Black Swan November 2012

Black Swan
November 2012

The Newsletter of Toastmasters District 17

Editor: Vicky Post

In this issue

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  • Fiona McLean



‘Tis the Season to be Jolly’, as the Christmas carol goes. But is it really? I suppose it depends on how you approach the silly season. With shopping for turkeys with all the trimmings, finding pressies for the family, the in-laws, the cousins, the grandkids and whoever else is on the list, it is little wonder that we need a drink at the end of the day. Perhaps this is why this is the season to be jolly – we spend most of December in a slightly inebriated state.

It could also be because we have the opportunity of spending time with family and loved ones. Then again, we may have to spend precious hours with the in-laws that we would have preferred to spend at the beach or even doing the laundry! This may cause an extra glass of crisp Chardonnay to slide down and the jolliness to set in.

You may be one of those people who volunteer at the homeless shelter, which is a great way to spend Christmas and an excellent way to avoid the in-laws.

Since I was completely orphaned earlier this year, I have decided to celebrate “orphanage” Christmas this year. This means that any of my friends who are without family or lunch plans come to my place for lunch. Considering that I only have really nice friends, I’m expecting a wonderful afternoon in great company.

Being jolly at Christmas or any other day for that matter, is really a state of mind, rather than a state of your to-do list. If you get to spend time with the in-laws, instead of having to, the experience will most likely be much jollier. If you get to find special gifts for family and friends rather than having to, this turns a chore into an adventure.

After having devoured turkey and trimmings and slept if off in the hammock, it is time to face the New Year. This is an excellent opportunity for setting goals for the twelve months ahead. Not New Year’s resolutions, which usually last all of two weeks in the January. But actual goals. Measurable, timely and achievable. This could be to achieve your DTM this year or perhaps take the challenge and plunge yourself into a Club Officer or District Officer role.

It may have nothing to do with Toastmasters and could relate to career, family or financial issues. Whatever your challenges ahead, make sure you write down your goals and stick them on the bathroom mirror or the fridge and evaluate them regularly throughout the year. Your life will take on direction and you’ll find yourself looking forward to the challenges life throws your way.

For now, however, grab your favourite tipple and have a sip. It is indeed time to face the jolly season head on!



Vicky Post, DTM

Black Swan Editor

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District Governor Report

November was a milestone month in District 17. The District 17 November Council Meeting was held and two new clubs where chartered.  

District 17 Council Meeting

The District 17 District Council Meeting that was held on Saturday 24 November was a resounding success. District 17 was the only District in Region 12 that comprises Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea to have a quorum at the meeting.

I believe this is an indication that District 17’s Clubs’ leaders have a genuine interest in how our District is run. Thank you everyone that attended the meeting or sent in their proxies which made the meeting such a success.

The minutes of the District Council Meeting will soon be posted on the District 17 website.


New Clubs

November sawthe chartering of two new Toastmaster Clubs, ToastiES and Madison Toastmasters.

ToastIES is the second corporate club at BankWest and chartered with 39 charter members. The club is meeting twice a week to accommodate their large number of members. I believe ToastiES will be a very successful corporate club.

Madison is a club formed from the members of the Business and Professional Women of Western Australia. If you would like to know more about the BPW and their important organisation, visit their website:

Part of The Mission of Toastmasters International is “It is basic to this mission that Toastmasters International continually expand its worldwide network of member clubs, thereby offering ever-greater numbers of people the opportunity to benefit from its program.”

Congratulations to the Sponsors and Mentors of the new clubs who have followed the Mission of Toastmasters International in establishing these two new clubs.



Club Sponsor   Maree Pickens

Club Mentor     Leonor Ragan


Madison Toastmasters

Club Sponsor   David Nicholas

Club Sponsor   Ross Wilkinson

Club Mentor     Sandra Morton

Club Mentor     Greg Lynn

Congratulation to all those involved in the establishment of these new clubs.


Educational Awards

West Australian Toastmasters continue to excel in achieving Toastmaster Educational Awards. So far this year District 17 has recorded:

Competent Communication Awards                  49

Advanced Communication Bronze Awards         8

Advanced Communication Silver Awards            5

Advanced Communication Gold Awards             1


Christmas and the New Year

We are coming up to the Christmas break for our Club meetings. Traditionally Toastmaster clubs experience a surge of membership enquiries in the New Year. It may have something to do with New Year’s resolutions about conquering the fear of public speaking. Over the next few weeks make sure your club is prepared for this increase of inquiry by having your website contact details up to date and have your visitor’s packs ready. The New Year offers a great opportunity to increase your club’s membership.

I wish you all a safe and happy festive season. I am sure your will all have experiences over the festive season that you can easily recount in your speeches in the 2013.




Ross Wilkinson, DTM
District 17 Governor 2012/13

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Awards Acknowledgement & Recognition

As your Lieutenant Governor Education & Training, I am very proud of the commitment members have made to completing educational awards. The commitment by club officers in auditing and lodging the awards has been equally impressive.


Distinguished Club Program – Educational Awards

Central, Northern & Southern Division are successfully progressing with the lodgment of communication and leadership awards;

Our District now has the following awards lodged.

  • Competent Communicators (46)
  • Advanced Communicators (11)
  • Leadership & Advanced Leadership (42),
  • High Performance Leadership (6)
  • We have with 3 DTMs – John Pawley, Trish Rice, Peter Jordan. (so far)

We must encourage all clubs to achieve Distinguished Status as the minimum benchmark.

We have 5 clubs who have achieved a minimum of Distinguished or higher. The following clubs are to be congratulated and commended;

  • President’s Distinguished – Congratulations to Victoria Quay – 9 (Southern)
  • Select Distinguished – Canning Vale – 7 (Southern) – 7,
  • Distinguished – Murdoch Southsiders – 5 (S), Stirling (N) – 5. Guns N’ Roses – 5 (C).

Steady progress continues across all three Divisions. 11 clubs require one more point to qualify for Distinguished. 19 clubs require two more points to achieve the same. The current status is as follows;

  • Central

4 – Young Guns, Plain Speakers,

3 – Durack, Aecom, City of Perth, Roetoric, Curtin GSB

  • Northern

4 – Noranda, Ellenbrook,

3 – Northern Lights, Sandgropers, St Georges, UWA, TLI Training Group, Swan, Kalamunda, Mundaring, Maylands.

  • Southern

4 – Gosnells, Armadale, Fremantle Gourmet, Southern River, Western Founders, Victoria Park, Applecross.

3 – Gosnells, Rockingham, Belmont, WA Governors, Jetty.

I am very proud of the efforts of all our members and club officers. Keep up the good work for you are all setting a solid and positive example for future club officers to follow.

Pascale Amberville-Colby, DTM
District 17 LGET

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Canning Vale Membership Hits a Century

Canning Vale Toastmasters Club chartered in March 2008. Since that time it has gone from strength to strength and in just 4 ½ short years, has celebrated the addition of its 100th member, Leo Xiu Ping.

Canning Vale’s current 43 members celebrated this auspicious occasion at a recent meeting where Vice President of Membership, William Placanica, presented Leo with an impressive  red-glitter, 100th member hat. Leo was the guest of honour for the evening and had the pleasure of giving a Tonic before our Club Table Topics Contest.

Since then the club has grown by another four members and continues to attract guests at every meeting. Watch this space for the second century!




Fiona McLean

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District 17 Workshops

As your Lieutenant Governor Education & Training one of my primary responsibilities is to run several workshops during the Toastmaster year.

The cancelled Judging and Contestant workshop will be incorporated into the February TLI Club Officer training sessions. The sessions will be run by Ian Pickens, Martin Lindsay and Pascale Amberville-Colby. The focus will be on Judging (Protocols & Procedures) and Contests (Competing, Presenting & Rules).

On November 24th, our Lieutenant Governor of Marketing, Robyn Richards ran the very successful SMAC (Sponsors, Mentors & Coaches) workshop prior to the District Council Meeting. Over 30 Toastmasters attended. The feedback was excellent. All our attendees outlined the benefits of the workshop which has encouraged and empowered them to take on advanced leadership roles. Well done Robyn Richards, Greg Madden and Mike Palmer. We appreciate the planning and effort that went into this successful workshop.

The following Workshops with provisional dates are planned for the current Toastmaster Year;

Social Media & Free Toast Host 2 – will be run by Lynette Delane on February 23rd at Murdoch TAFE. The workshop will focus on the benefits offered to clubs using Facebook, Linked In and Twitter. There will be a separate workshop offered on the same day for Free Toast Host 2. Places will be limited.

Train The Trainer – will be run by Sandra Morton in March 2013. There will be another workshop (to be announced) that will run back to back. Venue and date will be confirmed shortly.

This is a beneficial opportunity. Take advantage of it. It is your clubs who will reap the benefits of the workshops. This will contribute to your communication and leadership goals.

I look forward to seeing everyone in attendance.


Pascale Amberville-Colby, DTM
District 17 LGET 2012/13

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Christmas Time

Christmas time is here.  Well almost.

Toastmaster Christmas generally means a break from the contests.  The opportunity to recharge your batteries and a time to prepare for the New Year events.

This Christmas is special. AND this is a special Christmas present for yourself, your loved ones or both.

Imagine a chance to offer yourself, or your partner a weekend of fun, a special weekend of learning and comradeship. A time to be remembered for many reasons.  The one weekend in 2013 they will not only enjoy but gain a tremendous amount of personal growth and knowledge.

I am talking about Friday night right though to Sunday afternoon 24 – 26 May 2013.

You can spend an entire weekend with the President of Toastmasters International.  An entire weekend with the very talented and not to be missed Rory Vaden.  An entire weekend with friends and new acquaintances.

The convention registration form is now on the District website and for just $295 there is no better value on the internet.

The convention is being held right in the centre of Perth with multiple options for accommodation, parking and public transport options.

I am looking forward to seeing you at Jewel in the Crown Convention.  Don’t forget to get your ticket as a very special Christmas present.

If none of that is sufficient to encourage you to be there, look at the program, look at the opportunity. If that isn’t enough please keep it a secret but I will be there too.



Ian Pickens, DTM
District 17 PRO 2012/13

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Forthcoming District Officer Training

Toastmaster International Convention – District Executive Training

The International Convention in Orlando, Florida, focused heavily on the Distinguished District Plan and Education & Training conducted.

District Officer Training

This year’s DOT followed the successful structure of the previous year’s DOT. We were successful in training all District Officers who attended.

Mid year DOT training will take place on the 19th January 2013 following the District Executive’s midyear Training in Beijing, China.

The first session of DOT was very successful in regard to fulfilling education and training requirements.

We are focusing on the following areas for our Division & Area Governors;

  • Evaluation and assessment of the roles so far.
  • Troubleshooting including identifying challenges and implementing resolutions.

An email for the January 19th session of District Officer Training will be issued shortly. The location is the Bullcreek Community Centre. I look forward to seeing all our District Officers in attendance.



Pascale Amberville-Colby, DTM

District 17 LGET 2012/13

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Dome Demonstration Meeting

The early bird catches the worm as the saying goes!

And if you are an early bird Toastmaster, you get to catch that first cup of freshly brewed coffee and the opportunity to participate in a Toastmaster sample meeting.

Yes, the early risers were back last week, led by Robyn and Nola, 7.00 am in the ambience of the Dome café and newly renovated Westralia Plaza for Sample Meeting 2, the second in a series of a Central Division PR Campaign.

They were supported by a mixed team of Central members from clubs, Durack, Terrace and Plain Speakers.  Some sent apologies while others couldn’t meet the challenge of a sunrise start.

An extra bonus was the support of Dome Management allowing Toastmaster magazines to be left with the usual reading material and with immediate results.  Magazines stamped ‘free- please take me’ walked out the door with Dome patrons.

Nearby, innocent Dome patrons and work colleagues were bemused but not bewitched and were polite enough not to bug the speakers.

Table Topic Master Nola was at her best, challenging participants to respond and share their thoughts on those annoying habits that we often have to endure – tapping and clicking biros, snivelling snotty noses and squealing alarms were a few.

‘Who said that?’ you might wellask and was the title of Robyn’s project speech.  It was a Grammarians delight sprinkled with famous quotes and the not so famous.  The audience was left to ‘craft and choose their words wisely’ and they might one day be quoted as ‘having said that’.

Evaluators evaluated and Timer Jelena shuffled the timing cards and kept the meeting on time.  A fantastic meeting and the group are captured in the attached snaps.

They will return, the Toastmaster trilogy, with meeting three scheduled for, Wednesday, 5 December, 7.15 am start.

All welcome!

Nola Haddrill

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Southern Division Final

If you did not attend the Southern Division final on Sunday 18th November, you missed a sensational event. I have attended many humorous contests during my years with Toastmasters but this would have to be one of the best. The quality of the speakers was impressive and the material was original but more importantly, funny. In fact hilarious!

Peter Law shared his research and knowledge of the widespread but completely unappreciated disease known as Man-flu. Did you know the infection of a male happens only with the advent of female germs? This is a fact. This is the only germ that can render the male species weak and incapacitated.

Helen Clark share with us the four things to look for if you are afraid of coming of age, old age that is. Can you imagine that knowing plant names is one of them?

Neville Simmons shared a teenage story about how he all alone started global warming by overheating the boiler in the family home to a degree that melted the show for miles around the family home. The story earned him a second place, so you can listen to Neville’s story at the District Convention in May next year.

Simon Frayne had a friend who could and apparently did sleep anywhere and everywhere, giving us a story of waking up in the docks near Paris naked, having been stripped off his clothes while asleep.

The winner of the humorous speech contest went to Peter Jordan, who dressed in gym gear complete with leg warmers, wrist and head bands, gave us his rendition of what happens when a completely out of shape middle-aged man meets Helga the male champion of shot putting. If you have no other reason to attend the District Convention, do it to listen to this speech. It reduced yours truly to tears of laughter.


Vicky Post, DTM
Editor, Black Swan

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Celebrating the Life-Changing Power of Millions of Words

More than five million words. That’s a conservative estimate of how many words members of Northbridge Toastmasters have used in all their speeches, presentations and meetings over the past 20 years.

In that time, they’ve learnt how to overcome their nerves when speaking in public, developed their leadership skills, and listened to and shared thousands of stories and public speaking tips.

The club celebrated its 20th anniversary on 1 November with a special meeting where members caught up with former members.

The Toastmaster for the special meeting, John Bethell, was well suited to handle the task: he’s been a member of the club since its very first meeting back in 1992.

He gave a brief presentation on the early days of the club, which is based at the Australian Tax Office building, and how it was formed at Northbridge after the Exchequers Toastmasters club re-located to the ATO’s Cannington office.

“On 18 March 1993, Northbridge Toastmasters hosted a charter dinner at the Marco Polo restaurant in Francis St, Northbridge, which is now the Dragon Palace,” said John.

“The audience was treated to a hilarious speech from Mike Ellis who spoke about the impact of his stuttering on high-level lawyers and accountants representing clients on tax matters.”

At the 20th anniversary meeting on 1 November, a special guest was the Commissioner of the Australian Taxation Office, Michael D’Ascenzo. (The ATO kindly allows the club to meet at a room in the ATO and many of its members work with the ATO.)

He congratulated club members on their achievements and encouraged them to continue developing their presentation skills.

Other special guests included Toastmasters Central Division Governor Leonor Ragan DTM; and Area C1 Governor Martin Soh ACB, who gave an entertaining and well-received speech on his involvement with Toastmasters.

As part of the anniversary meeting, Northbridge Toastmasters President Carolyn Preece and Leonor presented certificates to the club’s long-term members, including John Bethell and Roley Crook (20 years), Ted Williamson (15), Jennifer van den Hoek (12), and Fiona Martyn and T. Malkovic (both 10 years).

The club meets every second Thursday at lunchtime at the ATO office located at 45 Francis St at 12.15pm. Visitors and new members are welcome.

For details, go to the club’s website.


Tony Malkovic

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TLI – Forthcoming Club Officer Training

This year the Toastmaster Leadership Institute has restructured Club Officer Training in accordance with Toastmasters International’s theme of Back To Basics and focusing on the individual member’s communication and leadership track. The success of COT is to give all club officers the tools to assist all clubs to achieve a minimum requirement of Distinguished Club Status.

Toastmaster Leadership Institute – Club Officer Training

The first COT session was a resounding success. 275 Club Officers trained (61.38%) out of 448. Minimum requirements 256 officers – (107.42%)

51 out of 64 clubs at least 4 officers trained (79.69%).

  • 14th July 2012 – Northern Division – 78 attendees + 5 Kalgoorlie – 38 surveys filled out
  • 19th July 2012 – Southern Division – 112 attendees – 62 surveys filled out
  • 22nd July 2012 – Central Division – 80 attendees – 50 surveys filled out

The email requesting advanced bookings for the 3 sessions was very successful.

  • 14th July 2012 – 95 original registrants (14 transferred to other sessions) – 78 attended
  • 19th July 2012 – 90 registrants booked – 112 attended
  • 22nd July 2012 – 70 registrants booked – 80 attended

TLI COT Overall Evaluation Assessment

  • 14th July 2012 – Northern Division – 41% Excellent, 52% Very Good, 07% Good
  • 19th July 2012 – Southern Division – 53% Excellent, 38% Very Good, 08% Good, 01% Fair
  • 22nd July 2012 – Central Division – 38% Excellent, 48% Very Good, 13% Good, 01% Fair
  • Overall evaluation assessment – 44% Excellent, 46% Very Good, 9.33% Good, 0.67% Fair

Highlights & Benefits

The workshops were well received across all 3 sessions.

  • Remember – Steve Barry & Jeannette Farrar
  • Social Media Hitting Its Target – Lynette Delane.
  • Mentoring – Hanh Ngo
  • Navigating The Website – Mark Richards (14th/22nd) Martin Lindsay (19th).

The Club Officer Breakout Sessions were all well received. There were positive comments on the benefits of the educationals and relevant information packages. Club Officers commented on how the relevant information will provide a foundation for them to fulfil their roles and successfully carry out their duties.

Toastmaster Leadership Institute – Club Officer Training – February 2013

The TLI Training Group is currently workshopping all educational and club officer information packages. Our goal is to repeat this success in attendance, feedback and delivery of high quality information.

For the forthcoming second COT session in February 2013, we are focusing on the same areas as outlined for DOT;

  • Evaluation and assessment of the roles so far.
  • Troubleshooting including identifying challenges and implementing resolutions.

The February dates for TLI Club Officer Training are as follows;

  • Saturday 2nd, Bob Daniels Centre, Inglewood, 1pm – 5pm.
  • Thursday 7th, Palms Community Centre, Subiaco, 5.30pm – 9.30pm.
  • Sunday 10th, South Perth Community Centre, South Perth, 1pm – 5pm.

Club Officers need to register for catering purposes. I was very impressed and very proud of all our club officers who committed and attended our first session.

I look forward to seeing all our club officers in attendance.


Pascale Amberville-Colby
District 17 LGET, 2012/13

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Contest Rules

Did you know the rules have changed?

Did you know some of the new rules provide more clarity without substantial change?

The Toastmaster Speech Contest rule book 2013 has been released and Mike Rafferty explains the changes.

Rule 2.5                A member cannot officiate in a contest in which they are a current contestant.
Rule 2.7                Toastmasters who are members in more than one club and meet all the eligibility requirements are permitted to compete in each club contest I which membership is in good standing.
Rule 2.7b             No contestant can compete in more than one area speech contest of a given type, even if the two areas are in different divisions or districts.

This means the member must choose the area.  I prefer to think of a winner representing that club and not being entitled to leave the club or second place competing against that same member at a higher level.  Or a member choosing the area they think they have the best chance of winning.

One of the most interesting areas to be cleared up is that a chief judge does not judge.  There are a wide range of changes these are very few read the new rules watch this space as we bring frequent updates to contest rules direct to you from Black Swan.

The changes or clarifications have made it even more difficult to run contests according to the rules.   As a district we will stand the challenge.

Watch this space for more updates.



Ian Pickens, DTM
District 17 PRO 2012/13

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