Monday, January 29, 2007

Prescription For Cold Feet - “ACTASIF”

The name might sound like a prescription for cough bottle, it is not. ACT-AS-IF is a prescription for cold feet and improving one’s ability to speak in public. This is not a new invention. It has been around for decades at least. To overcome fright you should act as if you are brave. ACTASIF is certainly the case when it comes to Speaking in Public. Its potential uses are numerous. If you begin to feel stage fright before or while you are giving a speech, apply the technique, and act confidently. The chances are the effects of adrenaline based nervous energy will not be noticeable to your audience. An audience cannot see the rapid heart beat or sweaty palms. You the speaker may still feel the fear, and that is normal. ACTASIF can give you the kind of courage defined by Mark Twain as …. Resistance to fear……..not the absence of fear. No matter how serious the subject matter, never act as if the job is a chore. Act as if there is no place in the world you would rather be at this moment than where you are. Don’t stand as if you are in front of a firing squad. An uncomfortable speaker makes for an uncomfortable audience. If the speaker acts relaxed and happy to be there, the audience will follow suit. When the congregation falls asleep there is only one thing to do. Give the server a sharp stick and tell him to go and prod the preacher. Just as it is the Preacher’s business to keep the audience interested in his sermon, it is all speakers’ responsibility to keep their audience interested or at least awake.

All our speakers keep us on our toes at Speakeasy Toastmasters Club. Our meeting of the 25th January was despite -2°C was well attended. Mary Moynihan, Ray Ryan, Jerry Mulcahy and Michael Cronin kept our minds concentrated with interesting and varied speeches on their chosen topics. We laughed a lot and did I once tell you that laughter is the best medicine. If Toastmasters entered a ‘Laughter Competition’ they would come out on top as the best prescription for good health, which in turn promises longevity! Needless to mention I exchanged my P.R. hat for a medical one to give you those nuggets of wisdom. So to add many more happy years to your life, drop in to our next meeting on Thursday 8th February at 7.50 pm sharp for two hours of enjoyment which may be extended to three, when we all join in the bar for a ‘chat’ after the meeting. The Hibernian Hotel provides a very friendly and relaxing venue for us. So guests and members a big ‘cead mile failte’ is extended to you for our next meeting. The nights are cold but the coffee/tea and biscuits and the charming company will more than compensate. See you all there D.V.

Enquiries to Loretto or

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Hot Flushes


Speakeasy Toastmasters Club

This week we will explore the best approach to red faces, public gaffes, and other mortifying moments.

In every day life humans are embarrassed anytime they look foolish or incompetent in public. Whatever the source of embarrassment – it can stop you dead in your tracks. A few tips for you -

  • Thorough preparation will safeguard you against embarrassment. If you must introduce the featured guests – write down their names even if you know them well.
  • Before a speech visit the site early and see for yourself if there are any wires to trip on, that a lectern is provided and that nothing else will take you unawares.
  • Another tactic for minor botches is to claim the embarrassing misstep happened to a person “who was not the real me”. You can claim that you were tired or sick or preoccupied when it happened.
  • You can also help others escape pending goofs, if you get someone close to them to point out the opened buttons, zips etc.

So the next time you forget your place in a speech, forget your bosses name while making introductions, or find spinach in your teeth during a major presentation remember to laugh it off;
Claim it wasn’t really you, or pretend it didn’t happen and carry on. Your red face, you will have to put up with – after all you are only human. To quote Mark Twain “mankind is the only animal that blushes, or needs to!

We had a very good meeting last week. Our speakers were both humorous and entertaining. The officers that had responsibility for running the show took their tasks seriously and all in all it was a memorable first meeting of 2007. I feel my mantra for 2006 was encouraging people to come as guests, experience the happenings first hand, and at the same time be assured that you will not be asked to speak, unless you volunteer to do so. We have graduated from the hob to glamorous containers of coffee and tea and the biscuits are top class. For €5 you will have a guaranteed seat, unlike the Dublin train, entertainment, coffee, tea and biscuits. Your money back if you are not satisfied. I am reliably informed that no one has asked for a refund yet! Next meeting is on Thursday 25th January, 2007 at 7.50 sharp. Finishing time is 10.p.m. When we retire to the bar for an extended social chat and a drink. Before you jump to any conclusions – we do have designated drivers. Come to think of it was there a free Coke for designated drivers one time. I never got it. Further information may be had bylogging on to

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

What makes a nervous Speaker an Orator? Courage.

How? Join Speakeasy Toastmasters Club, Mallow. Remember achieving starts with believing, and then in the immortal words of Tiger Woods – practise. The more you practise the better you will get. Don’t get caught with your foot in your mouth, and talking of feet – take small steps to start with. The next time the ‘Huggies add’ comes on the TVdon’t change channels. Study those infants progress from crawling to walking with aid, to galloping. An unusual analogy you may say, but stop right there - it makes perfect sense. Make haste slowly. Follow the infant’s good example. We have all had to do it in Toastmasters.

Let’s delve into those small steps a little further.

  • Step 1 Come to a meeting

  • Step 2 Become a member at your own pace in your own time

  • Step 3 Volunteer to do simple tasks at the Club Meetings.

As you are only too well aware every meeting, gathering or performance of any kind, is usually constricted by time. You either have to attain a certain time or you have to keep within the constraints of a time limit. This is a skill all speakers should learn, and to teach us, in Toastmasters we have a timekeeper, complete with stop watch, lights and a bell, who records the time of every happening at the meeting and reports on the times at the end of the meeting . At this stage I am an expert at using stop watches and shutting up when the bell rings!

  • Step four – take the plunge and ask the Topics Master to give you a topic.

You will only have to speak for two minutes. Or, if you wish, you can ‘add on’ to someone’s topic for one minute. Topics are the lighter side of the meeting. You do not have to give 100% accurate or honest answers. You can ‘lead them all on’ by being factious. Stating a point of view does not mean that you have to aspire to that point of view. It is all in the fun of the night, and variety is the spice of the Topic Session. Sex, religion and politics are still out of bounds to the best of my knowledge; however you could always chance your arm. You may get a red card though or at least be accused of being ‘politically incorrect’, because at the end of the meeting we have what is known as an evaluation of the meeting from the appointed General Evaluator for that meeting. You have got a birds eye view of three aspects of learning – ‘timing;’ ‘thinking on your feet’ and ‘constructive feedback’. Come and you will get the larger picture. All the officers change at each meeting, which gives variety, and gives an opportunity to all members to assume any of the positions. Being an Evaluator is a job which gives one an opportunity to hone one’s skills in giving constructive and structured feed back. A most necessary tool or skill to have in everyday life and in the work place if one wants to be successful. I have personally benefited greatly and learned much from the objective evaluation of my performances by experienced Toastmasters. One does not have to be Einstein to complete any of the above tasks. As I keep telling you ‘it is a learning by doing’ Club. And each time you complete any of these tasks you will feel that little bit more confident. I have another snippet of wisdom which I always apply to myself, and it works every time. I do not make mistakes. If I forget a line or make a faux-pas, I regard it as a ‘learning curve’ and employ different strategies to avoid the same thing happening again. When I get totally befuddled I just tell myself that the man or woman who never made a mistake never made anything. I have made it all appear so simple, and it is simple with practise, so take the plunge and come to Speakeasy Toastmasters Club Meeting at the Hibernian Hotel on Thursday 25th January 2007. Our first meeting of 2007 took of with a bang.

We had four very entertaining and enlightening speeches from BrĂ­d O’Keeffee; Anne Buckley; Joe Hassett; and Sean Corcoran. Our topics master Pat Duggan kept us on our toes with a variety of topics from the sublime to the ridiculous. He was very well received, as I am sure Noel O’Connor will be at our next meeting. He will pull some great topics out of the hat as he always does.

Should you require further details phone our PRO Loretto at 087/4118132. She will be only too happy to answer any query you may have. Or log on to our extensive up to date web page. ‘FAQ’ covers any question you may need to clarify. The address is

See you on 25th Jan. at 7.50 sharp. You won’t regret it. It will be almost as exhilarating as swimming in the Blackwater on Christmas Morning!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Attention; Change of Dates for 2007


Change of Toastmasters Meeting Dates.

Please note the dates given for Meetings at Hibernian Hotel Mallow have due to unavoidable circumstances been CHANGED.

The altered dates are as follows
Meeting on Thursday 11th January 2007 at 7.50 p.m.
Meeting on Thursday 25th January 2007 at 7.50 p.m.

And from then on alternative Thursdays.
Sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused. Feel free to ‘phone our P.R.O. Loretto at 087/4118132. She will be pleased to answer any queries.

Monday, January 08, 2007





If you want to be a better speaker, develop communication skills, or get a better job - we can help you. At Speakeasy Toastmasters Club we cover all the aspects which would enhance your chances in all opportunities of promoting yourself. If you want to improve your interview skills; sell yourself more efficiently at an annual appraisal or get those extra marks at your next presentation at College - consider joining SPEAKEASY TOASTMASTERS and you will improve your chances 100%. Remember every day people settle for less than they deserve, they are only partially living or at best living a partial life. Every human being has the potential for greatness.

Our programme aims to:-

  • Develop skills to persuade and convince others

  • Learn to put ideas across clearly and with conviction

  • Improve self confidence before a group of people

  • Think quickly and clearly under pressure

  • Lear to listen effectively and critically

  • Train to become a good leader

  • Learn how to chair and run meetings

Don’t take my word for it. Pop into us on Thursday 11th January 2007, at the Hibernian Hotel Mallow at 7.50 pm sharp. This is the first meeting of 2007. We usually have alternate Thursdays but because of holidays we have a meeting on Thursday l8th January also. Then from 1st February meetings as usual every second Thursday. Next meeting 1st February.The year is galloping past, so hurry and make your mind up. There is an excellent and varied programme on the night. Also some future exciting plans are being finalized as I write for the rest of the year. Each meeting will be different, each meeting will be enjoyable. Do come and see for yourself. You need us and we need you, and as a team we would work very well together.

Our PRO Loretto will be only too happy to help you with any further queries. Contact her at 087/4118132 or log on to our web site at