Tasmanian traditional welcoming gift of a Beanie.

Soaking up the Speaking Experience

The 24th National Triennial Convention                                                                          Aspect Tamar Valley Resort, Grindelwald Tasmania

Inspiring, insightful and delightful. Entertaining, fun and motivational. Stirring up emotions of laughter and tears. These are a few words which best describe the experiences soaked in at our Speaking Made Easy 2019 Convention in Tasmania

Friday 30 August – Welcome Night


Jo Tubb, the Tasmanian Regional President and MC at the Welcome Dinner, commenced the night with much flair and style. Jo welcomed two women who have contributed to the local community. Melissa Carter from the melythina tiakana warrana Aboriginal Corporation, fittingly presented the Welcome to Country. Our guest speaker for the night Christine Holmdahl, West Tamar Valley Mayor, speech, shared with us, her Polish background, family experiences, migration and settlement in the Tamar Valley. She explained why she became a Councillor and the Mayor. The evening was a great start to a fabulous event.

Saturday 31st  August – let the speaking begin

Opening of the Convention brought an exciting beginning to the next three days.

Keynote speaker Tricia Karp brought us in on her life journey while sharing the skills she had learnt on the way, and how to obtain confidence. She encouraged us to believe “We are enough” and not to worry about what others may say. She said we must make a decision to be ourselves as this influences our attitudes and behaviour. Each person is unique and only you can say what you want to say. Tricia asked, “Where does confidence come from? What does confidence look like?” She encouraged each person to know what is driving you, build relationships and know you are always enough to do what you want to do.

Getting to understand yourself, and working with others was achieved in Carmel Ackerly’s workshop titled, Standing Up and Influencing Others. Carmel pointed out many practical ways for us to better connect with people and gave us the tools to achieve this. Initially we all participated in a question survey to reveal the type of person we are: Controller, Expresser, Analyser, Cooperator or a combination of these. Using our dominant type category, we practiced using the language required by others for them to be influenced.

The mini workshops delivered by our own Speaking Made Easy members were a valuable experience for three members and they were appreciated by the audience as many speaking tips were gathered. Jan Sim from SA gave some handy hints on interview skills. Rosa Mc Manamey from Tasmania shared the skills and dialogue required for being an MC at a function. Victorian Jo Cameron demonstrated the many ways of how to create mystery within our speeches

The M Jean Ellis Memorial Dinner was a very special evening to honour our co-founder M Jean Ellis OBE and the women over the last 82 years for their contribution to developing confident women throughout the decades. Olwyn Devlin, National President, spoke about M. Jean Ellis starting The Penguin Club of Australia in 1937, society’s differences between then and now and the development of  Speaking Made Easy.

It is a night where the Regional Presidents each have their shining moment in making a speech. This year their topics were book titles.

Denise Hannaford from SA had the topic ‘A Long Shot’ and she referenced The Castle, Clarke and Dawes, and spoke of iconic characters and scenes in movies. Victorian Aishah Aitken’s topic was ‘The Fixer’. Aishah enlightened us on how through social media, community and family we could contribute to fixing the way we address mental health. Louise Hinkley from Western Australia had the topic ‘Tell No One’. Louise presented a very entertaining speech about her mature aged friend, Hilda, living her life with every available technical gadget and her thoughts if she didn’t have these. Anna Lovitt from Tasmania had us all in deep thought on her topic, presenting a speech on the topic ‘Too Much Lip’ with a very different slant.

The M. Jean Ellis Memorial Dinner is a time to recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions of members. Western Australians Elvira King and Phyl Hicks were publicly acknowledged as both had received their Certificate Of Honour at a Perth function. Retiring South Australian Regional Executive Officer Millie Nichols, was awarded a Certificate of Honour which was well deserved.

As Joy FitzGerald from Queensland was unable to attend the Convention, she attended the evening’s event via ZOOM. While at home she was able to be part of the awards. Her face was full of surprise and delight when it was announced that she was being awarded Life Membership. Her beautifully decorated Certificate of Life Membership was held up so she could see it. The wonders of technology created a special moment for Joy and the audience.

Sunday 1 September – The Power of the Word

The Young and New Members breakfast, started the day with much conversation, coming up with new strategies and ideas.

The young and new members breakfast bringing to the table new ideas and perspectives.


Robyn Moore had us all totally engaged with her every spoken word. Robyn focused on the power of the word to find your ‘authentic you’. The words you choose to use, the stories and examples you tell, your attitude and actions form you. She gave us many practical suggestions to assist us be the best ‘authentic you’. She also illustrated the need for us to recognise times where we need to rethink our thinking and words.
Robyn shared her family, volunteer and life experiences.     She provided a great insight into how words can be powerful, the ways they can be used and how they can transform you to be an extraordinary you.


Heather Kirkpatrick took us on her adventurous travels in several countries She spoke of being a survival instructor within different cultures and traditions. Heather shared the skills which she gained to develop her confidence, which also led to leadership. Chasing opportunities and her dreams, she has progressed to making documentary films concentrating on filming the truth

The Poster Exhibition was very successful. Over 30 posters were on display at the commencement of the Convention and on Sunday many members spoke to their poster. The topics covered were varied and interesting. Poster discussions continued throughout the four days.

Sunday evening saw us celebrating a very special occasion, the Tasmanian Speaking Made Easy 70th Anniversary. Commemorating Tasmanian women was the order of the night. Beautifully decorated tables with photos and corresponding biography placemats of renowned Tasmanian women added to the theme. We had the pleasure of listening to guest speaker, Dr Christina Henri who told the story of the thousands of convict women who came to Tasmania and were placed in Female Factories. We learnt how she started the ‘Roses of the Heart’ project where women make bonnets as a memory of those women. Dr Christina Henri, as an artist, places the bones in ‘sculptures’ for the public to learn the history of these women

Monday 2 September – Developing confidence

Tasmanian best-selling author and novelist Rachael Treasure enlightened us on to how and why she became a jillaroo, a storyteller, as well as her passion in looking after the land and rural life.


Speaking Made Easy Speakers entertained us once again.
Liza Bell from WA spoke on ‘Are you doing your bit to save the planet?’
Victorian Sue Tate told of her dream meeting with John Lennon.
Tasmanian Ans Jongeling delighted us with her own original poetry.
West Australian Kath Morrissey spoke about political correctness and ‘Nanny States’
Barbara Waterfall from Victoria built her speech around the history of sayings and then had everybody in stitches describing fitting into a bathing costume.
South Australian Margaret Ford shared tales of her family and rural life in Orroroo.

Tasmanian Shirley Williams delivered a presentation with a difference, informing us about the kindness project offering people a symbol of compassion and care through handmade pocket hearts. We all made a felt heart. A beautiful sentiment.

The Convention finale was a real hoot. The Tasmanian Convention Team farewelled us with a very funny Cinderella fairy tale, with a twist.

The whole weekend had a great feeling, full of fun, unity, learning and friendship. We are looking forward to the next Convention

Appreciative of any size donations.





6 Replies to “Soaking up the Speaking Experience”

    1. Thank you, i am glad you enjoyed reading it, the event was fantastic. Speaking Made Easy have a convention every 3 years, next one is 2022.

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