Archive for the ‘Training’ Category

Train the Trainer for Speechcraft

At Western Founders on August 16, 2008


David Nicholas coordinated a Training course on behalf of Western Founders Toastmasters for members interested in coordinating or helping with Speechcraft courses.

16 Toastmasters from a wide range of clubs took part in the course, with a skilful group of Trainers – 7 from Western Founders and 2 other experts. They were Mida Liddle, the WA Speechcraft Coordinator, and Mark Richards, the District 73 Public Relations Officer.

The aim of the course was to provide information about how Speechcraft operates, to give practical advice in how to run the courses, and to advise in the process for clubs to set up courses directly or use Mika’s assistance in finding the participants.

As WA Webmaster, David has a Speechcraft page with lots of information, and a Bookings page, supervised by Mika Liddle.


Full Group
After the welcome and an outline of the day’s program, everybody checked in, revealing what they hoped to get from the course. Mostly the participants wanted to learn more about Speechcraft and how they could take part in it. Some wanted the Coordinator role, to complete their Advanced Communicator Gold award. Some wanted to take part as helpers to get the experience to later on act as Coordinator. Some realised that Speechcraft is a good way to raise funds for their club’s educational program. Others were just curious.


Alan Smith
Alan Smith

Alan Smith did a general survey of the Speechcraft program. He distributed copies of the Speechcrafter’s Handbook and the Speechcraft Coordinator’s Guide. Alan took us through the index – always a good place to start – and then the various chapters. He particularly noted that recent editions of the Handbook and Guide have removed Powerpoint presentations from the course.


First Discussion Group

Glenis Nicholas
Glenis Nicholas

Glenis Nicholas introduced a discussion on participant needs. What do we think that Speechcrafters are looking for when they sign up for the course? The participants were divided into 3 groups with a mix of Toastmasters and Trainers. Each group appointed a leader and a reporter. The report back segment confirmed that each group had been energetically addressing the issue. Most groups had similar results, but each had some individual contributions to make. These were some of the suggestions

  • Overcoming fear and anxiety about public speaking
  • Learning speaking skills
  • Specific work related presentation skills
  • A short course with no ongoing commitment

Training Workshops

Charles Fisher
Charles Fisher

Charles Fisher presented a segment on the importance of workshops to demonstrate specific skills. He suggested that the Toastmaster Better Speaker Series provided material for these workshops and he demonstrated such a presentation. In the discussion following during the course, others suggested that shorter Workshops involving specific Speechcrafter involvement were very important.




Morning Tea

Resident chef Gawain Simpson prepared a sumptuous morning tea. The 20 minute break hardly gave enough time to do justice to it, along with the vigorous conversation that took place.

Meeting Styles

Sue Voloczi
Sue Voloczi

Sue Voloczi gave a Powerpoint presentation on the kind of Agendas that were appropriate for the 2 kinds of courses we offer – the public courses, and the inhouse business courses. She distributed a handout relevant to the public courses.


David Nicholas gave a brief exposition of the Toastmaster Fundraising Guidelines and had copies of the rules for those who wanted to study them in detail. Essentially, we can use Speechcraft to raise funds for educational purposes. This includes sending voting delegates to World and District Council meetings, as well as acquiring sets of Manuals for the use of Club members. We must not set up in competition with outside businesses selling public speaking training. Our current fee structure meets the requirement that it must be reasonable.

Getting participants for local courses

Mark Richards

Mark Richards, the District 73 Public Relations Officer, outlined ways clubs can publicise their Speechcraft courses. Of course, after the great success of the Canning Vale Charter, Mark strongly recommended a letter box drop as the most effective and economical way of advertising our courses in particular localities.




Getting participants for the central courses

Mika Liddle

Mika Liddle, the WA Speechcraft Coordinator, explained the extraordinary service offered to Clubs and members through the central courses she administers. We advertise the courses through the website and there is a steady stream of eager participants. The 6 week courses are conducted at Caddencrowe where she works in West Perth. They alternate between Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings during the year. Mika handles the bookings and collects the fees. The net proceeds are distributed to the Clubs which run the courses, on a strictly proportionate basis, calculated by the number of sessions that members assist in, with the Coordinator getting a 3 times loading. The next course begins on Wednesday, August 20, and is being coordinated by Leonor Ragan.

Second Discussion Group

Robyn Lloyd
Robyn Lloyd

Robyn Lloyd led the final discussion session. What will I do about this? Again there was a break up into 3 groups, mostly with the same members. If anything, the discussion was even more vigorous as we all grappled with what we would do about Speechcraft now that we had all this information and help. Again there was a general consensus reported by the group spokesperson.

  • Some had already spoken to Mika and offered their services for central courses.
  • Some intended to negotiate with Mika.
  • Some intended to go back to their clubs and propose a local course
  • All groups felt inspired to do something, even if they didn’t quite know what yet.

Questions and Discussions

All the presenters gathered to stand at the front – no relaxed sitting here – as David invited questions. There was only 13 minutes allocated so it ran a minute and a half over time, with a great deal of further discussion after the course nominally finished. Most of the questions were directed to Mika – the service she offers is obviously very attractive to those who learn about it. Mark asked David to present a brief version of his 5 minute workshop on Basic Speaking Skills. Everybody had to take part, just as occurs in the first Speechcraft session in many of our courses.



Pascale Amberville-Colby kept a careful eye and ear on the whole course, and we did very well for Timing. It was only the final segment that made the finish one and a half minutes over. Pascale thought that was pretty good.







David closed the course on a very high note. Naturally he referred to the website for more information on Speechcraft and the courses being offered, as well as to email contacts to Mika and himself for more information. And naturally, he promoted the benefits of the Western Founders Club which meets at the George Burnett Centre on every third Saturday morning.

Club Officer Training in July 2008

Here are the dates and locations

Saturday, July 5 at the Palms in Subiaco from 1-4pm including afternoon tea
See this zoomable map (it shows the Palms bounded by Thomas St, Nicholson Rd and Rokeby Rd – the entrance is off Rokeby Road)

Thursday, July 17 at the Fremantle Bowling Club from 6.30-9.30pm including supper
See this zoomab

Read the rest of this page »

Umms and errs – don’t count them!

Why is Toastmasters International wrong about this one?

This is an advertisement in the Toastmasters 2008 Catalog, p.23

Tally Counter
Use this counter to count ah’s in meetings. It features four digits, giant finger ring and easy turn knob. Toastmasters International is imprinted in black on left side.

Four digits!!! – you can count thousands of umms and errs at the one time. Really!! Do you need that many? Wow! you have a real problem. And so does Toastmasters International, because it recommends to Clubs that the standard Agenda should include an Umm and Err Counter.

Does your Toastmasters Agenda have a role for an Umm and Err Counter?

If it does, then I think your club is making a big mistake. Not only is the time wasted which could be better used. It has a significant negative effect.

Focussing on negatives reinforces them

Many decades of research by clinical psychologists have established this. When you focus on a negative, and say, don’t do that! you increase the power of the behaviour in the person. It’s a way of advertising it – repeated statements build up the exposure and make it more likely to be adopted – just as advertisers repeat their slogans many times to enhance brand exposure. Telling children what not to do is a losing parental and teaching method. The best method is to tell them what to do and reward them for doing it.

Our experience at Victoria Quay

When we started the club we were persuaded by one of our founding members, a Clinical and Educational Psychologist, to drop the Umm and Err Counter from our Agendas. After over 13 years of practical experience, we know we did the right thing. Of course some of our members start off with a problem with verbal fillers – not just Umm, Err and Ahh. When that happens, their evaluator tells them of the problem and recommends a better way – use a pause instead of the filler – the magic of silence.

Deal with the problem when it arises

That’s how we deal with the problem. It’s not a big deal. We don’t advertise it, reinforce it, give it the power of repeated exposure. Instead we recommend a successful way of overcoming the problem.

What’s the result with our speakers?

Last Saturday one of our members won the Western Division International final. When the Perpetual Trophy was displayed at the Club on Wednesday night, there were the results from the last 7 years. In 5 of those years one of our members won the Trophy. Excluding the Umm and Err Counter doesn’t seem to have had such a bad effect on our members’ speaking skills.

We use the time better

Instead of 2-3 minutes on this negative role, we have a Highlights role in which a member recapitulates the best things from the meeting – positive things to build up enhanced behaviour.

What about your standard agenda?

Do you waste 2-3 minutes on negative reinforcement each meeting? Or do you deal with the “filler” problem in a positive way when it comes up with a member? How could you use the time better?

What do you think on this matter. Post your comment.


David Nicholas DTM

Club Officer attendance February 2008

Attendances at the second round of training in February 2008

There will be two city sessions – February 2 in Subiaco and February 21 in Fremantle.

The Fremantle session still to come on Thursday, February 21, is at the Fremantle Bowling Club, in Ellen Street, Fremantle. Registrations open at 6pm (along with the bar) and the session runs from 6.30 to 9pm with supper included.

The entries below show attendances at the February 2 session.

If you believe there are errors on this record, email David with details.

Perth Division – Governor Gil Alexander ACG

Club Name Pres VPE VPM VPPR Treas Sec SAA Total
P10 Area Governor David Nicholas DTM            
3077 Talkabout  

3432 Sandgropers Feb 2

Feb 2

4416 Stirling    

8924 Northern Lights  

8924 Electric Toasters  

P10 Area Governor Maree Pickens CC            
1311 Justtalk Feb 2
Feb 2
Feb 2

6312 St Georges  

9390 Terrace  

9703 Subiaco Early Birds Feb 2 Feb 2

662304 Curtin GSB Feb 2

Feb 2

P20 Area Governor Glen Lewis CC            
5607 West End       Feb 2

9106 Northbridge  

Feb 2

9656 Rising Stars  

661834 Central Communicators  

Feb 2 Feb 2 Feb 2
P30 Area Governor Michael Malone DTM            
6314 Durack  

Feb 2
6428 City of Perth Feb 2 Feb 2 Feb 2 Feb 2 Feb 2 Feb 2

744698 AIAWA                
875582 Riverside  

995774 Young Guns Feb 2

  Division Total              

Western Division – Governor Mark Richards ACG

Club Name Pres VPE VPM VPPR Treas Sec SAA Total
W16 Area Governor Judith Allen ACG            
1285 Banyandah  

2111 Trackside  

5839 Swan Feb 2
Feb 2
Feb 2 Feb 2 Feb 2
8347 Morning Star Feb 2 Feb 2 Feb 2 Feb 2 Feb 2 Feb 2

W21 Area Governor Steve Barry ACS            
5491 Gateway Feb 2

Feb 2

Feb 2
5769 Victoria Quay  
Feb 2
Feb 2
Feb 2
6438 Southsiders  

Feb 2
8458 Successful  

Feb 2 Feb 2

867905 Amity  

1177268 WA Governors Feb 2 Feb 2 Feb 2
Feb 2 Feb 2 Feb 2
W28 Area Governor Ross Wilkinson ACB            
2236 Power Talk   Feb 2

Feb 2

7986 Western Founders Feb 2 Feb 2
Feb 2 Feb 2
Feb 2
8670 Foothills  

867911 Corporate Express                
W29 Area Governor Chris Telenta            
7486 Mandjar  

Feb 2
Feb 2
8065 Bunbury    

9773 Margaret River        

751215 Jetty  

  Division Total              

Club Officer Training for 2007/08

There are two very good reasons for Club Officers to attend the training provided in WA.

The first is that everybody needs help in taking on a new role, and the training is designed to do just that. Yes, there are excellent manuals, and yes, there will be help provided by your Area Governor. But the training sessions are a valuable and a vital part of preparing for your role.

The second is that Toastmasters has a plan for success for your club. It is called the Distinguished Club Program, or abbreviated as DCP, with 10 Goals for your Club to aim for. One of those goals is for Officers attending training. At least 4 Officers have to attend both sessions of training – the current one in July and the second round next February.

There are two sessions in July. The first has already been conducted. It was at the Palm Centre in Subiaco on Saturday afternoon, July 7. There is another session coming up on Thursday evening, July 26th. It will be held in the Fremantle Bowling Club, 6 Ellen Street, Fremantle. It will be run from 6.00 for a 6.30 start to 9.30 pm, with an attractive supper. If Officers couldn’t make it to Subiaco, they have a second chance in Fremantle. The training is the same for both sessions.

If you want more information, email David.

Helping Clubs in trouble

These are the instructions given to our role players for the Hypothetical on helping Clubs in trouble which I am presenting at District Officer Training in Melbourne, on June 30.

You are the President of Down the Hill Club. Your membership has been declining steadily and is now at 10 members. When your Area Governor visits, and asks if he can help in any way, take the line that the club has problems but we will work them out ourselves, thanks. If he makes any suggestions, be a bit stiff with him, and say that we are doing all those things. When he persists, tell him that we know the club and its members better than him.

You are the Area Governor for Z43, which has a very weak club, Down the Hill. They have only 10 financial members. When you arrive for your first visit, no one welcomes you, you are the only person to speak to a first time visitor and neither you nor the visitor is acknowledged when the meeting starts. After the meeting you speak to the President and attempt to offer help. Make some suggestions for revitalising the club, which include working towards the DCP. If you are rebuffed, keep going for a few rounds.

You are the new President of Down the Hill Club. Your membership has been declining steadily and is now at 10 members. When your Area Governor visits, and asks if she can help in any way, thank her and write down notes of her suggestions. Engage in a constructive dialogue, raising a problem that some of the long term members will not want to do these things, so how do I handle that?

You are the Area Governor for Z43, which has a very weak club, Down the Hill. They have only 10 financial members. When you arrive for your first visit, no one welcomes you, you are the only person to speak to a first time visitor and neither you nor the visitor is acknowledged when the meeting starts. After the meeting you speak to the President and attempt to offer help. Make some suggestions for revitalising the club, which include working towards the DCP, and asking for the appointment of Club Coaches. Engage in a constructive dialogue.

You are the new Seaside Division Governor. At your second Council Meeting in late August, the Z33 Area Governor reports on problems with Down the Hill Club and asks for your advice on how to handle the difficult situation. Engage your Area Governor in a constructive dialogue, which includes a discussion of the characteristics of successful clubs and the use of Club Coaches to revitalise failing clubs.

You are the Z43 Area Governor. At your second Council Meeting in late August, you report on the difficulties you had when you visited Down the Hill Club, and the way the President rebuffed all your attempts to help. Ask for your Division Governor’s advice on how to handle the situation. Engage in a constructive dialogue.


When I return to Perth, I will publish the helpful conclusions the group came to during the Hypothetical.

Club Officer Training at Fremantle in February

Mike HelmOver 30 Toastmasters attended Training on Thursday evening, Feb 8 at the Fremantle Bowling Club.

Perth Division Governor Mike Helm (pictured left) organised the Training which was hosted by local club Victoria Quay.

Mike focussed the evening’s work on marketing at the club level. He recruited an outside expert with experience in print and TV journalism.

There was a panel of successful Vice Presidents Membership. There were group discussions of what to do at the club level. And much more.

You can read a full report of the training session.

« Previous Page