Featured Posts

2019 Lancaster Conference

Norwich, Norfolk 10th to 12th May 2019

Norwich Conference Logo

Norwich Conference

Our 2019 Toastmasters Conference will be held at the Holiday Inn, Norwich from the 10th to the 12th May 2019.
It is named the Lancaster Conference after the iconic second World War plane the Lancaster Bomber that flew out of fighter and bomber bases located throughout Norfolk.
In keeping, the theme of the Conference is the 1940’s so there’s plenty of scope for the Friday evening fancy dress.
Come and hear the four District Speech Finals and Keynote speaker – Eldonna Lewis Fernandez.  Entertainment will be provided by the D-Day Darlings from Britain’s Got Talent and the Joe Ringer Band.  There will be educational workshops, the District Council Meeting and much, much more.
There’s also lots to see in and around Norwich so why not make a holiday of it and think about booking now.
Go on to http://www.2019lancasterconferencenorwich.com for more information and to book.
Looking forward to seeing you there.

Kindest regards

John

John Cox

Program Quality Director | District 71

#WeAreToastmasters August 2018

#WeAreToastmasters in August –

A random pick from our hashtag

Sue Burnett‏ @Activeedge
Dive into public speaking #toastmasters
#peterborough
#wearetoastmasters
#confidence


7:50 am – 14 Aug 2018

Natalie King BA(Hons) ACS ALS
Natalie King Coaching

This certificate is a little reminder, that if you want something bad enough and are willing to step out of your comfort zone, anything is possible! To achieve this goal, I really needed to step out of my comfort zone. Well worth it, especially when this certificate fell through the letter box. hashtag#wearetoastmasters
hashtag#communication
hashtag#leadershipskills
hashtag#confidence

Bray Toastmasters‏ @BrayToastmaster
We are back on the 10th September with a packed program and lots of good, old and new things . Looking forward to seeing you at 20:15 pm !! #WeAreToastmasters
#speakingskills
#learning
#softskills
#confidence


11:55 AM – 13 Aug 2018

Bishopstown TM‏ @BishopstownTM
Tomorrow August 11th marks a very special moment in #Toastmasters International’s history. On that day of August 11th 1947 our founder Dr. Ralph C. Smedley and board of Directors expanded it’s clubs…. #WeAreToastmasters
#BishopstownTM
http://bit.ly/2wmSSot


6:15 am – 10 Aug 2018

Krystal Long‏ @KrystalTraining
Thank you @BishopstownTM
#TripleCrown has arrived. now that’s achieved I have succeeded in achieving my own personal goals in Toastmasters. I will be retiring from the #Toastmasters at the end of my term as president. #WeAreToastmasters Thank you for everything.


2:25 pm – 9 Aug 2018

society toastmasters‏ @soctoastmaster
At our AGM last week the new club committee for 2018/19 was elected by club members. Outgoing President Vincent MacNally presents the chain of office to incoming President Michael Dolan Many thanks to Vincent for his leadership #wearetoastmasters


8:16 am – 31 Jul 2018

#TICON2018 87th Toastmasters International Convention Photos

#TICON2018

87th Toastmasters International Convention Photos

It’s hard to believe, as I write this, that two weeks ago I was finishing my second day of district leader training in Chicago ahead of the International Convention. District leader training is where the trios (District Director, Program Quality Director and Club Growth Director) from every District are put through their paces. It also affords an opportunity for the trio to bond, to discover that other Districts face similar challenges to ours and to hear how other Districts overcome these challenges.

After training it was time to attend the opening ceremony for the convention. I was proud to be a part of the “Parade of Flags” and to carry the Irish flag. But who knew that it takes 2½ hours to be trained in how to carry a flag. The opening keynote speaker was Steve Gilliland who was slick and very humorous but who also gave us food for thought.

Deirdre Linehan performed very well in her semi-final and for the first time in Toastmasters history the winner of the World Championship of Public Speaking and the two runners-up were females!

Over the four nights, Past International President Ted Corcoran, hosted the “sing-along”. On the Saturday night newly installed International President, Lark Doley, donned her Texan outfit and serenaded us with some lip-syncing. The “sing-along” finished with everyone standing up holding hands and singing Danny Boy conducted by Ted.

I loved Chicago. Highlights were: – standing on the shore of Lake Michigan looking across at the Chicago skyline, visiting Navy Pier, the river architecture cruise learning about the history of the impressive skyscrapers and the large areas of parkland which gave the city an “open” feel.

What didn’t I like? – that the District didn’t make it onto the stage at the Hall of Fame. So it’s onwards and upwards to Denver, Colorado in August 2019 and if we all pull together standing on the stage at the Hall of Fame as a distinguished district.

Patricia O’Reilly, DTM

District Director 2018-19


Patricia O’ Reilley rehearses the flag ceremony


District 71 Members at the Chicago Convention


Patricia O’ Reilley receiving the Award of Excellence in Program Quality from International President Balraj Arunasalam

Patricia O’ Reilley presents a gift of thanks to outgoing Regional Advisor Aletta Rochat


Deidre Linehan, our International Speech semi-final contestant, put in a tremendous performance, but alas didn’t make it to the finals.

World Champion of Public Speaking Ramona J Smith and new International President Lark Doley

Our newly elected Region 10 International Director Tuire Vualasvirta

International Board of Director 2018-19

What does the Program Quality Director Do?

What does the Program Quality Director Do?

By John Cox

Gerard, Patricia and I at the District Officer Training in Chicago

Quality and excellence feature in all our roles!

But both are ill-defined and mean different things to different people.

As your Program Quality Director my main responsibilities are:

  • Club quality and member retention,
  • Division, area and club officer training,
  • District conference,
  • District-wide speech contests, and
  • Education programs and Toastmasters materials

Supported by Division and Area Directors, Club Officers and Conference Teams I am confident we will get the job done.

During my career I scoured the world to help me understand and promote to my clients’ excellence in business and commerce. Many countries hold annual awards for quality and excellence.

In Japan they have the Deming Prize, established in 1951 to honour W. Edwards Deming who contributed greatly to Japan’s proliferation of statistical quality control after World War II.

USA has the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Malcolm Baldrige
served as 
United States Secretary of Commerce during the Reagan administration.

The European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) is a not-for-profit membership foundation established in Brussels to increase the competitiveness of the European economy.

I was fortunate to meet and speak to award winners of all three awards, helping me to author a guide for UK businesses entitled: “Towards World Class Performance.” I also regularly attended the annual Baldrige Quest for Excellence Conference in the USA.

So, what did I learn and how can that be used in Toastmasters?

Exceed Expectations (the Member Experience). Put Customers (members and guests) first, before profit (DCP goals). If you exceed their expectations profit/results will follow.

Measurement drives performance. Understand leading and lagging measures. Profit (DCP goals) is the result of getting everything else right – quality, employee, customer and supplier satisfaction. Moments of Truth is our best tool for measuring how well we deliver quality in our clubs to meet the needs of our members and visitors.

Leadership versus Management. One
of Toastmasters
strengths is the opportunity it gives to its members to practice leadership skills in selling a vision, agreeing targets, running meetings, giving feedback, managing performance, etc. However, it is also one of our greatest weaknesses, handing our clubs, areas, divisions and districts over to new leaders with little training to carry out their roles.

We now have less than a year left in our roles to make a difference.

We can help to “raise the bar” in our own and other people’s lives by:

  • Enhancing the member/guest experience at our meetings,
  • Getting feedback on our own and our clubs’ performance via Moments of Truth,
  • Sharing knowledge, experience and wisdom,
  • Encouraging fellow members to embrace Pathways, take on more roles and progress their speeches,
  • Recognising even the smallest improvement – it may have been a big step for them, and
  • Focusing on member retention – 68% of non-renewing members said that “something could have been done” to convince them to renew.

But above all enjoy the experience and have fun.

Guest Division Section – G

Guest Editor Division G Director Alex Knibbs, ALB ACS

Alex Knibbs, Division G Director

It’s my privilege to assume Division Director responsibilities this year, a Division in which we have three Areas and 15 clubs. My own personal Toastmasters journey began in 2015, starting up a new Corporate Club with PPD LLC. Not long afterwards the opportunity to start up a new community club presented itself and, before too long Saffron Walden Speakers was born, a club that’s gone from strength to strength, realising President’s Distinguished status one year after Chartering. My vision this year is centred all around ‘support’. Supporting my ADs [Area Directors]; supporting the District Officers and continuing to support and mentor club members who are progressing via Pathways and non-Pathways educational routes.

One of the pleasantly reassuring things I learned at the outset of taking on the Division Director role is that it’s perfectly fine – in fact, recommended, to have an assistant Division Director. Fortunately, I knew the perfect candidate …. over to Natalie King to introduce herself …

Natalie King, Assistant Division G Director

OK so who am I? This is a question I often ask myself but seeing as this is a brief introduction to me as a Toastmaster, I will leave the deep thoughts for another time and provide you with a brief synopsis.

I joined this institution nearly four years ago, just to learn to speak to two or more people, as my self-confidence was at an all-time low. After six6 months of attending meetings, doing a few roles and the odd table topic, I gave my ice breaker speech. From there I just kept planning to do my speeches as I felt that I should commit to completing my CC [Competent Communicator] manual, that was all I wanted to do. I was slowly plodding my way through the CC manual, when over a year after joining toastmasters I did my fifth speech and realised that I liked and enjoyed giving speeches.

From there I was challenged by my mentor to get my DTM [Distinguished Toastmaster]. Needing my DTM meant that I had to do a leadership role, so I became an area director. This was a role that I very much enjoyed. Near the end of my term as area director I was asked if I would do Division Director, a role I did not feel ready for, but luckily, I knew someone who would suit the role and who needed the leadership role for his DTM. As you can perhaps imagine there was a big sigh of relief from me, that Alex took on the role. But I did not want to leave him hanging and knowing that this role would be a challenge for him, due to other commitments, running a club as well as being new to toastmasters. I offered to help him as his assistant Division G Director.

So far, I have enjoyed the role and Alex is a capable leader, so I look forward to the year ahead. Now all I must do is complete my Advanced Communication Gold [ACG] and I will have my DTM. Not bad for someone who panicked if they had to speak to more than two people!

And speaking of Area Directors(AD): here’s a glimpse of my stalwart AD companions in Division G ….And a few members from around the Division


Area 1 Director, Karen Bellerby

My name is Karen Bellerby and I joined TI just over seven years ago by accident and a very happy accident it has turned out to be!

Not equipped with a crystal ball but in 12 months I hope Area 1 will be once again boasting five clubs and, personally, I hope to be sporting my ALS [Advanced Leader Silver] and maybe an ACS [Advanced Communicator Silver] to go with it having decided to stay on the traditional route for the moment :- the 2020 deadline has certainly focused my mind!

I just want to learn and view everyday as school day, so I expect this year to gain far more knowledge than I could ever impart.

My vision is about firstly getting the area and its members comfortable with and fully embracing Pathways. It’s a great program that is fit for 21st Century purposes and not something to be scared about. I want to be a resource for the clubs to use to facilitate an easy pick-up and transition. A fifth club is also very high on my agenda/wish list too.

I’m really looking forward to it all and as Donald Rumsfeld said, “at the moment I don’t know what I don’t know” but it’s going to be one hell of a journey!

Area 25 Director, Ray Mitchell

Currently holding ALB and ACB, I am a former VPPR and have been a public speaker in varying guises for about 30 years.  I am in some ways a perpetual student (6 degrees), and once upon a time was a naval infantryman.

Area 41 Director, Martin Horner

I joined Toastmasters in 2009 and shortly afterwards worked with two other Toasties to keep Cambridge City Communicators alive after the sudden loss of two Founder Members. We decided that by running enjoyable Meetings, people would attend, join and stay with us and this has proved to be the case. I progressed through my CC, ACB [Advanced Communicator Bronze] and ACS and have now obtained my ACG as well as ALB. I was instrumental in helping regularly with last year’s Speechcraft sessions in Cambridge too. My pastimes include walking (in previous years around the coast of East Anglia and nearly half of the SW [South West] Coastal Path plus in the summer more than 80 miles of the Wales Coastal path along the Pembrokeshire Coast).


Are we having a laugh?

By Guy Doza, Cambridge Speakers, Area 41

I recently entered the Toastmasters District 71 Humorous speaking contest. The objective was simple: deliver a 5-7-minute humorous speech. Be funny. Make people laugh. Try not to embarrass yourself too much…. Sounds easy, right?

The main danger with giving a humorous speech is that if the audience is expecting a humorous speech it is much harder to be funny. The key to humour is surprise and it’s hard to surprise someone who is anticipating it. Spontaneity is key to making something funny. Is it a coincidence that people tend to laugh a lot more during table topics than they do during prepared speeches?

I knew that if I were to win this competition I would have to do something new, something daring and something utterly and totally random. So, that’s exactly what I did. I did push-ups on stage, I ripped off my shirt, and I attempted to flirt with an uncomfortable looking middle-aged woman on the front row.

One of the things that I did differently from a lot of the other speakers is that I reacted to the audience. I pointed out when they were laughing, and I commented when they looked sceptical. As a result, the speech felt a lot more spontaneous and my jokes got a better response. If you rehearse a speech too much it is no longer a speech and it becomes a performance. At Toastmasters we are not actors, we are speakers and it is important to remember that. To deliver an effective humorous speech (in my opinion) it’s crucial to keep it real, keep it friendly, and leave some space for spontaneity. And most importantly, enjoy it!


Turning my biggest weakness into my biggest strength.

By Vibesan Illampooranan VP Education at Cambridge Speakers

I have always struggled to communicate with other people due to my stammer therefore I avoid talking to people, which can be quite lonely. I couldn’t even introduce myself to them. University was a difficult period especially through fresher weeks. For example, I struggled to introduce myself to the cleaner in my accommodation halls. She asked me for my name and I said, “I don’t know”. She couldn’t stop laughing, from then on. I told myself I needed to change.

So, I joined Nottingham University public speaking group and finished a level four presentation skills diploma with my degree in biochemistry. I usually stammer on single words when I present or deliver a speech. At the end each speech, students told me that I was an inspiration and gave them motivation to join the public speaking group which increased in strength from 10 to 30.

After I graduated, I still wanted to carry on public speaking, so a friend introduced me to Toastmasters, I joined quite a few clubs. As I believe that the more speeches I do, the less anxious I am, so I don’t stammer as much. Usually making the audiences laugh a lot, really does help to relax me hence I don’t stammer as much.

I end up finishing 18 speeches with Toastmasters, but this doesn’t mean I am perfect at public speaking however I don’t feel afraid to speak in public or introduces myself. There’s still a lot I can do to improve public speaking, that’s why I still go Toastmasters.

Toastmasters is like a gym, you can only improve by doing roles and speeches, and that is how you put yourself out there. Yes, it’s very difficult and yes, you may feel completely naked when you’re on stage, but your own voice and opinion count too. Just give Toastmasters a go and it will change your life for ever.


Paige Skelton of Brandon Speakers and Crossroads Communicators

Going through school, I was always the quiet student in the back of the class. I never had the confidence to speak out in front of people. I didn’t want to draw any sort of attention to myself. I was even scared to pay for things in a store because I was shy, scared, and insecure. It wasn’t until University when I had to give a presentation that I realised I had never spoken in front of more than a couple of people in my entire life. That is when my father signed me up for Toastmasters. I cannot describe how welcomed I felt from the first meeting. The welcoming and supportive environment and members got me from not speaking during the meeting to volunteering to do a duty, then from a duty to a table topic, and one year after I joined, I did my Icebreaker speech. I have now done all duties, including being Toastmaster of the Evening, I completed my CC Manual in June 2018 and was awarded our club Toastmaster of the Year trophy in July of this year. Looking back on my progression throughout the couple of years that I have been a member, I am elated. I have seen myself grow from someone who was scared to talk to anyone and the words ‘public speaking’ made me want to faint, to someone who can stand up in front of a group of people and deliver a speech with confidence. And although sometimes I get nervous standing up in front of people to talk still, I know that the people looking back at me are so supportive and I could not have achieved what I have without the love and support of my fellow Toastmasters.


Charles Greensitt, VP Education, Saffron Walden Speakers.

I am Charles Greensitt, for those who know me I have the name Charles Grenoir Greensitt on Facebook. Why the name Grenoir? – it derived from school after having the sixth form art scholarship, scientifically as a formula, for those of you technically minded, Greensitt + Renoir = Grenoir. Grenoir is also the name for my website. Creativity is a large part of my life, in my engineering and my photography and artwork. When a poster came up in Saffron Walden for a speaker’s club, I jumped at the opportunity, having previously seen Bob Fergusson, a few years before, at an engineering conference. From the outset the Competent Communicator and Competent Leadership manuals were like a scholarly article to me, held close to my heart and guiding me on the Toastmasters International journey. The club offered a positive community and allowed opportunities in speaking and something more… if you want to be creative and experiment then here is a safe place. Table topics can be simple, from word association to objects. If you want to push the boundaries for independence and impromptu speaking, then push Table Topics to the limit. This allowed me to fully exploit my creative bent, first with an ‘Only Connect’ board, a BBC production converted into a plug and play board, easy to adapt. Then came the complexity of ‘Turnip of Fortune’, a real spinning Wheel of Fortune with a fantastic formula to entertain and prizes. The best table topics that I have seen include mystery and variety, with a personal approach. The Turnip of Fortune is a ‘spin to win’ concept – it’s been a well-received concept at a few different clubs now and episodes can be seen on YouTube.”

https://youtu.be/ZX4fs6aCz0g

Club Leadership: Pathways Paths and Projects Catalogue

The catalogue to the Pathways educational program

Have you ever wanted to know what lies ahead? Have you every felt frustrated an not being able to plan properly?

This catalogue is a very powerful over view of the contents of the Pathways educational program that will prove invaluable to you and you clubs for planning.

Welcome to Pathways! This unique learning experience will challenge and inspire you to reach new heights both personally and professionally.
To assist you in selecting your Path, here’s an overview of the Paths available to you.
Explore the projects and speeches within each path by clicking on the Path that interests you.

Download the pdf file here:Pathways Paths and Projects Catalog

 

Club Leadership: Pathways Forms for Evaluators

Every form your club’s speech evaluators will ever need.

District 73 Toastmasters (Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania) have done a splendid job collating these forms together.  Having a one stop shop like this will be a very helpful backup for your Club’s leadership  if the member forgets to bring along an evaluation form. This resource may aid convenience for members as well

https://d73.toastmasters.org.au/pathways-evaluations/

For more on the Pathways educational program in District 71 see:

http://d71toastmasters.org/the-march-2018-newsletter-is-out/

Evaluation Contest: 2018 District 71

Pat Sexton from Division B (centre) with Contest Chair Helen Tait and District Director Red Skelton

The winner of today’s 2018 Evaluation Contest is Pat Sexton from Division B.

In second place was Eric Fitzpatrick from Division C. Third place went to Richard Foster Fletcher, from Division H.

Eric Fitzpatrick from Division C came second in the Evaluation Contest.

 

Entitled “Why you must neglect the housework”, the Test Speech was given by the District 71 Public Relations Manager, Laura Bruce.

Winner of the 2018 District 71 International Speech Contest

With her speech entitled “DOB’s Army”, Deirdre Linehan is the winner of the 2018 International Speech Contest. She will go on to represent District 71 Toastmasters at the World Championship of Public Speaking in August in Chicago.

In second place was Anne Dooley with “Take that Chance”. Third place was John Duncan with “Dream the Possible Dream”.

From left: Anne Dooley, 2nd place; John Duncan, 3rd place, and winner of the International Speech Contest, Deirdre Linehan.

District Council Meeting 12th May 2018

Update from the District Council meeting:

Incoming District Director Patricia O’Reilly and PQD John Cox

The incoming District Director is Patricia O’Reilly (2018-19)

The incoming Program Quality Director is John Cox (2018-19)

Gerard Mannix was elected Club Growth Director.

Daniel Sandars was elected Public Relations Manager.

Division A: Maura Meeney was acclaimed.

Division B: Larry Lyons was acclaimed.

Division C: Barry Lane was acclaimed.

Division D: Shaun Durkin was acclaimed.

Division E: Andy Nichols was acclaimed.

Division F: Pat Croke was elected.

Division G: Alex Knibbs was acclaimed.

Division H: Steve Campion was elected.

Division S: Avril Stringer was acclaimed.

Their term will commence 1st July 2018.

Motions:

  1. The Realignment Committee’s recommendations for new boundaries was approved.
  2. On the motion for future contests, Option 3 was approved: all 4 contests will be held at District Conference each year.
  3. Motion: From 1 July 2018, Area Directors in District 71 will be appointed by the District Director through a nominations committee: the motion was defeated.

18 Clubs have already achieved President’s Distringuished Status.

There are 22 DTMs this year, and 22 members have achieved a Triple Crown.

Killarney will host the 2020 District 71 Conference.

Contestants’ Briefing has been moved to Harbour 10.