The Jotter


Jotter  939  Feb20



Focus: “Timing is everything”.

21 attended, including 2 guests (one for his first time).

Best wishes to Deebee and Jennifer who couldn’t make it because of family health and injury issues.


We did better!

We did much, much better with timing this time, with the meeting finishing just before 9pm.

This was largely due to everybody trying harder – being ready to speak when their turn came and speaking briefly and to the point. (I’m aware though that the stand-in President (yours truly!)  did ramble on a bit).  General Evaluator James noted that keeping to time is a matter of equity, that when we take more time than necessary we are taking it from others.  James also pointed out that if we had had 3 main speeches as planned we would have gone overtime yet again. Gremlins caused the 2 main speeches to stretch out longer than intended. One because the timing lights were not visible at a distance and the other suffered computer software problems.


Real Life.

Our missing main speaker was replaced by Barbara who stepped in to do a Real Life item.

Real Life items require a volunteer (forewarned) to “say a few words at short notice” on a given topic. Barbara spoke to us as a bunch of trepidatious 17 and 18 year olds, giving us advice and encouragement on meeting the challenge of adult life.


Table Topics.

Danni gave her very first Table Topics. She was clear and concise and had 6 people up on their feet. Her topics were along the lines of ‘What would you do if …?”: eg … you were confronted by a murderous pygmy; … you were presented with $10,000 in India; … you were visiting an orphanage in Kenya.


Bunching up.

Is there anyway we can bunch up more in the hall to build a sense of conviviality, and to hear better and see better?  I wonder if we could squeeze 3 people in at each table, which would require one person at least to have their legs wrapped around the table legs! Any ideas anyone?



Next meeting is on March6. The following meeting on March 20 is being organised by guest VPE Barbara on the theme of paintings and painters. Keep watching this space!

The Jotter Jan’ 2018



A great first meeting of 2018 on Tuesday, January 16.  We had over 20 present including 4 guests/ prospective new members.

The 3 speakers were very much at ease, and obviously enjoying their own speeches. We laughed at Damian’s encounter with a horse. (Damian could make a household budget sound hilarious!). Lyn had invented a witty explanation of the transition from apemen to Adam and Eve. And newbie Pauline introduced herself (in her Icebreaker speech) with anecdotes on the theme of “Princess or Trooper?”.

Other first timers included Leon as Toastmaster and Jennifer as General Evaluator. Warm Up (John) allowed us to vent our political frustrations. For Table Topics Narelle chose questions suitable to the new year on what might yet be and what might have been. Her 6 targets all found something to say. Good practice! And on top of all that, watermelon for supper! (Thanks Christine).

What’s in the pipeline? About 4 or 5 people have launched into the new education program, Pathways, with more promising to follow. And for our next meeting on February 6, we already have an almost full program.

That’s it. See you all on Feb6.




The JOTTER…Coffs Harbour Toastmasters news letter

And that was Saturday.

Back to the Bowl-o.

Last Saturday Area 29 Contests were held at Park Beach Bowls Club in Coffs. What a great venue! A quiet, carpeted room, with picture windows onto the dune, and a delicious sandwich lunch, all for a very modest $5 entry fee. About 30 people attended from the 4 clubs between Grafton and Nambucca Valley, and this included judges and District level officials from outside Area. Top quality speeches as usual. Hats off to the dynamic Dysons for winning first place in the 4 categories – James in International and Evaluation, and Janet in Humorous and Table Topics.  Hats off also to all who contested or officiated, and especially the 3 who left at lunchtime after competing or chairing. These 3 had apparently fitted the contest into already very busy lives.


The mix.

It was the usual mix. Old timers showing their experience and newbies learning the ropes. There were more than a few who doubled up. James and Deebee, for example, after competing, put on different hats and came back as Chair or Sergeant at Arms. Similarly Donna and Paolo seemed to be everywhere as Timers, Counters and Sergeant at Arms. Special thanks to Kay Simmons who drove up from Port Mac to deliver a test speech for the Evaluation contestants to evaluate.


Pathways down the track.

Justyn Phillips took the opportunity (as a District90 Pathways Ambassador) to remind us yet again that Pathways, the new Education Program, will start in December.  The current program is a basic manual of 10 projects, followed by a choice of advanced modules which cater for special interests.  in Pathways, on the other hand, you choose one of 10 specialised paths at the outset. Pathways is already rolling out elsewhere in the Toastmasters universe and an interesting statistic is that the most popular path (20%) has been ‘project management’, followed by ‘giving presentations’ and ‘mentoring’, and then the remaining 7 paths are more or less on par.



The Jotter 17th May 2017

JOTTER  May 16 meeting


Newbies to the fore!

Our surge of new members continues to energise the club. Christine M was Madam Toastmaster for her very first time, and 4 of our relatively new members did well in Table Topics. There were 2 formal speeches. (There were going to be 3 but ‘Life’ intervened and one had to be cancelled). In Speech 1, John D spoke about the opportunities that come with living longer. In Speech 2 Leon P gave an enormously evocative word picture of life on an outback sheep station. There were 20 people there including 2 guests.


Changing of the guard!

Next year’s executive committee is now elected. Of the 7 office bearers, 3 are totally new, and 2 of the others are taking on different roles. And that’s as it should be with people rotating in and out of executive positions each year as much as possible. It’s all about getting experience! Our last exec meeting of the year is on June 13, when both execs – current and next – will be there. And our June 20 meeting is a Changeover Meeting when next year’s executive committee is inducted. There will be a longer supper and as always guests are most welcome.


Nambucca kicks up its heels! 

A second Area Joint Meeting was held at Nambucca RSL on Tuesday May 9. Bellingen, Nambucca Valley and Coffs Harbour clubs were all there. Thirty in all attended including guests, spouses etc. About 14 came to dinner beforehand at the club.

Special Thanks to Area Director Sue Hereford-Ashley and to Colin Steber

Area 5 Director Oxley Division, for taking part during this special event.

There followed a full program with 3 speakers.


Next Coffs Harbour Toastmasters meeting Tuesday June 6.


The Jotter News Letter Feb’ 21st 2017

Getting Together Combined Toastmasters Meeting.


Our last meeting on Feb21 was a buzz! Three clubs came together for a joint meeting which had been advertised in the Advocate and on local radio. Let the numbers speak!

  • 19 members of Toastmasters (Coffs Harbour 13; Bellingen 4; Nambucca Valley 2).
  • 19 guests (8 of them were totally new to Toastmasters).
  • Total audience 38


I found the 3 main speeches spellbinding. Speech 1, by Kyle Maloney of Coffs Harbour, was a series of yarns from his experience of dealing with medical emergencies. Speech 2, by James Dyson of Nambucca Valley, with the help of a Power Point slideshow transported us to medieval Byzantium and the building of the Hagia Sophia cathedral.  Speech 3 was especially thoughtful and thought provoking. Phil Wilson of Bellingen spoke about Toastmaster speeches themselves, which, he said, by their very nature spring from honesty and so are an antidote to dishonesties in the world (Think ‘alternative truths’!).


In the Warm Up  everyone got to their feet and spoke for 15 seconds on their ‘vision’ (the word for the night) for the year to come. Table Topics (or spontaneous mini-speeches) got 7 speakers on their feet. The voted winner was Jean Ryan, a guest, who gave an entertaining mini-speech about a mysterious contraption which was put into her hands.


Overall the program was a close to normal Coffs Harbour club program. We did make sure, however, that we explained the rationale of items for the benefit of guests unfamiliar with the format.

The Jotter December 2016



What do these 3 scenarios have in common: dinner conversation with a ghost; a choko vine covering a 2 storey house; and an angel appearing as a pakeha or a maori depending on who’s looking?  These were three word pictures in three of seven Tall Tales told at Coffs Harbour Toastmasters’ final meeting of the year. The winner of the Pigs Might Fly Tall Tales Contest was Fran Kerkhoff with the ‘true’ story of how Toastmasters International began with the perfect slice of toast. (Ha! As if!)


This last meeting was a blend of Contest and Christmas party. As a contest, it had a contest chair, judges from other clubs,  presentation of certificates, and a handcrafted, silver painted flying pig as the winner’s trophy (thanks to Deebee). And as a party, there were more guests than members (about 30 people in all), and an extra long supper gave us a chance to catch up with old faces and meet new friends. In the Hats Off segment (which gives everyone a chance to pay a compliment), one guest summed up the evening as: “food, friendship and frivolity”.


Now comes the long Christmas New Year break.  Our next meeting will be on Tuesday January 17 at the usual time and place, that is Cavanbah Hall in Coffs, meeting at 6:30pm for a 7pm start. We will have a full program with 3 speakers plus the usual other items. Please see our website for details. And don’t forget Tuesday February 21 when members from Bellingen, Nambucca Valley and Coffs Harbour clubs will get together for a joint club meeting at Cavanbah Hall.


Merry Christmas everyone, and a happy New Year!

David Whyte


Photo’s to follow very soon.


The Jotter 20.09.2016

Last Saturday Sep17, Park Beach Bowls Club in Coffs was the venue for the Oxley Division Contest (Humorous & Table Topics), bringing together clubs from Tweed Heads to Taree. It was nice not having to travel to this event, but rather have the entertainment come to us.

One thing about contests and conferences at higher levels (Area, Division, District) is you get to experience progressively higher standards, not only of speeches (prepared or off-the-cuff), but also of organisation, MC-ing and training. So whichever aspect of Toastmasters interests you, there is opportunity to observe, participate and learn. And at the end of the day it remains friendly because we’re all just ‘clubbies’.

Many of the 7 Humorous speeches were highly visual, acted out with gesture and expression. So for example, like after watching a movie, I can still replay in my head many moments from the speech “Five blokes and a boat-full of beer”.

The Table Topic was “Did I really do that?”. Most of the 8 contestants spoke about their achievements, but I got a chuckle from 2 exceptions who spoke instead about avoiding the pointing finger of blame, and of the blunders of DIY man

Next event is the District Semi Annual Conference in Gosford Nov4-5, which includes Humorous and Table Topic contests. District 90 is, roughly speaking, all NSW clubs north of Sydney Harbour. It consists of 6 Divisions, 30 Areas, 150 Clubs and about 3,000 members.


the JOTTER 24.08.2016

Test Speaker from Graftons Mighty Clarence
Bethany Mcalpine, test Speaker from Graftons Mighty Clarence Club.

Last Tuesday Coffs Toastmasters held its Speech Evaluation and International club contests. In the Speech Evaluation contest, Bethany Mcalpine from the Mighty Clarence Grafton Toastmasters club came all the way down to be “Test Speaker”. Bethany a 21 year old Uni Student told of her visit to East Timor. Her smoothly flowing narrative, told with expressive voice and gesture, took us via a series of word pictures from Dili airport, through city streets, to her lodgings, and then on a bus journey into the mountains. Through the rich weave of people, places, and conversations ran the theme of poverty like a thread, alluded to in a quiet and nuanced way: the smell of poverty; a young boy stunted from malnutrition; an old man (“he looked like my grandfather”) at risk of dying from lack medical resources. Thank you Bethany, and congratulations for delivering a very fine 7 minute speech without microphone or notes, to a large audience. Bethany says she is “shy” but that her confidence as a speaker in all situations has grown after 3 years in Toastmasters.


During the evening four speakers presented in each of the Speech Evaluation & International Speech  Contests. Speech Evaluation 1st place winner Fran Kerkhoff & 2nd Barbara Stewart. International Speech 1st place winner Deebee Bishop & Fran Kerkhoff 2nd  will now go on to compete at the Area contests  (Coffs, Bellingen and Nambucca Valley) on Saturday, September 3 at Mylstrom Hall 18-20 River Street Mylstrom starting at 9am, all welcome. Details regarding this contest will be on the Coffs Harbour Toastmasters website at

Fran Kerkhoff, Barbara Stewrat, Deebee Bishop (2)Fran Kerkhoff Barbara Stewart & Deebee

The Jotter 24.7.2016


Coffs Harbour Toastmasters…Club Contest #113690622_1224115727621861_4787494989340307746_n.jpghumorcomp (2)

Last Tuesday (July 19) Coffs Toasties had their Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests.

Five judges from other clubs travelled in to Coffs for the evening. Sue from Mighty Clarence was Chief Judge, and was supported by Rowena and Alison (from Bellingen), and Todd and Marian (from Nambucca Valley).

Two other new faces were visitors Tom Ashall (a former member)  and Kevin (who was responding to our ever improving website).

There were 4 contestants in each category. In Table Topics contestants give a 2 minute extemporaneous speech with, of course, zero preparation. The topic was: “How will your life be different in a year’s time?”, and the winners were Fran Kerkhoff (1st) and Janet Dyson (2nd).

After supper came the Humorous Speech Contest when the 4 contestants found the funny side of: being a dad, incompatible identical twins, a pom’s reactions to Australia, and death!

The winners were Dee Bee (1st/ Neo-Modern Dad) and Fran Kerkhoff (2nd/ death).

The 4 winners will go on to compete at the Area Contest on Saturday September 3.

Yet another evening of learning and fun!

David Whyte Club President