can be viewed on his web site as well as his articles on “Silent Messages”.

In Anchor Point in 1994 Mehrabian stated that he never intended his results to be applied to normal conversation. The studies were only conducted on women and thus his research has useful, albeit limited applications, which have been misinterpreted out of all proportion.

In public speaking, words, tonality, and body language are the only means we have to relate our individual understandings, experiences, and feelings. Let’s continue to place equal emphasis on all three avenues of communication. Words are more important than you think. Next time you prepare to stand before an audience, ask yourself:  what will they SEE, HEAR, and FEEL?


Marlene Ward DTM
TLI Training and Northern Gourmet clubs.


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Positive Promotion Premiership

PPPPPPPPst     Have you heard about the Positive Promotion Premiership?

The 2014/2015 Toastmasters Year has got off to a fine start. Many of our Club Committee Members have undertaken Club Officer Training and are ready to go full steam ahead to fulfil their own and their clubs activities for the coming year.

The Positive Promotion Premiership (PPP) is a fun way to enhance your Clubs with publicity and attract more guests to the Club meetings.

Having a good base of members is the ideal way to maintain the healthy and fun environment of your club. Seeking new members through various promotional activities can assist you in maintaining a strong membership at your club.

Use the PPP to find ways to improve your promotional activities, and then sending the detail to me for inclusion in the PPP table. The Premiership is a friendly way to gather interest in your club and interest in your activities with your present and future club Members.

Southern River Toastmasters Club took out the Trophy in 2013/14!

Can your club win the Positive Promotion Premiership Trophy this year?

The table for the Positive Promotion Premiership can be found on the District 17 web 

Send the proof of your promotions to Sue Fallon prior to 30th April 2015 at

May the best publicised Club be Positive Promotion Premiers in 2014/15!


Sue Fallon
District 17 Public Relations Officer 2014 – 2105



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Promote the Smedley Award Membership Building Contest

Smedley Award – 1 August to 30 September 2014


The Smedley award is the first of three membership-building contests in the Toastmaster calendar. Named after the founder of Toastmasters, all you have to do is add 5 new members from the 1 August to the 30 September. Toastmasters send the Smedley Award ribbon to display on your club’s banner once you qualify.

In addition to the ribbon, qualifying clubs earn a special discount code for 10 % off their next club order.

There are more incentives such as:

  • Achieve Goal No. 7 of your Distinguished Club Program Point of 4+ new members
  • Put together a team and make an effort to build your club membership and you will achieve Project 6, 8, or 10 of your Competent Leader Manual

Why Build Membership?

Clubs that have membership of 20+ members or are at “charter strength”:

  • Allow more people to fill meeting and club officer roles
  • No one member is overburdened with responsibilities
  • Meetings are more fun because more people are involved
  • It’s easier for a club to help members meet their educational needs
  • Continuous recruitment is needed because of natural attrition

Membership Drive
How to conduct a local membership-building contest:

  • Invite all your friends in advance
  • Assign a vibrant host as Toastmaster of the day
  • Schedule a variety of speakers, from beginners to experts
  • Make Table Topics fun (with easy questions for the guests!)
  • Schedule friendly evaluators
  • Put on a great show!
  • Give points for participation in the contest
  • Reward those who achieved the objectives

Need More Help Building Membership?
Toastmasters International offers a host of membership building resources:


Leonor Ragan, DTM
District 17 Lieutenant Governor Marketing 2014-2015 



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Individual Membership Awards

Annual Membership Program
Program Dates: July 1 2014 – June 30 2015

Membership growth is important to ensure club success. Every year we lose members for many reasons. Some reasons are beyond our control.  What can we do as members? Use in-club campaigns to promote and advertise your club. Tell people about Toastmasters. Invite people along and encourage them to join.

As a sponsor of five new members, you will qualify to receive a unique sponsor’s pin. As an outstanding sponsor of 10 new members, you will qualify to receive a special pin.


Effective July 1, 2014, as a sponsor of 15 new members, you will qualify to receive a special discount code for 25% off your next product purchase from Toastmasters International World Headquarters. By helping to increase membership, you make a significant contribution to your club’s long-term success.

To receive credit as a sponsor, your name must appear on the membership application along with your home club number. Please print or type information legibly. No changes can be made to the applications once they are received by World Headquarters. New, dual and reinstated members count for credit; transfer and charter members do not. The new members’ join dates must fall within the July to June range. All applications and payments must be received at World Headquarters no later than June 30, 2015.

I would like to encourage you to share your positive Toastmasters experience with others. I’m looking forward to working with you. I’m here to serve. Let me know how I can help you.


Leonor Ragan, DTM
District 17 Lieutenant Governor Marketing 2014-2015




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