Black Swan March 2014

Black Swan March 2014

The Newsletter of Toastmasters District 17

Editors: Judith Allen and Lynne Brighton



Our March issue reflects the diverse interests and concerns of Toastmasters.  Articles vary from news of successful club meetings and club members, to educational tips on speech preparation and information from Toastmasters International.

Once again our District Leaders recognize the successes of individuals and clubs and keep us up to date with District 17’s progress and coming events.


EditorLynne P1000006

Lynne Brighton & Judith Allen
Black Swan Editors

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District Governor Report

Dear Fellow Toastmasters Members, Club Officers and District Officers,

I am impressed at the commitment and drive that all our Toastmasters have shown thus far.  I congratulate and acknowledge all the areas that have completed running their area contests. Our three Division Contests are fast approaching.

Now is the time to review your goals and achievements and to prepare for the final three months of your term. The majority of your work will take place in the April to June period in 2014.

I am proud to state that many of our Area Governors have embarked on their second round of club visits and are following up on clubs who are still to finalise March membership renewals and the Distinguished Club Program.

The 2013/2014 District Success Plan:

The District Executive has developed the current District Success Plan.
This is based on the results of the previous year in which District 17 achieved President’s Distinguished Status. The statistics in red indicate our current status.
There are 3 main areas, which operate as key performance indicators:

1)      Membership Payments – our annual goals are as follows: for District 17 to achieve
Distinguished status – 3,038, Select Distinguished – 3,148, President’s Distinguished – 3,248.

Current status – 2, 571 Membership Payments.

2)      Distinguished Clubs – we need the following number of clubs achieving a minimum of Distinguished Status (5 out of 10 points of the Distinguished Club Program).               28 clubs to achieve Distinguished Status, 32 clubs to achieve Select Distinguished and 35 clubs to achieve President’s Distinguished.

Current status – 26 clubs have achieved a minimum of Distinguished status.

Canning Vale (President’s Distinguished) S31
Southern River (President’s Distinguished) S31
Victoria Quay (President’s Distinguished) S32
Rockingham Toastmasters (President’s Distinguished) S32
Durack (Select Distinguished) C1
Young Guns (Select Distinguished) C1
Gourmet Guns N’ Roses (Select Distinguished) C2
City of Perth (Select Distinguished) C3
Matilda (Select Distinguished) C3
Sandgropers (Select Distinguished) N21
Ellenbrook (Select Distinguished ) N23
Willeton (Select Distinguished) S31
Fremantle Gateway (Select Distinguished)
Murdoch Southsiders (Select Distinguished) S35
Terrace (Distinguished) C1
Aecom (Distinguished) C2
Rising Stars (Distinguished) C3
Banksia (Distinguished) C5
Curtin GSB Sundowners (Distinguished) C4
Curtin GSB (Distinguished) C4
Northern Lights (Distinguished) N21
Northern Gourmet (Distinguished) N21
Banyandah (Distinguished) N24
Touch of Gold (Distinguished) N24
Applecross (Distinguished) S35
DTM Pathways (Distinguished) S35

3)      New Clubs are an important part of our growth as a District. District 17 needs:

3 new clubs to achieve Distinguished status
4 new clubs to achieve Select Distinguished and
6 new clubs to achieve President’s Distinguished
Current status – 2 new clubs has charted so far:

  • 235 Toastmasters in Area C2, Central Division
  • Deloitte Toastmasters in Area C3, Central Division

There are several more new clubs progressing towards formation and chartering.

The 2013/2014 Toastmaster Year:

As 2014 progresses, we will require equal commitment and perseverance to maintain the success and growth of District 17. I am proud to be serving alongside a very driven and dedicated team of district officers and club officers.
The four vital areas and goals which are the main focus of this year include:

1      Membership Growth and Membership Retention – we need to ensure that we are maintaining our Toastmaster Pledge and Promise to new members and existing members. The membership is the most important component in our District.

2      Club Growth and Club Stability – we will be supporting the growth of new clubs and assist existing clubs with rebuilding and stabilising membership.

3      Promotion of the Distinguished Club Program to help our members achieve their individual goals, clubs achieve and benefit from the success of their goals. Encourage all clubs to achieve a minimum requirement of Distinguished Club Status.

4      Promote and implement the Mentorship Program into every club within the District. The most successful districts in our global network all have succinct mentorship programs, for both new and existing members.

New Clubs Status Update:
Now that our first two new clubs 235 Toastmasters and Deloitte Toastmasters (both in Central Division) have chartered, there is focus on other new clubs, which are in the process of formation including:

    • Ernst & Young, and Bank West Risk Management have both had successful Demonstration Meetings and are progressing.
    • Currambine (Northern Division) is progressing and signing up new members at each successive meeting.
    • Golden Gourmet is progressing slowly and WA School of Mines are close to charter, both in Kalgoorlie (also Northern). Both Demonstration Meetings were successful in attracting 16 guests to each. Special thanks to District Public Relations Officer Leonor Ragan, District Secretary Lisa Evans, Central Division Governor Charles Fisher, Northern Division Governor Sue Fallon and Former District 73 Community Contact and Touch of Gold Founder Eric Davies for accompanying District Governor to ensure the success of all Kalgoorlie TI Events.
    • Spearwood and Canning Vale Storytellers are both progressing (both Southern Division).

Lieutenant Governor Marketing, Ian Pickens will be leading the team of New Club Coordinators: VK Kutty (Central), Martin Lindsay (Northern) and David Nicholas (Southern).

Distinguished Club Program – Educational Awards:
Last year, 11 Toastmasters achieved their Distinguished Toastmaster Award.  This is the highest award Toastmasters bestows on a member as it recognises both the communication and leadership skills that the member has completed. An estimated 12,000 of Toastmaster’s 4 million past and present members have achieved the elite Distinguished Toastmaster status. The achievement of the Distinguished Toastmaster award is recognition of an individuals’ commitment to Toastmaster’s communication and leadership tracks.

We have 10 Toastmasters who have achieved their DTM. In order of lodgement dates:

Greg Lynn of Netmasters
David Nicholas of Victoria Quay – This is David’s 7th DTM
Meechan Wong of Banskia
Anita Adhitya of Young Guns
Sandra Morton of Cannington Communicators
Robyn Richards of Canning Vale – this is Robyn’s 2nd DTM
Sue Voloczi of Fremantle Gourmet
David Nicholas of Netmasters – This is David’s 8th DTM
Bronwen Jones of Northern Gourmet
David Nicholas of Victoria Quay – This is David’s 9th DTM
Ross Wilkinson of DTM Pathways – This is Ross’s 6th DTM

Congratulations, we are all very proud of your commitments and achievements.

Distinguished Club Status – Congratulations

I congratulate Victoria Quay for its achievement of becoming the first club to achieve President’s Distinguished Status with 10 out of 10 Distinguished Club Points.
Congratulations to Canning Vale, Southern River, Rockingham Toastmasters who have also achieved President’s Distinguished Status.
Congratulations to Durack, Young Guns, Gourmet Guns N’ Roses, City of Perth, Matilda, Sandgropers, Ellenbrook, Willeton, Fremantle Gateway and Murdoch Southsiders for achieving Select Distinguished Status.

Congratulations to Terrace, Aecom, Rising Stars, Banksia, Curtin GSB, Curtin GSB Sundowners, Northern Lights, Northern Gourmet, Banyandah, Touch of Gold, Applecross and DTM Pathways for achieving Distinguished Status. We acknowledge your commitment to achieve and setting a positive example for other clubs to follow.

The Mentor For Every Member Program
I recognise and acknowledge all clubs who have submitted their March membership renewals on time. Your club has remained in good standing, as have your members and especially all members who wish to compete in the forthcoming International Speech and Evaluations Contests.

It is important to retain as many members within your clubs as possible. Take the time to run the Moments of Truth educational to assess your club’s current status. Run another membership survey to ensure that your members’ needs are been met. Be knowledgeable of their goals and pace. Recognise and acknowledge all their achievements. A happy and contented member is more likely to remain within the Toastmaster network for a longer period of time.

Dear fellow Toastmasters’ Members, Club Officers and District Officers, on behalf of the District Executive, we encourage you to continue to pursue the pillars of Toastmasters International: Respect, Integrity, Service to the membership and dedication to the pursuit of Excellence. RISE to every Toastmaster occasion.


Pascale Amberville-Colby DTM

District 17 District Governor 2013-2014

Where Leaders Are Made
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A Toast to Better Communication

As a Major Customer Account Manager, Ken Lee’s role requires successful and open communication with stakeholders to effectively serve our customers and build these important relationships.

As a member of Western Power’s public speaking club, the Electric Toasters, Ken has been able to develop and foster these essential skills.

The Electric Toasters are one of 800Toastmasters clubs throughout Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, focusing on the communication and leadership development of their members.

Ken Lee

Here is an extract from an interview with Ken:

How has being a part of the Electric Toasters helped in your role at Western Power?

Being a member has improved my impromptu speaking skills (or ‘elevator pitch’) during interactions with customers and internal stakeholders.

It has strengthened the way I articulate my thoughts into words, the vocal tone of conversations and presentations, and it has taught me how to use body language to engage with my audience.  I now  also have the skills to avoid clutch word such as ‘um’, ‘ah’ and ‘you know’ when speaking or presenting.

The club has not only helped me in my professional role, but also in personal situations, such as being MC at my sister’s wedding and delivering an engaging and confident speech with my fiancée at our engagement last year.

What skills have you developed?

Toastmasters are required to complete ten project speeches before being awarded   ‘Competent Communicator’. These ten speeches teach members how to use voice and body language, how to inspire audiences, and the correct use of visual aids. I am now acutely aware of how other orators present and how they are efficient in getting their messages across. For example how our CEO and Executive team present and use their body and vocal tone to engage their audience. I also now have a truer appreciation of the pressures facing Barack Obama and Tony Abbott when they address an entire nation!

Your message to potential members?

Engagement with customers and the community is vital in the various roles across the business.

The Electric Toasters offer a safe and fun environment to help build public speaking skills and empower members to develop communication and leadership skills, for greater self-confidence and personal growth.

“If you don’t know what you want to achieve in your presentation your audience never will.”

Harvey Diamond

Ten about Ken

      1. Founding member of the Electric Toasters public speaking club
      2. Recognised as this year’s Toastmaster of the Year for WA District’s Central Division
      3. Blissfully married to soul mate Hui Lin in 2013
      4. Applied his public speaking learning in his wedding speech
      5. Has attended more than 100 Electric Toasters meetings out 128+ meetings held since 2008
      6. Arrived in Australia on 1 January1989 from Singapore
      7. Volunteer in a youth radio show, The Scope, for the ‘Aussie Slangs’ segment
      8. Chartered Professional Engineer with Engineers Australia
      9. Mentor of Western Power Graduate Engineers and in the UWA Career Mentor Link program
      10. Volunteer for Mission Australia’s Christmas in the Park lunch for five years

Patricia Tan
Electric Toasters







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Southern River Toastmasters Celebrate Harmony Week All Year Long

The 2011 census data confirm that WA is the fastest growing state in Australia. Traditionally, Perth is considered less multicultural than our cousins in Melbourne and Sydney. Yet today, the lines of a singular national culture have blurred with global mobility and demographic interchanges. The growth of migrant groups adds to the rich economic, social and physical tapestry of metropolitan life across Australia. It also requires a fine balance where each of us embraces this diversity in race, culture, language, beliefs and also culinary styles.

What binds us all together is the common English language shared both socially and commercially. Whether we are or are not from an English-speaking background language could either unite or divide us. Communication is an important asset we cannot afford to lose our proficiency in.

Southern River Toastmasters Club takes this mandate to heart and boasts a mix of members from 7 different cultures. While we share a united Australian identity, we also learn about the diverse ethnic festivals, ceremonies, practices and yes especially the food!

Take the Chinese New Year celebrations (31 January 2014) for example.  How are the festivities observed? What is a Reunion Dinner? What is a “Hong Pao” (red packet)? What is the Chinese zodiac? What are the favourite Chinese New Year dishes served?

Or consider an Indian wedding. Did you know that in India a whole village could be invited to a wedding, effectively opening the guest list to hundreds? Traditional celebrations could even last 3 days.

Southern River Toastmasters Club also appeals to both the young and the old. Our youngest member is a mature twenty-something from South Africa who actively participates as a Red Cross first-aider. Our most senior member is a spritely seventy three year-old former Associate Professor. Originally from Canada, he migrated here forty years ago and now lives and breathes Toastmasters. While eligibility starts at 18 years of age, the Club has received expressions of interest from teenagers, one as young as 14 years.

Southern River Toastmasters Club operates with passion and enthusiasm, not in spite of but because of age and cultural diversity. Members share a common goal of contributing to each other’s growth in a relaxed environment. The pace of progress is at each individual’s comfortable speed and achievements are clearly visible.

Members of the public are always welcome to visit without obligation or cost. Meetings are informative and accompanied by irrepressible humour.

Southern River Toastmasters Club meets every Wednesday from 6.30pm
Venue : Bletchely Park Primary School, Balfour Street, Southern River.
Contacts : Cathy (0416 292 860) or John (0429 001 337)
Website :
Facebook :


Stephanie Chan
Southern River Toastmasters Club




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A Young Man Going Places

A few weeks ago, as one of the contacts for Canning Vale Toastmasters, I received a call from a very excited father whose18 year old son was about to embark on the ride of a lifetime on the seven seas.

Josh had just been advised that his application to undergo extensive testing for one of the very few places in the Australian Navy as a MWO (Maritime Warfare Officer) had been accepted. This testing was to take place in a few weeks at the Royal Australian Navy Training facility in Melbourne. Rob knew that Josh would be given extensive questioning and role play during this testing and wondered if Toastmasters could help. I’m sure you can guess what my answer was? Yes, absolutely!

Rob and Josh attended our very next meeting and I asked the Table Topics Master to give Josh one of those topics. He had watched a couple of seasoned Table Topics veterans before him and he jumped up enthusiastically to have a go. I’m not sure how much time his speech was but it wasn’t long and he looked a little uncomfortable. Once he received the feedback in the Table Topics Evaluation, Josh and his Dad, Rob, could see the benefit of our programme. Josh joined our club and attended every meeting where he received normal evaluations.Iworked with Josh and gave him personalised feedback on speeches, impromptu speaking and feedback. I worked with Josh right up until a few days before he flew to Melbourne. We showed him how to structure a topic in the past, the present and the future and how to include drama, hand gestures and vocal variety to add power to his speech. Then, we could only wait for the day to arrive.

We knew it would be a tiring day and we waited with bated breath for Josh’s text to tell us how he had gone. Finally, it arrived and read: “Hey Mark, It was a really long day! After writing an essay and solving problems from various scenarios we had to stand and talk all about our lives, what we have done and what we think our future looks like. When I had finished, the psychologist said I had missed something that happened and handed me a card. On the card was something I had to speak about for 2-3 minutes. Mine was ‘My Life as a Pirate Sailing the Seven Seas’. I just related it back tomy experience on the tall ship, The Leeuwin, in the way you had taught me in Table Topics. After that was extensive questioning about the job I was applying for, the navy, current affairs, leadership and management. They commented on how well I use my hands and that I can speak quite well in front of new people. A-HA! So it all went well and I got recommended to become a MWO. Now I just have to wait and see if I get a letter of offer.”

To add even greater depth to this delightful story, Josh’s Mum, Elena, has now joined as well to keep up with him. She had been thinking about checking out Toastmasters for some time but the events leading up to Josh’s interview were the catalyst that propelled her to realise a longtime contemplation.

We couldn’t be more proud of you Josh. We will be right here supporting and encouraging you as you gain communication and leadership skills at Canning Vale Toastmasters Club whilst you wait for that letter. I’m sure it will arrive and you will be whisked off to the Naval Academy next year.

Does Toastmasters help with job interviews? You bet it does!


Josh tells us how well he did at his interview thanks to Toastmasters – Canning Vale Toastmasters meeting 290, March 25th


Mark Richards DTM
Canning Vale Toastmasters VPE





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Contest Fever!

Over two meetings in February and March, Canning Vale Toastmasters witnessed our Evaluation & International Speech Contests, which reached fever pitch. We had six contestants in the Evaluation Contest on February 25th and four contestants in the International Speech Contest on March 4th.

Our test speaker was Josh McNess from Rockingham Toastmasters with his speech about habits and how to change them. Josh was animated and clever with his body language and his vocabulary, which gave the evaluators much to commend him on.  I loved his smoking body language and then was blown away by how much weight he lost. WOW!  The recommendations he received were varied and certainly encouraged him to step up to the next level. What a remarkable experience, to receive six evaluations for the one speech!

There were 27 attendees on the night which was overseen by our Area Governor, William Placanica, who served as our Chief Judge, and the contest was chaired by Angela Yin. Angela has completed six speeches in her Competent Communicator manual and did an extraordinary job for her first time as Contest Chair. Our contestants were Vanessa Chang, Steve Chatterton, Edward Chen, Mike Palmer, Saliya Ransinghe and Chandana Weerasekera. This was a great mix of experienced, semi experienced and relatively new members. I know the experience of the contest pumps adrenaline through your body but you would not have known that this night. All contestants seemed comfortable and controlled on the stage. Our placegetters were: a very shocked Vanessa 3rd, Saliya 2nd and Mike 1st. Congratulations to all our contestants and Angela; you are all stars!

The following week, March 4th, saw 30 attendees witness a thrilling International Speech Contest where we learned how to overcome what others say is impossible, how not to make just a small ripple but to dive in head first, how and why we should set goals and all about heartless troubles. Education is the key that turns the club lock and makes us all keep coming back and did we ever get an education that night!

Once again, our Area Governor, William, oversaw proceedings as Chief Judge and Verdine Gow stepped up to be the Contest Chair. Verdine has only completed four speeches in his Competent Communicator but he sure looked like a Competent Communicator as he chaired this magnificent contest. Our contestants were Mike Palmer, Saliya Ranasinghe, Diana Veitch and Chandana Weerasekera. Each contestant presented a superb speech which delighted the audience and left us wanting more. Placegetters were; Diana Veitch 2nd and Mike Palmer 1st. Once again we had a plethora of stars shining in the library at Canning Vale College.

Each time we hold a contest at Canning Vale Toastmasters, it is preceded by a judging workshop in order to illustrate to the newer members how to judge, the protocols of judging and how judging is so very different from an evaluation. This time around we had workshops from John Cecchi and Mark Richards who both gave valuable insights into the role of a judge. Every member who is not already performing a contest role,takes on a  judging role, which gives our members priceless experience. This way we also gain vital information for next time we compete. Understanding the judging criteria benefits a speaker immeasurably.

Mike now goes on to represent Canning Vale in the S31 Area Final and every member of Canning Vale is wishing him good luck! This is for you Mike! We’re wishing you more Contest Fever!



Robyn Richards DTM
Canning Vale Toastmasters



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Op Shop Themed Meeting Brings Out The Bizarre!


As Toastmaster for the night on March 25th, I opted for an Op Shop Themed Meeting. The theme was inspired by the intention to support a charity, without burning a hole in your own pocket. Those attending were asked to come wearing an item of clothing purchased from an op shop.At the same time, it was intended to make the meeting even more entertaining by adding a twist: have someone else accompany you and pick out the clothing for you …the more ridiculous, the better! Members were informed that there would be a few prizes awarded at the close of the night for the most ridiculously dressed. That sent out a challenge and our members rose to the occasion.

This was certainly no regular meeting! Attendees once again showed their enthusiasm and desire to enjoy themselves from the opening by a hip thrusting, tuxedoed “licorice allsort”, a Mexican in pyjamas hosting the night’s events, some “gorgeous” hats to a beach bum. Our President even looked like the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz! A fun night was had by all, with the prize for most ridiculously dressed being awarded to Vanessa Chang, our pink princess for the night! Vanessa took her 5 year old daughter to the Op Shop and of course, Mum had to be a princess. There was just no other option!

I was impressed by the range of outfits our members came along in and hope no-one had a breakdown on the way home. The RAC guy would be chuckling for a week.

1238886_10152086668784472_1326806601_n           10001427_10152086670484472_43665405_n

Tuxedo John                                                                                     Princess Vanessa

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Scarecrow Mike                                                                         Mexico Steve in Pyjamas

Steve Chatterton

Steve Chatterton
Canning Vale Toastmasters



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Awards Celebration picture    Our Stars of the Month!    stars

Congratulations to all of these members who achieved educational awards during the month of March. These members are presenting speeches, educational workshops and leading their club. District 17 salutes you!





CC 03/03/2014 Wright, Christopher Subiaco Early Birds
CC 07/03/2014 Smith, Alan Victoria Quay Toastmasters Club
CC 08/03/2014 Jennings, John Ellenbrook Toastmasters Club
CC 11/03/2014 Pinto, Phillip Plain Speakers Toastmasters
CC 11/03/2014 Mullett, Adam Banyandah Toastmasters Club
CC 12/03/2014 Clarke, David Gourmet Guns N Roses
CC 14/03/2014 Palmer, John Fremantle Gourmet Toastmasters
CC 18/03/2014 Gao, Ling Ling Sandgroper Toastmasters Club
CC 18/03/2014 O’Connor, Martin Sandgroper Toastmasters Club
CC 19/03/2014 Alves, Gabe St. George’s Toastmasters Club
CC 24/03/2014 Edwards, Donna Central Communicators
CC 27/03/2014 Yuan, Audrey Stirling Toastmasters Club
CC 29/03/2014 Lynn, Greg Netmasters Toastmasters Club
ACB 07/03/2014 Finnnemore, David Victoria Quay Toastmasters Club
ACB 11/03/2014 Golden, Elizabeth Gourmet Guns N Roses
ACB 16/03/2014 Browning, Kieran Gourmet Guns N Roses
ACB 17/03/2014 De Heus, Annemarie Mundaring Toastmasters Club
ACS 27/03/2014 Chan, Stephanie Southern River Toastmasters Club
ACG 10/03/2014 Wilkinson, Ross DTM Pathway Toastmasters Club
ACG 31/03/2014 McDonald, Lari Durack Toastmasters Club
CL 05/03/2014 Gotsis, Sophy Fremantle Gateway Toastmasters
CL 08/03/2014 Caldow, Emma AECOM WA Toastmasters Club
CL 14/03/2014 Ong, Marlene Murdoch Southsiders
CL 15/03/2014 Finnie, Tanya ApplecrossToastmasters Club
CL 15/03/2014 Drake-Brockman, Michael ApplecrossToastmasters Club
CL 16/03/2014 Sturrock, Kathryn City of Perth Toastmasters Club
CL 19/03/2014 Edwards, Janette Mundaring Toastmasters Club
ALB 07/03/2014 Madden, Greg Victoria Quay Toastmasters Club
ALB 08/03/2014 Rakela, Peta Ellenbrook Toastmasters Club
ALB 14/03/2014 Haynes, John Murdoch Southsiders
ALB 18/03/2014 Lobo, Baptist Gosnells Foothills Toastmasters
ALB 27/03/2014 Sturrock, Kathryn Northern Gourmet Toastmasters
ALS 06/03/2014 Ragan, Leonor Curtin GSB Toastmasters Club
ALS 10/03/2014 Wilkinson, Ross DTM Pathway Toastmasters Club
LDRX 05/03/2014 Wilkinson, Ross Fremantle Gateway Toastmasters
LDRX 28/03/2014 Nicholas, David Victoria Quay Toastmasters Club


Once again we have two very special members who have achieved the highest award bestowed upon a Toastmaster, the Distinguished Toastmaster Award! Congratulations to Ross Wilkinson from DTM Pathway Toastmasters Club and David Nicholas from Victoria Quay Toastmasters Club for your exceptional dedication to Toastmasters in achieving this award. Both Ross and David are multiple achievers of this award and are dedicated to setting a fine example to all members of District 17. The DTM Award is not a once off, but an award which may be achieved again and again. Each time you achieve a step, you gain so much more than before you began.

RossWilkinson110625C           dtm medal                        David_1213B



Robyn Richards DTM
District 17 LGET 2013-2014

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Give Your Speeches and Stories Some CPR

This is always a good time of year in which to reflect on where we’ve been and where we are going. This is also the perfect opportunity to plan ways to infuse our speeches with storytelling. So, let’s give the stories some CPR. C stands for Content; P stands for Performance; and R stands for Relationship. What do I mean?

C stands for Content and it is time to look for ways to add life to our storytelling repertoire — our content. When was the last time you added some new stories to your storytelling repertoire? When we are busy telling stories on a regular basis, we can easily become comfortable with the stories we know well and those stories that are well received by our audiences. I am not suggesting that you change your entire program, but I am suggesting that to add life and enthusiasm to your storytelling, that you set a goal to add at least one new story every month.

To add content pick a theme for your storytelling program. When we pick a theme, or are asked to tell stories that adhere to a special theme, we are forced to work on some new content. For example, I have been asked to present a talk on my article ‘A Future Training Landscape’. Because they like to list the programs in an event brochure, they wanted me to pick a theme for my performance. I chose “Every Employee a Manager, a Leader….and more” I chose the theme because I already have Manager/Leaders stories in my repertoire and added…… more in case I want to stray a bit. What fun!

P stands for Performance and it is time to work on ways to add power, polish and pizzazz to our storytelling performance skills. What can you do to improve the way you tell your stories? We are often unaware of bad and good habits we may have acquired over the years. I am not suggesting that you tell stories in a way that isn’t comfortable for you. For example, if you are a laid-back, down-to-earth type of person, you will do better as a straight-talking, easy-going teller. Don’t try to be someone you aren’t. Just take a look and ask yourself how you can be yourself better. What can you add to your performance skills to give you more Presence (another P)?
R stands for Relationship and is included here to remind us that the relationship with our audience is the most important factor in giving “life” to our speeches and storytelling.  The relationship between us as tellers and our listeners is what makes storytelling special and unique. It is what makes each telling different from every other telling. Questions to ask are: Do I focus first and foremost on the audience and how they are reacting and interacting with me and the story? Am I more concerned about how I am doing and what they think of me? When we first start as storytellers, we do tend to have more concern about remembering the stories and how we are coming across. As we grow as professionals, however, we need to make sure that it is the relationship with us and the story that we want to be memorable. What can you do as a teller to build a strong relationship with your listeners? How about your relationship with other tellers? And how about your relationship with the people who hire you and whom you want to hire you? All are important and need additional “life.

So, remember, it is time to apply some CPR to your speeches and storytelling, so that 2014 will be the best year of telling you have ever had. And the best year of listening to stories for your audiences!

Marlene Ward DTM



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Seven Buzzworthy Speeches of 2013

Presentations that captured the attention of a wide audience

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif., Dec. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — What makes a speech so interesting that thousands listen in and are moved enough to share? Beyond compelling content and delivery, it’s an emotional connection with the audience. Toastmasters International named the following seven speeches to its buzzworthy list of 2013:


      • February 26: When Irish rock star and humanitarian Bono spoke at TED2013, in Long Beach, California, to share “The Good News on Poverty,” he took the audience on a tour of the developing world, sharing the progress made in reducing extreme poverty.
      • March 1: in his TED2013 talk “In Search of the Man Who Broke My Neck,” former Wall Street Journal reporter Joshua Prager talked about the accident that made him a hemiplegic. “What makes most of us who we are, most of all, is not our minds and not our bodies and not what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens to us.” viewers rank this as one of the most inspiring talks of 2013.
      • May 4: In Twitter CEO Dick Costolo‘s 2013 commencement speech at his alma mater, University of Michigan, he drew on his background in improv theater to encourage graduates to take risks and live in the moment. He was funny and self-deprecating with lines like, “When I was your age we didn’t have the Internet … that’s how bad it was.”
      • July 12: Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai spoke at the United Nations after surviving a terrorist attack. With poise well beyond her years, she said, “Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights. I speak not for myself, but so those without a voice can be heard.”
      • July 18: TV anchor newswoman Robin Roberts‘ speech at the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards came after she waged a prolonged battle with breast cancer and myelodysplastic syndrome. Roberts spoke to her viewers and to previous winners of the award: “I draw strength from you.”
      • August 11: Ashton Kutcher‘s acceptance speech at the 2013 Teen Choice Awards received significant recognition. Expressing his appreciation of every opportunity he has ever had, Kutcher urged the audience to work hard, be smart and build a life rather than to just live one. He said, “The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart. And being thoughtful. And being generous.”
      • August 24: Bulgarian native Presiyan Vasilev is winner of Toastmasters’ 2013 World Championship of Public Speaking, beating 30,000 other contestants with his speech, “Changed by a Tire.” The speech became the year’s most popular post on the Toastmasters International Facebook page.

Leonor Ragan PRO
From Toastmasters International


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Toastmasters International Message To Struggling Clubs

Dear Club and District Leaders,

All Toastmasters International clubs follow the Toastmasters Club Constitution for Member Clubs of Toastmasters International which states:


Article XI: Legal Status and Dissolution, Section 2 Dissolution: “In the event of dissolution of this club, distribution of any funds, after payment of any indebtedness, shall be made either by contribution to any educational research or memorial fund maintained by Toastmasters International, or by contribution to another Toastmasters club or to a Toastmasters district.”


World Headquarters was notified that this clause was not in compliance with Australian law, which prohibits Toastmasters clubs in Australia from distributing surplus club funds to another organization outside the country. Therefore, in February 2014, the Toastmasters International Board of Directors approved a new Protocol that addresses surplus club funds and where they are to be allocated/distributed to upon dissolution of Australian clubs. Protocol 2.1: Club Constitution: Modifications to Comply with Local law takes effect immediately and can be viewed at


Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or




Jennifer Quinn
Board/Executive Support Mgr
Toastmasters International
Where Leaders Are Made
Ph 949-858-8255 ext. 205
Fax 949-888-0665


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District 17 Newsletter Contest 2013 – 2014

During this Toastmasters year, we have received some impressive Club and Area newsletters produced in District 17. The best of these should be recognized.

All Club Vice Presidents Public Relations are invited to send one (1) edition of their Club Newsletter to the District Public Relations Officer (email below) for consideration for this award.

All Area Governors are invited to send one (1) edition of their Area Newsletter to the District Public Relations Officer (email below) for consideration for this award.

Editions should be sent electronically and clearly marked in the subject line “Newsletter Contest Entry” with the Club/Area name. Please also state name of the member submitting the entry. Entries will be judged on originality, presentation, relevance to members and educational value.

You can download a template from Toastmasters International at  or email me.

Close off date for consideration is Wednesday April 30, 2014. Entries received after this date will not be considered.

The winning entries from both Club and Area will be announced at our District 17 Convention, 2014 Convention “Power Up On The Peninsula” at the Sebel Hotel in Mandurah, which will be held on Friday to Sunday May 23 – 25, 2014. How Exciting! We look forward to receiving your newsletters. The best of luck!

Leonor Ragan

Leonor Ragan, DTM
District 17 Public Relations Officer 2013-2014 
Mobile: 0422 709 646
Email: lragan@raganit.comm


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Membership Rebuilding and Retention Action Plan

WA Governors Club is focusing at its next meeting on

Membership Building and Club Retention

Mike Helm, Region 12 International Director, and WA Governors’ VP Membership, will be facilitating a practical District Action Plan to retain members in our clubs.

Would you like to have your say in formulating a plan for membership retention?

Join us at our next meeting on 17 April 2014 at 6.30pm

Shenton Park Community Centre

240 Onslow St, Shenton Park

Please RSVP  by Monday 14 April to Judith Allen  email:

Leonor Ragan

Leonor Ragan DTM
WA Governors VPPR


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Positive Promotion Premiership Points  as at 6 April 2014

Touch of Gold Nx3,Gx70,Cx7,Ux6,FEx16,H,ALx6,ABx2,QN,Rx5,O,Sx2 1060
Southern River ABx5,ALx2,B,Ux5,FEx6,QN,Nx4,S,Dx2,Gx19,Cx7,W,Tx3,CP,OX2,Mx4 725
Canning Vale FEx10,Nx4,R,CP,Mx2,Gx35,Cx12,N,Ux4,TEx10,BLx2,O 610
Rockingham Nx2,Gx22,W,Cx13,ABx5,Mx8,QN,Ox2,CP,N 565
City of Perth Ux2,FEx12,TEx10,Lx2,R,O,OTx10,QN,BI,CP 340
Curtin Sundowner Gx11,Cx8,W,Ux4,Mx2,O,CI,QN,CP 335
Curtin GSB Gx9,Cx5,F,FE,Mx2,Bx2,O,Ux4,CI,QN,CP 325
Northern Gourmet CP,FEx15,Ux10,GX20,Cx3 305
WAG Gx7,Ux6,QN,ABx5,CP 295
Mundaring Gx9,U,FE,S,H,ALx3,QN,Nx5 285
Matilda Gx11,Cx6,M,B,QN,CP,Ux4 285
Banksia Speakers Gx6,Cx5,W,Ux5,CP 235
Guildford Stars Sx4,B,AL,QN,Gx3,Mx2 230
AECOM OT,BL,ABx2,O,H,Gx13,M,Cx5 230
Electric Toasters AB,CI,Bx3,O,Gx5,M,Ux2,C2,QN,W 215
Swan S,B,QN,Sx3,Ux2,M,CP 190
Netmasters ABx2,Bx2, F,Gx2,Ux2,M,Ox2,QN 175
Western Founders N,Gx12,Cx5,M,0,FE,B 170
Nothern Light Ux11,CP,F,FEx14 170
Victoria Quay Bx2,0,Mx2,Ux2,ABx2,QN 150
DTM Pathway W,Ux6 80
Ellenbrook AL,R,O 75
Subiaco Early Birds U,QN 60
Noranda U 60
Kalamunda QN 50
Fremantle Gourmet Ux3,W, 45
Maylands Gx3,O 35
West End W,Ux2 30
Murdock  S W,FE 25
Margaret River W 20
Plain Speakers W 20
Willeton T,F 10
CPA M 10


Leonor Ragan

Leonor Ragan
District 17 Public Relations Officer 2013-2014

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Kalgoorlie Toastmasters – The New Uncharted Frontier

Toastmasters Demonstration Meetings – Kalgoorlie March 2014

A group of dedicated Toastmasters travelled to Kalgoorlie last month to assist the Kalgoorlie Club – Touch of Gold Toastmasters with two demonstration meetings. The group included District Governor Pascale Amberville-Colby, District Public Relations Officer Leonor Ragan, District Secretary Lisa Evans, Northern Division Governor Sue Fallon, Former District 73 Community Contact Officer and Touch of Gold Toastmaster’s Founder Eric Davies and Central Division Governor Charles Fisher.

The group’s mission was to support Touch of Gold to ensure that these demonstration meetings were a great success. The ultimate goal was to ensure that these meetings would culminate in two new clubs being chartered in Kalgoorlie before the end of the current financial

It is planned for one of these clubs to be a dinner club or “Golden Gourmet” club that will meet on a monthly basis. The plan for the other club is that it will meet in the WA School of Mines (WASM) and that it will draw its membership from the student population on the WASM campus.

The first demonstration meeting was on Tuesday 18 March at the IBIS hotel. This inaugural meeting of “Golden Gourmet” Toastmasters was well attended with approximately 25 to 30 guests who came along to find out what Toastmasters is all about.

Club members from Touch of Gold helped out at the meeting. These included Paul Browning who was the Toastmaster for the evening, Jay Lassey who delivered a project 2 speech, Olga Tierney (club Secretary) who was the topics master, Robin Lonsdale (club VPE) who evaluated Jay’s speech, and Janine Varley (VPPR) who was the diligent timekeeper.

One of the special guests, Lisa Evans, delivered a project 9 speech and Tracy Browning lead an effective group evaluation of the speech. Special guest Eric Davies completed the general evaluation. The meeting Toastmaster acknowledged Eric’s efforts in being one of the key players in establishing Toastmasters in Kalgoorlie. The meeting was successful as many of the guests remained afterwards to ask further questions about joining the club.

The guests’ interest resulted in a regular timeslot being selected – the 4th Wednesday of each month. The first regular meeting was scheduled for the following week, Wednesday 26th March. Golden Gourmet is already progressing.

Wednesday afternoon included an historic tour of the Kalgoorlie Town Hall conducted by our Guide, Toastmaster Tim Moore. The tour included the council chambers and a variety of exhibitions.

Touch of Gold Toastmasters had its regular fortnightly meeting on the Wednesday night. Tim Moore was the Toastmaster. The theme was James Bond. Many members dressed accordingly as Bond, a Bond Girl, a Bond Femme Fatale, or a Bond Villain. The entire Perth Toastmaster entourage were assigned roles. Several of the guests included WASM students eager for a preview of the Toastmaster experience. It was a very successful night.

IMG_3568  IMG_3576  IMG_3573

Touch of Gold Toastmaster acknowledged its founder Eric Davies with an honorary plaque. District Governor, Pascale Amberville-Colby also acknowledged the many years of service to Toastmasters to which Eric Davies had contributed. Pascale outlined Eric’s role as Community Contact which Eric committed to when District 17 used to be a part of District 73.  Eric used to answer all phone queries and direct callers to the nearest club to their residence or work place. Eric did this for four states including South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia.

Thursday afternoon included a tour of the Nimbus Silver Mine conducted by Robin Lonsdale and Ivan Henderson. A Tour of the Kalgoorlie Two Up Bush Complex was also included.


District Governor Pascale  Amberville-Colby, was interviewed by the Kalgoorlie Miner about the Toastmaster growth within the Kalgoorlie Region.  Pascale and District Public Relations Officer Leonor Ragan were both interviewed by ABC Goldfields about the nature and benefits of Toastmasters and the positive impact it will have on Kalgoorlie.

The second demonstration meeting was on Thursday 20 March at the WA School of Mines. This meeting was also well attended by about 10 to 15 students from the campus and was also a great success. Other club members from Touch of Gold helped out at this meeting. These included Ivan Henderson (Area Governor, Area N24) as the Toastmaster, Nero Zhang,who delivered an International contest speech in preparation for the division contest, Mario Glavas who delivered a project 1 speech, Chris Ho who was the Timekeeper and Bertie Suwadi (club President) who was one of the table topics evaluators.

DSC_3671     DSC_3623     DSC_3655                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DSC_3624DSC_3635

There were also special guests on the agenda and these included Eric Davies who evaluated Mario’s speech, Sue Fallon who was the topics master, Lisa Evans who also evaluated table topics and Leonor Ragan who completed the general evaluation. Like Tuesday’s meeting the guests remained afterwards to ask more questions about Toastmasters. Fifteen students had signed up before the end of the week. WASM Toastmasters is fast approaching chartering.

DSC_3666                   DSC_3632                    DSC_3661

The news from Kalgoorlie is that both clubs had very successful follow up meetings, both with bigger guest attendances than the demonstration meetings. Both clubs have  signed up a significant number of these guests to be their charter members and it is now very likely that both clubs will charter by the end of June 2014.

The group of dedicated Toastmasters achieved their mission by contributing to the successful completion of the demonstration meetings and very likely establishment of two new Toastmasters clubs in Kalgoorlie.

A very special acknowledgment to the Perth Toastmaster entourage who volunteered their time and readjusted busy schedules to travel to Kalgoorlie for the three days of Toastmaster events in order to make the vision of A Kalgoorlie Regional Toastmaster Area a reality.

Thank you to District Governor Pascale Amberville-Colby, District Public Relations Officer Leonor Ragan, District Secretary Lisa Evans, Northern Division Governor Sue Fallon, Former District 73 Community Contact Officer and Touch of Gold Toastmaster’s Founder Eric Davies and Central Division Governor Charles Fisher.

District officers in front of the Nimbus Silver Pit

CharlesFisher_1401  PascaleAC110625

 Charles Fisher and Pascale Amberville-Colby
Highgate Toastmasters



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