Thursday, January 29, 2009

Singlings, Doublings and Wrack

One of the things that Speak Easy Toastmasters prides itself on is time keeping and the meeting of January 22nd was no exception as President, Ray Ryan started proceedings at exactly 8pm.
Ray welcomed members and guests and then handed control of the meeting to Michael Cronin guided us, in his own style, through the rest of the evening.

The speeches kicked off with Cáit Murry being first to the lectern with a speech entitled, “Cambodian Journey” in which she told us of her visit to that country. Cáit used vivid verbal imagery to bring us with her on that journey as she told us about Cambodia’s history, it’s people and much more.

Following Cáit to the lectern was Jean Sayers with a speech entitled, “Born Again”, in which she told us of New Year’s resolutions, why they don’t work and how we can make changes to our life at any time.

Then it was the turn of Mary McCarthy with her speech, “Be Patient and Wait”. Mary told of her adventures in Heathrow Airport as a result of a flight being cancelled and her observations of people and incidents as she waited for her flight home.

Finally it was Liam Flynn who brought the speech section of the meeting to a close with his speech, “Singlings, Doublings and Wrack” in which he enlightened us with great detail and humour on the history and making of a particular traditional Irish drink.

After the customary coffee break it was the turn of Anne Buckley who was Topicsmaster for the evening and Anne certainly kept us on our toes and the “little grey cells” exercised with her choice of topics. The topics session is the part of every toastmasters meeting where the members strive to speak for two minutes, without any preparation, on a subject that they are just given.

Gerry Kelleher was our General Evaluator for the evening and conducted the part of the meeting in which the members received feedback from designated members on how they kept to the required aims of their speech project and how they could improve.

A toastmasters meeting is divided up into four separate parts with each designed to improve the skill of the member.
1. Speeches; this is where members hone their presentation skills.
2. Evaluation; the part where members give feedback to other members but also the
evaluators are improving their listening and one to one communication skills.
3. Table Topics Session; where members work on their “speaking off the cuff” skills.
Have you ever been in a position where you were suddenly asked a question and you
couldn’t think of an answer? Embarrassing isn’t it? It wouldn’t happed to you if
you were a member of Speak Easy Toastmasters.
4. Tea/Coffee break; where members and guests can mingle, chat and get to know each
other better.

Speak Easy Toastmasters meet on alternate Thursdays from 8-10pm (precisely) in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow and “you” are invited to come along as our guest and see what we are about.
You will not be asked to speak and you can come along as many times as our guest as you wish, without obligation.

Our next meeting is on February 5th with the following one on Feb. 19th.

Further details can be had from our website or contact our Club PRO, Sean on 086 6054784

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It gives me great pleasure..........

“It gives me great pleasure”……these are the words that give so much anxiety to those preparing a wedding speech or a presentation. Whether you are there to introduce, dedicate or accept or are giving a wedding speech, your speech should leave no doubt as to why you and your audience have gathered.

Writing or giving a ceremonial speech should have an introduction; body, and conclusion.

• Create a sense of anticipation.
• Keep the general principles short
• Speak for one to three minutes depending on how well the audience knows the speaker.
• Resist the temptation to list all of the speaker’s accomplishments!
• Be relentlessly positive
• Never miss a chance to sincerely compliment the speaker.
• Humorous anecdotes are fine as long as they reflect positively on the speaker.


Use a quote. Look for a gem of a quote about your speaker. Begin with the speaker’s organization, cause or topic. Tell the audience what it is and why it is important. Then move into your discussion of the speaker.

Check to see who has the same birthday as your speaker. You may find the speaker has something else in common with his or her ‘birth mate’. The ending is extremely important. It must build to a climax. It should summarize the speaker’s strengths, virtues, and accomplishments. And ideally raise the audience’s sense of anticipation to the point where they just cannot wait for the speaker to begin.

The same rules pertain for ‘a Mother/Father of the Bride Speech.’ - Only this time the speaker will have 20 + years of experiences to draw from. Please do not include the full 20 years. Always remember brevity is the sole of wit.

You do not want to turn all your guests into pillars of boredom while you pontificate on the virtues of your ‘little girl’. Don’t forget to welcome the groom into your family, whether you hate his guts or not! Political Correctness I think it is called.

We have a section in Toastmasters where you can give speciality speeches. These cover social. Corporate and family occasions. Some people join toastmaster for this very section. So come along to Speakeasy Toastmasters Club Meeting tonight, January 22nd at the Hibernian Hotel Mallow at 7.50 p.m. Sharp and you can practise for your next big event. To date the feedback from our guest is so good, that some guests have graduated to members.

They are making great progress and are contributing greatly to the success of the meetings. For that we thank them and we are delighted to have them aboard. We continue to roll out the red carpet for guests. You will be most welcome, and relax, you will not be asked to speak unless you wish to do so. See you all next Thursday. We have a fresh programme which holds great hopes for an enjoyable night.

Our next meetings are on February 5th and 19th.

Further details at or contact club PRO, Sean on 086 6054784

Thursday, January 15, 2009

King Lear and Nature

Last Thursday night at the Hibernian Hotel saw the members of Speak Easy Toastmasters and guests return for the first meeting of 2009 and what a meeting it was.
Yes, every meeting of Speak Easy Toastmasters is special but last Thursday night saw was just that little bit extra special as we had the privilege of having members of other Toastmasters clubs on the program.

The evening started off with President, Ray Ryan welcoming members and guests and wishing us all a happy new year.
Máire Corbett from the Galtees Club in Mitchelstown and also Area 17 Governor, was our Toastmaster for the evening and Noel O’Connor was out Topicsmaster.

First to speak was Marian Harnett who is a dual member of both Killarney and Newcastlewest Toastmasters Clubs. Marian was receiving and award for her services to Toastmasters, which was presented by Michael Cronin, and her project was to give an acceptance speech.
Marian told us of life before toastmasters and what a difference toastmasters made her.

Then it was the turn of Ray Ryan who gave us a presentation entitled, “Right to know” in which he gave us a detailed account of the Freedom of Information Act and what it means to us.

Ray was followed to the lectern by Michael Buckley from The Crusaders Toastmasters Club in Cork. Michael was doing a speech project from Interpretive Reading in which he choose to recite a work written by Seán Fada O’Driscoil entitled, “King Lear” which was a hilarious look at Shakespeare’s famous play.

Finally it was the turn of Michael Broderick from the Nice and Easy Toastmasters club, with a speech entitled, “Nature”, in which he told us of his observation of fascinating nature all around him.

Following the break, in which members and guests mingled and chatted for 20 minutes, it was the turn of Topicsmaster, Noel O’Connor in which he helped us hone our “speaking off the cuff” skills with a well researched bunch of table topics.
This of course is the part of the meeting in which the members get to speak for two minutes on a subject in which they have no time to prepare.

Tim Ahern conducted the evaluation session in which the speakers received feedback from designated members on how they performed, and how they may improve, which is what every toastmaster aims to do.

Speak Easy Toastmasters return to the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday, January 22nd at 8.00pm and also on February 5th.

If you would like to be comfortable speaking before an audience, be it a work situation, a school presentation, community meeting, reading off the altar etc, or you would just like to make some good friends why not com along and see what we are about?

As a guest, you will not be asked to speak and you may come along as a guest as often as you want.

Further information can be had from our website, or contact our club PRO Sean on 086 6054784

Thursday, January 08, 2009

We are back for 2009

Tonight, Thursday 8th, all roads lead to the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow, why?

Because it’s the first meeting of 2009 for Speak Easy Toastmasters, that’s why. We are facing a couple of more months of dark and maybe cold evenings and where better to spend one evening every fortnight than with friends, enjoying oneself, having a chat, learning and having fun.

Speak Easy Toastmasters are part of Toastmasters International which is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations.

Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organization has nearly 220,000 members in 11,500 clubs in 90 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience.

A Toastmasters meeting is a learn-by-doing workshop in which participants hone their speaking and leadership skills in a friendly atmosphere. A typical group has 20 to 40 members who meet fortnightly to practice public speaking techniques. Meetings last for 2 hours 8-10pm

Members learn communication skills by working in the Competent Communication manual, a series of 10 self-paced speaking assignments designed to instil a basic foundation in public speaking. Participants learn skills related to use of humour, gestures, eye contact, speech organization and overall delivery. When finished with this manual, members can choose from 15 advanced manuals to learn skills related to specific interests.

Members also learn leadership skills by taking on various meeting roles and serving as officers at the club and district levels, and by working in the Competent Leadership manual and the High Performance Leadership program. In our learn-by-doing approach, we don't lecture our members about leadership skills; we give them responsibilities and ask them to lead.

There is no instructor in a Toastmasters meeting. Instead, members evaluate one another’s presentations. This feedback process is a key part of the program’s success. Meeting participants also give impromptu talks on assigned topics, conduct meetings, serve as officers in various leadership roles and learn rules related to timing, grammar and parliamentary procedure.

Speak Easy Toastmasters in one of many clubs that can be found all over Ireland and was formed in 1993. The Club has approx. 30 members from all walks of life and is gender equal.

Since it’s formation Speak Easy members have won numerous toastmaster contests at both local and district (Ireland and UK) level.
The club are constantly recognised by Toastmasters International by being presented with the “Presidents Distinguished Award” which is the highest award that a club can get.

Now that 2009 is well and truly with us, why not come along to any one of our meetings as a guest.
Guests are never asked to speak at a toastmasters meeting so come along, relax and enjoy the evening.

Our next meeting is January 22’nd and every fortnight thereafter.

Further details of the club history and awards can be obtained by logging on to the club’s website, Or contact club PRO Sean on 086 6054784

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Years Resolution is to.....................

Happy New Year from Speak Easy Toastmasters and we hope you had a great Christmas.
Oh, and by the way, have you made your new years resolution yet?

It is said that 90% of New Year resolutions will be discarded by the end of January and some of the reasons are, setting yourself too high a goal, not having a specific plan, keeping your resolution to yourself, not having the will power and so on.

So what about making a resolution that you really can keep, one whose goals are readily reachable and in which you will have a specific plan.

One with whom you do not have to keep to yourself and as for will power, all you need, is to want to, and you won’t believe the will power that you will achieve.
No one, but no one, will disagree that communication or lack of it is a serious issue in today’s world and it seems that face to face communication, in some situations, is a dying art.

In other words, people are not talking enough. People sending text messages instead of using their vocal chords. Even when one decides to make a phone call, you are likely to hear, “please leave your name” or the dreaded, “press 1 for accounts, 2 for repairs, “etc. People are spending hours staring bug eyed at tv or computer screens, be it at work or at home with the Xbox or ps3.

So what about in 2009 learning the art of communication? Communication is a two way process, talking and listening, meeting and interacting with people, oh yeah, I nearly forgot, enjoying yourself and having fun while you are at it.

Ok, I hear you asking, “what’s in it for me?”, why should I?”
How about this then? Personal Impact for a start.

You see, personal impact includes key elements of Communication; Presentation; Assertiveness and Influencing techniques. All these components enable you to make the impact you want. We all can improve our ability to influence others. You all cringe at that interview that went badly wrong or that appraisal you wish to forget.
Here is an opportunity to ensure that you will not repeat these experiences. In order to know making an impact works, there are a few areas you have to consider, and study.

 Knowing how and why things go wrong
 Improving your ability to influence others
 Understanding rules and conventions and boundaries
 Speaking your mind without offending
 Finding our how others see you

An awareness of all of these will increase confidence and raise self esteem. Come along to the next meeting, of Speak Easy Toastmasters, as a guest and see for yourself how we put these skills into practice. We do it in stages and in an encouraging way and you will be most welcome and don’t worry, guests are never asked to speak at a Toastmasters meeting and you can come as a guest as often as you like.

Speak Easy Toastmasters meet just once a fortnight, on Thursday nights, for two hours, 8-10pm in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow and our first meeting of 2009 is on Thursday, January 8th.

Now, two hours every two weeks to learn the art of communication, meet new friends from all walks of life and all ages, and to really enjoy yourself is a must for 2009, don’t you agree?

After all, “you’re worth it”
So put Thursday, January 8’th at 8pm, in your brand new 2009 diaries and alternate Thursdays from then on until the end of May.

Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had by contacting our PRO, Sean, on 086 6054784 and on our continually updated website,