Welcome to the official District 71 website.
District 71 is a strong, proud district constituted in 1972. Currently, our District is made up of nearly 200 clubs and 4,400 members. It spans across Ireland, Scotland, Northern Wales, Northern England, Midlands, and East of England.
Find out where our clubs are, about the big events that go on throughout the year, who makes up your district leadership team and the diary of events for the year.
Feedback. Barely a moment goes by in which we are not providing it, receiving it or replaying it.
We are largely a product of how we have reacted to feedback since we were old enough to be socially aware. How we look, dress, speak, work, drive – even the things we dare not try again – have all been informed by feedback from family members, teachers, friends and colleagues.
Let us give feedback from the heart and ensure it is actionable, specific and timely. The way in which we communicate in our workplaces, communities and homes – amongst rapidly evolving situations – will be a key factor in improving quality of relationships, productivity, happiness and success.
Simon Day is an award-winning speaker, coach and training consultant.
He is the 2019 District 71 (UK and Ireland) Evaluation Champion and
holds Distinction in Grade 8 Public Speaking from the London Academy of
Music and Dramatic Art.
How to use storytelling to ensure your message is remembered for a lifetime.
When I was six years old, I sat still, crossed-legged, looking up, wide-eyed, following every movement my granddad made, hooked to every change of intonation as he regaled my younger brother and I with a story about the most magnificent adventure. …
Your message is important. But without your audience’s buy-in, it’s going nowhere. Focus on how to create a story that will live in the hearts and minds of your audience, and your story – your message – will last a lifetime.
Rebecca Pepper has presented to and trained tens of thousands of all ages across the UK and Europe. A member of Toastmasters International, she is passionate about the use of story to communicate powerful messages.
In “The Sound of Music”, the Von Trapp family sang, “So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye. I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye”
It’s almost time for me to say “so long, farewell” as your District Director. I’ve served 5 years and 3 months on the District Leadership Team. It has been a huge commitment in terms of time and effort, but it has also been richly rewarding. A member of the DLT told me recently that “the amount of knowledge you have about how things are done is encyclopaedic and I for one would have had a much harder year if you hadn’t been there to advise me”. That DLT member was right. I do have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the district. But that knowledge has been learned from the District Directors I served under – Luanne Kent, Kevin Lee, Michael Collins and Red Skelton. For better or for worse they had a big influence on my development on the DLT.
Other members who influenced me are past District Governor, David Thompson, past Region Advisor Aletta Rochat, Past International Director Teresa Dukes and most especially Past International President, Ted Corcoran. I am grateful to each of them.
While it’s difficult to measure commitment and effort it’s important to recognise it. I would like to recognise the commitment and effort put in by the members of the DLT and the wider District Executive Committee in 2018-19.
John Cox, Program Quality Director was a great support to me and masterminded a very successful 8 semi-finals and 4 finals at the District Conference.
Gerard Mannix, Club Growth Director helped to add 14 new clubs to the District and was so committed to his role that he went in person to a corporate club and guided one of the members through the renewal process and followed up with Toastmasters International on a daily basis to get the club reinstated.
Daniel Sandars, PR Manager gave us informative, interesting and entertaining newsletters, ensured the district was visible on social media and resurrected the District YouTube channel.
Brenda Lannon, Administration Manager, whose attention to detail, willingness to learn and commitment to her role made my life easier and contributed to the smooth running of the District.
Martin Foran, Finance Manager was patient and dependable and understood the importance of accountability in his role. His strict adherence to accountability meant that he even had the temerity to challenge the District Director’s expense claims. I couldn’t have asked for a better finance manager.
Red Skelton, Immediate Past District Director was always available to take a call when I needed his advice.
The Division Directors all of whom are at least Distinguished – Phillip O’Brien, Larry Lyons, Barry Lane, Shaun Durkin, Andy Nichols, Pat Croke, Alex Knibbs, Steve Campion, Colm McGlade, John McFadzean and Avril Stringer.
The Area Directors – Mari Manning, Alun Rees, Charlie Corrigan, Darren Burnett, Donnacha Smyth, Helsa Giles, Rosario Walsh, Derry Butler, Michael Madigan, Marie McNamee, Chris McCabe, Laurence Kelly, Jim Keating, Loretto Kenny, Niamh Doherty, Ita Finnerty, Danny Banks, Jill Ming, Mish Barad, Ken MacKenzie, Thérèse Kinahan, Pat Coakley, Paul Gannon, Kevin McGill, Karen Bellerby, Ray Mitchell, Martin Harnor, Faye Ritchie, Wojciech Zujla, Martin Mansell, Binal Sawjani, Gareth Coghlan, Mairead Murphy, P.J. Claffey, Mary Burnham, Bobby Buckley, John Kelly, Lynn Gregory, Becky Pennington, Rumbi Chihoro, Shyamenda Purslow, Tina Norbury, Adrian Herbert, Helen Kelly, Phil Cooper and Neil Whitelaw.
Will I “heave a sigh” as I say goodbye? Of course, there will be a sigh of sadness that my year as District Director has ended. But it’s time to move on. I will step into the advisory role of Immediate Past District Director and will still be involved in various pursuits across the District. Outside of toastmasters I’m looking forward to spending more time with my 18 months old twin granddaughters and their 6 months old sister. I’m hoping my garden will be blooming beautifully by the end of the summer and in September I hope to go back to college.
Alfred Lord Tennyson said in Morte d’Arthur “the old order changeth, yielding place to new”. I wish the incoming team a very successful year and I look forward to working with them.
One of the current DLT members said to me recently “your year as District Director will play a big part in my activities in TM for years to come”. As I say, “so long, farewell”, I couldn’t ask for a better compliment.
2019-2020 Division and Area Director Training (DOT#1)
Over the weekend 23-24th June District officers gathered for the first round of training. We currently have 210 active clubs arranged into 12 Division and 47 Areas. First to go were the Irish Divisions at the Carlton Airport Hotel on the Saturday followed by the Northern British Divisions at Manchester Hilton Airport Hotel on the Sunday
Divisions A, B, C, D, F, M, and J (blue in heart of Dublin)
Divisions E, G, H, N, and S from Northern Britain
A few take-outs
Remember the member -when members and guests flourish everything else follows
Excellence is build from the foundations up
Communicate clearly, concisely, and convivially
It is a hobby -keep it fun
Excellence is the next five minutes…the next conversation…the next email… or it is nothing at all (Tom Peters)
JTI Ireland (14) is a corporate club that chartered in Dublin on the 4th of June 2019. It is the fifth new club to charter in the Dublin area and is aligned into Division M Area 26. The two sponsors who helped get it started are 2018-19 Area Directors Mary F. Burnham (Area 5) and Bobby Buckley (Area 18 )and the two Mentors to help establish the club over then next 6-12 months are 2018-19 District Director Patricia O’Reilly and Christopher Werner
Birmingham New Street Speakers
Birmingham New Street Speakers (13) is a community club that chartered on the 22nd of May 2019 and aligned into Division E Area 39. 2018-29 Division E Director Andy Nichols and 2018-29 Area 42 Director Mish Barad were the club Sponsors with Tanya Barad and 2019-20 Area 42 Director Sanatan Shelat coming in as the Mentors
Daniel Sandars, DTM District 71 Public Relations Manager
This is my 11th and final District Newsletter. It has been an incredible year and a great pleasure. I wish my successor Brenda Lannon as much fun and good fortune as I enjoyed.
A cast of hundreds have helped deliver this year’s newsletter and I thank you all. I’d like to specifically thank my regular newsletter contributors Ted Corcoran, Elizabeth Jordan, Sudha Mani, John Kendall, Alex Knibbs, and the District Leadership Team. Special mention goes to all 12 of the Division Directors; Phillip, Larry, Barry, Shaun, Andy, Pat, Alex, Steve, Colm, Teresa, John and Avril and their teams who each brought in such informative news.
This year we aimed to deliver the District Newsletter in both email pdf hard copy and online as socially shareable articles. It is a bit more work, but it gives the articles written by hardworking members far more utility and durability.
One area where that durability may pay off well are the educational collections of best practice case studies that were introduced to ease the burdens of writing content on the Division teams. I really enjoyed collating these and we covered Pathways (twice), Club Coaching, Public Relations, Speechcraft, Youth Leadership Program, Community outreach, New Club Building, and Membership Building strategies.
Chantal Cooke is a PR agent retained by Districts 71 and 91 to promote an article a month to the national press. Last year the combined editorial value generated by this program was estimated at 0.55 million Euro (£0.5 million) with a combined readership of 40 million.
District 71 had a bumper year and put forward articles from nine members
September 2018 Sudha Mani What to do when things go wrong with your presentation
I’d like to thank all these splendid authors who have done such a magnificent job. Gordan Adam won the draw for a free #Norwich2019 conference ticket. Special grateful mention must go to Kit Cheng whose article How to build your confidence in public speaking proved a better fit in the District Newsletter.
February 2019 Gordan Adams How to create an attention-grabbing opening for your speech
Pending Rebecca Pepper How to use storytelling to ensure your message is remembered for a lifetime.
Pending Simon Day Empowering Others through Effective Feedback
District 71 had one entry in this global initiative from Toastmasters International
Cranfield Speakers Club #WowFactor video. Based on the Moments of Truth club quality audit and part of International President Lark Dooley’s theme for 2019 at Toastmasters International #WeAreToastmasters
Charter Reception “Stand up. Speak up. Shut up” – the Mayor of Milton Keynes offers up to the Milton Keynes Confident Speakers group
By Lisa Robinson, VP Public Relations MK Confident Speakers
Milton Keynes – 25 June 2019 – On 21 June the Mayor of Milton Keynes, Councillor Sam Crooks, attended an event to mark the newest public speaking group in Milton Keynes achieving its official status. During the meeting the Mayor quoted J. W. Lowthe, former Speaker of the House of Commons, who once said “There are three golden rules for Parliamentary Speakers: Stand up. Speak up. Shut up.”
The Mayor joined Binal Sawjani, President of Milton Keynes Confident Speakers, plus other club members and guests, to take part in the special meeting. The meeting was then followed by a drinks reception to mark the club being awarded its official status on 31 January 2019.
As part of the meeting guests are invited to do impromptu speaking and Councillor Crooks offered guidance to the group about how important it is to make speeches succinct. Before quoting J. W. Lowthe Councillor Crooks said “Sometimes my speeches are written for me, but they will always have the length written on them and will always have ‘be short’ underlined to remind me of the importance of making sure the key message is heard. Being able to get your message understood is important and Milton Keynes Confident Speakers is a fantastic way of learning the craft of public speaking”.
Club President Binal Sawjani said “I am delighted that we have achieved Charter status so quickly for Milton Keynes Confident Speakers. In the modern world being able to speak confidently is increasingly important, and we have seen great demand to learn these skills since we established the club. At each meeting members evaluate speeches by other members and there’s also impromptu speaking. Whether you are looking to improve your presentations at work or preparing to speak at a wedding, these opportunities provide a fun and safe environment in which to hone your public speaking skills and increase confidence”.
Uniquely in Milton Keynes, Milton Keynes Confident Speakers meets on Friday lunchtime for 1 hour 15 minutes in central Milton Keynes, so it is easy to get to and to fit into a lunch period. Based in the NatWest Accelerator Building, the club is delighted that NatWest is supporting the project by allowing use of their presentation space for meetings.
Area 20 A Year to Remember
By Elizabeth Jordan, DTM
Members and guests from Toastmasters’ clubs in Area 20 (Division H; District 71) and beyond gathered at The Sun hotel (Hitchin, Hertfordshire) on Wednesday 26th June to celebrate the end of the Toastmaster year (2018-2019 with a Gala Dinner and Awards ceremony. The event was hosted by Toastmaster of the Evening, Bradley Peters and Table Topics entertainment was provided by Elizabeth Jordan, DTM.
Area Director, Wojtek Zulja, reflected on the many successes of 2018-2019 during his term of office: All three clubs – Herts Speakers, East Herts and North Herts – achieved Presidents Distinguished status; members reached out to the community in a variety of ways including leading Youth Leadership Programs, Open evenings and attendance at Community Fairs and membership is strong.
In a speech filled with humour, history and hope, After Dinner speaker, Bob Ferguson, DTM, founder of Hertfordshire Speakers and veteran Toastmaster praised Wojtek for reinvigorating the Area 20 Celebration Dinner and hoped it will become an annual event.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of awards to Area 20 club members in the following categories: Most Improved Club Member, Best Club Member and Best Club Officer.
The ‘Changing of The Guard’ ceremony saw the outgoing officers hand-over to the incoming officers, including Division H Director, Steve Campion, who handed over to John Kendall and Area 20 Director, Wojtek Zulja, who handed over to John Allsop, represented by Nina Morozova.
The Area 20 Gala Dinner was as fantastic way to end the Toastmaster year 2018-2019 and look forward to the New Year.
District Newsletter #14 (continued from edition #13) To recap at the 1990 Autumn District Council meeting the following three proposals were passed, almost unanimously.
“That with effect from the District administrative year 1991/92, the position of Public Relations Officer be subject to election, by the District 71 District Council and, subject to satisfactory performance, be in line for progression through higher Executive offices.”
“That the structure of the split District Executive be divided equally between England and Ireland in such a way as the District Governor and Lieutenant Governor Marketing be elected from the alternate country to the Educational/Training Lieutenant governor and Public Relations Officer, and that this will take effect from the District year 1991/92 as previously approved by the District 71 District Council in Spring 1987/88.”
Where, for any reason, an elected District Officer is unable to continue his/her term of office, his/her replacement shall be a qualified member, selected from the same country as the officer retiring, and be subject to the ratification of the District 71 District Council.”
In the explanatory notes distributed with these motions, it is stated that about Proposal #1
“In consideration of the options, the 1990/91 District Executive believes a fourth elected District Executive position would facilitate the even distribution of elected officers between England and Ireland in executing its requirement to provide a “split” District Executive from 1st July 1991.”
About Proposal # 2, it is stated,
“In order to improve the quality of leadership, the 1987/88 District council approved a split District Executive to take effect from 1st July 1991. Until now a “gentleman’s agreement” has ensured that the elected District Officers were drawn from either England or Ireland on an annual basis. This ensured fairness for all members seeking the experience and leadership opportunities, in the face of weighted voting power whose bias is capable swinging drastically between the two countries (currently 66% Ireland 33% England). The 1990/91 District Executive are conscious of the need to retain this fairness of opportunities for all future members. The benefits of a “Split” Executive are evident: 1) Enhanced bonds between England and Ireland 2) Improved continuity between annual District Executives 3) Accelerated progress of members through leadership training at District level
Although the principle of the split executive membership was decided, the actual structure and distribution of officers was not. This is the question now addressed by this proposal to
Maintain fairness of opportunities
Accelerate progress through the leadership ranks
Enhance the English/Irish bond.
The 1990/91 District Executive sought advice from WHQ, its Directors and from District 45 (NE USA/Canada) where such a system already exists. The system proposed has operated successfully for several years in D45 and in the Bahamas, the only other district with a similar situation.”
(This conference also passed the following motion, “That District 71 introduces Division Rounds of the International Speech Contest with effect from the District Administrative year 1990/91.”)
It was decided that in year 1 the District Governor (DG) and Lieutenant Governor Marketing (LGM) would be elected from country A and the Lieutenant Governor Education and Training (LGET) and Public Relations Officer (PRO) from country B. It was understood that these positions would alternate each year, so that in year 2, the DG and LGM would be from country B, while the LGET and PRO would come from country A. This arrangement has worked very satisfactorily since and has played an important part in our district’s success.
In the year 2014-15, I was regularly going down south to practise my speech and had a speaker coach paying a few thousand. I wanted to improve my speech delivery for engagement and impact as I have been getting a few paid speaking gigs. Until this point, I didn’t know about Toastmasters International. One day a colleague of mine suggested why not find speaking clubs nearer home to practise my speeches instead of going down south.
Before this, another incident happened. I took part in a mobile app challenge to get investment in my app idea. On the day of presentation, technology failed me. Everyone’s presentations worked smoothly as a hot knife on butter. Mine would not work. We did everything we could. I did have some hand-outs, but it was not as effective as the presentation would have been. I was terrified, upset and lost without the presentation. I did complete my talk but lost my investment. That is when I realised that, I need to do something about speaking without notes or presentation if there arises a situation like this. So, I started working with a speaker coach to work on speech structure, delivery and storytelling. As many would agree with me, just learning something is useless unless you practise. That is why I joined Toastmasters as I wanted to practise my speeches in front of non-judging and helpful audience.
2. How has Toastmasters helped you?
However, after joining Toastmasters, I realised that I was a murderer as well. Because I was killing many with my presentation. I was killing my audience with terrible storytelling. I was robotic in my delivery.
So, I started joining a few other clubs to learn and practise the tools which I can use in my presentation and speeches. Today, I can speak to any kind of audience and make them understand what I am speaking about as I am a Technology Speaker.
Toastmasters have helped me deliver my speech with an impact.
Toastmasters have helped me in speaking with notes even if it is a 90-mins keynote. Toastmasters have enabled me to tell stories to get my message across effectively.
and many more…
3. What are you most proud of about your Toastmaster Club?
I have been a member of a few clubs during the year of 2017-18, I was a member of 9 brick & motor clubs and 3 online clubs. Now, I am a member of the Dunfermline Toastmasters Club. This club is not the closest to home, it is about 40 -50 mins drive. However, I love and am proud of this club because members are very active and every meeting, we have at least an average of 20 people in the meeting. You may think, “My club is the same”. Let me tell you a little bit about this club. This club chartered in 2018, they were President Distinguished in their first year. They don’t have dual members, 80% of the members are millennials, club officers have 95% attendance, they have a very active WhatsApp presence and many things which this club does is right. Above all, this club is not a CITY club to attract more walk-in visitors. This club is an urban club where VPPR must do some work to attract visitors. When you visit this club, you experience more laughter. You are invited.
Been pleasantly surprised by anything lately?
I was pleasantly surprised when I won, Area Director of the Year (2017-18) at the Norwich Conference. I was not that expecting at all. Thanks to all who made this possible. I am grateful and would like to mention following individuals who helped me in the process and in my opinion true embodiment of Toastmasters principles; Red Skelton, Daniel Sandars, Karen O’Donnell, Kevin Lee, Elizabeth Jordon, Julie Kertesz, Zaldy Co, Sam Forsberg, Lesley-Ann Hunter, Patricia Gray and many more.
By Kit Yee Cheng, Clyde Communicators, Toastmasters International
Glossophobia, the fear of public speaking, is often associated with the uncertainties that come from speaking in front of an audience; you’re uncertain if you’ll dry up, or forget your words, or trip as you walk on stage. You’re uncertain that the audience will listen and enjoy your speech, or that they’ll jeer at you and boo until you leave. You’re uncertain you can deliver what has been asked of you without breaking out in a sweat, vomiting or running out of the room. It is the uncertainties that create the fear – and therefore tackling the uncertainties is the key to breaking the fear and building your confidence as a public speaker.
Here are my thirteen tips to help you tackle the uncertainties and become a confident public speaker:
1. Talk to strangers. Practice your communication skills with strangers. You will never see these people again so making mistakes does not decrease your confidence. When you can talk to strangers about anything, anytime and anywhere, you have mastered the art of impromptu speaking. Impromptu speaking is the key to all your communication.
2. Laugh at yourself. Use self-deprecating humour. Seriousness attracts serious circumstances. Watch comedy movies or TV shows and laugh. This helps to lighten up your mood and brings more joy into your life. Happiness is one of the vital ingredients to building up your confidence.
3. Gain experiences. The more experiences you gain, the tougher you become. This strengthens and builds up your confidence. Learn new skills, meet new people, do something new as often as possible. Set new goals, however small and work towards achieving them. Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone because nothing ever grows there.
4. Exercise as often as you possible can. This is a timeless classic for tackling fears. Even a ten-minute walk can do wonders for your mood and lifts your energy. Exercise has been proven to release the feel-good chemical called endorphins throughout your body. This strengthens your self-esteem and reduces your anxiety.
5. Practice yoga. The ancient art of yoga helps you to focus on the present moment which is essential to your mindfulness. You are anxious about public speaking because you are projecting yourself into the future. Yoga increases: body awareness, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, strain and inflammation, sharpens attention and concentration, plus yoga calms and centres the nervous system. Yoga improves your mental health and wellbeing.
6. Practice meditation. Like yoga, meditation improves your mental health. It helps you to: better handle your negative emotions, helping you to feel relaxed and calm, find your inner peace and helps you to feel comfortable with silence and stillness.
7. Practice gratitude. Write in your gratitude journal each day. This is a sound tool to use to shift your focus onto the happy and good things in your life. Gratitude helps you to release envy, jealousy, anger, resentment and mild depression. You will attract more of what you want into your life when you practice daily gratitude.
8. Have fun each day. Connect with your inner child. Be childlike. Having fun is one of the key ingredients to your health and wellbeing. People who have fun compared to those who don’t, are more positive minded. Smile, laugh, crack a joke, be silly and have fun. Connecting with your inner child helps you to face your fears because your inner child is the fearless one. She will help you through the tough times when you are connected to her.
9. Have one day, or half a day a week switched off from social media and the internet. No Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram or the news. Connect with nature. Go for a walk in the park. Listen to the birds chirp and sing. Talk to dog walkers. Talk to babies and toddlers. Face to face interactions with strangers in the park is a tremendous way to get the human connections that you are going to benefit from. You could just sit in the park and watch people.
10. Travel to a new place as often as possible. Get on the bus or train and go explore around your area. You have feet for this specific reason. The uncertainties in life become much easier to handle when you travel to new places. Being in a new place helps you to: expand your horizons, set your soul on fire, heighten all your senses and become alive. Whilst you are at home, you are by default living in your auto pilot. Getting out of your auto pilot system gives you opportunities to see the world from a different perspective. The world has an abundance of beauty so go and see it for yourself.
11. Embrace the uncertainties. Life is full of uncertainties because life is unpredictable. Let go of having to have control in every aspect of your life. Become more spontaneous. Welcome the uncertainties and see where they take you. Cut the cord to the need to have control of your life twenty-four, seven.
12. Join your local Toastmasters club. Toastmasters has clubs all over the world. Our clubs offer a supportive, encouraging and fun environment for our members to develop and master their public speaking skills. Speak to the President or Vice President of Education of the club and ask them to assign you to a mentor. A mentor is there to offer their guidance, support and knowledge of what they have learned from their own journey. They have been to where you are traveling to.
13. Read books on public speaking. Knowledge of public speaking is your friend. You will gain more confidence from the knowledge of the do’s and don’ts. I have found gems in reading books on public speaking and applying the knowledge to my speeches has increased my confidence in public speaking.
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