Black Swan March 2013

Black Swan
March 2013

The Newsletter of Toastmasters District 17

Editor: Vicky Post

In this issue

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I currently have reason to reflect on the difference between the Merry-go-round and the Roller Coaster.

We are always seeking something different from what we have. If you live in darkness you seek the light and if you live in light you may wonder what darkness looks like. Most people living a 9-5 existence are looking elsewhere for excitement to spice up their lives. This can come via holidays or weekends away, learning a new language, going dancing or playing extreme sports. People, who on the other hand have exciting jobs with much variety, may seek to have a quiet beach holiday, watching movies at night and generally relaxing and recuperating.

The Merry-go-round will provide the stability and the safety that many of us crave, but will it make us feel alive? Will we get bored with the hum-drum of going around and around in circles? The roller coaster, on the other hand, will provide excitement and exhilaration. It will make you feel alive. So alive in fact that you will scream out loud with enjoyment.

We will be satisfied with the merry-go-round for a while and then once we get bored we will crave the roller coaster. Then once we have been on the roller coaster for a while, we’ll be worn out with the constant ups and downs  and seek a more stable and safe solution.

I often refer to a Merry-go-round existence as being in the land of the living dead. You exist but you are not really alive. The roller coaster will make you feel alive. As you hang there on the edge of another incredibly steep fall, you close your eyes, hang on for dear life and scream at the top of your lungs.  When the ride finishes, you stumble out, eyes wide and a huge smile and your first reaction is: “I wanna do that again!” And maybe you do, but after another couple of rides, you’ve had enough and feel like sitting down for a coffee.

I believe we can apply this analogy to most areas of our lives, relationships and work being the most obvious. Marriage turns into a Merry-go-round after a while and it takes work to keep the romance alive and the spark going. You need to make an effort to make the marriage work, which we know from the divorce statistics that most people don’t do.

The same with work. It doesn’t matter what you do. When you do it every day, week after week and year after year, it turns into a Merry-go-round. You need new challenges in your work to keep it interesting.

I believe that although we are all different, most of us will want to try both the Merry-go-round and the Roller Coaster at some stage in our lives. Maybe we want to continue to switch between the two and maybe we are happy to stick with just one. There is no right or wrong choice, just an acknowledgement that it is your choice. Have a think about it. What do you prefer? The Merry-go-round or the Roller Coaster?



Vicky Post, DTM

Black Swan Editor

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District Governor Report

District 17 has a culture of Clubs achieving their Distinguished Club Program Goals. As a consequence, of the 13 Areas and 3 Divisions, all are on track to achieve their respective goals.

District 17 progress in the Distinguished District Program is listed on the chart below:

Western Australia as at 31 March 2013

District Goal

to date





Rank in

in world

Rank in

Paid clubs









Mem payments









Dist. clubs









That’s right. Western Australia is currently ranked number 1 in Region 12. Region 12 is made up of all the Toastmaster Districts in Australia and New Zealand. Our ranking in the world is incredible. District 17 is well on track to be a Distinguished District this year. This has only been achieved by the individual efforts of the members. Well done Members.

The above figures are subject to the April renewals which are now due. I encourage all clubs to log on all their members as soon as possible to help you achieve your DCP Goals.

Two more deserving Toastmasters achieved their Distinguished Toastmaster Award in March. Jon Roberts received his first DTM and Martin Lindsay achieved his second DTM.  It is awesome to see two such deserving Toastmasters achieve their goals.

I hope you are enjoying the current Club, Area and Division Evaluation and International Speech Competitions as much as I am.

These competitions will culminate at the “Jewel in the Crown” District 17 Convention at the Kings Hotel, Perth on the 24, 25 and 26 of May 2013 and the winners will go onto the International Convention which will be held in Ohio Cincinnati in August this year.

It is well worth attending the International Convention as you will see the best speakers of Toastmasters in the world.



Ross Wilkinson, DTM
District 17 Governor 2012/13

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Do you think there are too many acronyms or initials in Toastmasters?

What does that mean I hear frequently in the hallowed halls as we talk our toastmaster talk and walk our toastmaster walk.

CC, ALB, TLI, or COT,   ACB,  ACS, could be  ACG,    ALS, and of course DTM.


TI, IPP, DG, AG, LGET,LGM, PRO (that’s me)  the list goes on, RA,  ID, I have to stop I’m going MAD

What a great quiz night or club hot topic question; “How many Toastmaster acronyms or initials can you write down in one minute?”

Add one more to your list but also add this acronym to your calendar.


05 July 2013

Tompkins on Swan

More details to follow after CON.


OOPs  another one not to forget

That is right in typical Aussie style convention has been shortened for the purpose of paying your registration fees.

Send your EFT (not specific to TM) with your surname and Jewel or  (especially for this article) CON to register your payment  for Convention.

See you at Convention.

Ian Pickens new photo


2012 / 2013


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Northern Gourmet

The FIRST club in WA to Charter before the FIRST meeting!!

The response to the Northern Gourmet Club has been fantastic with 22 charter members signed up before the first meeting and a further 2 guests converting to members on the night.

The inaugural meeting was held on 17 March at the Kingsley Tavern.

Despite severe weather there were 27 in attendance.  District Givernor, Ross Wilkinson was Toastmaster for the evening and we heard speeches from Ian Hart, Cybele Katavatis, Peter McDonnell and myself.

Mike Helm, International Director for Region 12 addressed  the group and Distinguished Toastmaster Steve Barry came along (co founder of Fremantle Gourmet) to demonstrate the group evaluation technique.

Thank you to Central Division Governor, Distinguished Toastmaster Leonor Ragan for coming along to support us and Northern Division Governor Bronwen Jones and Lizze Hornby the Club Mentors.

Our charter meeting will be on 11 April 6:40 for a 7PM start at the Kingsley Tavern – I’ve been told the Bangers N Mash are pretty good!

If you would like to attend a Northern Gourmet meeting, please contact me at

Lisa Evans

Lisa Evans

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The Club Contest

It was a night of wit, courage and even blood (truly!!).  There was intense action right from the word Go.  The Sgt of Arms frantically demarcated the boxing ring with a set of tables.  Spectators were hurriedly assigned to seats lined out the other side.

In the blue corner, a contestant prepared the projector and pressed all sorts of buttons to ensure support at the most critical moment.  The judges walked in with a serious flair and took up their positions of authority.  Resembling paramedics, a team methodically set out snacks and spirits, preparing possibly for casualties but most probably for the courageous contestants and their fans.

Referees Jo-Anne Urquhart and Neil Brandis spelt out stern rules for the fight, ‘strictly- no punching below the belt’.

The hammer went down Northern-Lights-1at 7.05 pm and the Northern Lights International Speech and Evaluation club contest started with a tremendous roar.

Lisa Martin floated into the ring with strong punches to deliver a brilliant performance titled ‘What type are you? And does it matter?’  Entwined with humor she identified ‘typical’ Toastmaster characteristics and had each spectator guessing where they fit.   Dressed in his khakis, Hiten Shah took tourists on an African safari.    During this bout, blood actually poured as he pointed out the traditions of the great Maasai people of Kenya.

Meredith Wilkie, our guest speaker from Desperados delivered a test speech that was skillfully evaluated by Nick Florido, Keith Hetherington and Jack Young.  Admittedly, the professional speech was tough to dissect, but each of the contestants picked up and elaborated on pertinent points.

Modest in his victory speech, Nick honoured both his compatriots who as new members took up a strong fighting stance and jabbed hard.

Hiten handed the baton to Lisa Martin who together with Nick Florido will represent Northern Lights Toastmasters club at the N21 Area Contest on Monday 8th April 2013 at the Henderson Environmental Centre, Groat Street, North Beach.

Rumour has it that fans will turn up in hundreds as the bookies significantly favour their odds.

Hiten Shah

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Theme Meetings Why & What

Themes - MartinClub meetings – we all attend them regularly, weekly, fortnightly or monthly. If you have an energetic and imaginative VPE, you have agendas that change, with new speaking events thrown in to make meetings more interesting.Themes - Peta

If you are less lucky and you are stuck with a VPE who is too busy, you may find agendas a bit same old, same old.

Regardless of whether you are a busy or an imaginative VPE, having a theme for the meeting is easy and puts fun back into your Toastmaster experience. Something I believe is important to retain members.

At Ellenbrook, I believe we have mastered the theme nights and our members get into the spirit of the different themes we have. We had a Trick or Treat theme for Halloween, with our toastmaster for the night dressed as a Wicked Witch.

Last year we had a games theme with board games included in the meeting.

We had a music theme one night where I brought my guitar along and we all had a play and a song during the break and at the end of the meeting.

Recently we had a back to School theme, where our Teacher, sorry, Toastmaster for the evening, Mr Martin Lindsay conducted the lesson in a school room setting with lollies for right answers and good deliveries and notes being passed around. There was even a paper plane that cruised past the teachers head.

Use themes in your meetings and get your members involved. It is fun and it gives the Table Topics master a challenge and something to work with. It also gives the members a chance to get into the spirit of the meeting and dressing for the occasion if so inclined.


Vicky Post, DTM

Member Ellenbrook


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Here is your personal last minute announcement

LAST MINUTE     GOING   ONCE   (That was the month of March)

LAST MINUTE    GOING     TWICE        (April)







Now that I have your attention, it just may be this is a message you prefer to delete.  However, the message is very clear, we are storming head long into the last week or two to register for convention.

Experience tells us that most registrations arrive in the last few weeks so I am expecting to be inundated with registration forms.  Starting from now.

Let me tell you the International President John Lau DTM and his wife are getting excited at visiting one of the prime moving, successful districts in the world.  Number 11 last year after all the votes had been counted.

District 17 is still at the top of the achievement tree worldwide this year.  We are in the spotlight and John is eager to visit us.

Rory Vaden our international motivational guest has already set out his special meal requests.  It is obvious he has prepared well to showcase his skills and treat us to a wonderful convention event.

What a great opportunity to see such a powerful speaker joined on stage with the IP, our own leadership teams, and district speech contest winners.

Winners that appear in your club every meeting, they need your support, want to know you are there while they are packing it on stage.


All this and more. All you have to do is fill in the form, pay some money, join the excitement at the Kings Hotel, Hay St Perth.

Ian Pickens new photo

Ian Pickens, DTM


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