Quaywords July 2016

July 2016


The Newsletter of Victoria Quay Toastmasters
Editor: David Nicholas
: Glenis Nicholas, Andrew Moore, Carla van Raay

What will you find in this edition?

This is the online edition of our July 2016 Newsletter.  It has lots of  contributions from members.  Some are short.  Some are longer.

You can read it through from beginning to end or jump around, using the list below. Click on the name to go to the contribution. The stories are in the order they were received.


Carla Antony David N Keith Ilija
A Game-Changer The best value Personal Experience Speeches The best part is the stories Finding the Treasure
Caroline Peter Gail Mark Dean
Overcoming nerves An Addiction Overcoming my fears Practising the skills  I stayed a lot longer
Shona Bill Maggie Roy Chris
I keep coming back Back to Victoria Quay A privilege  Transformational  Work presentations
Scott Pauline Phillipa Andrew Leisl
Social skills Best things I have done Invaluable skills Take the first step I’m looking forward to learning so much more
Lizzie Sunil Judy Eileen Peter
A Xmas party in 2013 One of the best clubs in the world I’m glad I chose Victoria Quay I had a great evening Travelling the journey


A Game-Changer

Not an average life


Toastmasters! It’s a game-changer for me!!

I have been a member of Victoria Quay Toastmasters since the beginning of this year and I have found it to be a game-changer for me. I had been used to public speaking but had become rusty by a long break of several years, and found that I badly needed some practice! I have found an attentive audience in our Club – kind and enthusiastic members who gave me encouragement as well as many helpful hints about how to improve. The lighting in our clubhouse is not the best but the quality of the company and the learning I get from watching and listening to others more than makes up for that.

About our last meeting on July 13.

In spite of the cold inside the room and not just outside, it was packed with members and visitors.

Most of those stayed around to socialise afterwards, warming up on tasty snacks and hot drinks. There was much laughter and congeniality and it was hard to break myself away.

Even when there is no opportunity to speak, which seldom happens, there is always the opportunity to learn, smile, laugh and take part afterwards.

Carla van Raay
Author, living in Willagee WA

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The Best Value



I have found my experience with the Victoria Quay branch of Toastmasters to be a very positive one, with many highlights.
The best thing about Toastmasters is it provides people with a forum to come out of their shell and learn the art of public speaking, and its always great to see people who where once timid become competent speakers.

One speech which sticks out in my mind was “The Love Guru” speech by Roy Pui, in that it was humorous, engaging and original.

The other great thing about Toastmasters is that it attracts people from all walks of life, dentists, nurses, teachers, artists and builders have all seen a need to improve their speaking skills.

The suppers provide an excellent opportunity to network with over a warm cuppa.

All in all Toastmasters would have to be one of the best value for money organisations in the world and with 90000 members its easy to se why.

Antony Svilicich

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Finding the Treasure



One of the greatest discoveries that I have made in my lifetime, is finding the treasure of Toastmasters.

Toastmasters has been an instrumental tool, to improve my communication ability. I remember going to Toastmasters hoping that somebody was going to wave a magical wand and I would become a wonderful Speaker. Ouch, boy that fantasy was corrected.

What I got was a group of likeminded people, inspiring each other every week to improve and develop their skills.

They tell amazing stories. Each meeting is action packed. New friendships are made. You have no choice but to improve your public speaking.

Victoria Quay Toastmasters is an fantastic club to be a part of.

My most favourite part of the night is the supper with coffee and discussions with members on strategies to improve.

Ilija Jurin

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The best part is the stories



What do I like about the meetings?
The best part of the Meetings is the stories. Stories that we wouldn’t hear anywhere else. Stories of little snippets of peoples lives that just wouldn’t come up in conversation.

Do I remember a particular meeting for some reason?
One meeting that always sticks in my mind is when a relatively new member was giving her first two minute speech. When Shona and I arrived in the parking lot she got out of her car and admitted to us that if we hadn’t pulled at just that moment she would have driven off, probably never to return in this lifetime. She went inside, tentatively got up, and absolutely killed it. She had us rolling on the floor with laughter. It would have been a brilliant contest speech, let alone a very first go at public speaking.

Do I remember a particular member’s speech or comment?
Shona, my wife, gave an absolutely brilliant speech about a month ago. I was so proud of her because the speech was a huge stretch from anything she had ever done before. And she had everyone riveted. I had watched her develop her self confidence as a public speaker over the previous 10 months of membership, but this was an order of magnitude step up in public speaking. And great fun too.

Something about other members?
A big part of the joy of Toastmasters for me is the joy of watching members blossom. A member joined about a month back. On her first night attending the meeting she was asked to speak in Table Topics. She spoke well but afterwards was filled with self recrimination and self doubt. But then she became a member. She gave her first speech and was great. In 12 months she will be amazing.

Benefits to me of my VQ membership?
Aside from all of the above, I have been coming for just over a year. Shona and I attend most every week and I take any opportunity to speak that is offered by someone having to cancel at the last moment.

The result has not only been the expected of being much better at speaking in public. I have become much much more confident speaking one on one. I have been able recently to tell some people things they didn’t really want to hear. I have been so very nervous to speak in general but strangely it has made it much easier to say things that in the past I just wouldn’t have said at all.

Keith Hutchings

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Personal Experience Speeches

David Nicholas


Over about the last 15 years I have been promoting this to our members.  Use personal experiences as the basis for most of your speeches.

We have seen the benefits of this very clearly in our meetings over the years.  If you would like to know about the basis for this, go to the page on the website.

We saw the benefits of this in some recent meetings.  On July 13 all of  the participants showed skill and passion –   some more than others, but they all had it.  In particular Gail’s first speech – When I grow up – was amazingly self-revelatory and  gripping.  Then Judy’s speech about the importance of feeling and emotion in creating great speeches was  skilful and so relevant to what was going on in the meeting that night.  And there was Shona’s Soapbox.  And others.

And the previous week – Leisl’s speech – Childhood Cancer.  It was riveting.  It was so heartfelt.  Her rather laconic, matter of fact style as she reported the statistics and detailed her anguish – that was technically brilliant, but in no way did it advertise its skill. It needed and  used it.   As I remember now Leisl describing the horror she experienced as she passed her terrified baby over to the anaesthetist I can’t stop the tears rolling down my cheeks.  Most of us there were parents.  We could understand why she did it and why it felt so awful to do it.  Leisl’s speech was technically brilliant and powerfully engaging for the audience.  It was white hot personal experience.

The ordinary business of a Toastmasters Club – and Victoria Quay does it brilliantly – relates to people overcoming their fears of speaking to groups and learning skills to become effective communicators.  But! just as a crucible processes raw ore to produce molten refined metal, so our “ordinary” meetings can produce “special” experiences that enhance the understanding and perceptions of other members.

I look forward with anticipation and confidence that we will have more of these special personal experience speeches.

David Nicholas

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Personal Experience Speeches



One year ago I joined Toastmasters to overcome nerves. I had joined BNI, a business networking group and had to deliver a 60sec speech each week. I always felt uneasy about this speech and wanted to improve myself and shake off those nerves. Prior to joining BNI, I had not done any public speaking.

I found Victoria Quay Toastmaster Club which is close to where I live. I attended a meeting and met a great bunch of people who were and still are very welcoming. My nerves have almost gone and I feel more comfortable public speaking. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be engaged with like minded people.

The many speeches I have heard over the year have left me with lots of inspiration and knowledge. It is a pleasure to attend the meetings and hear about the individual journey of the members . Along the way I have acquired skills that will enable me to continue improvement in my abilities. It is also absolutely fantastic to see the growth in other people who have become members.

A special thank you to the founding members of Victoria Quay who are so full of encouragement for new members.

Caroline Devenish-Meares

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An Addiction

Peter Carrie 2012


I often refer to Toastmasters as my addiction of choice!

Why ? Because it gets into your system.
How? Because it becomes addictive
Wow? Because it gives you a good feeling!

A few years ago I noticed that I was becoming very nervous about public speaking and as that is a big part of my job I decided I needed to do something about it.

I heard someone from Toastmasters interviewed on the radio and decided to do a Speechcraft course. Well -that course certainly was a game changer for me. I found people who were like minded and very positive and supportive. Best of all- I got my public speaking confidence back and was able to go on and confidently speak in public again with ease. I hosted a Citizenship Ceremony at the City of Melville with over 150 people present.

The thing I love about Victoria Quay Club meetings is not only do you hear some great stories but you also meet some great people as well and I have gained many friendships through the club. I also get a kick out of helping new members commence their Toastmasters journey and to develop their skills.

A particular speech I remember is Carla’s Icebreaker about her spiritual journey from being a Nun to becoming “Gods’ Call Girl” – I would describe that speech as “jaw dropping” and one of those nights where you realise why you come to Toastmasters.

Victoria Quay Toastmasters club is a great way to improve your public speaking, meet new and interesting people and to get those endorphins working in your body!

Peter Carrie

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Confronting my fears



I have a business as a kinesiologist. I help people deal with body problems which often affect their feelings about themselves. It can make them anxious, unhappy, fearful. Every day, I get to encourage others to discover their dreams and begin to live them. While I am confident that what I do makes a big difference to people I realised that I could be doing better. My own lack of confidence as I was communicating with my clients needed help.

So, a couple of months ago when I saw an open invitation in my local paper to join a Toastmaster’s club and become a confident communicator, I decided it was time to confront my fear of public speaking. I discovered that I’m not the only one with this fear. In fact it seems I share it with about 75% of other people. It’s said to be one of the deepest and most common fears. It ranks up there with fears of death, spiders, flying and enclosed spaces.
I went along first as a visitor for a couple of weeks. I enjoyed some really interesting speeches. I met some lovely people and enjoyed that buzz of adrenaline that I realised was there because these ‘ordinary people’ were taking on the challenge of slaying their dragons. The process of joining was easy, a bit of paperwork, a small fee, a welcome email. But then I saw my name appear on the program.

I spent hours and hours preparing, practising and memorising that first speech which lasted all of one minute. I loved preparing that speech and couldn’t wait to see how much my audience liked it – But after that first speech, I didn’t feel better. I felt worse. I was ready to leave the club and never go back. I was self-analysing and cringing as I imagined what other people must have been thinking to themselves as I paced nervously around the stage. I was barely able to look anyone in the eyes yet at the same time acutely aware of any indication that they were reacting negatively to what I now thought was a stupid speech. Not only that, but my one minute speech was at the beginning of the program. Once I sat down, I spent the rest of the evening listening to other people deliver their speeches. As I compared myself to them. I couldn’t imagine that I could ever be as interesting, as funny or as polished.

I have kept going and I have to say it’s because of the encouragement that came from other members. Both in the evaluation and in the suppertime afterwards. It was incredible! People only had positive, encouraging things to say. No judgements, just tips on how I could do better next time. The experience of true empathy coming from people who understood exactly what I was going through was priceless.

I realised that I’d lost sight of the fact that I was at the beginning of the process of change. Any change worth working for will usually involve being prepared to be vulnerable and uncomfortable. I was looking towards my goal and telling myself that I was never going to be smart enough, funny enough or good enough to achieve it. The more I did this the worse I felt.

I remembered to apply the advice I would give to my clients about a more positive, empowering approach. With this approach, instead of comparing yourself to your future goal, you look back at your starting point and compare it to where you are now. My starting point involved many experiences of tongue-tied mumbling and embarrassment. I can now compare those experiences to me being prepared to be vulnerable, put the work in and learn how to do things better in an incredibly supportive environment.

I am full of admiration for this group of Toastmasters and am truly grateful for the opportunity to follow their lead in becoming a more confident communicator and public speaker.

Gail Allen

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Practising the skills

Mark Richards


My experience at Victoria Quay is one of learning, honing the craft and putting into practice the skills I have gained. All of this in a fun and friendly atmosphere.

I joined Victoria Quay in 2001 to help me become confident enough to promote a new children’s book I had produced and was marketing. Pretty soon after joining, my speaking skills started to improve because of the encouragement and guidance from other fellow members. The book didn’t take off but my confidence did. By 2004 I was confident enough to become the President and the Leadership path was something that I really took a shine to. I became Area Governor, Division Governor, Public Relations Manager, Lieutenant Governor of Marketing, Lieutenant Governor of Education and Training and then the Inaugural District Governor of District 17 (Western Australia) all with the help, encouragement and guidance of my fellow Victoria Quay members. Victoria Quay was like a second family to me.

I just love listening to the wide variety of speeches and especially the Icebreakers. I am always in awe at how we are blessed to watch a beginner speaker slowly blossom into a confident and able speaker. I believe that our evaluation process is the pure gold for our members as it teaches us to listen carefully, give positive feedback to help them improve and in turn helps us too.

The 1000th meeting was something very special for me as it showcased the many, many members the club has produced over the past 20 years and it was great catching up and meeting past members. I am so glad that founding members and mentors to me, David & Glenis and Alan Smith were applauded for their brilliant work at Victoria Quay.

There have been many memorable speeches at the club but one that really stands out for me was Peter Law’s speech about his day as being Santa Claus at the Army barracks. It was hilarious and won him the title of District Humourous Champion that year.

I have made lifelong friendships at the club and I can’t say enough about the guidance and mentorship given to me by David Nicholas. Colin Hughes has had a huge influence on me over the years and I have enjoyed our time together driving to and from meetings. I was so pleased and proud for him when he achieved his DTM last year.

My membership at Victoria Quay has been invaluable in my growth and development as a speaker and leader within and outside of Toastmasters. I am currently running for International Director for our Region 12 which is Australia and New Zealand and I will take with me to Washington DC this August the skills and confidence I have gained from being a member of this great club.

Mark Richards

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I stayed a lot longer

Dean Humphrey


My experience at VQ has been fantastic. I joined VQ at the Xmas meeting of 2012 with an initial goal of attending a minimum of ten meetings. That was approximately 170 meetings ago. The structure of the meetings is first class and lets everyone know, including guests, what will be happening on the night, and also the following week. I love having the opportunity of doing all the different roles on the agenda and also learning from other members. I also feel like I might be missing something on the nights I can’t attend. It becomes like an extended family. Personally speaking I feel my public speaking has improved greatly since being a member at VQ.

Most meetings are memorable, especially the ones where people have the courage to share something of themselves which is personal or push themselves into unknown territory with a view to becoming a better speaker. Improvements in public speaking are like anything else, they occur incrementally and only by ‘doing’. You can’t learn this from a book, you can only learn by practicing (and receiving feedback) in front of a group of people, and VQ is the perfect place for doing that.

The suppers are a great way to have an informal chat with other members and a fun way to wrap up the evening.

Dean Humphrey

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I keep going back

Shona Hutchings


I keep going back to Victoria Quay Toastmasters because there is such a positive vibe and uplifting encouragement to become the best public speaker I can.

The people are friendly and interesting, from a wide range of backgrounds and they are all enthusiastic to overcome their challenges, share their stories, inspire and help others to do the same.

I love the social interaction but most of all , I love watching people have a go and realise they can do this and see them shine, with just a small amount of support and positive feedback.

Shona Hutchings

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Back to Victoria Quay

Bill Kelly


I first became involved in Toastmasters in 2007 when I attended a Speechcraft course at one of the Toastmaster clubs in Perth.

I had taken the first step and had overcome my fear of speaking in public thanks the guidance and support throughout the course. I would have never foreseen prior to the course that I would want to subject myself to more challenges to speak in public but that is what I did. I decided to seek and join a club close to where I lived and worked.

Luckily for me I found Victoria Quay Toastmasters and joined a group of people from all walks of life with the same goals as mime, to improve personal public speaking skills. After a few months I moved away from Fremantle and Toastmasters dropped of my radar.

About a year and a half ago I found myself giving an industry presentation. My “self-evaluation” of my presentation indicated to me that I needed to get back to Toastmasters. I re-joined Victoria Quay and was made to feel welcome with many old faces and new friends to make.

I have since completed the Competent Communicator manual and look forward to working beyond just not being more comfortable speaking in public but improving my skills. I enjoy the social relaxed atmosphere of our club, the positive learning environment and of course the suppers at the end of the meeting.


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A privilege



I feel very privileged to be a Member of the Victoria Quay Toastmasters and I can tell everyone that the decision to join the club was the best I could
have made.

English is not my first language so I was thinking that I wouldn’t be welcome to participate with speaking at all.

From the very first day I have been given the same opportunity as others and I am overwhelmed at how I am treated and supported with my speaking

Having English as a second language, I have to face a double challenge when preparing for a speech, but I think this brings even more fun.

Through the club I have gained new friends, and I always look forward to seeing them on Wednesday night.

Since I joined Toastmasters, Wednesday is my favorite day. I really have a good time when I watch and listen to the others quality performances.

There have been many wonderful stories so far, and one of my favorites has been Ilija’s Jurin “Values Factor”.

Great stories and great people and yummy cakes afterwards are what you are missing out on if you are not a member of the club.

Maggie Batko

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Before joining Toastmasters, I feared public speaking a lot. And when I say “a lot”, I mean to say that I feared it more than death itself!

My personal growth in public speaking since joining Victoria Quay Toastmasters has been nothing short of transformational. Looking back to my first Icebreaker speech, I now feel like a completely different person.

My incredible journey and the results I achieved have only been possible because of the consistent practice I put myself through every week and the supportive, encouraging club members at Victoria Quay Toastmasters.

Taking in and applying the feedback from members allowed me to gradually improve week by week and become the communicator that I am today.

Roy Pui

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Work presentations



I joined toastmaster because I am starting to give more and more presentations with my work. I’ve always had a fear of public speaking and the times I have given them in the past my knees would knock together.

I truly see a benefit to being a part of toastmasters, not just to help me get over my fear of public speaking, but to be entertained by the stories. Everyone involved in toastmasters all have their own reason for being there, and it makes for a truly diverse crowd, and really interesting tales.

I recommend toastmasters to anyone, who want to hear a great story, meet great people and to help stop your knees from knocking.

Chris Dorian

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Social skills



Before joining Toastmasters, I feared public speaking a lot. And when I say “a lot”, I mean to say that I feared it more than death itself!

One of the reasons I joined Toastmasters is that I need to improve my social skills. As a recent graduate in a Bachelor of Science of Mathematics and Statistics I tend to be very left brain oriented. I love mathematical puzzles and logical argument. So the next challenge is the people puzzle.

Toastmasters is having a positive effect on me. I usually prefer a library or the quiet of a good study room but each week the angst of being confronted by a large audience has become easier and fun. It appeals to my sense of serious playful learning. With the feedback of being evaluated on each speech, the audience is similar to being part of an Emotionally Intelligent Family that is moving forward to be competent speakers.

Initially I found it daunting to actually look at people, especially eye to eye, while giving a speech. However, practice, practice….the people puzzle becomes easier.

I am a lifelong learner. I want to acquire the art of being a more competent speaker and to improve my people skills. Both have been enhanced by my Toastmasters encounter. I fully encourage other people to respond to the same challenge.

Scott Woodhill

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Best things I have done



Joining Toastmasters is up there with the best things that I have done.

Why ?

They have been such a gift. The Recommendations have revealed and honoured aspects of myself that I had not been aware of . And my favourite part the Recommendations ( given without judgement ) give me specific suggestions how I could improve presentations , prepared and spontaneous

I have found the Victoria Quay meetings ( with a collective of wonderfully different individuals ) inspirational, educational and often lots of fun !

Certainly a high point of the week , bringing benefits to my personal and professional life.

Scott Woodhill

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Invaluable skills



What did I hope to get from the Speechcraft course:
I had been wanting to participate in a Speechcraft course for many years to try and help me overcome my fear of public speaking. My fear of public speaking was really holding me back, especially in my career, so instead of letting it continue to do this I thought it was time to try and overcome it. So my main aim for the course was simply just doing it, getting through the 6 weeks and just giving it a go.

What did I get from it?
Not only did I get through it, I also got to share the journey with 6 other people who had signed up to the course. To me this was really important as we could support each other through the process. In addition to supporting each other we received a tremendous amount of support from the Toastmasters that gave up their Saturday afternoons to come and help with the course, and who also shared the journey with us. I met some great people, I developed a lot of skills and found areas to improve on each week. It was hard work, but like all things that are hard if you are willing to put the effort in you reap the rewards.

How are you going to use the skills?
The skills I learnt at Speechcraft have been invaluable. Straight away since doing the course I have been a lot more confident with public speaking in a sense that I don’t hold back as much at work meetings, I don’t not sleep for days-on-end before making a speech and I’m (very) slowly getting more comfortable with speaking in front of groups of people.

I have since joined the Victoria Quay Toastmasters Club to continue developing my skills further.

Phillipa Wilson

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Take the first step



Yes!  – take the first step
It was nine months ago when I walked through to the door to my first Toast Masters Speech Craft meeting. I was nervous, really nervous. It was a familiar feeling of anxiety that came over me at even the thought of talking in front of other people. At work meetings my palms would get sweaty and my attention would blur as I focused more on my nervousness and less on what other people were saying. My heart would beat frantically like I was back in a primary school running a race, running just as fast as I could.

The thing that perplexed me about this is that I was fine talking to people one-on-one, but, in front of a group, I was petrified. I always admired my Uncle Geoff who spoke so confidently in front of people, always captivating people with his stories and jokes. I wanted to be confident speaking like him.

I’d also signed up to present at a professional conference where I would be presenting not one but two presentations. I had to do well in these talks- my career depended on it!

So I walked through that door, into my first Toast Masters Speech Craft meeting.

I sat down next to a mentor named David and from his enthusiasm and big welcoming smile I knew he was someone I could trust to guide me through this.

“Here we learn by doing” he said and so we did. Step by step, speech by speech my confidence grew. Rather than trying to hide from speaking I actually started to enjoy it! My nervous energy shifted to to a feeling of excitement! Even for the impromptu “Table Topic” speeches, where you have literally no time at all to prepare, I found myself actually feeling disappointed if I wasn’t picked!

If you want to learn the art of giving a speech or just want to meet some new people and hear some incredible stories come along and join us. I can’t recommend Toastmasters highly enough!

Andrew Moore

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My experience at Toastmasters

Nobody told me


I was asked sometime a go to speak at an event regarding my son and my families experience following my sons diagnose with brain cancer. It was to be in front of a large crowd and it meant so much to me to get it right so it would be heard and make a difference. I knew if I did it without coaching I would not achieve the results I wanted.
I googled public speaking and came across Victoria quay toastmasters. I made a phone call and spoke to a wonderful man named David. He was so supportive on the phone and made me feel like this was the place for me. It was. I soon found myself in an incredibly supportive environment with people of all walks of life and experience. I have met so many beautiful people and made wonderful friendships.
I have been a member for nearly a year and it has truly been a wonderful experience where I have learnt skills I otherwise wouldn’t develop.
I did my speech on childhood cancer a few weeks ago at Toastmasters and am so proud of myself for getting through it. I simply could not have done it without Toastmasters and it’s amazing members.
I’m looking forward to learning so much more and further developing my public speaking skills. I couldn’t recommend this club enough!

Leisl Stone

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A Xmas party in 2013



It was Xmas 2013 I was asked by my friend Mary-Kate to join her for the Annual Toastmasters Xmas party down at Victoria Quay. It was a really fun evening.

That evening I had met some great people.
What a variety of personalities from all walks of life.

I enjoyed meeting them so much I was then up for the challenge.
I found a mentor in the club so I was now on my way.

As an Occupational health nurse I had taught many classes to many folks on Off shore Installations , mine sites, and at a chemical plant ..

I was quickly learning that there was a better way to impart my knowledge in public speaking in a better more structured way.

Toastmasters was well on the way to giving me the skills to do this.

The interesting stories, speeches, soap boxes from all the toastmasters has had me returning for more and now nearly 3 years down the track I keep my Wednesday free to participate and enjoy these amazing evenings.
The camaraderie amongst members has no price on it and have really loved the various nationalities who show up like me most weeks.

All too soon I will be leaving Perth at the end of October 2016 to return to Family and my grand children In Queenstown NZ.

I have already looked up the address where the meetings are held in Queenstown , so I will be all set to once again join and meet some really interesting Toastmasters.

I still need to learn and present myself in a way that I see the experienced speakers demonstrate every week. I look forward to the challenge ahead.

Lizzie Williams

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When I first attended toastmasters at Victoria Quay some years ago I was very shy to speak in front of the “crowd”. Throughout the time I’ve spent at our club I have noticed how much my confidence has improved. Sometimes my English might sound funny but Victoria Quay members seem to have a tolerance for that!! Club members are non-threatening, supportive and do give positive feedback which really helps. After the meetings the interaction with members and visitors with a cup of green tea is always enjoyable.

In the past when I had plenty of time on-hand and was able to help with Speechcraft it was always nice to see people’s speaking skills really develop within a relatively short period of six weeks. What members get for $90 for six months is priceless some courses can cost thousands of dollars for public speaking courses.

Another important facet of toastmasters is the meeting formats and keeping to schedule, these skills are invaluable in themselves in the workplace and private life.

I am proud to be part of one of the best clubs in the World. I always look forward to Wednesday nights. David is a rock and has provided a foundation for the club that has enabled it to flourish and be recognised as one of the best.


Sunil Shrestha

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I’m glad I chose Victoria Quay



I joined Victoria Quay Toastmasters in December 2014 after completing a Speechcraft course. I could have chosen a club closer to where I live but there was something about David Nicholas’ encouragement, support, optimism and I have to say it, persistence that was compelling. I truly haven’t looked back and I know I made the right decision to be a member of Victoria Quay.
First and foremost I value the wonderful people I’ve met. While I hesitate to single out individuals I will, but with the understanding that it’s each and every person’s unique contribution to our Club that makes it so strong. Sunil was my mentor at Speechcraft and it was his genuine ability to challenge me that kept me challenging myself. I always look forward to his speeches which are often fascinating accounts of his personal history and experiences in Nepal.

Then there’s the ‘two Peters’ – Peter Law and Peter Carrie – to me, the backbone of Victoria Quay – reliable, consistent and great role models. Ilija, Caroline and Tracey are my inspirations. They all started almost a year after I did but are determined, motivated and passionate people who have developed their public speaking skills significantly and have also taken on officer roles. There’s no stopping them!

Secondly I appreciate the many opportunities we have to grow and stretch, especially in leadership capability. I was a contestant in the District Table Topics Speech Contest at the May City of Dreams Toastmasters Convention having almost unwittingly found myself the winner and runner-up of two previous competitions. I must admit I didn’t really know what I’d let myself in for, but understanding that David will only push you if he knows you can do it, was incentive enough for me. I wasn’t a place getter but the process and experience were great leaning opportunities, and yes, I’d do it all again.

Thirdly I’m only just developing some insights into the bigger picture of Toastmasters International, enough to realize that there continue to be amazing opportunities to extend yourself if that’s what you choose, both within and beyond your Club.

There is a very special energy at Victoria Quay and it’s contagious. Our members come from many different backgrounds which is what I really enjoy. This brings diversity in speech content, great social discussions after meetings (nobody wants to go home) and yummy food. People are very warm and friendly and they have a generosity of spirit in that they give freely of their time to mentor and support.

If you are reading this and are not yet a member, rest assured there are many lovely folk who’ll not only make you feel very much at home, but will go that extra mile to ensure you reach your goals.

Judy McGinn

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I had a great evening



I became a member of the Victoria Quay Toastmasters Club in April 2016. A work colleague invited me to a meeting and it was absolutely nothing like what I had expected. I HAD A GREAT EVENING. It was a fun agenda packed with interesting speeches and high calibre speakers. The atmosphere was positive; the organisation was professional; the members were welcoming and an encouraging environment for learning and development. I was so inspired that I returned the next week and signed up.

Until now, I have never though public speaking could be fun. English was not my first language so public speaking has always been one of the dreaded things in life. At Victoria Quay, it quashes the dreadfulness. The diverse background and experience of the members provide interesting speeches and make every meeting fun and enjoyable. Every meeting is also a learning experience – I learn something new, more than just public speaking. That’s why I look forward to the meeting every week.

There is nothing more encouraging than an audience that is committed to showing up to hear your speech. It provides the personal drive and motivation to do better. It challenges you to craft a more interesting speech each time for the audience. In the short span of time, I have more confidence and focus, definitely less nervous standing in front of the group and speaking. I am onto a good start.

Eileen Tan

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Travelling the journey



Someone once said “every journey begins with the first step”.

Once you join Toastmasters and genuinely commit to the process the self improvement noticeably accelerates at an exponential rate.

Although Toastmasters promotes itself as a place to learn to speak publicly more effectively and with confidence, Toastmasters is actually about much more than just public speaking.

Toastmasters actually teaches you how to communicate effectively.

The learned communication skills of actually listening and observing other speakers talk, analysing a speakers body language, gestures, eye contact and use of voice, tone and pitch are incredibly invaluable skills to acquire when communicating and interacting with people in all aspects of our lives.

The Toastmasters format provides for an exceptional adult education environment. Anyone that speaks at a Toastmasters meeting is evaluated in a constructive and purposeful way, not criticised or humiliated, creating a safe learning environment for everyone.

The benefits I have derived from committing to the Toastmasters process have helped me enormously both in my career and personal life.

The Toastmasters process enables you to learn at your own speed, you can move as fast or As slow as you desire, the journey is yours to travel.

Peter Howard

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