‘Have You Broken the Ice Yet’

After joining a Toastmasters Club, the first speech a member presents is called the ‘Ice Breaker’. But did you know that there is another Ice Breaker in Toastmasters?  It is the Speech Contest ‘Ice Breaker’ and many members have not yet ‘broken the ice’ when it comes to speech contests.

As we conclude the current round of Club, Area and Division contests and get ready for District 70 finals, it’s a good time to reflect on importance of speech contests in a Toastmaster’s journey.

Perhaps TMs feel that competitions are not for them or they’re not yet ready. However, if you’re like me, you most likely joined TM to improve your Communications (& Leadership) skills. Competing in a speech contest is not just about winning. Everyone who competes in a contest, walks off the stage a more confident and skilled speaker; standing tall, head held up high. Contests are fast track on the communication journey; and winning is just the icing on the cake.

We hold four speech contests each year; two of them, Table Topics & Evaluation, do not require any preparation. Anyone who has attended a club meeting regularly can have a go and do well. We see that at our club meetings all the time, where new SpeechCraft graduates regularly win the best TT and Evaluation awards. One of our senior members, Robyn Peck, encourages all club members to have a go at Table Topics contests, even if they don’t aspire to compete beyond club level.

At our recent Western Division International & Evaluation Speech Contest, we saw a wide spectrum of speakers from 8 areas. As well as our own champion speaker David Griffiths, there was also Cecile Sy. She was representing Parramatta ATO, a new corporate club, chartered just over a year ago. At her first international speech contest attempt, she won her club, area and reached Western Division. She did not win but delivered an excellent speech. You can imagine her delight on competing and reaching so far. After wards she told me that she learnt so much just by competing. As coach & mentor of her new club during the first year, it also gave me great pleasure to see her develop quickly into a good speaker.

At our club speech contests, few years ago we had so many contestants that it was quite a challenge for our VPE to fit them all into one contest meeting. But recently we’ve had only a handful ‘having a go’. That is a pity, considering club of our size, with over 30 active members. So with the next Humorous Speech and TT contests, let’s see more of our members stepping forward and ‘breaking the speech contest ice’.

Malkit Banwait ACG CL

Club Secretary & Area 37 Governor

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Blog Post by Joan Abela

Hi fellow Toastmasters and friends.

Our meeting this week was interesting to say the least, but nonetheless exciting and interesting

Because there were a number of apologies, we saw the members who attended, doubling up on roles.

We also had visitors from other clubs filling in as evaluators for table topics.

All a bit of a strain but interesting, exciting and keeping to time

Talking of visitors. The number of visitors we get at Parramatta club never ceases to amaze me. We had 18 guests at our last meeting. The feeling in the room was very positive.

Tommy Woods gave us a laugh with the frivolous motion

Double clapping is hurting the poor mans hands (this from a pro boxer) hmmm.

Although the motion was rightfully defeated it does raise the question

“Do we as Toastmasters clap too much”

Personally I clap as an encouragement to the speaker prior to the presentation, and as a general well done at the end. I would be interested to hear others opinions on the subject of overly clapping.

I also think that if we keep our acknowledgement brief and sincere, the speaker will better receive the applause.

It was a terrific meeting. The presenters were prepared and eager to fulfill their roles thus the program ran smoothly.

Our greatest learning will come from preparing and presenting with enthusiasm all the roles that are assigned to us.

Turning nervousness into positive energy will only come from building confidence.

We build confidence with experience; hiding away will not help we must continue to put ourselves forward to speak in public at every opportunity

More than four million people will confirm that the Toastmasters program works, but I believe that it only works when we prepare carefully, actively participate, and speak as often as possible.

Don’t be shy put your hand up and give it a go. Apply yourself, and you will experience the benefits you want in all aspects of your life.

By the time you read this the area 13 contests will have been completed. So I say congratulations to the winners and good luck in the Western Division contests coming up in the near future.

Two sayings I like. (Both by unknown authors) that you might like to think about

  1. Instead of giving reasons why I can’t , I give myself reasons why I can.
  2. In order to succeed we must first believe that we can.

Have fabulous days Joan Abela

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I Don’t Know What to Talk About!

Our last meeting was the Club International Speech contest, where we saw David Griffiths once again crowned the winner. Perhaps not surprising since David also won last year and reached the semi finals of 2014 World Championships of Public Speaking at Kuala Lumpur, where he came second. But perhaps what was surprising, was the runner up – Amutha Kanthasamy. An ex-speechcrafter, she has been a member of Parramatta TM Club for less than a year! Just like another rookie Tom Cummins, runner up at last year’s club contest, who eventually reached the District 70 finals.

During the speech contest season, I often hear TMs say ‘I don’t know what to talk about’ or ‘I’m not that good yet’.  Let’s take a look at these two ‘objections’.

I Don’t Know What to Talk About.
Everyday we see and experience interesting, even life changing events, worthy of sharing with others. Ed Tate, 2000 World Champion of Public Speaking, noticed an interesting exchange of words between an airline employee and a passenger while standing in the queue at the check-in desk. From that small observation he wrote a powerful motivational speech which won him the world title!

Similarly Amutha’s speech on the challenges facing overseas students, was based on a small remark made by the President of Dural TM Club, Linda Taylor-Burton, as she opened the meeting. Clearly you don’t have to be Shakespeare to find good speech material, its all around us – everyday.

I’m Not That Good Yet.
Both Tom and Amutha have proved that anyone can have a go and rise to the occasion. Of course they were both committed and invested time, effort & energy in crafting and rehearsing their speeches. Learning, watching and applying the skills of public speaking. In fact Amutha delivered her speech at another club, recorded it and went through it again and again fine tuning.

In the book ‘World Class Speaking in Action’ Craig Valentine says that at ten years old something disturbing happened to him. When his father’s friend asked him about his family, he says ‘I don’t remember what I said, but I never forgot his response. He fixed me in his gaze and said ‘Do you know you have a serious lisp? Craig, if I were you I wouldn’t talk anymore, because every time you open your mouth, you remind me of Daffy Duff!’

Who would have thought that 18 years later, on 21 Aug 1999, he stood on stage in Chicago being crowned TM International’s 1999 World Champion.

So the next time you feel you have nothing interesting to talk about, think about Ed Tat or . . . . . .our own Amutha.

And if you feel ‘I’m not that good yet’ think about Craig Valentine or . . . . . . . our own Tom & Amutha.

Malkit Banwait ACG CL
Club Secretary & Area 37 Governor

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Interview with Larissa Doyle

Interview with Larissa Doyle



Larissa Doyle is a young new member who is realising her potential through Toastmasters. Larissa is growing her confidence, leadership skills, and communication style.


VPPR Melanie Suzanne Wilson interviewed member Larissa Doyle for further insight into Larissa’s experience of Toastmasters.



What do you get out of Toastmasters?


I speak about Toastmaster with so much excitement that I become a wide eyed beast frothing at the mouth. People ask me what it is all the time and I’ll tell them all the wonderful things about it. Some people aren’t even slightly interested but that’s okay, it’s not for everyone. But anyone who’s willing to get up in front of a bunch of people and do a speech would probably thoroughly enjoy it.


Toastmasters was recommended to me by someone who thought I might benefit from it, and I really have. My confidence has sky rocketed and my everyday speech is more succinct. I’ve met so many wonderful inspiring people and learnt a ton along the way. That’s why I’d recommend it to anyone wishing to improve themselves and broaden their horizons.



Tell us a bit about yourself…



What is/are your favourite…



Purple. I also like the book, the color purple by Alice Walker.



I need you – m85, I first heard it when I was watching a movie called divergent and they play it while the main character is soaring high up through the city at night on a flying fox. Ever since then I’ve wanted to do that.



Battle Hymn of the tiger mother by Amy Chau. It’s a true story by a mother who was the stereotypical “Chinese” parent.



The wall. The movie with Pink Floyd songs and strange animation.



“It should not be hard for you to stop sometimes and look into the stains of a wall or ashes of a fire, or clouds or mud or like places in which….. You may find really marvelous ideas”- Leonardo da Vinci


“life’s most persistent and urgent question is….. What are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King Jr


“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking” – Haruki Murakami (from one of my favourite books of his called Norwegian Wood the character who says this is an egotistical but very respected and intelligent law student named Nagasawa)


…Ice cream flavor:

Rainbow Paddlepops



Things we don’t know about you…

I have memorized the whole periodic table of elements and I used to do a lot of Fine art – painting, drawing, printmaking, ceramics and photography… Still try to make time for it every now and then if I need down time.



Who would you be if you could be a…



Some sort of science fiction character with a photographic memory and ability to control technology.


Non-fiction character:

I would have to be doctor House from the TV show, House.



A pelican, to glide over mountains and drop an unwanted present on the heads certain people. Or one of the queens corgis and get pampered all day.



I don’t know much about celebrities. There’s another quote I’ve found which I really like. “We should know more about basic geography than we do about the personal lives of actors.”



This interview with Larissa will also appear in the Parra Natta newsletter. Parramatta Toastmasters members and guests always get to know each other better during the journey of learning and leadership.

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‘I’ll Like To Speak To The Motion’ – Blog by Ron Marriott

When a member presents a motion to the floor of a business session, regardless of its intent or purpose one thing is every clear… there’s going to be a debate of that motion.  Debating a motion has a lot of positive effects, a large number of opposing opinions can be expressed quickly, issues about the motion can be addressed and corrected if necessary (via an amendment) and most importantly members as a whole can accept or decline the motion at the end of the debate.  But while there will be a lot of speaking one question remains.  “Who can speak to what and when”?

The Chairman

One of the qualities of a good chairman is to remain impartial during a business session. It is important that he (or she) doesn’t express a biased opinion to the motion either directly (through comment) or indirectly (via influencing the debate).  Rather the job of the chairman is to act as a moderator during the debate of the motion allowing both sides of to freely express view and concerns while ensuring no party over steps the mark.  Additionally a chairman should also rules on points of order, procedural matters (such as clarifications of intent) and dealing with amendments as they arise.

Mover of the Motion

It goes with out saying that the main role that the Mover of the Motion has is to present their motion to the meeting.  The Mover should aim to move and speak to their motion straight away before a seconder is sort by the chairman.  Once a mover has presented the motion and another member has seconded the motion.  The Mover has no authority to speak in the debate until its conclusion where they are given a right of reply to summarize their case.  A mover shouldn’t introduce new material in their right of reply and should limit remakes to what was raised in the debate.  Additionally a Mover of the Motion is not allowed to either move or second an amendment that has been raised during the course of the debate.

Seconder of the Motion

The purpose of a seconder is to indicate to the chairman that there is an interest to discuss and vote on the motion in the business session.  If the seconder wishes they can speak on the motion straight away (a seconder does not have to be in favour of the motion).  Otherwise they can reserve their right to speak later in the debate.  If a Seconder does not reserve their right to speak or the chairman closes the debate then the Seconder automatically losses this right to speak in the motion’s debate.  Additionally like the mover, the seconder is not allowed to either move or second an amendment.

Speakers to the motion

Any person present at a business session can speak to a motion during a debate (unless specific bylaws indicate otherwise).  However only eligible members are allowed to vote on motions.  Once you have spoken to a motion you are unable to speak in the debate of the motion again.  Additionally when speaking to the motion it is important to limit your remakes to the motion as it stands. Also if you do speak to the motion follow the chairman’s cues of being for/against the motion.

Mover of an amendment

An amendment can be made at any time during a motion debate expect when a procedural motion/point of order is being addressed, another amendment is on the floor or at the close of a debate.  The mover of the amendment has the same rights and responsibilities as a mover of a motion with one key difference they have no right of reply. Once the mover has presented the motion they are not allowed to speak during the debate of that amendment.

Seconder of the amendment

A seconder of the amendment has all the same rights and responsibilities of a seconder to the motion.

Speakers to the amendment

As with the motion any person present can speak to an amendment.  This also includes anyone who has spoken in the debate of the main motion (including the mover and seconder).  Like the motion only eligible members can vote on that amendment.  However there is one key difference between speaking to an amendment and speaking to a motion.  That is when an amendment is being debated remarks should be limited amendment itself.  If an amendment “that the words ‘start time of 7:30’ be replaced with ‘start time of 7:00’” is being debated.  Then you would speak on where changing the start time to 7:00 is a better option then 7:30 not if the start time should be changed.  Finally an amendment can’t be amended by another speaker during the course of the debate.

Now you all have a little knowledge of who can say what during the motion.  Good luck with your points of order.

(Taken from Chapter 4: Motions and Chapter 5: Amendments)

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Friends, Family and Toastmasters – blog post by Jeeven Jayanathan

Like most, you probably heard that by attending Toastmasters meetings you can learn the skills to improve your communication and leadership proficiencies in a no-pressure atmosphere. But have you heard of the Toastmasters family?


Several months ago, a long standing Distinguish Toastmaster wrote an article on ‘Our Toastmasters Family’ and the true value of the Toastmasters family to her. This made me think of how total strangers quickly become friends when they first attend a Toastmasters meeting and even quicker become part of a very supportive family.


The first time I attended a Parramatta Toastmasters meeting, the club had a visit from Santa and I was surprised to receive a present from the man in the red suit. I guess I was on the ‘nice’ list that year or perhaps it was a clever way for visitors to break the ice and start conversations with members.


I met a few people that night, gained lots of insightful information about many members but was truly amazed of how every member that bid me farewell that night, actually pronounced my name correctly and not some similar sounding name like Steven. It was that camaraderie and supportive atmosphere, which grew my interest in learning more about Toastmasters offerings.


Participating in Toastmasters has been fun and scary, often at the same time but the program is very well thought out. You can’t help but develop skills across the board if you follow their communication and leadership educational program. I definitely learnt a lot on how to listen well and express my views constructively; both vital to leadership and Toastmasters has been an excellent environment to develop both.


But it has been the positive and genuine support from members that has kept me going back to meetings for the last 7 years. Somehow spending time in an environment where everyone is focused on growth produces positive energy. Once you experience that energy, it is practically impossible to walk away.


Some might say that there are two kinds of people; those who are Toastmasters and those who are not. Once you get on board, your life transforms and the possibilities are endless – one that’s full of learning, fun and for me the added benefit of a genuinely supportive group of friends and family.



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A Surprise Meeting! – blog post by Peter Steinhour

In keeping with our theme for the meeting “That was a Surprise” the Parramatta Toastmasters Club “Anniversary” snuck up on us and we were 48 yrs old!

Imagine a club founded last century – men only (how good were the good old days?) and still going stronger than ever with a membership of over 60 people! (Apparently there are some women that have snuck in). Back then we probably had black and white television and baker lite telephones to call members and confirm attendances and speaking assignments. How good were those days?

Well we were to find out!

But first – we started with a surprise “welcome” to some of our guests, then the microphones supplied our next surprise – and Gary Wilson eventually “fell over” then ditched them to give us a comprehensive overview of the club and some of it’s history. This was later elaborated on by Demian who gave us a huge volume of detail and statistics as only Demian can do. Both these presentations gave us a wonderful surprise insite into our history. A history that can only be described as colourful and interesting and some what political!

Personally as your VPE it was fabulous to see every one take to their various roles and make this a night to remember!

The hard work behind the scenes that was done – notably by Mr Michael Said – to actually convince some of our most important past members to attend the meeting and allow them to encourage our (newer) members to higher goals / aspirations. I would personally like to thank Michael for his hard work and dedication in achieving such a great attendance from these past greats!

When someone asks about joining the Parramatta Club, does Speech Craft and then becomes a member it is great to have a meeting such as this to understand the greatness of this club!

The interesting thing in all of this is that we are all making history – each speech, each assignment, each award goes toward the history of the club and of course each and everyone of our personal histories.

Can you imagine in another 48 yrs when they are talking in hushed tones about the “emerging greats” that are the Club membership of 2014? ………

Happy  Birthday Parramatta Toastmasters Club 2274!

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