May - NAB Toastmasters

ISSUE 05/13 | MAY 2013
Brendan does NAB Toastmasters proud in
the district evaluation contest.
Congratulations to Brendan Farrell for coming second in
the District Evaluation Contest final, representing our
club. Here Brendan describes the contest and gives
invaluable advice. Brendan also came second in the
humorous speech contest, representing Ivanhoe.
In the weeks preceding the District Evaluation Contest final, I
delivered evaluations across four clubs and I implored
members to provide only improvement-oriented feedback.
From that I realised the art of evaluating is no different to any
other form of verbal communication – the simpler the
approach the more effective the delivery. The message must
be efficient in structure and clear in purpose: less words, less
syllables and, most importantly, less thoughts.
On the morning of the contest my biggest concern was
remaining calm and focused. The contestant speaking order
was drawn from a hat and I drew lucky seven, the coveted
final speaking slot.
Brendan demonstrates how he focusses on the target
When the target speaker took the stage she exuded the
confidence of a highly accomplished speaker. Her delivery
was of an International Contest standard and, having
witnessed and evaluated dozens of exceptional speeches at
our club, I was in familiar territory. She presented an
abundance of praiseworthy attributes but I patiently waited
for her to reveal areas for improvement – eventually they
came. During the speech I wrote very few notes, just thirty
words and two short quotes that I would reference.
Following the target speech, all contestants left the room for
the five minute closed session to make our final
preparations. Feeling confident that I had secured sufficient
ammunition for a three- minute delivery, I decided that I
would not transcribe or restructure my notes.
TIP: With a highlighter pen I simply highlighted the five
words that represented each of my points of praise and
improvement. I spent most of the five minutes focused
on memorising the five words and one quote.
With a highlighter pen I simply highlighted the five words that
represented each of my points of praise and improvement. I
spent most of the five minutes focused on memorising the
five words and one quote.
Before the five minute session had concluded I was already
mapping out a constructive, simple evaluation. By the time I
took the stage I had in my head a well prepared and
rehearsed evaluation.
What I also had was an extraordinary build-up of nervous
energy. On the stage I started speaking before my eyes had
settled on the audience and I was banging out my words
much faster than my rehearsal. I pulled the speed back a
little and completed the evaluation knowing that I had
covered all of my points. I slipped on my words a couple of
times and glanced at my notes on one occasion which wasn't
necessary. That said, I gave it my best shot and I knew that I
had not let myself down. Moreover I knew that I had not let
the team down. And I took second place which I am super
happy with.
Through the experience, I am again reminded that ours is a
great club. The support that I received in the lead up to the
contest was brilliant. Kevin’s support and generosity in
providing me much more than my fair share of “stage time”
proved invaluable. At the convention Kevin, Andrew and Ann
gave me the best advice possible which was to enjoy myself
and have fun.
I would encourage all members to enter contests this year.
Last year I started at club level contests as an inexperienced
Toastmaster having never delivered a properly structured
evaluation and through the process was able to advance my
proficiency to tackle each contest stage. Regardless, of how
far you progress through the contests, by simply participating
you will accelerate your development as a speaker.
The beautiful thing is that the art of public speaking cannot
be truly mastered, so for all of us the journey continues and
so do the triumphs. Brendan Farrell
On Tuesday 14 May, a group of NAB Toastmasters
attended a workshop to listen to Rory Vaden (far right).
Rory is a world champion speaker and a keynote speaker
at the District 73 conference. His message is “take the
stairs” – avoid taking the easy options in life and tackle
the hard work needed to achieve your dreams.
Triple treat
for Kevin
and Andrew
Triple Crown
badges are
awarded to
who complete
three projects
within the year.
Both Andrew and
Kevin were
awarded Triple
Crown badges at
the District 73
Andrew for
completing his Competent Leader, Advanced Leader Bronze
and Competent Communicator projects, and Kevin for his
Competent Leader, Advanced Communicator Bronze and
Advanced Communicator Silver projects.
Kevin’s completion of the ACS means our club now has all
10 possible Distinguished Club points – the third club in the
entire district to have achieved this.
Funny lady Uma
Uma Thakar, a
member of Tuesday
Toastmasters and a
headline speaker at
the District 73
Conference, took the
opportunity to
practise her speech
How to overcome
fear with laughter at
the NAB lunchtime
meeting on 14 May.
Uma is a natural
comic and had
everyone laughing at
the funny stories of
her upbringing in
India, “Bollywood
Shakespeare” and
her eccentric
grannie. We now can
also decipher the
different meanings of
the Indian head
The convention attendee
I arrive at the convention at midday on Friday, several hours
before the program kicks off. I make my way to the foyer
lounge and I am immediately engaged in lively discussion
with Toasties, many that I am meeting for the first time. I spot
Andrew and Kevin engaged in animated discussion across
the room. It seems that everyone has something to say and
everyone is heard. This is Toastmasters’ Utopia.
As the afternoon wears on Toasties continue to stream into
the hotel, easily identifiable from other hotel guests by their
high spirits and eagerness to converse. Mixing with fellow
orators from the 126 clubs across the district is one of the
genuine highlights of the convention.
From the
mezzanine level, I
look down on the
foyer lounge as it
continues to fill
with Toasties. It’s
an extraordinary
sight. New
appear to erupt
and interlace with
discussions. From
above it’s a chaotic
cacophony and as
I return to the
lounge it’s more a
verbal symphony.
Like freewheeling
Brendan: happy to be a
jazz, the conToastmaster Tragic
versations are
spontaneous and robust, as one might expect from a band
well versed in prepared speeches, table topics and
evaluations. The rhythms of constant laughter hold the tune.
In the evening, attendees make their way to the cocktail
opening. I catch up with NAB's Empress of Eloquence Ann
Banham. All NAB delegates are in house. Game on!
One new friend comments that she had never seen so many
Toastmaster tragics under one roof. We conclude that a
tragedy is quite possibly the collective noun for a large group
of Toastmasters. We laugh as our conversation merges with
another and we happily drift apart with the currents of
Uma Thakar says head
wobbles can mean yes, no or
It was particularly pleasing to see Uma’s knockout routine
again at the Conference. She seemed to step up a notch in
reaction to a larger and very responsive audience – and as
she had incorporated some of the suggestions we had given
her at our lunchtime preview, we felt very special.
At 7.00 pm, members make their way to the Grand Ballroom.
The convention is officially set to roll.
It is the people that make the convention so great. At a club
level, important alliances are made and success oriented
ideas are exchanged. For the individual, old mates
reconnect, new friendships are forged and mentoring
relationships are established. And we all come away as
better communicators. This is the start of the convention.
And it's only warming up.
Brendan Farrell
National Australia Bank Toastmasters- Club 3901, District D73/S40
Editor: Ann Banham [email protected]
Rory’s masterclass in how to talk ‘strine.
Just say yes
“USA and Great Britain: two nations divided by a
common language” George Bernard Shaw.
Have you read Yes Man? It was made into a pretty awful film
starring Jim Carey, but the book by Danny Wallace is one of
my favourites. The author decides to say yes to every
opportunity in life and he recounts all the hysterical
adventures this decision gets him into. Ultimately saying yes
alters his attitude to everything and brings about profound
and positive changes to his love life, his career and his
finances. Aahh … I do love a happy ending.
Rory Vaden, keynote speaker at the District 73 Toastmaster
conference, must now be shaking his head and saying: “…
and those Australians have a vernacular all their own!”
When I joined Toastmasters I decided to say yes. I said yes
to every opportunity presented to me: evaluating a speech,
entering a competition, taking part in the executive
committee, completing a newsletter in four days, sending an
article to Toastmasters magazine.
When Kevin asked me to present my CC10 speech with just
a couple of days’ notice so I could complete my Competent
Communicator manual and earn points for our club, I didn’t
hesitate. I said yes. The CC10 speech requires research and
preparation and is designed to be a showcase of what a
Toastmaster has learned over the past nine speeches; it isn’t
something that can be presented off the cuff. So it meant
head down and slaving over a hot computer for a couple of
days, but I pulled it off.
Rory gets a crash course in 'strine
It was at Rory’s masterclass and he was talking about
humour. “Words with the hard ck sound are funny”, he told
us.” Words like monkey, cacophony…”
“Can you think of any other funny words with the hard ck
sound?” he asked. Now remember, this was a room of
Victorians and South Australians and of course someone at
the back of the room shouted out Collingwood. The
audience rocked with laughter and Rory looked slightly
perplexed but moved right along.
So my advice to anyone just joining Toastmasters – or
indeed established members – is say yes to every
opportunity that is presented to you, whether it is taking a
role in a club meeting, entering a competition or taking part in
area training days. It can sometimes be scary and can push
you out of your comfort zone. You may find yourself in a
venue talking to a much larger audience that you’re used to.
You may be asked to run a meeting, a contest or a social
event. But you may find hidden talents you never knew you
had such as a flair for running meetings, competition
speaking or event management.
Next he gave us examples of using specifics rather than
generalities. For instance, don’t say I was like a wet dog, say
I was like a soggy shiatsu. “Any other examples of being
wet?” “Like a shag on a rock” someone suggested. More
Rory had confessed to using rooting inappropriately in
Australia (in America it means cheering for someone; in
Australia it means … well it means something else) and he
asked accusingly: “Are you cussing at me?”
“OK,” he asked, “another word for roadway?” Well, have you
ever been in an audience of mature adults who suddenly turn
into a Year 10 class with a student teacher? Yep – one
sophisticated grown-up Toastmaster found her inner 16 yearold unruly brat and yelled out nature strip.
Rory was obviously very puzzled by this term but was
laughing along with his audience by this time. He was a good
sport, a charming and generous man and everyone at the
conference benefitted from his session. And hopefully he
also benefitted from his crash course on talking ‘strine.
Ann receives her CC10 ribbon from Andrew
Saying yes can also rub off into other aspects of your life and
career. A positive attitude can take you down unknown
paths and lead you to profound changes in your career and
finances and, who knows, even your love life.
I am now embarking on new challenges with Toastmasters. I
will have new manuals to complete and new paths to
negotiate. But I will continue to say yes and enjoy the
adventures that this will bring.
Ann Banham
National Australia Bank Toastmasters- Club 3901, District D73/S40
Editor: Ann Banham [email protected]
visitors to our
Vijay Jagannathan
honoured NAB
Toastmasters by
presenting his tenth
speech in the
manual at our club
meeting on 7thx
Let’s rock the conference next year
The District 73 Toastmasters Convention, with the overall
theme Connect, Create and Communicate, is in Melbourne
next year (16-18 May 2014). It is a wonderful opportunity to
take your speaking skills to the next level, to network with
other Toastmasters and to have a lot of fun. Let’s really pull
out all the stops and get the majority of NAB members
registered for the 2014 conference. More information at
The dinner on Saturday night is traditionally a great occasion
to let your hair down. This year the theme was the 70s and
the majority of delegates got into the spirit of the age of
peace, love and funky dance moves: there were more flares,
platform shoes and afro hairdo’s than you could poke a disco
glitter ball at.
Vijay was a member
of Mecon
Communications Club in
Bangalore, India where he gave
the first nine speeches in the
CC project.
In defence of the
English language
I received an official letter
recently, asking me to fill in a
form in the spaces indicated by
an asterix. Although I looked
really carefully, I couldn’t see
any instances of the French
cartoon figure Asterix the Gaul.
Finding the 70s groove at
the 2013 conference dinner
Asterix does not want
to be confused with a
little star!
Am I expecting too much for an educated writer to
differentiate between Asterix and an
asterisk * (from Greek asteriskos,
"little star”)?
The theme for the 2014
conference dinner is
Be Fabulous. And it really
would be absolutely fabulous if
we could field a couple of tables
of NAB Toasties. (Oooh … I can
feel my inner Patsy already!)
Other important dates:
NAB wins second place in Positive
Promotions Program
District 73 runs a Positive Promotions Program from July to
April each year. It encourages clubs to actively promote their
club to new members and to foster good communications
with existing members.
Thanks to Kevin’s outstanding job in promoting the club on
the NAB internal communications tool ‘Yammer’ and his
sterling effort in pulling together nine months’ worth of
promotional activities (MeetUp, Facebook, the NAB TM
website, our newsletter) we were awarded second place at
the recent District 73 conference, which included a $100
voucher to be used on the TM website.
23 June: Speaker to Trainer workshop,1.00-5.00
South Melbourne Community Centre, cost $10
rsvp by 15 June to [email protected]
25 June: 7.30 am. Back-to-front meeting
The Gavel is the monthly newsletter of the National Australia
Bank Toastmasters Club. Thanks to Brendan Farrell, our
embedded reporter at the District 73 Toastmasters
Convention, for his contributions to this issue.
Next month the guest editor will be Andrew Cowell. Please
send all contributions, stories, articles or photos for the June
edition of the Gavel to:
[email protected]
National Australia Bank Toastmasters- Club 3901, District D73/S40
Editor: Ann Banham [email protected]