Christmas & New Year in Kuala Lumpur

Travel is good for the soul.

As a Toastmaster I enjoy travel and meeting Toastmasters from around the world. This gives me an incredible opportunity to submerge myself in other cultures; learn a little bit of local conversational language, and meet interesting people who often become close friends.

I lead a busy and varied life and travel often to South East Asia, where I indulge myself with great hotels, fine restaurants and cafes, have connection with good people, and often when walking off the beaten tourist track, see things that are new to me.

Travel has many joys for me, and though I’m past my three score years and ten, I travel alone, and connect with the world.

In August last year, I was in Vancouver and Alaska. For last Christmas and New Year I was in Kuala Lumpur (My home away from home) spending time with friends and experiencing the awesome delights that KL has to offer.

Imagine for yourself what it may be like to stand on the terrace at Melia Hotel at midnight and watch a fabulous fireworks display at Petronas Towers, while clinking wine glasses and wishing Happy New Year to new found friends from Spain, Mexico, France, Malaysia, UK, Ireland, Australia & New Zealand, Iran and Iraq. I did this and it was wonderful.

The Man In The Red Suit

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With only five more days to go before the man in the red suit begins his journey to deliver glad tidings and gifts to people around the world, let us be mindful of those who cannot be with us at this celebratory time.

It’s been a big year for me, and now it’s wind down time.

I’ll be jetting away on Christmas Eve to my home away from home, where I’ll experience a different kind of Christmas with good friends. Yesterday I gave my son his gift for Christmas. He’s very pleased and so am I.

In my 44 years in Australia, this will be only the third time I have spent Christmas and New Year away from home. I’ll be thinking of my family and friends while I’m away though, and take this opportunity to wish you all A Merry Christmas and a Sensation New Year. and I look forward to catching up with all of you in 2018.


November News

It’s time to take this workshop on the road.

“Tough Times Don’t Last”

No person knows everything and every person knows something, yet often people believe that if something has to be done well, they have to do it themselves. This isn’t true of course, because a team well directed and guided can produce favourable outcomes in a timely fashion to the satisfaction of all.

Excellent communicators and leaders can create a vision, state the mission and inspire the team to produce spectacular results.

This workshop will give all participants the knowledge, practice and feedback, to forge new pathways to collective and collaborative achievement, which benefits everyone.

Don’t Delay – Contact me today to get details of the next workshop which is limited to 20 participants.

Updating my website

No matter how much effort I put in to update my website, there is always much more to do, and I’m busily doing it. I’ve promised my self and my followers that all will be ready by 31st October, for the launch on 1st November. I’ve looked at my calendar going forward and will dedicate four hours per day, to ensure that this website will be the best it can be. Sadly, I missed my own deadline as opportunities to speak and Emcee a couple of big events.

This has set me back a month and now my website will launch on 10th January 2018.

So much has happened in 2017, that I now am confident I can do all I’ve dreamed of doing and still speak, present, conduct workshops and travel.

Life is for living and loving and I’m loving and living my life.

Meeting Jim Kokochi – Toastmasters International President

Tuesday 17th May, was a huge day in the Toastmasters calendar for me and the Metro Trains Toastmasters – in formation – club. We were delighted to have Jim and Andrew (CEO Metro Trains), and Bruce Hill , D73 New Clubs Coordinator join us for a fabulous, high energy meeting.

Metro Trains Toastmasters Club was the initiative of Stefan Heaton, a young engineer, who I’d met at a Speechcraft Course in Cranbourne Toastmaster Club, and who introduced Speechcraft to his workplace. I coordinated the course,with my TM colleague and good mate, Harry Lew, and out of it, Metro Trains Toastmasters, sponsored by Frankston Toastmasters and Sunbury/Macedon Ranges Toastmasters Clubs was born. Ricky Tuck and I have been working hard as sponsors to coach the prospective members, and am pleased to say that the Club Charter papers are being completed and will be submitted to TI this week. Charter is near.

It’s not everyday that an International President visit a club, and we are very grateful to Jim Kokochi, for making this day such a special day for us all.

Jim inspired us with his keynote, and said “to be good at public speaking we need three things: Skills, practice and feedback” and I said “I like that and will use it if I may”

A picture paints a thousand words, and below you’ll see, the fine people who celebrated the event with us.

Metro Trains - Jim Kokochi Visit

An awesome meeting, and one to long remember.

If you can say it you can sing it

A-051  A-078 A-061

Whilst speaking to my web developer and other associates, it was suggested I should seriously consider podcasts, a jingle and a monthly newsletter. It is good advice and I’m feverishly working at it.

The Newsletter is taking shape, I’m writing the scripts for my podcasts, and a jingle is in production.

Consider these words which I penned and can apply to all who fear speaking in public, as they applied to me when I first started on the quest to find my talent as a speaker and communications coach.

If your head is spinning/at the thought of you speaking/in front of an audience now/
and your heart is racing/and you can’t stop pacing/then let me show you how/
to control your breathing/stop your heart heaving and/ let you become all the rage/
with a takeaway message/that they will remember/long after/you leave the stage. ©

Let David A Hughes from I Can Do Words help you become the confident speaker you want to be.

Jerry Seinfeld said ‘That at a funeral, most people would rather be in the the casket, than have to give the eulogy’ which sounds ridiculous, yet Glossophobia – A fear of public speaking, is very real for many. Yet it doesn’t need to be so.

Overcoming Glossophobia, is a matter of confidence, and that can be learned.




This Story has always Interested Me

Praying Hands 

Albrecht Duhrer –  Praying Hands

Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuernberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen! In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighborhood.

Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of Albrecht Dührer the Elder’s children had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuernberg to study at the Academy. After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by laboring in the mines.

They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Dührer won the toss and went off to Nuernberg. Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht’s etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Dürer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht’s triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. His closing words were, “And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you.”

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated, over and over, “No …no …no …no.”

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, “No, brother. I cannot go to Nuernberg. It is too late for me. Look … look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother … for me it is too late.”

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Dührer’s hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, watercolors, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer’s works. More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Dürer painstakingly drew his brother’s abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply “Hands,” but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love “The Praying Hands.”

The next time you see a copy of The Praying Hands, take a second look. Let it be your reminder, if you still need one, that no one – no one – – ever makes it alone!

Some Days are Diamonds

Today will be a diamond

My sister told me recently, that grief is the price we pay for love, and what a heavy price it is proving to be.

Memories of better days stream through my mind, as the pictures on the wall and the cards and messages from family and friends remind me constantly of how much Nancy meant to me and to Oscar.

Some days are diamonds and some days are stone, yet, we still manage to get through each 24 hours that each day presents.

I look at Oscar and wonder what is in store for him, for he has so much to look forward to. His new home construction is almost complete, and he’ll move in in Mid October, and be excited and perhaps overwhelmed at the extra work and financial changes that come with owning a home. Perhaps he’ll quickly find the ideal partner he deserves, and raise a family, and tell his children stories about his life, his parents and his ambitions and aspirations. I hope so, for they will be very interesting stories.

Our New Family Oscar aged 5What will Nessa think? How will she cope with the changes? So much unconditional love she displays, and I don’t know if dogs feel loss as we do, and if they do they wear it better than I’m doing right now. Nessa still has a regular routine, and I can learn a lot from that.

My favourite thingsI suppose I’m luckier than most, for I’m a Toastmaster with a wide circle of friends here and around the world, and I get invites to visit. I’m a neighbour who knows so many others in my neighbourhood and can hold conversations on a regular basis. I’m a friend with other friends who have suffered similar loss to mine, and where before I could only sympathise, I can now empathise, for I feel what they must have felt at the time and what they are feeling now.

All Pics and Videos on Camera 054I’ve got my work, which allows me the freedom to connect, communicate and maybe influence others to embrace change, take risks and develop better their underutilized human potential, as my mentors did for me. I hope, my work has enabled and influenced others.

Me and Dan on 11 June 2015Finally, I’ve got today-AFL Grand Final Day, here in Victoria at the MCG- and a chance to meet with friends, holler at the TV screen, and forget for a few hours the trials and tribulations, that losing a loved one entails.

Today will be a diamond, and you my friends have helped in it’s creation. Thank you so, so much.

How Toastmasters has Helped Me

We Serve ourselves best when we serve others 90 compression 

David Hughes DTM – The Journey to being the best I can be

Originally from North Wales, I migrated to Australia from Britain in 1973, and discovered Toastmasters thirteen (13) years later. It was a wonderful discovery and has helped me enormously.

Dedicated and Committed to being the best I can be as a Toastmaster, I’m also a Workshop Presenter, Speaker; Story Teller, Nlp practitioner, Memory Magician, and E-published writer.

I believe, all successful people have one quality in common – the ability to communicate effectively, and I fervently believe it is important to develop this ability in life so that we may successfully meet the demands and challenges of today’s world, and have credibility, influence and impact when engaging with audiences everywhere

My incredible Toastmasters journey began in 1986, when I joined to overcome my rapid speech problem; as I spoke very quickly, creating difficulty for my listeners.

My manager-at the time- suggested I join Toastmasters, as he believed Toastmasters would help me slow down when speaking, and they certainly did. Over time my speaking rate reduced, from the sometimes, unintelligible, 200-300 words per minute to my now credible and very comfortable 100-150 wpm.

After 6 years of regularly attending, and periods as Club and District Officer, and having mastered the intricacies of pace, pitch and pause, and improved gestures and eye contact, I became a competent Toastmaster (CTM), had some excellent Mentors, and eventually enjoyed every speaking opportunity believing my audiences appreciated and enjoyed my speeches and presentations.

I left Toastmasters in 1992, to pursue business interests, and after a 16 year break, returned in 2008.   Since then, I’ve served as Club Officer, Area Governor (2) and Division Governor. In 2012 I achieved DTM, and also in that year was Division Governor of the Year in District 73.

Today, I like to think of myself as a servant-leader, who enjoys being a DTM,REP Ambassador, VPE & Treasurer of my club, and conducting Workshops at District Convention and at Semi-Annual Conferences over time.

My wide circle of Toastmaster friends in Australia and around the world is testament to my interest, curiosity and thirst for cultural exchange with as many Toastmasters as possible, in and with our International organisation and those members who make it the place ‘Where Leaders Are Made.’

Whenever I’m home I enjoy the love of family, reading good books, the freedom to explore the world via the internet and social media, music, friends, and the knowledge that all that I am, was helped enormously by a mentoring manager who once suggested that I join Toastmasters.

“We Serve Ourselves Best When We Serve Others.”

View from my kitchen windowDavid Hughes

Email: icandowords@gmail,com


Twitter: @icandodave

Simple poems for simple souls

My Ode to Snacks

Snacks are lovely, Snacks are nice,

I eat them often, I never think twice,

Sometimes it’s chocolate, Sometimes its’ chips,

Sometimes its crackers: with my favourite dips.


Whenever I’m peckish or needing a lift,

I look in the pantry, or my lolly dish,

There’s toffee and liquorice; chocolate and chew,

With wrappings of red; green, yellow and blue.


I eat them at lunchtime and often at night,

Or watching the cricket, or needing a bite,

I eat them for comfort, for feeling ok,

My lollies are friends I eat every day.


David Hughes 2012©