What will you find in this edition?
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 list is alphabetical. The stories are not.
|Craig||David N||David R||Gail||Glenis|
From the Editor
Since helping start this Club in 1995 I’ve been to nearly all the 657 meetings, and enjoyed every one. Meetings are a great reviver after a hard day’s work. As Club members, we constantly practise improving our communication and leadership skills. Old and new members alike help each other and watch everyone blossom. We meet new people from all walks of life and hear wonderful stories, inspiring, funny, sometimes sad, always interesting. We celebrate each others achievements, all attained after great personal effort, plus great support from everyone else. An “icebreaker” is given, and new members discover skills they weren’t really aware of – colourful voices, a sense of humour, passionate delivery. Old and new, we work on overcoming unconscious old habits and trying out new possibilities.
In Table Topics we try out new personas, different ways of thinking and presenting our ideas. Our creative imaginations have been fully engaged in recent sessions in fanciful stories and celebrations. We get helpful feedback and advice for improvement. We get supper and a chance to develop new friendships after the meeting. Within Toastmasters our Club provides voluntary leaders at Club, Area, Division and District levels, helping keep Toastmasters alive and functioning. What a fantastic Club we have.
We are missing Karyn, Lynn and Judith from our meetings at present due to illness. We hope you all recover soon and are back with us again.
Thanks to all our members who give so much of themselves to help others, and in return we are given the support to develop not only our communication skills but our whole selves. I’m looking forward to Meeting 658.
Just the Place
Where do you go when you want to gain confidence, meet new people, hear personal stories both moving and funny? Toastmaster’s of course. I had never heard of it until one day my friend Janet said to me one day “Lynny, I have just the place for you” and she wasn’t wrong. I have learnt so much about myself and others.
Table Topics is one of my favourite sections in a meeting! The unknown question that is going to come your way and how you will handle it is all so interesting and at times humorous! Entering competitions is also another area to challenge yourself and is something that I have done numerous times, some successful some not so!
So those of you out there who want something different to do, to bring a whole new adventure into your life come along and bring a friend. Not only do you learn but you meet some amazing people. I know – I have.
Catalyst for Confidence
Public Speaking – the number one fear in the world. Why? For me it was the vulnerability. It’s that nakedness I felt when all eyes were on me. What will the audience think? Will they like me? Fear of judgement can lead to the freak out moments we have all experienced to some degree.
So how do we get over this? For me it came down to self confidence or should I say the lack of… When I doubted myself, I allowed the judgement of others to affect me, to stop me from saying what I wanted to say, how I wanted to say it. Whether it is good or bad, I think we will always be judged however once we have the confidence to be ourselves then the judgement doesn’t limit us anymore. It’s then, when we can be totally comfortable when all eyes are on us, that we can refine for maximum impact and be a truly great speaker.
For me, Public Speaking was a catalyst for confidence because to be a great speaker I had to first get comfortable in being me.
The thing I enjoy most about Toastmasters is listening to other peoples speeches. I cannot really think of a speech I haven’t enjoyed. One of the most challenging parts of doing a speech for me is deciding what to talk about. I have learnt from Toastmasters that often the simplest speeches about personal experience work the best.
One of my favourite speeches was by Alan when he spoke about his history with Dentists. I liked the way he told the story with gentle humour, yet remained earnest and sincere. It was enjoyable to listen to, mainly because Alan was honest and amusing. It was a good example of how a speech does not have to be profound, powerful or convey a deep message to be memorable.
I just love the lengths people will go to make their speeches even more dramatic and memorable.
Hermine’s hang glider fitted perfectly across our meeting space, a very powerful and unforgettable introduction to her talk on her favourite sport. She referred to it again in a later speech, comparing speaking in front of a really big audience with just stepping off the cliff out into space and feeling the warmth of all those people “filling her wings” and helping her soar to new heights of speaking.
A recent visitor was ex-member Chris Dodd. He once brought his huge sea-kayak to a meeting, to give us a better feel for his life-threatening experience when he was unable to get back to land at Kalbarri. Members have brought art-works, bee-hives (no bees) and honey-collecting gear, food for a cooking demonstration, photos, mementos and souvenirs, fancy costumes, collectors items, flower arrangements, lucky-dip bags for Table Topics – all these have added to the energy and fun of the evening.
What next? I wait with anticipation.
Meet Heljo Cameron
With an influx of new members there will be many who have not yet met Heljo. Heljo is a very committed and active member of our club. She and her partner Alan have been travelling since April .
Her first postcard was from Peru and contained graphic details of the reckless taxi drivers and a scary flight in a small plane over the Nazca Lines. Before going on the flight they found out that a plane had crashed a month before killing all passengers. Before take off Heljo had to remind the pilot to close the door and during the flight a window flew open. Add to that a corrugated landing strip and you have quite an adventure.
Heljo’s last postcard was from Estonia – a particularly important part of the trip as Heljo is of Estonian descent and she has suddenly found herself speaking the language that she grew up with. She said that these days many people in Estonia only speak Russian. While in Estonia she has made contact with a TM club member and is hoping to meet with her and have a chat. She is also hoping to be able to attend a TM meeting.
One thing I am sure about is that Heljo will have many fantastic stories to tell upon her return, which cannot be too far away. I for one am very much looking forward to her return and the tales she will have to tell.
Inserted by Editor Glenis/strong>
Toastmasters! It’s the best thing since sliced bread!!
It’s true, at least for me. Public Speaking has been my number one fear. Research shows that most people prefer to die rather than to make a speech in public. I could relate to that. In fact, I am amazed how I have managed to dodge making that many presentations throughout my career. Through numerous persuasions from my bosses and husband, I finally bit the bullet and joined Toastmasters this year. I gained so much from the Speechcraft course and have now become a fully fledged Toastmaster (with trainer wheels)! I should have done this long ago!
Visit to Victoria Quay Toastmasters
As a relatively new member of the Toastmasters family (Canning Vale), I was keen to visit another club and so I visited Victoria Quay on Sept. 24. My desire to attend was promptly encouraged by the VPE David Nicholas who invited me onto the agenda to deliver an Inspiration.
I was warmly welcomed at the meeting by the Sergeant at Arms Craig who made me a name tag in a flash. Like Canning Vale, the meeting commenced promptly at 6.00 pm and finished by 7.30 pm giving you enough time to get on with your evening. However, you do feel part of an institution when you are welcomed to meeting Number 655!! (Go Vic Quay)
In the words of the Meeting Evaluator (David), the meeting was very informative, interesting and entertaining. I truly enjoyed the different elements of the meeting from the Table Topics to the Timing Report. The meeting was chaired by the Club President Gail who carried out her role with grace and good humour throughout.
The Table Topics had a very imaginative vein and was lead capably by David Raftery. The choice of ‘victims’ was very good and even the nervous speakers rose to the platform and made an entry. With the main event – the project speeches: there were two speeches that were particularly well researched. The first was a review of a book called ‘The Secret’ and another was “Where is OUR money”. Both topics captivated the audience as they dealt with issues close to the heart and hip (pocket). The Evaluators did a good job to touch on many subtle points that often go unnoticed.
The highlights of the evening took on a very interesting twist as the speaker quizzed the audience about various subtle elements of the speech contents. This meant that Amanda herself was a very good listener picking up many of the points made. A recommendation would be to include reference to good and appropriate use of grammar.
The meeting ended with a fervent and personal plea from Glenis to each member present to drop her a few lines for the next issue. I decided to write a few lines as a way of expressing my thanks for a very enjoyable and informative evening.
Finding the right words
Whenever I have to prepare a speech for a Toastmasters meeting I can often get engrossed in the complex meaning of any one word. What is hope? What do we really mean when we talk about luck?
I find that this can slow, or stop my preparation of a speech. But the great thing about Toastmasters is that you have the opportunity to see other people come up against the same challenges . . . and succeed.
Alan Smith gave a charming and sophisticated speech on September 24 that revolved around the word ‘balance.’ Initially driven by the imperative of the bank balance, Alan sought to remove a recalcitrant tree stump from his back yard. By removing roots and digging trenches, he attempted to upset the stump’s balance. This project proved more difficult than a Physics text book would have you believe, and resulted in some fatigue.
The solution? The next Toastmasters meeting should be held at Alan’s house, and those assembled should balance their speaking efforts with some physical labours. And, once and for all, the balance of the determined tree stump would be undone.
From phobia to excellent presentation
When I first started out at Toastmasters my public speaking skills could only be described as atrocious. After a number of bad experiences in the past, I had developed a genuine phobia of public speaking. The supportive and encouraging environment provided by Victoria Quay helped me immeasurably in not only confronting my fear, but making me into a more confident and capable public speaker, skills essential to succeed in any profession.
I had a presentation at uni a couple of weeks back. Not only did I manage to get through it incident free, but I also received a High Distinction, with special mention of my “excellent presentation skills”. Who’d have thought that was a possibility six months ago.
Connecting with the audience
Joining Toastmasters has been a valuable experience with the benefits shining through at work. The skills gained from the initial terrifying experience of impromptu speaking have enabled me to feel more comfortable when put on the spot, the nerves have disappeared on some occasions but generally they are a lot more under control. I have become more confident at meetings and networking during work and social functions. I am now able to relax and think of what to say, rather than battling the spot light.
Giving work presentations has become more about developing connections with the audience and adding anecdotes and humour to develop my style rather than trying to suppress a nervous stomach and shaky voice.
I never imagined that Toastmasters would have such a wide reaching effect on my life. I’m very glad to be part of the club.
Medieval warfare at VQ
My favourite speech that I have given was entitled “Cows and the Art of War”. I have always had an interest in medieval warfare and medieval times. I have fuelled this interest by watching all manner of movies on medieval times. My favourite movies include those based on King Arthur and his knights (such as Arthur and Excalibur), as well as Kingdom of Heaven and Timeline. I have also played lots of computer games based on medieval warfare, including Medieval: Total War, Age of Empires, Warcraft and Sid Meier’s Civilization.
Consequently, I had a lot of fun preparing and making the speech. I had plenty of knowledge and source material that I was able to draw upon. The speech was instructional in nature, where I pretended to be a knight teaching the noble citizens in my Toastmasters club how to lay siege to a castle. It included a discussion about various siege weapons such as catapults, ballistas (giant crossbows), siege towers, battering rams and my personal favourite: trebuchets (a special kind of catapult).
I managed to get a few good laughs from my audience and I had a lot of good feedback from my fellow toastmasters. I’m hoping to do further speeches on this interesting topic in the future.
Learning from Cats
1. It is your God given mission to claw your way to the top … why do you think they invented curtains.
2. If you have something to say, say it loud and clear, in the dead of night, when you are absolutely sure that everyone is sleeping. There is no better way to get the attention you deserve.
3. If you can’t get your own way, don’t worry – just lay across the computer keyboard until you do.
4. When you are hungry, meow really loudly. With a bit of luck they’ll feed you even if for no other reason than just to shut you up.
5. Be sure to make your mark on the world … or at the very least spray each corner.
6. In the unfortunate event that you should happen to miss the sandbox, always cover it up … dragging a sock over it helps.
7. If you find yourself in trouble, just purr & look cute.
8. If in doubt … cop an attitude.
9. Always give generously. Nothing says I care more than a dead rodent left on the bed.
10. Variety is the spice of life … annoy people one day … ignore them the next.
11. Get plenty of sun and nap often.
12. Above all, remember that the world is your playground.
Selected by Peta Anderson
Claire wins again
Earlier this year, Claire was competing in the District 73 International Speech Final in Melbourne. Now she has won the Area W21 Humorous final and will be competing in the Western Division final on November 1. Go for it , Claire. We will be there to cheer you on. And some of us will go to Adelaide for the District Final, too.
You can read a full story of Claire’s win in the W21 Humorous Contest.
Me a DTM??
WOW! Me a DTM. Who would have believed that 7 years ago when I joined Victoria Quay Toastmasters, I would still be part of the club and achieved the highest rank in Toastmasters, Distinguished Toastmaster – DTM. Not me, that’s for sure.
Victoria Quay Toastmasters has been the backbone for my amazing development as a Public Speaker and a Leader in Toastmasters itself. I remember when I finished my first 10 speeches and achieved CC, I thought, where to from here? But the support and the enthusiasm of the Vic Quay members showed me that there was so much more to learn and achieve as a Toastmaster. I became President in 2004 and that really showed me the leadership track Toastmasters has to offer and it was from that stint as President I started to really grow as a leader. I became Area Gov, then Division Gov and am now the District Public Relations Officer, but my biggest achievement so far would have to be starting a new club (Canning Vale Toastmasters) all with the help and support of Victoria Quay.
I still love coming to Victoria Quay every Wednesday night and just hate missing a meeting and it is Victoria Quay that is the benchmark for all other clubs to aspire to be and is what I hope Canning Vale Toastmasters will be in the near future.
Victoria Quay, I Love You.
Toastmasters. Where else could I give an uninterrupted 7 minute talk about my pets – and then get praise about how well I did it? Where else am I exhorted to write 100 to 200 words for a club magazine about my interests at Victoria Quay?
Gossip (the Akita) and Polly (the Miniature Schnauzer) inspire many speeches. A little bit of embroidery around an incident can make an entertaining tail, sorry, tale. Gossip weighs in at over 50Kg and inspires awe and respect from all who see her. She is old and wise and is amused by the reaction of lesser dogs when she looks at them. But she is far too indolent to actually do anything and often pretends she doesn’t see challenges. Polly, on the other hand, is young, brash, hyper active, and wants to investigate everything around her. I think I identify more with Gossip.
I am enthralled by speeches by other club members about their travels, hobbies and experiences. Three recent speeches about travel in South America were particularly fascinating. Glenis related a moving incident when buying a souvenir from a street vendor at Machu Pichu; Gary had back from death experiences with shamans and strange drinks in Peru; and Craig encountered armed bandits on a bus on his way to Peru. What some people do for a speech topic! I think I’ll stick with pets for a while.
What to say
Since joining toastmasters some 6 months ago, I’ve learned a lot and enjoyed every meeting. But the biggest problem I have when planning a speech is always “what to say?”. Sure I could talk about my personal life experiences, but by the time you get to CC#10 I think it’s important to have a topic that people are interested in and worth inspiring them about. So, I’ve began reading in earnest and my latest book is Tim Flannery’s “The Weather Makers”.
Did you know that, in 1986 the population of the Earth reached 5 billion people and that we were using all of the Earth’s sustainable resources. Beyond 1986 “we have been running the environmental equivalent of a deficit budget” plundering in the form of overexploiting fisheries and overgrazing pastures. By 2001 our population had risen to 6 billion and our deficit had increased to 20%. By 2050, the Earth’s population is expected to be around 9 billion and we will require the equivalent of “nearly two planets’ worth of resources”. Scary stuff!
Now that’s something worth talking about, so look forward to me using every minute of my available time in an upcoming speech on “The Weather Makers”.
Ref: Flannery, Tim 2008, “The Weather Makers”, The Text Publishing Company, Australia. pp.78-79.
Early morning walk
I take my inspiration from my early morning walk.
I live across the road from the beach. As I set out my front door it is usually still dark with the stars still in the sky and on special mornings the moon just setting over the ocean.
I start my walk early – about 5.30am. At this time it is dark. The air is crisp, the roads are quiet and I can hear the gentle swaying of the ocean, or the crashing of the waves – it feels like the whole world is new and all mine. I breathe in the fresh air and look up at the expanse of ocean and sky. Some times the sky is still full of stars.
Often I see from the corner of my eye a shooting star – and then I realize it is a plane coming in to Perth, flying all down the West Australian coast, past Broome, port headland, Exmouth to Perth. I remember once coming in on that flight from Bali – with a window seat – so I know what amazing landscapes are passing by the passengers as they fly down the coast. Mentally I always say hello to the pilot, and welcome to beautiful Perth.
At this point I turn and walk east towards Allen Park through the quiet houses. This part of my journey takes me up the steep incline to the top of the hill. It is the only real work-out I get. By the time I have walked to the top of the look-out I am ready to strip off my gloves hat and jumper. I then turn around – wham! AMAZING – there is the sun rising over the city. A glowing golden ball of orange light. I turn and see all the sleeping houses in Cottesloe and Swanbourne and at last look over the ocean to Rotto. The tall gum trees below me are all covered in golden and pink light that dance on the leaves trees like fairies. It is breath taking. At this point I always think – “what a wonderful world”. . . and then I am ready to start my day.
For more news, stories about our members and forward planning for our meetings, go to our Website.
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Maintaining our zip and verve
How long can Victoria Quay maintain its extraordinary character, its energy and drive?
From the very beginning in 1995 we were amazingly successful, as measured by the official Distinguished Club Program. A few years into our unbroken run of successes, a then long term Toastmaster warned and reassured me, “David, the club is doing very well, but you shouldn’t expect it to maintain such a high standard for very long. All clubs go up and down. After a while you will have some bad years. Don’t be too discouraged when that happens.”
It hasn’t happened yet. It isn’t just the scores on the Distinguished Club Program. During our 13 years and over 650 meetings there has been a consistent freshness and vitality in the Club.
We particularly notice it in the new members. Mostly they join full of fear and anxiety, very impressed with the amazing high standard of the existing membership and certain it will take a long time and a lot of hard work to get to that kind of level. And yet in about 4-6 meetings they are part of the membership which is filling the then visitors and new members with awe and admiration.
We have had and still have champion speakers in our club who win the big contests. We are very proud of them of course, but they are not the basis of our long time vitality and success as a club. It’s the “ordinary” members. Nervous at first they need helpful evaluations in and outside the meetings. Rapidly they transform themselves into competent, then highly competent and skilful speakers who sometimes go on to win major Contests.
We often lose our outstanding speakers. They get promoted at work or take up positions interstate. They set up their own businesses. We regret losing them, but congratulate their successes.
There are many excellent clubs in District 73, with quite a few here in WA. There is no club which can match our performance in Toastmasters International’s Distinguished Club Program. We always achieve the maximum possible. That’s one measure of success. Far more significant is the standard of our “ordinary” meetings, and the quality of speech-making from our newer members.
We have something special.