Black Swan Nov/Dec 2011

Black Swan
December 2011

The Newsletter of Toastmasters District 17

Editor: Gerry Prewett

In this issue

Select the link to go to the story

Gerry Prewett
#1 in the World
Mark Richards
Membership Contest
Robyn Richards
Inaugural Awards
Ross Wilkinson
Northern Division
Nola Haddrill
Newsletter Contest
Robyn Richards
Goal Setting
Ian Pickens
Convention Update
John Pawley
Call for Presenters
Ross Wilkinson
Central Division Chatter
Robyn Lloyd
Question and Answer
Sunil Sirkissoon


Here we are shortly before Christmas and it is time for another Edition of Black Swan to be sent out. This edition will cover a two month period. I have heard speeches at a number of clubs which are inspiring and would be well worthy of a wider audience. We need more articles for our next edition, so people delivering articles (no matter how short) would be a real bonus. The deadline for the next edition is January 20th.

Robyn Lloyd has done a fantastic job this time of telling us all about what the clubs in Central Division have been doing an easy concept but lots of work by Robyn (who is already very busy) so come on all you Area Governors and Club Presidents, sharpen your pencils and get writing.

Ian Pickens gives us a lesson in Goalsetting while Nola Haddrill gives us a roundup on the Northern Division Final. Ross has compiled a list of all the inaugural achievers of Communication and Leadership awards in the new District.

When we launched as a District there was much confidence of how well we would perform as a District. Our District Governor Mark Richards has some great news in that respect.

PRO, Robyn Richards, tells us all about the new membership building contest from TMI and how it can help your club gain more points in the Positive Promotion Premiership & announces the newsletter contest for the District.

I would also like to take this opportunity of letting you know about an Advanced Club, Netmasters, who are pushing the boundaries of technology, recording their speeches, editing them using iMovie and publishing them on YouTube. With a District so vast as ours and with many people involved in FIFO jobs or just living remotely, it gives everyone a chance of taking part. The club meets twice each month, one in reality and once virtually! Why not come along to a meeting to find out what it is all about? The club website is the featured site of the month.

Wishing everyone a fantastic Christmas and a wonderful New Year,

Gerry PrewettGerry Prewett

Gerry Prewett ACS, ALS

Black Swan Editor

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District 17, #1 in the World

That’s right folks, you read it right. We are the only District in the World to achieve 2 of the 5 District goals set by TMI, in only 6 months. We were the equal first District to reach both the paid clubs and ACs goals and the only District in the world to reach both.

The chart above shows that we have reached the goal for paid clubs and for Advanced Communicator awards. We are very close to achieving our Leadership goal and we are half way to our Competent Communicator award goal. The membership payments goal has reached 50% which is where we want to be at the end of December.

Well done to all our District Officers for the encouragement they have given to all clubs in District 17 and a big thanks to all Club Officers for focusing on the Distinguished Club Program goals.

Let’s all keep up the good work we have done so far and not take our eyes off the ball as we enter our 2nd half of the Toastmaster year.

I would like to wish all members and their families a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year on behalf of the District 17 Executive.

Mark RichardsMark Richards

Mark Richards DTM
District 17 Governor 2011-12

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Have You Heard the News?

Toastmasters International have announced a new Membership Building Contest

Looking for an opportunity to earn more Positive Promotion Premiership Points for your club? Toastmasters International has come to the rescue with the announcement of this new Membership Building Contest which runs for the month on January.

Simply market, hold and gain new members from, an “Open House Showcase” to not only gain points on the PPP Table but also have the chance to receive a 30% discount on your next club order of educational materials from Toastmasters International. The flyer with this article has all the details including ideas for your marketing plan.

Here’s a link to many more resources from the Toastmasters International website;

What exactly is an “Open House Showcase”? I hear you ask.

It is a Sample Meeting or a Demonstration Meeting where you “Open” your club to visitors. This needs to be well publicised and marketed as well as having professional and current materials at the meeting for guests. Greet your guests warmly on arrival and verify the details they write in your visitors book for future contact. Ensure you have a lively Toastmaster for the meeting and have speeches from a seasoned speaker as well as a newer speaker, but not brand new. The Table Topics Master should have a range of interesting but uncomplicated topics, always ask 2 experienced members before asking guests and offer as many guests as possible the opportunity to participate.

You never get a second chance at a first impression so make your “Open House Showcase” the best night of fun and education possible.

Don’t miss this wonderful chance to promote your club in your community! I look forward to many PPP claims for the promotion of your “Open House Showcase” and seeing a District 17 club claim a 30% discount reward.

If you pass up this opportunity, don’t despair because the whole contest runs again in July. Perhaps the incoming Public Relations Officer will run the PPP contest again next year and you can gain early points by taking the opportunity then.

Have a look at the Flyer

Robyn RichardsRobyn Richards

Robyn Richards DTM
District 17 Public Relations Officer 2011-2012

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Inaugural District 17 Toastmaster Awards

I believe Toastmasters is not a competition on who achieves an educational award first – it is about individuals developing their communication and leadership skills at their own pace. The awards will follow if you work through the communication and leadership manuals.

However, District 17 is a new Toastmaster District and the following Toastmasters are the members who have achieved the inaugural Toastmaster Awards, cementing their place in District 17’s History.

Communication Stream
Competent Communicator Paul Reilly Victoria Quay
Advanced Communicator Bronze Michael Geisler Southern River
Advanced Communicator Silver Peter Law Victoria Quay
Advanced Communicator Gold Vicky Post Belmont
Leadership Stream
Competent Leader Michael Geisler Southern River
Advanced Leader Bronze Jackie Perriman Fremantle Gourmet
Advanced Leader Silver Lynne Brighton Guildford Stars
Distinguished Toastmasters Award
(both lodged on 1 July 2011)
DTM Lynne Brighton Guildford Stars
DTM Ian Pickens Electric Toasters
Triple Crown Award
Peter Law Armadale
First New Club Chartered

Congratulations to the above mentioned Toastmasters and Clubs.

Congratulations also to the 124 Toastmasters who have achieved their individual Communication and Leadership Awards so far in District 17.

Ross WilkinsonRoss Wilkinson

Ross Wilkinson DTM
Lt Governor Education & Training 2011-2012

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In the September / October 2011 D17 newsletter I wrote an article about follow up. The initial focus related to the transition from visitor to club member. The secondary focus in that article was club member to membership retention, because of the follow up and meeting expectations.

This article itself is a “follow up” to that message discussing the relationship to the club business plan and the successful membership achievements.

Imagine if your business plans declared processes such as:-

1. “If I shoot first and call whatever I hit my target I will always be successful”
2. It is a little bit like the Mad Hatter declaring if you don’t know where you are going everywhere will be ok; every fork in the road will take you to the right place.
3. Ready, Shoot, Aim

Plan to succeed

However if you plan and set goals and targets, taking into account your members development and goals, then with specific criteria for success, follow the plan, and you will achieve the targets. You can be assured everyone will feel successful. Members will want to continue the journey and make the most of opportunities offered in the club.

That is the Toastmaster way. Every year the President and the leadership team sit and discuss the club business plan. The VPE buys into the plan and targets the necessary people while developing each meeting an agenda to achieve both personal and clubs goals.

This Plan is called the Distinguished Club Program. (DCP) You may have heard of it! This is the business plan the Area Governor l reviews during their twice annual visit.

Successful clubs plan.

Clubs who do this are successful in achieving their goals every year. In the first few weeks of June club leaders discuss member goals with the members; they place the details into individual goal plans and score them against the overall club plan. They then set the program of success.

Members need to be followed up regularly to see how they are going against their target. The target is not to complete 10 speeches a year or complete a CL manual every year. The target is measured, it is achievable, it is specific, without disheartening the member or making them feel they cannot achieve. The target is to ensure everyone who becomes a member of your club has a goal and is given the opportunity to achieve that goal. Successful clubs also put contingencies in place. If a member is not able to achieve their target (they maybe ill, have a new job etc) a planned change of tack should enabled the club to stay on course

Club Leadership

It is the club leadership who facilitate that success. The club is only as successful as their leaders who are as successful as their members. Without direction members flounder until they leave, and often the leaders place the blame elsewhere.

Not seeing the obvious is one of our most effective deflections. Edward R Murrow said: – “The obscure we eventually see. The completely obvious, it seems, takes longer”.

It is the club leaders who lead a successful club.

Our leaders do this by establishment of the business plan or DCP. They then deliver on their commitment to the club, to the members and their promises to lead with exceptional vision.

The DCP challenges the leaders to complete 4 of the 10 goals which are administrative but the real value is to offer opportunities to 4 members to attain competent communicator awards. Two members to progress to advanced communicator. Plus two leadership awards.

The really successful clubs have already planned to have each award completed, and followed up to have members with 6 or 7 projects completed by end June ready to achieve in the next year ‘s plan.

Where does your club stand? More importantly where do you stand? What are your goals?

Is there a follow up?

Is Ian Pickens like the movie moguls? Will he create sequel after sequel?

Is there more to read on the value of follow up, the inherent success of a good business plan? Are there ideas on how to achieve frequent DCP success.

The answer of course is yes

My Question to you is

Do you have the ammunition to create the plan and hit a planned target? To know the difference and take the correct fork in the road because you have direction and purpose? Can you prepare your DCP, aim it, and lead a successful club?

A challenge for you.

Send the editor of the Black Swan a one paragraph explanation of how your club achieves success in their DCP.

Tips from District 17 will be invaluable to other clubs.

Ian PickensIan Pickens

Ian Pickens DTM

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Northern Division Humorous & Table Topics Contest

It was a wet, wild and windy day on Saturday, 5 November. That didn’t stop Toastmasters and guests from turning up for the Northern Division Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests in Scarborough.

The Contest Chair was Martin Lindsay who ran both contests smoothly and efficiently.

The Humorous Speech Contest was held first. Our finalists were:

Adam White, Bill Milburn, Lisa Evans and Micheal Cannell.

All of the speeches were humorous:

· Adam talked about food, glorious food. I’m sure that members might be thinking twice about eating chocolate.
· Bill’s sex life has been dampened due to a number of pets interfering.
· Lisa gave us some great tips on shopping and remember – the answer is always no…to…”Does by butt look big in this?…
· Michael talked about his aspirations as a sports star, what he sees in his head is not quite the same as what he sees on the video replay.

The winner for the first District 17, Northern Division Humorous Speech Contest was Micheal Cannell. Runner up in the contest was Lisa Evans.

Contestants for the Table Topics Contest were Andrew Hadfield, Bill Milburn, Gladys Lavell and Matt Carroll. The contestants were led outside, braving the wind and rain before being led in to respond to the question.

Contest Chair Martin Lindsay asked the question ‘What is the secret to success?’

The contestants all had different ideas on what they thought the secret was:

· Winner of the Table Topics Contest, Matt Carroll spoke about failure and being able to move forward from there.
· The runner up in the contest was Andrew Hadfield.

Congratulations to the winners, Micheal and Matt and also to the runners up, Lisa and Andrew. All four contestants will be going forward to the District 17 contest finals at the Convention in May 2012.

As Division Governor, I wish you the best of luck.

Nola HaddrillNola Haddrill

Nola Haddrill
Northern Division Governor (2011-2012)

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Announcement! Newsletter Contest 2011/12

Newsletter Contest

Robyn Richards DTM
District 17 Public Relations Officer 2011-2012

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Convention Update

Jock ElliottJock Elliott

A Toastmaster for 36 years, and a veteran of nearly 380 Toastmasters contests, Jock Elliott  of District 69,   Queensland, proved that persistence and practice pays off when he won the 2010/2011  Inter-national Speech Contest.

Jock Elliott is one of Australia’s leading Master of Ceremonies. He is a highly respected and successful public speaker, a speechwriter and corporate trainer. Jock works extensively with corporate and academic groups to develop their communication skills and self-confidence and in preparation for specific conferences and events.

At the D17 Convention, Jock will be our Keynote Speaker and a workshop presenter, so take this opportunity to learn from a highly accomplished Toastmaster, known for his entertaining presentations, by registering now for the   Inaugural Toastmasters District 17 Convention.

Convention Registration

The Early, Early Bird Convention packages are selling fast, so make sure you secure your discounted ticket by going to and registering. Remember only the first 50 registrants will receive the Early, Early Bird Discount.

For a fantastic weekend full of first-class speeches, educational presentations, a dinner dance, a DTM breakfast and one District Coluncil meeting, make sure you will be attending Vitto, Vino, Voci at the Vines in May 2012.

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Call for Presenters

2012 District 17 Convention

Ross WilkinsonRoss Wilkinson

Ross Wilkinson DTM
Lt Governor Education & Training 2011-2012
Email Ross at

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Central Division Chatter

Robyn LloydRobyn Lloyd

Robyn Lloyd DTM
Central Division Governor 2011-2012

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Question and Answer

A Question & Answer session with Sunil Sirkissoon

Central Division Governor has pioneered a new feature in our Newsletters. She has prepared a set of questions about Toastmaster experience and invited some members to answer them. Here is the first of a series.

Sunil Sirkissoon is President of Riverside, a club in Area C1 in Central Division.

Read this file which has Sunil’s responses to Robyn’s question.