Archive for the ‘Corroboree’ Category

The International Convention and Council Meeting Photos

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Growth Through Change

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

by Robert Saltmiras
VPM Townsville City Council Toastmasters 2014-2015

Townsville City Toastmasters

Townsville City Council Toastmasters

Humans are social beings. We have always organised ourselves in groups that range in size from a handful of members to multi-national organisations. Groups are often goal-centric; the members are there because they share or are even passionate about certain goals or values. But we often wonder why, when our purpose is so compelling, that our group does not seem to grow in numbers the way we would expect. We can fall into the trap of thinking growth will just happen by itself organically, or if it doesn’t, that there must be some missing ingredient or silver bullet that will give the answer. In reality it is not one single ingredient that tips the scales, but a recipe of many ingredients mixed and baked the right way. If we want to grow, we have to plan for it and work intelligently. We also have to be honest about how willing we are to change in order to meet our growth objectives. Growth means action.

At Townsville City Council Toastmasters we have experienced strong growth over the past 12 months. Our membership has swelled from approximately 20 to 35, not to mention many other visitors and some attrition rate. So what are the main conditions for growth? In simple terms you need three things:

  1. A Great Product:  Robust and positive meetings.
  2. A Great Service:  Meaningful membership development.
  3. Great Systems:  Consistently do the right things very well.

I didn’t list great people cause that is a given! It’s there; we just need to bring it out.

To create these three conditions, we need to think in terms of transitioning people from first contact to full commitment. It is a process with many steps and many players who each need to do their part.

Here are a few:

  1. President
    Get the best one you can – we did! The president will set the culture! They will motivate the executive and inspire the club at large. People will likely stay if the culture is dynamic.
  2. Vice President Education
    Get the best one you can – we did! The VPE will create warm, interesting, varied and dynamic meetings. They will drive competitions forward and watch over the growth of individual members. People love fun, growth and affirmation.
  3. Vice President of Public Relations
    Get the best one you can – we did! VPPR will cover web pages, Facebook presence, street marketing and other community engagement. But the vast majority of our new enquiry came via the internet. Hard copy invitations are OK, but less and less the norm these days. Get a great electronic presence.

As Vice President of Membership I also have a central role in people’s journey. I respond to internet and other enquiry, warmly identify and greet visitors, follow up those visitors (usually by email plus pdf’s), affirm them at the next meeting, transition them to membership and induct them.

The other members of the executive also play a critical role in terms of strategic planning and management of efficient systems. But if this sounds a bit top heavy – like it is the executive who do all the work and make it happen – then remember this:

The problem is always leadership and the answer is always leadership.

If leaders do their job well, they create a context and systems for growth. It can gain momentum and become like a ‘bug’ that everyone catches. Members buy into and replicate the culture, the diligence, the positive outlook and the passion that is set by the leaders without even realising it! They just calibrate to current context and frame their expectations accordingly.

So I hope this quick summary is helpful. If you do want your club to grow, then you might want to re-read this several times, reflect on where your strengths and weaknesses lie, then start mapping out plans for change. All the best with your journey!

Snow Day in Stanthorpe

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015


Something that happens once or twice in a lifetime in Stanthorpe happened to two DTM Toastmasters – Tony and Julia Hassall.  The experience of a winter wonderland of snow in Stanthorpe.

The promise had been forthcoming for a while with a few tourist disappointments.  For those keen people like Tony it was just a matter of time and as predicted at 12.15 am, the call came.  “Come outside Julia, quickly its snowing”.

At that time of the evening of course, Julia wasn’t that keen to venture out for just a bit of a powdering, but it kept coming and coming and everything began to turn white.  The ute, the wheelbarrow, the fence, the trees, the back door steps.  By 2 am some sleep was needed and by early sunrise, Tony and Julia were both up and out in it.  The bush wallaby hiding under the rock edge, said it all.  The winter wonderland.  Texts to friends and family read “come play in the snow”.

Snow Day

Building a snowman was the grand finale.  Later our grandchildren were able to enjoy the dismantling and rebuilding of their own snowmen as by 1pm, the drizzle had melted a lot of the ground snow.  The protected snowmen around the district were there in part several days later.  Locals who experienced the last major snowfall in 1984 said this snow was much softer.

The amazing consequence of snow is how the playfulness of” the child within” comes out for another play.  Even traffic jams were tolerated.  It was a “community spirited” event.

Bring on another snow day.

Bate at the heart of the G20

Friday, January 23rd, 2015
Phillip Bate DTM at the G20 in Brisbane.

Phillip Bate DTM at the G20 in Brisbane.


The G20 Summit provided Chelmer Speakers President Phillip Bate DTM who is a journalist in his other life outside of Toastmasters, with a wonderful opportunity to watch some of the world’s best communicators and/or politicians ‘strut their stuff’. Phillip was in the thick of it in the media room.

Phillip told the Corroboree Editor that “As a Media volunteer I also had the privilege to mingle with other volunteers including many impressive Gen Y ‘up and coming’ graduates and under-graduates in the arts/law field.”

 Phillip was impressed by how energetic, confident and outgoing they were. He said, “Why can’t they be like we were: inarticulate and imperfect in every way. Oh what’s the matter with kids today?”

“I See Something In You!”

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

A leader sees the potential in others and actively encourages them to develop; helping them to step outside their comfort zone into challenging roles where they can grow.imagesCART3QFN

Perhaps you know a fellow Toastmaster who would benefit from taking on a leadership role in Toastmasters?

 In the words of Dananjaya Hettiarachchi, current World Champion of Public Speaking, have you told them “I see something in you”?

 Often we don’t see ourselves as leaders so we don’t hold up our hands for a leadership role. It takes that encouragement from someone else, who can see our potential, for us to step up and discover skills that we never knew we had. Skills that can be life changing.

 Nominations for the district leader roles for the 2015-16 yearclose on Friday 6 February.

These roles are:

 ·      Area Director

·      Division Director

·      District Trio roles: Club Growth Director, Program Quality Director, District Director

These roles are exciting, challenging and inspiring and offer the chance to grow hands-on leadership skills in a safe environment.

Encourage potential leaders around you to grow their skills by nominating for a District 69 leadership role. Toastmasters – Where Leaders Are Made.

Marilyn Freeman DTM, IPDG

Chairman, District 69 Nominating Committee 2014-15




Free ‘Dare to Speak’ workshops at Nerang Library

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Toastmasters Go Public with “Dare to Speaklecture

 Come and learn the art of public speaking from Toastmasters at the Library in Nerang this autumn.

The “Dare to Speak” series of 5 “free” workshops is designed to teach public speaking techniques to the community.

Vice-President Public Relations for Nerang Toastmasters Dr Vinnie Monaco said “he is amazed at how many people still struggle with the art of speaking publicly”.

“Public speaking is in the top five most commonly held fears,” Dr Monaco said.

“People don’t realise how quickly and easily they can learn the skills and develop the confidence to take to the stage, have fun and really shine”.

This Community Program is designed to focus on refining participants’ communication, persuasion and presentation skills.

Dr Vinnie Monaco(5)Dr Monaco said “teaching these techniques to the community is a new concept and by going into the community he is tackling the problem at a grass roots level”.

“Freedom of speech is an unadulterated privilege and a constitutional right and when people understand its true power the whole community benefits,” Dr Monaco said.

“A community that can communicate openly is well connected, integrated and proactive and enjoys a stronger sense of community”.

The 5 “Dare to Speak” workshops include; Speaking to Inform, Persuasive, Special Occasion, Humorous and Story Telling.

The “free” Dare to Speak workshops commence on Mon 3rd March from 10am-12pm at The Nerang Library.

Everyone in attendance at any of the workshops will have the opportunity to win a “free” Initial Consultation with Dr Monaco donated by Natural Rhythms-Nerang.  As Dr Monaco says “when you free-up the body you free-up the voice”.

Bookings are essential and can be made through the Nerang Library by phone: (07) 5581 7180 or on-line at:


For more editorial information contact: Dr Vinnie Monaco at Natural Rhythms: (07) 5596-6888 or e-mail: