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.

2 Responses to “Train the Trainer for Speechcraft”

  1. Avatar for Lynda t'Hart Lynda t'Hart says:

    Thanks to Western Founders for hosting such a great event. As a participant on the day I was conviced that the knowledge I had garnered over several years in Toastmasters IS sufficient for taking a group of Speechcrafters for the very first time.
    As I am currently coordinating a speechcraft program, this consolidation of information prooved itself invaluable. Also, as any toastmaster manual, the coordinators handbook is helpful in outlining everything you need to know to assist in rolling out your program.
    The day consolidated all this and I would encourage all clubs to take on the challenge of growing first of all your club and as a greater goal, Toastmaster within Western Australia.

  2. Avatar for Beverly Reed Beverly Reed says:

    Hello! I am just starting to learn about Speechcraft, and would welcome any tips you have. I live in Alberta, Canada, so I can’t attend any workshops in Australia. I am reading the Coordinator’s guide as a prelude to doing this.

    Any help (notes, files, ideas) would be appreciated. I enjoyed this website and wish I could have attended but…..I’m just a $-challenged retiree!

    Thank you,

Comments are closed.