Black Swan September 2014

Black Swan September 2014

The Newsletter of Toastmasters District 17

Editor: Judith Allen




The first quarter of the new Toastmaster year has ended very successfully.  Reports from our District LGET show that District 17 is off to a flying start and that exciting new opportunities are planned for the future.  Clubs and members continue to share their successes and experiences and once again we have an interesting educational from one of our regular contributors.

I am sure many of you will be involved in celebrating Toastmasters International’s 90th Anniversary in October, and look forward to contributions showcasing your events in the next issue.

Judith B Swan

Judith Allen Black Swan Editor
Back to Menu


District Governor Report

A Critical Curve

September saw us focussing on individual goals, however in October we begin to focus on Club goals with our second critical measure for the year. The first was Club Officer Training where the newly elected committee from each club came together with other club officers to learn about their roles for the year ahead. This month’s critical measure is the first round of membership renewals. This is where you obtain a clear picture of your club membership and the status of your club.

It is not unusual for clubs to have members not renew; nevertheless it is critical that these members are invited to renew and if they decline, it is a good idea to ask why? This is valuable information for your club’s future survival. Perhaps they can give you a means to improve the member experience at your club, perhaps they may have moved and need to be pointed in the right direction for finding a new club or they may just have achieved what they set out to achieve. Whichever scenario, it is critical information to gather. If they did not renew for reasons that pertain to the member experience at your club, learn from that to improve this in the future. If they have achieved what they set out to achieve you can be certain your club is meeting the needs of your members. I encourage you to ask the question of every member who has declined the offer of renewing their membership. It’s amazing what you might learn.

In the past month we have had many educational awards submitted, much work towards new clubs chartering and you all working towards your club goals. I know this work is happening from the reports your Area Governors are presenting. Each Area Governor is busy attending club meetings and preparing their report to submit to Toastmasters International and us. I would like to thank you all for welcoming your Area Governor, working with them to make your club the best it can be and the member experience at your club enlivening and valuable. Your Area Governor is a valuable asset to you and the district as they create the critical link between you and your District leaders. If you need assistance or support to achieve your club goals, please make use of your Area Governor. They will work with your Division Governor to serve you. We are all working towards our common goal, jointly. Together we are a supreme team!

During September your District leaders have been working hard on submitting all our reports to Toastmasters which enables us to achieve Presidents Distinguished Status once again. We needed to submit our Division and Area Governor Training Report, our District Success Plan and our Budget for the year ahead. Without these, no matter how well we perform in the Distinguished Club Program, we would not be recognised, because these are pre requisites to the program. I am pleased to report that we have been credited with on time compliance for all of these. Let’s go ahead and achieve!

I am looking forward to socialising with many of you as we come together at the Quiz Night this month and I wish you all the very best of luck with the questions, raffles, games and quizzes but most of all I hope you have fun. This is one of the few opportunities where we can enjoy a social night together in our busy Toastmasters life.

During October we will have an official visit from our Region Advisor, Philip Bendeich. Philip and Leonor will be visiting corporations to recognise their support of clubs and encouraging others to begin a Toastmasters club for their staff. Philip will be attending our Quiz Night and helping with some training for your Area and Division Governors as well as other District leaders. We are very grateful and excited to have Philip visit District 17.

As we round this critical curve in the Toastmasters year, again I encourage you to aspire to achieve your own targets. This will make your Toastmasters experience and life outside Toastmasters all the more gratifying. This year the messages we hope you receive are; Have Fun and Achieve Your Goals!

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


Back to Menu


Electric Toasters’ “Lunch and Learn” Meeting a Great Success

As part of our recruitment drive, the Electric Toasters’  committee decided to have a demonstration meeting on11 September, run as a short “Lunch and Learn” meeting. Registration opened at 12pm; the meeting itself started at 12:10 and finished at 12:50 to allow people to get back to their jobs in a timely manner.

We planned a shortened agenda with one speech, one evaluation, and an educational by Janette on evaluations that would be handy as a general feedback skill to all attendees, as well as both travelling tales and some table topics. The rest of the time was allocated to a “What is Toastmasters?” and closing with “Why you should join?” The agenda was printed with the normal meeting roles explained on the back.

Electric Toasters is a corporate club and therefore most of the advertising was done internally. Our VPPR, Sandra, managed to get the meeting into the Black Swan Newsletter before she left to get married in Ireland. Robert our SAA and Ken, a long-time member volunteered to help out in her absence and did a great job of promoting the meeting.  It was mentioned in the weekly corporate newsletter, had a sign up form on the LAN and was even advertised on posters in the lifts and on TV screens in the breakout areas.  Our VPE Mitt had the agenda covered and ensured that the ground floor theatrette was booked and reception prepped to expect external visitors.


Debbie had the great idea of collecting old Toastmaster magazines to hand out to guests, and Patricia, our secretary contacted Leonor for additional copies. Leonor came through with a pack of 18 and Patricia drove all the way to Nedlands to collect these. Debbie then made sure the magazines had labels stuck on them with our club contact details.

Robert as timer also had to get emergency repairs made to our timing device. Luckily there a few people around her could call on to help fix a loose wire. It IS Western Power after all.

No Toastmaster meeting is complete without last minute changes and a bit of panic. Mitt was off sick just the day before the meeting and had to save his voice so he could make a speech. Less than an hour before the meeting started we heard that the room we had booked was in use for an emergency meeting and we had to go to a room that was busy till 12pm when our guests would start to arrive.

With 12 club members attending and arriving early to help set up, we managed to have the room ready within minutes. Patricia had the registration desk covered where she could tick guests off the attendee list and ask them whether they were prepared to participate in Table Topics. We had 22 guests attend and another seven who registered but did not attend. We do have everyone’s email details and will be following up with everyone, especially the nine that indicated that they were not afraid of Table Topics.preparing

At the end of the meeting, the club members hung back to talk to guests and answer questions. Douglas, our VPM made note of names of people mentioning that they wanted to join up, so watch this space.

Again I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to every single Electric Toaster who put in time and effort to make this special meeting a success. What great teamwork!

Almarie Meyer
Club President


Back to Menu


Speaking From the Inside Out

The effective communicator is always a pioneer, a trailblazer, because he or she allows the feeling, the sense of occasion, to colour the content. Having done all the research and preparation work about the subject, the speaker adds personal originality to the presentation.

This approach requires the mental attitude that says speaking to any size audience is an opportunity to express outside what is happening inside.

In his book ‘Think on your Feet”, Kenneth Wydro says that all effective communicators are in the “express” business. They do not suppress, repress or regress. They express the different levels of themselves and enjoy this creative process that ends in verbal expression.

They allow the spontaneity of the moment to take over and give their words an immediacy and urgency. Some of the most memorable speeches have been given where the notes were lost or the equipment failed and the presenter, who has a positive relationship with himself/herself, is able to balance their self-confidence and subject expertise, and give a memorable presentation. They know that what is on the inside transcends any limitations on the outside.

  • Talent is what you have inside; your potential.
  • Technique is what you do to develop what you have.
  • Character is what you learn from experience to apply to your own personal growth.

An ounce of emotion is equal to a ton of facts.

What do effective speakers “give” that colour the facts with nuance, rhythm, and style?

The following traits seem to characterise dynamic, effective speakers.

  1. They are relaxed, confident and “into” their subject.
  2. They display presence of mind – a deep sense of themselves as individuals. They are not afraid to be themselves.
  3. They speak simply and directly to- not at- their audience. They are open to the spoken and unspoken feelings of those in the audience.
  4. They have command of their material. They have interpreted their facts and figures. They have organized their material in a concise, logical manner.
  5. They enjoy the opportunity to communicate.
  6. They are not afraid to play with and have a good time with their content. They use their material, instead of being a slave to it.
  7. Long after you forget what they have said, you remember how they said it. The most memorable part of the message was the quality of the presentation.

In other words you must do your professional homework and gather all the facts, figures and statistics that need to be delivered to that audience. But you must also add your own personal quality to these objective facts.

Your presentation is not complete until you colour your words with your individual personality.



Marlene Ward DTM
TLI Training Group Toastmasters Club


Back to Menu


Toastmasters District 17 Annual Quiz Night


Have you been keeping up with the news and general knowledge, improving your sporting and music knowledge?  – If so we are expecting you at the 2014 Annual Quiz Night on Friday 17th October at 6.30pm for 7.00pm start

Book a table for 8 at $10 per person

Not only prizes for the winning tables, but you can expect some great raffles & Prizes, a wine wall, a pot of gold, etc and thought provoking questions!

Snacks available at venue and a cash bar available.

Booking Tables – Direct Deposit to District 17

BSB: 633-000                      ACC: 143328698                REF: Q/N+SURNAME

Contact: Sue Fallon         email:             PHONE: 0418 935 091

Looking forward to a Fantastic evening!



Sue Fallon
District 17 Public Relations Officer 2014 – 2105

Back to Menu


Advances in District 17 Training

Every year District Leaders listen to your feedback and try to make Club Officer Training better.  I know when you provide the similar feedback every year it may not seem that way, but I know for the last three years that the LGET has tried to improve the training we provide.

I believe the quality of the presenters and trainers have greatly improved.  By engaging TLI Training Group Toastmasters Club, we will deliver more highly skilled trainers and more engaging training.

The training managers (TLI club members) will continue to train the presenters and improve the material so that in a very short period of time we will have the right people presenting the right material, and club leaders will walk away knowing they can do their role equipped with the right knowledge.

During the February 2015 TLI and COT sessions, we will deliver an innovative trial program which is being driven by two factors:

  1. Your Feedback
  2. The simple mathematics of club leadership in WA.

To explain the second point:  it is the 184 club officers with multiple roles, plus remote locality officers, that pose the greatest challenge:

75 Clubs 525 Club Officers
336 Officers with one role
184 Officers with multiple roles
    5 Positions not filled


TLI Training Group is currently seeking trainers. They will be actively recruiting in coming weeks.  You can volunteer to be trained, or wait to be asked.

Be sure you have a chance to influence Club Officer Training by being part of the team.  Volunteer today.


Ian Pickens DTM
LG Education & Training


Back to Menu


Celebrating Our Achievements

Awards Celebration picture

Three Months and More Growth

Educational awards

In September Ian Pickens was awarded his 2nd DTM.  Congratulations on reaching the highest level of achievement possible to an individual toastmaster.

An additional 18 awards were lodged in September.  Congratulations and well done to all the Toastmasters who have reached their goals.


What I find fantastic is that there are already 38 Competent Communicator Awards achieved in the District. The Competent Communicator Award is one way we can tell that clubs are looking after their members.  The first goal of all new members should be to complete their CC manual.  We know most people join Toastmasters to improve public speaking and leadership skills.  With many members achieving the first step, clubs will see an increase in membership retention and happier members.

The question is, how many club committees know what the goals of members are, how many talk to the new person in the club to find out what they want from their membership and then work with them to achieve that?

I am most impressed with the current award status. Congratulations to everyone.


Are you ready to learn the skills to Sponsor, Mentor and Coach a club?  Not everyone is aiming for their DTM, but you cannot achieve this award without one of these great skills.

I think everyone should be aiming to gain the maximum leadership advantage from Toastmasters and these three skills will deliver much more than just knowledge.  Get a group from your club going to SMAC on 12 October 2014.

TLI Training Group Toastmasters Club has recently presented the “From Speaker to Trainer” workshop; a most successful afternoon presented in part by Roy Miller DTM.  Roy is not currently a Toastmaster but has magnificent training skills and brought this workshop to life.  The next training session, “How to Conduct Quality Meetings” will be held on 15 November, and “Parliamentary Procedures in Action” shortly after.


Ian Pickens DTM
District 17 LGET

Back to Menu


Changes To District Leader Titles: Did You Know?

I am sure you will all be aware Toastmasters has changed the title of District Leaders from 01 July 2015. Below is an extract from Toastmasters about the change.

This decision to modernize the district leader titles was based on the findings of a Board of Directors committee studying the competencies required for district leaders to successfully fulfil their roles. As a result of this study, it became clear that titles needed to evolve to better reflect their responsibilities and real-world practice. The new titles:

  • Are more modern.
  • Accurately reflect the focus and responsibility of each role.
  • Are more familiar to potential members.
  • Create a parallel between district leadership and leadership in the corporate and volunteer sectors.
  • Reflect the level of leadership required in each position.
District Governor District Director, District #
Lieutenant Governor Education and Training Program Quality Director, District #
Lieutenant Governor Marketing Club Growth Director, District #
Secretary Administration Manager
Treasurer Finance Manager
Public Relations Officer Public Relations Manager
Sergeant at Arms Logistics Manager
Division Governor Division Director
Area Governor Area Director

The updated titles will apply to the elected and/or appointed district leader positions for the 2015-2016 program year. Leaders holding district roles prior to July 1, 2015, will retain their current titles(Toastmasters .org).

With that said are you looking to become a Toastmasters Director or District leader next year?  Talk to your Division or Area Governor and let them know you are interested to learn more.


Ian Pickens DTM

District 17 LGET 2014/2015


Back to Menu


Area Contests Dissected at WA Governors

Area Contests and the role of the Area Governor was the timely topic of last month’s WA Governors Club meeting.

Run as a workshop led by President Leonor Ragan, four topics: The Chief Judge, The Contest Chair, Contest Officials and The Area Governor’s Responsibilities, were dealt with in detail, led by experienced Toastmasters Martin Lindsay, Ross Wilkinson, Patricia D’Cruze and Robyn Lloyd.

The Q & A session, which followed each presentation, showed that there are many misconceptions and a number of grey areas which cause confusion even amongst the more experienced Toastmasters. There was a great deal of discussion on the finer points of running a contest as Toastmasters shared their experiences.   Fortunately, Ian Pickens our LGET, in the role of Observer (and resident expert), was able to clarify most points with the help of the 2014 Speech Contest Rule Book.  Allen Hahn recorded the questions and responses and these are posted on the WA Governors webpage for future reference.

Some of the issues which generated the most discussion were the starting time of the five minutes preparation time for Evaluation contestants; the maximum time allowed before a Table Topics contestant can wait before responding; protocol regarding nominating a contestant; the practicalities of chief judges finding eligible contest judges and how the Contest Chair can best handle the time while the judges are deliberating, the evaluation contestants are out of the room and during the one minute silences.


The meeting was well attended by both members and visiting Toastmasters and hopefully was especially beneficial to the Area Governors who are presently involved in their first round of Area Contests. The October meeting will deal with the finer points of the Area Governors’ Club Visits and it is hoped that it will attract as much if not more interest from Club and Area leaders.

Judith B Swan

Judith Allen
VPPR, WA Governors Club


Back to Menu



Toastmaster Experiences From Abroad

It seems like Toastmasters is never too far from my mind, even when I’m on holiday. On my home visit to Singapore in July, it would never have occurred to me that I would be doing a reconnaissance on Toastmasters clubs there. Yet there I was, attending meetings of not just one but two clubs!

It all started when I decided to “try out” the oldest and largest Toastmasters Club of Singapore, where their recent record in guest attendance was over 40 strong. This is certainly an enviable position to be in. The primary draw factor (to me) was probably their online visibility, appearing on top of the Google search list. Another reason could be the “corporate” factor where a large proportion of its members are working professionals and entrepreneurs. The multinational card also features prominently, with members hailing from Singapore and neighbouring Asian countries Malaysia, Philippines, India and Australia, to further afield countries like Russia, Germany, America, United Kingdom, Egypt and China. Guests pay SGD20 to defray a hotel buffet cost and members pay a whopping SGD480 p.a. Yet members are plenty and keen.

Their agenda includes seven speeches to ensure that the large number of members have a fair chance of speaking. Furthermore, all speeches are evaluated. Even the Club President does a weekly 5-7 minute opening. My misconception that Asians are mostly a shy lot (albeit based on a personal perspective) was quickly dispelled, as members who were still on their Competent Communicator manuals, all volunteered to speak on Table Topics! No shying away there. We were also treated to a test speech from Kwong Yue Yang for his 2014 International Speech Contest. Little did we know that he would go on to become the overall Runner-up in the contest.


From left, 2014 International Speech Contest Runner up Kwong Yue Yang, President of Toastmasters Club of Singapore Vicky Boon,  me and District 80 Governor Ban Seng Chew

It was a fabulous meeting where I was re-acquainted with the now District 80 Governor and Lt. Governor Membership and was invited to their other club at the YMCA.

he YMCA Toastmasters Club is smaller and cosier but lacks nothing in enthusiasm and speech quality. By virtue of their Christian background, meetings start and end with a prayer. I found this to be absolutely fulfilling seeing how members of different faiths, and perhaps those non-religiously inclined, all readily exercising acceptance of this practice. Then again, this is Singapore, a country well-known for its inter-racial, religious and cultural embrace. At this club, Table Topics are also up for grabs through volunteering. Members also vote on the best Table Topic and Project Speakers as well as the Best Evaluator. All winners receive a recognition certificate at every meeting. The members were a very welcoming lot and I enjoyed sharing my views respectively as a speech and general evaluator there.  My Toastmasters experience is made all the more rich thanks to these encounters.

I certainly recommend that all Toastmasters visit a local Toastmasters Club when overseas to gain an eye-opening perspective of cultural and operational diversities in other clubs, and to bring back any new and creative ideas that can inject some interesting changes to your club’s meetings.


Stephanie Chan, ACG, ALB
Southern Division Governor (2014/2015)

Back to Menu