Featured Posts

2019-20 Quarter 1 Growth Incentive results

Club Growth Director Pin Badge #WeAreToastmastersDear District 71 Council,

Very many thanks for all your hard-work over Quarter one and since. Some highlights:

  • To date the district has 230 more member payments than a year ago
  • Nine clubs met the 15th of September renewal incentives
  • The Smedley Award brought in 193 new, dual or reinstated members
  • Ten clubs met the Toastmasters International Smedley Award criteria
  • A further two clubs with coaches met District 71 new membership criteria
  • Congratulations to Division N and Areas H20, N31, N48, S60 and E39 for winning the most new members incentive
  • Two clubs chartered in the Golden Quarter, one since and three more are midst chartering
  • Eight new prospective clubs have been added to date

Please disseminate to your Club committees and members and especially congratulate all who are making this year flourish!

Daniel Sandars

D71 Club Growth Director

The Q1 Growth Incentive winners are:

D71 renewal challenge by 15 Sept winners #WeAreToastmasters

D71 Smedley Award winners #WeAreToastmasters

D71 Smedley Coached Club winners #WeAreToastmasters

D71 Smedley Best Division winners #WeAreToastmasters

D71 Smedley Best Area winners #WeAreToastmasters

D71 Golden Quarter Chartered Club winners #WeAreToastmasters

Simon Day #ChantalCookePR

Empowering Others through Effective Feedback

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 #ChantalCookPR
Simon Day, Leeds City Toastmasters

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.

Chantal Cooke (#ChantalCookePR) of Panpathic Communications is a Public Relations agent retained by Districts 71 and 91 to help us obtain national press coverage. See here to read the article writing brief and you might win tickets to the next district conference.

8th January 2019


NE Connected has a large audience of businesses/business people. And approximately 266k monthly website impressions.

22nd December 2019

Simon’s article which was in the print magazine is now online.

Readership: 42k pm

3rd December 2019


E&I is aimed at super High Net Worths and Ultras, plus successful entrepreneurs living the life of their dreams on their own terms, and also those who may just be embarking on their entrepreneurial journey, but still aim high and have a strong desire for the finer things in life.

Combined audience/circulation: 240k

November 2019

The HR Director issue 181 has published an article from Simon.

You can view a pdf here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/wsi5qtcmr9j551s/HR%20Director%202019%2011%20issue%20181.pdf?dl=0

The magazine goes to HR Directors and their departments across the country.

Readership: 20k+

Dealer Support Magazine – November 2019 ‘Final Say’ page 49, and on contents page 4


Readership of the magazine is 15k

21 November 2019

For women who mean business, Network She provides to a wide range of resources for business owners from experts in this country and beyond.

Readership: 18k

13th November 2019

Entrepreneur & Investor Issue 14, (pages 78–79)

Since being published on the Entrepreneur and Investor website Simon’s article has also be published in their glossy print magazine and its digital edition.  They are both distributed to their High Net Worth, Ultra HNW, investor and entrepreneur audience and the print editions are also made  available at selected City corporates, airline lounges, members’ clubs etc.

The combined readership for the magazines is 240+k.

21st October 2019

Family Friendly Working provides means by which people may balance work and parenting effectively, as well as provide useful business tips and guidance. 

Readership: 10k pm

11th September 2019

Bytestart has an audience of small businesses and startups with a readership of 100k per month

30th August 2019

Company Bug provides small business owners, entrepreneurs, contractors and consultants with the information they need to set up and run a business in the UK, together with insights into relevant business and tax issues.

Company Bug Readership: 70k pm

29th August 2019

LID focuses on current trends and features conversations with some of the brightest minds, top experts and influencers in the area of business, entrepreneurship, smart thinking and personal development.

Readership: 26k

22nd August 2019


“We provide our loyal business readers with an invaluable information resource, helping them to make the right connections while gaining insight in to running and scaling their businesses, providing our readership with a market leading freemium resource like no other.”

The Business Post Readership: 40k

21st August 2019


INDEZINE Readership: 10k

Rebecca Pepper #ChantalCookePR

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 #ChantalCookePR
Rebecca Pepper, Didsbury Speakers

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.

Chantal Cooke (#ChantalCookePR) of Panpathic Communications is a Public Relations agent retained by Districts 71 and 91 to help us obtain national press coverage. See here to read the article writing brief and you might win tickets to the next district conference.

26th November 2019

For women who mean business, Network She provides to a wide range of resources for business owners from experts in this country and beyond.

Readership: 18k

13th November 2019

Since being published on the Entrepreneur and Investor website Rebecca’s article has also be published in their glossy print magazine and its digital edition.  They are both distributed to their High Net Worth, Ultra HNW, investor and entrepreneur audience and the print editions are also made  available at selected City corporates, airline lounges, members’ clubs etc.

The combined readership for the magazines is 240+k

Entrepreneur & Investor Issue 14:

How Entrepreneurs can use Storytelling to Make a Message Stick

Pages 32–33

9th October 2019

Rebecca’s storytelling article has been published in: Business Brief – For the Channel Islands Business Community, pages 68 & 69


Readership: 15k

1st October 2019

Readership: 10k

30th September 2019

Website aimed at leaders in SMEs providing information and advice.

Readership: 84k pm

28th August 2019

LID publishes on all areas of business and lifestyle topics to provide valuable knowledge and key insights.

Readership: 26k

27th August 2019

Bytestart has a large audience of business owners and staff in small businesses and startups.

Readership: 100k pm

15th August 2019

Company Bug Readership: 70kpm .  The sites provides support and advice for small businesses.

14th August 2019

Title Media Readership: 5k

8th August 2019

Indezine Readership: 10k

2nd August 2019


Kent Business Radio Readership: 178K

Sam Warner #ChantalCookePR

Opening Doors – Top Ten Tips to Delegate Effectively.

Why have a dog and bark yourself?  You might have heard of this expression – and it’s certainly true.  The trick is to find the balance between delegating effectively and becoming Teflon-coated and not doing any of the work yourself.

#ChantalCookePR Sam Warner
Sam Warner DTM, Shropshire Speakers

Sam Warner is a Communication Specialist and works with global leaders across multiple industries to help Autistic people into work and at work to achieve recognition, respect and understanding.

Chantal Cooke (#ChantalCookePR) of Panpathic Communications is a Public Relations agent retained by Districts 71 and 91 to help us obtain national press coverage. See here to read the article writing brief and you might win tickets to the next district conference.

October 2019

Education Executive, October 2019, pages 44-45.


Education Executive is carefully targeted to benefit the key decision makers across England’s 24,317 state schools and academies.

Readership: 24k

4th October 2019

NEconnected: Readership: 266k

August 2019

Dealer Support, September 2019 edition has the interview with Sam on pages 18-19.

You can see the digital edition here:


Readership: 12k

14th August 2019

ByteStart Readership:  100k per month – small businesses and startups.

25th July 2019

Executive Secretary is put together in the aim of enabling career secretaries to develop both knowledge and skills. It aims to bring together a global network of senior and aspiring administrative professionals to discuss and share best practice.

The editor said regarding sharing the link:

This article first appeared in Executive Secretary Magazine, a global training publication and must read for any administrative professional. You can get a 30% discount on an individual subscription when you subscribe through me. Email subscriptions@executivesecretary.com and tell them I sent you.

Please include @lucybrazier in your tweets.

Readership: 15k+

18th July 2019

“10 Tips to delegating effectively.”


Al Global Media aims to offer the very latest insights, interviews and profiles of Chief Executive Officers from across the corporate landscape.

Readership: 60k pm

15th July 2019

Your article “Eight tips to improve your delegating” has been published by Supply Management


Supply Management is the official media outlet of the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS). It is the home of all the latest news, information, analysis, jobs and thought leadership for procurement & supply chain professionals.

Readership: 87k pm

12th July 2019


Share Radio is a national business radio station with 35k listeners.

27 June 2019


Entrepreneur & Investor is aimed at super HNW [High Net Worth]s and Ultras, plus successful entrepreneurs living the life of their dreams on their own terms, and also those who may just be embarking on their entrepreneurial journey, but still aim high and have a strong desire for the finer things in life. 
Readership online; 40k per month

LID Radio focuses on current trends and features conversations with some of the brightest minds, top experts and influencers in the area of business, entrepreneurship, smart thinking and personal development.
Readership: 26k

17 June 2019

Indezine Readership 10k

14 June 2019

Tips to help you delegate well and empower your team


Dealer Support: Readership 12k

Guest Division B (South West Ireland)

By Barry Lyons, Division B Director

Hello fellow toastmasters. You are very welcome to Division B guest contribution to this Month’s D71 magazine. I had the great honour of attending the D71 Conference in Norwich which took place recently. What a wonderful occasion it was and congratulations to all involved in running a super conference. Well done to the local Norwich club and the district leadership team in producing a wonderful event. Our division B contestants Jane Sheehan and Pat Sexton did their families, clubs, areas and division proud. They surely gave their personal best performances on stage and I am very proud of them as our Division B representatives. I had the privilege of interviewing the candidates during the candidate showcase and I also had the honour of being contest chair for the Humorous speech final. The power of the toastmasters’ programme helped me to perform this role and I am living proof that anything is possible once you put your mind to it.

Division B straddles most of the province of Munster in the South West of Ireland comprising counties Kerry, Cork (North of the river Blackwater), Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary. Noted for its tradition in Irish folk music, and with many ancient castles and monasteries in the province, Munster is a tourist’s paradise destination. Of course, rugby has also put the province on the map and hopefully this will continue.

The Division is divided into 4 areas:

  • Area 13 – Shannon, Raheen, Kilrush and Ennis. Area Director Donnacha Smyth.
  • Area 17 – Fermoy, Failte, Speak Easy. Area Director Helsa Giles.
  • Area 24 – Limerick, Nenagh, Thomond, Killaloe, Roscrea. Area Director Rose Walsh.
  • Area 36 – Tralee, Killarney, West Limerick, Listowel, Dell, Fexco. Area Director Derry Butler.

Listowel has just chartered this year and I spent a wonderful evening in their company last Friday night the 3rd of May as they celebrated this great achievement. Home of the late great playwriter JB Keane Listowel should thrive as a Toastmasters club due to the natural talent that I witnessed on Friday. More on this below from the clubs VPPR Tom Dillon.

All clubs are trying their best to keep toastmasters alive in their area and it can be difficult at times to keep the momentum going especially if you lose some members. There is a lot of transition nowadays in the work scene and this can be felt when it comes to membership retention. The decline in rural population is also posing difficulties as is the new Pathways programme. Clubs might struggle to reach goal targets for the next year or so while the transition takes place. Tom O Keeffe President of the Limerick club has put a lot of work into promoting Pathways. We also held area information nights between clubs with members bringing along their laptops and going through the process live. This was very helpful to members.

However, there are ways to enhance recruitment of members and word of mouth is probably one of the best ways to do so. Another great way to spread the word is the youth leadership programme. See below the article from the Nenagh club in relation to this. Nenagh is one of the top clubs in the Division now and I’m sure they are getting a spin off from all their hard work.

At this stage of the season I would ask all clubs to take stock of where their club is at right now and consider the following: Is your club in good standing, are you fulfilling the toastmaster promise and mission, are you doing everything possible to promote the benefits of toastmasters and opening your club’s doors to the possibility of recruiting new members. Are you looking to put a strong executive in place and shake things up a little so that each member gets a chance to grow and develop?

Is there an element of – all is fine, we have adequate members, we have a cosy set up, we don’t want to change the present situation.

New members bring energy to a club and it is important that we all do our best to reach out to the huge potential of possible members that reside in and around our clubs.

Two very successful Divisional Contests were held over the year and a very high standard was witnessed by all who attended. Toastmasters is playing a huge part in developing our members in their public speaking, presenting, creativity and excellent leadership skills development. It was great to have Brenda Lannon and Daniel Sandars along as District representatives at our contest Finals.

Listowel Toastmasters raise a toast to their new club

By Tom Dillon, VPPR

Listowel Toastmasters held a charter dinner on Friday May 3rd to celebrate its establishment as a new Toastmasters club.

The charter dinner was attended by over 30 people including members of Listowel Toastmasters and friends from other clubs in Killarney, Tralee, West Limerick and Shannon.

Renowned for writers and poets such as John B. Keane and Brendan Kennelly, the creativity which has earned Listowel its distinction as the literary capital of Ireland helped make the night one to remember.

Members gave poetry readings specially composed for the occasion while there were also songs, jokes, funny poems and magic tricks.

President of Listowel Toastmasters John O’Connor paid tribute to the committee, club members and members of the neighbouring clubs who helped bring about the foundation of the new club which was officially chartered in March 2019.

Encouraging words for the future were given by Patricia O’Reilly, District 71 Director, who addressed the gathering along with Larry Lyons, Division B Director; Derry Butler, Area 36 Director and Gerard Mannix, Club Growth Director.

Listowel Toastmasters meets on the second and fourth Thursday of each month with a number of open nights held each year in the iconic John B. Keane’s bar.

Youth Leadership Program

by John Spillane Nenagh Toastmasters Club

Nenagh toastmasters have been delivering a youth leadership program for almost 30 years. The program was started by members who recognised the benefits of the Toastmasters communication and leadership program for transition year (TY) students.

This year a team of 7 toastmasters delivered the course to 130 students across 6 classes in two schools. Two toastmasters typically take one double class per week in place of the students regular English class. The first class is an introduction to the various toastmaster roles, combined with a talk on the benefits of being able to communicate effectively. All subsequent classes are conducted by the students as per a normal Toastmasters meeting with the Toastmasters limiting their input to short speech evaluations and guidance. We give a certificate at the end to each student. The success of the course is obvious by the time its finished as each student will have delivered two or more short 2-3-minute speeches and answered several topics. Others will have had leadership roles such as Toastmaster or Topics-master.

Our experience over the years means that we have streamlined the course to be easy to deliver while making it a rewarding experience for both the toastmaster and the students.

The A Team that deliver the Youth Programme in Nenagh

Heading to Norwich

Representing Division B at the Norwich Conference are Jane Sheehan, Killarney Toastmasters in The International Speech Contest and Pat Sexton, Speakeasy Toastmasters in the Table Topics and Evaluation Contests. Pictured with Sean Corcoran, President Speakeasy Toastmasters.

Going’s on at Speak Easy Mallow

Literary Speaking

Speakeasy Toastmasters annual Theme Night was an absolute treat for bookworms and members alike. Club members presented wonderful interpretative readings from famous Irish writers and former Club members who had stories published.

From Left – Liam Flynn, MC, Bobby Buckley, Sean Corcoran, Noel O’Connor, Michael Cronin, Pat Sexton, event curator. Seated – Anne Buckley, Loretto Barry, Bridie O’Connell and Deirdre Linehan.


I wish to thank all who helped me throughout the year and to the Area Directors for their input in keeping the wheel turning. To the clubs for their continuous leadership and commitment to the toastmaster mission. To my assistant Tom O Keeffe for his support throughout the year and to the District team for all their time and effort.


April ’19 Membership Growth – Beat the Clock

Membership Growth – Beat the Clock

1ST MAY – 30TH JUNE 2019

By Gerard Mannix, Club Growth Director

District 71 has been very successful in growing membership each year by increasing the percentage of new member intake from year to year. Last year, 2017-18, our percentage intake of new members was the highest since the District reformed in 2014. A growing club and subsequently a growing district, is dynamic, and everyone benefits. Growing members feeds into the distinguished club program and into the distinguished district program.

Every club should aim to leave their club strong in membership when they hand over to the incoming committee on the 30th June. To facilitate this there are some excellent incentives for adding members in May and June.

Club incentives

  • Add 1-2 members ………..$50 voucher to purchase goods at TI store
  • Add 3-4 members…………$100 voucher to purchase goods at TI store
  • Add 5+ members………….$150 voucher to purchase goods at TI store

Add +5 members to enter a draw for a ticket to the Killarney conference, May 2020


Walsall Toastmasters club get a paid voucher for the Norwich Conference. This well-deserved prize is from “Talk up Toastmasters” 1st February-31st March where the club added 11 new members. A new club from September 2018 thriving. Three clubs brought in 10+ members in this period.

The draw took place at the Listowel Toastmasters meeting

Congratulations to all clubs in the endeavour to welcome new members.

PLEASE, PLEASE never lose that momentum. CLUB GROWTH Director, Gerard Mannix

Welcome & Congratulations

Dublin 15 Toastmasters Chartered on the 31st March 2019 in District 71, Area C16

Wednesday / 1st & 3rd 8:00PM

10th new club of 2018-19

History #12 District 71 Achievements in the’80s

By Ted Corcoran DTM, Past International President

Growth in the ’80s, as I said, while slow but steady, was gradually creeping closer to what was then seen as the magical figure of 50 clubs. Educational completions, though, were a problem and failure to meet our targets in these areas resulted in the District frequently failing to achieve Distinguished District status. Notable exceptions to this were in 1984/85, when Select Distinguished status (top 12) was achieved under the leadership of David Lindsey (Aylesbury and Thame). This was the first success at International level for the now 13-year-old district. David, a member since 1974, also possesses the distinct honour of achieving the first DTM, awarded in D71, to a member. This is what David wrote in the September/October 1985 edition of “The Spokesman”, the British and Irish Toastmasters District 71 Bulletin.

Select Distinguished District Award (mouse damaged)

Select Distinguished District Award (mouse damaged)

District 71 has achieved the award of Select Distinguished District for its progress during the year. Santa Ana sets certain targets for each District at the beginning of the Toastmasters Year. We were given a goal of 27 CTMs (we made 91!), 6 ATMs (we made it!), 3 new clubs (we got 4) and about 100 new members (we got over 230!). In addition, two Youth Leadership Courses and two Success/Leadership seminars were given. The award has never been won by District 71. In January 1985 the District was 45th in the World rankings (out of 75 Districts), and by the end of June we had risen to 11th which is a terrific achievement brought about by sheer hard work on the part of everyone in the British and Irish District – Members, Club Officers, Area and District Executives.”

(Note: CTM then = CC now, Santa Ana = WHQ)

1980’s District 71 Governor's Regalia, which was later replaced by the current gold chain regalia

1980’s District 71 Governor’s Regalia, which was later replaced by the current gold chain regalia

“When you consider the challenges of distance between Britain and Ireland, and between both countries and WHQ and the costs of phone calls and postage, this was an admirable achievement. For example, surface mail from the U.S. took at least three months to reach the district. The postage, by airmail, of a simple educational module cost about $40 while it cost £2.77 sterling to post a new member kit from Britain, where they were stored, to Ireland. Remember this was a very small district of about 35 clubs and less than 1000 members.

Equally meritorious – because they faced the same challenges – were the achievements of Harry Knox (DLS), in 1987/88, and Joe Prendergast (Clonmel), in 1989/90, in achieving Distinguished District status. One can’t omit, either, the achievements of the other DGs during this decade who kept the show on the road in difficult circumstances. These were, Andrew Ducker (Oxford) 1979/80, Mike Murdock (Shillelagh) 1980/81, Gerald Keen (Grosvenor Sq), 1981/82, George Gallagher­Daggitt (Oxford), 1982/83, Mary O’Connor (Waterford), 1983/84, who served as the first DG from Ireland after four years of service from the afore mentioned, Mary Dwan (Dun Laoghaire) 1985/86, Norman Rhodes (Maidenhead) 1986/87, who received the International President’s Citation in August, 1989, awarded for outstanding contributions to TI, and John Earnshaw (Oxford), 1988/89.

Past District Governor Norman Rhodes celebrating 30years since founding Maidenhead Speakers

District Conference IS IT TOO LATE TO BOOK? #Norwich19

By Red Skelton DTM, Conference Team member


Wow, is it only a couple of weeks before the Norwich Conference? I am getting so excited and can’t wait for the weekend to begin. I have a friend that hasn’t booked yet and was wondering if I could tell her about all the presenters and entertainment for the weekend. I said not a problem! There will be two Keynote Speakers Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez and Marcus Hemsley. There will also be six workshops throughout the weekend including; Eldonnna Lewis-Fernandez, Marcus Hemsley, Bret Freeman, Julian Hammond, Shaun Durkin and Laura Bruce. All will be inspiring and enjoyable.

The entertainment will be top class as well. The D-Day Darlings will be performing on Friday evening while the Joe Ringer Band will be performing Saturday evening. The Rock Vox Choir will also be performing during pre-drinks on Saturday evening.

The theme of the conference is, “going back to the 1940s”. People will embrace this theme in many ways. From the traditional 1940s dress the whole weekend to the 1940s Friday evening wear, we just want you to enjoy the 1940 theme.

My friend was very excited about the idea of coming and asked if I knew if there were any more tickets available? I told her that there are still a few tickets available and if she wanted to go then please go to the conference website https://www.norwichconference2019.com to book the ticket and also check on the availability of hotels. I warned her that the conference will be selling out fast so not to delay her booking. She booked immediately so not to miss this exciting experience.

Lastly, bring your club banner with you. Do not worry about the dowels so you can fold your banner and fit it in your hand luggage if flying from Ireland. Please leave your banner when you check in for the conference. You will get it back once the conference is over. I hope to see as many of you as possible during this extraordinary event!

Do not miss out on a weekend of fun, friends and your Toastmaster family.


Four individuals have cancelled their tickets for the Norwich Conference. These tickets were purchased at the Earlybird rate and will go on sale immediately for the Earlybird rate of £240. These tickets will be on a first come first served basis. Please send your interest and intent to the “Contact Us” link and ensure you add your name and the number of tickets you want. These will sell out fast so please contact the conference team via the website.

Opening Doors – enabling, empowering and delegating in your team

by Sam Warner DTM, Shropshire Speakers Toastmasters International club

With great power comes great responsibility. If you’ve ever experienced an over-zealous new team leader or manager, you might have this phrase ringing in your ears. It’s common practise for companies to promote members of staff into leadership roles and then develop them once there, instead of giving them the tools to do the job and then promoting them into the role once equipped.

The thing about a Toastmasters International public speaking club is that it provides an excellent opportunity for anyone seeking this toolset and mindset to try it out in a safe place, supported and encouraged instead of looking over their shoulder in fear of making a “career limiting” mistake or worse ruining someone else’s career through poor line management. It’s not just about making toasts or speeches, it’s so much more.

I’m going to share my story with you as I hope to inspire you to consider that there is another way….

Having worked in the corporate world for over 20 years I have experienced and witnessed many shocking and unprofessional incidents borne out of a lack of experience and understanding. The crucial factor to becoming a new leader of any kind is self-awareness; to understand your impact on others and to learn to listen first. Most people are never taught how to be a follower never mind a leader! At school we were told to sit down, shut up and do as we were told! It just felt like all the doors were firmly shut.

My own capability before I discovered Toastmasters was limited – I see that now – but I was unconsciously incompetent then. I would copy other team leaders hoping they were good role models to emulate but that only served to perpetuate bad practise, inconsistency and stressful conversations with disgruntled staff. Nothing seemed to change for the better, and there seemed to be limited formal training, you were supposed to just figure it out. The coping mechanisms and expected behaviours were never explained and I was struggling to be effective and influential.

After joining Toastmasters, I was given the opportunity to start learning the skills of leadership by undertaking the role of Mentor. It’s such a simple role, between two people meeting up monthly and one helping the other to achieve specific goals using the benefit of their knowledge and experience. But it taught me how to be a good listener. It taught me to remove myself from the equation – it’s not about me – it’s all about them. It also honed my problem-solving skills as I helped them navigate the challenges they faced.

Soon after that I wanted more. I became a deputy for one of the Club Committee roles, so I could learn the ropes before taking on the role officially. A few months later I was invited to apply for the full role and was voted in. I was now accountable for 23 people’s happiness! Then I was hooked; receiving excellent and useable feedback and evaluation with examples of what worked well, and what could be improved upon; so, I could assess how I was getting on in the role. This meant I could make small adjustments to become the best I could be. I thrived, and the club thrived.

When was the last time you gave or received great usable feedback with specific examples?

In the Toastmasters training programme, I noticed there were many opportunities there for me to lead on projects outside our club meetings. At the time I was planning on applying for the position of Project Manager at work (a promotion) so it seemed ideal. I was excited to get stuck in and thought that doing something that gave back to my Community would be the most rewarding non-work-related project.

I started my first Youth Leadership Program with a set of 15 students in an Academy near where I lived. I led a small team of Toastmasters to deliver the material and that meant delegating whole sections to them and watching without correcting them or interfering! Over ten weeks we guided the students towards the delivery of a showcase event where they all delivered speeches of more than four minutes each on a variety of subjects chosen by the students themselves. It was very well received by their parents and the school principal and I was asked back to duplicate our results with a new cohort. 5 years later I am about to deliver my seventh program….

Whilst all this was going on I was also delivering full training days using the Better Speaker Series and Leadership Excellence Series manuals to members and non-members alike, and I used my High-Performance Leadership Project to help me build and coordinate the team I used to deliver the training days. It walked me through from Vision, Mission etc right through to lessons learned after delivery, using delegation so that I didn’t do all the work myself.

Simultaneously I did get the promotion at work and I found the skills I picked up in Toastmasters were essential to my new role of communicating clearly at all levels with many different teams, colleagues, suppliers, stakeholders and customers. It taught me how to give effective feedback and how to delegate. I learned how to listen and lead.

Do you know any leaders who are good at listening?

The next opportunities gave me the remaining tools I needed to enable and empower.

I had really thrown myself into this personal development side of life and was enjoying it immensely. It was not long before I was asked to apply for the role of Area Director which gave me oversight of 5 clubs (and approximately 120 members). This brought in the new dynamic of trusting people I barely knew to undertake tasks towards a joint goal. Whilst this was tricky at first I soon found my stride and saw the similarities between this and working with remote teams in my job. I found I was able to help new people grow into leadership roles by using those mentoring skills I had learned all those years ago. I didn’t have to tell them how to do something I could just tell them the outcome I desired. My job was to guide them, check in with them and ensure they felt supported and encouraged. I made myself available and approachable – some needed more help than others, but I soon learned to tap into their working styles quickly.

I also learned the power of persuasion. It’s amazing how influential you can become when you say quietly to someone “I can see you doing X. I think you’d be really great at that, why don’t you give it a try?”

The pinnacle of my leadership training to date with Toastmasters was being asked to serve on the District Leadership Team as Administration Manager. Our small team of seven people led the 5000+ members in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland and England (North of London) through their own leadership and public speaking training journeys to help more and more people walk through open doors. The role came with travel, networking, operating at a senior level and ensuring all milestones were reached on time and within budget.

Hmmm doesn’t that sound familiar – that was what I was doing as a Project Manager!

The skills I learned have also enabled me to spread my wings further. I have started my own business as a communications specialist helping Autistic adults at work/ in to work and I deliver keynotes on the Transition from Follower to Leader and on Autism in the workplace.

I put on the very first TEDxTelford in 2018 with 15 live speakers and 100 people in the audience and am organising a second one. I was able to lead the organising team, coach the speakers, MC the event and get everything done in good time and inside budget and we sold out a week prior to the event.

Last year I achieved the highest award for all my work in Toastmasters International and can now call myself a Distinguished Toastmaster. Without doubt Toastmasters has been instrumental in my personal development and has opened many doors for me in terms of work and relationships. I believe that in becoming self-aware I have become a nicer person to be around and I have a very full and happy life.

Oh, and did I forget to mention – I am Autistic…. J

April ’19 Guest Division D

By Division D Director Shaun Durkin

The ‘ancient eastern’ seaboard of Division D comprises Areas 08, 28, 40 and 50. The value of ‘service’ is one which we can sometimes take for granted, but in a Division with an average club size of just 22 members, our clubs rely heavily on the dedication, expertise and commitments of key members and club officers, a number of whom may be supporting other clubs through dual membership or combined club/area roles.

New membership leading to club sustainability and growth is therefore a key component of Club Success Plans and with 104 new members across the Division in 2018/19, this shows the dedication of our club committees. We will continue working to increase our membership base right through to June.

If I was to describe the culture of Division D it is convivial, collegial and caring. I saw this first hand at our ‘divisional’ Club Officer training in Carlow (July) and Divisional Contests in Naas (November) and I’m thankful to all, including my team of Area Directors, who are making my role so much easier.

Area 08

by Director Jim Keating

Area 08 consists of 5 clubs; two in Waterford City, and clubs in the towns of Clonmel, Cashel and Dungarvan. The Area Director is Jim Keating, who is ably assisted by Anthony Phelan.

Area activity has included two well run and high standard Speaking Contests with a combined attendance of more than 100 Toastmasters or guests. Contests were held in Waterford, hosted by DLS Communicators and in Clonmel hosted by the local Club. Members from 4 of our clubs qualified for Divisional Finals.

Clonmel Toastmasters having achieved 5 in-a-row Distinguished President Awards

DLS Communicators

Tower Toastmasters

A successful Speechcraft course was run for staff members of South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel. The course was coordinated by Isweri Pillay with assistance from members in all Clubs. Denis Corcoran of Clonmel Toastmasters ran Youth Leadership courses for about six groups of Transition Year students for 16 years. Denis has ‘retired’ which is Toastmasters loss. This year Mick White, of Clonmel and Patricia Loughnane of Thurles and Cashel kept on the good work.

The Area had members who did not renew but overall membership numbers have held up. There were several initiatives seeking new members including Open Meetings planned, promoted and provided in several Clubs. Dungarvan members went out to a large, local firm and did a presentation to staff about the learning and social opportunities offered by Toastmasters. The firm encouraged their people to join the club and Dungarvan, a smaller club, got 3 new members.

All Clubs use Social Media to a greater or lesser extent. This work requires knowledge, persistence and effort; it is an area where we can all improve. Pathways is available now to all members – there are good resources available online and some members have worked hard at promoting Pathways, either as Ambassadors or within Clubs. There is a reasonable level of take up. At this stage I am sure that nearly all members of Toastmasters use electronic communication in their work or social activity. Yet I believe that one to one support may be needed to accelerate take-up of Pathways in our Area.

Area 28

by Director Loretto Kenny

Area 28 consists of five clubs with a total of 119 members. These clubs are Athy, Clane, Kildare, Maynooth and Naas. I have the honour of being their Area Director. From my club visits I have found the club meetings to be vibrant, informative and energising with a bit of “fun” thrown in.

Our Area 28 Final in the International Speech and Evaluation Contest was a high-quality event hosted by Maynooth Toastmasters. I wish all our successful contestants the very best of luck in the further stages of the contests.

The Contest Chair for the evening was Jane Mooney. On behalf of Area 28, I would like to congratulate Jane on becoming a Distinguished Toastmaster.

I would also like to acknowledge the great work and leadership that is being shown in Area 28 by a committed group of Toastmasters who do everything in their power to keep their clubs growing and thriving.

Naas Toastmasters delivers Pathways Workshop

Naas Toastmasters ran a Pathways Workshop in March to support members’ educational progression. Division D Director and Naas VPE, Shaun Durkin, facilitated the workshop that covered the basics of Base Camp; Frequently Asked Questions (Paths, Levels, and Projects); Educational Transcript (Accessing and Completing a Project; Completing Evaluations; Viewing Tutorials; Requesting online feedback; and receiving badges.

Of note during the workshop, was the fact that most participants had reached the same stage in their Pathways competence, that of having selected their Path – and delivering the Project speech(s) during a club night – but not progressing to completing the required assignment within their Pathways ‘Education Transcript’.

Members were delighted that the workshop dealt with this issue and went on the show the link between Pathways online material, recording members’ speeches in EasySpeak and how the achievement of Pathways Levels is notified to Toastmasters International via the ‘Club Central’ function.

Area 40

by Director Niamh Doherty

Area 40 consists of the clubs of Thurles, Kilkenny, Carlow, Portlaoise and Kiltegan.

Kilkenny Toastmasters host Divisional Contests

In Area 40, Kilkenny Toastmasters hosted the Division D International Speech and Evaluation Contests. Shaun Durkin (Division D Director) facilitated an informative and interactive workshop on ‘Contest Judging – A Values Driven Responsibility’.

Shaun Durkin (Division Director), David Clinton (International Speech winner), Sarah O’Connor (Evaluation Contest winner) and Katherine Ryan (Contest Chair)

Area 50

By Director Ita Finnerty

Area 50 consists of the clubs of Enniscorthy, Gorey, Wexford and Elavon Arklow.

Wexford Toastmasters Celebrate 10th Anniversary

In Area 50, Wexford Toastmasters are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year. The Wexford club was founded by Bettie Marie Burger Smit and Brian Matthews DTM, members of the Enniscorthy Toastmasters Club, the first club in the county. Enniscorthy members also set up the club in Gorey. Today, all three clubs continue to flourish.

Wexford Toastmasters have been busy marking the year; hosting a public workshop ‘Persuade on Purpose’ presented by Eric Fitzpatrick on January 13th, and later that month a night of socialising and celebration in Wexford Harbour Boat and Tennis Club. A presentation was made to Bettie and Brian by club President Eddie Cassidy, which was followed by the cutting of the anniversary cake by both founding members. Former Wexford Toastmasters and members from Enniscorthy and Gorey also joined in the celebrations to make it a night to remember for the club.

Wexford Toastmasters were also honoured with a Mayoral reception on November 22nd, 2018 to acknowledge the contribution that Toastmasters has made in Wexford. The club is particularly diverse with members of six nationalities and people involved from all walks of life. The club currently meets in The Wexford Harbour Boat Club on the first and third Thursday of the month.