Thursday, February 26, 2009

St Valentine and Tsunami's

Maybe it’s the fact that spring has come at last, or maybe it was because St. Valentines day was just gone. Whatever it was, if you were not at the meeting of Speak Easy Toastmasters last Thursday night you missed it, because members and guests alike were treated to a marvellous meeting (another one, of course).

President, Ray Ryan invited us all to forget about economic woes, bad news and anything negative and to enjoy the following two hours and boy, did we what!.

Jerry Mulcahy was our Toastmaster for the evening and Loretto Barry as Topicsmaster.

Our first speaker was Josephine O’Sullivan Lenihan who was delivering her first speech to the club. As I have mentioned before, when a member delivers his/her “Icebreaker” speech, it is special to both the new member and existing club members. The title of Josephine’s speech was, “My Experience Of Growing Up In Life”.

Following Josephine was Mary Moynahan with her speech, “St Valentine” which was a history of St Valentines day right from the time of St Valentine to the present day including various customs and fascinating facts.

Liam Flynn followed with a speech entitled, “Tsunami” which was a well researched and critical look at local government. This speech was also special for Liam as it was his 10th speech before the club which means that he as achieved his Competent Communicator Award.
Liam was presented with a certificate from Ray Ryan in recognition of this milestone.

Next was Pat Duggan with a project from the Speciality Speeches Programme. Pat prepared five separate speeches and one of these was chosen (immediately before he spoke) by the Toastmaster for Pat to deliver. Pat then spoke without notes on the chosen subject which was on the travel book called, “The Lost Continent” by Bill Bryson.

Finally Pat Sexton delivered an educational workshop on the skills and importance of members being able to give effective, constructive and genuine evaluations of other member’s speeches.
He explained that this was the most beneficial way for members to learn from their from each speech project and to become even better speakers.

After the coffee break (where members and guests alike were able to relax and chat), Topicsmaster, Loretto Barry conducted the topics session. This is the part of the meeting where we practice our speaking “off the cuff” skills an such was the atmosphere generated that even all the guests joined in.

General evaluator was Tony O’Regan and evaluators were Noel O’Connor, Mary McCarthy, Gerry Kelleher, Angela Sheehan and Ray Ryan,
Timekeeper was Declan Curtis and “Ah Counter” Michael Cronin.
Sgt at Arms, Liam Flynn, Cáit Murray and Jean Sauers.

Speak Easy members are busy organizing a “Theme Meeting” for April 2nd which has the title “Rakes and Rebels”. Put this date in your diaries as it is going to be great.

To the many guests on the night, we were delighted to meet you and are looking forward to your company in the very near future.

Our next meeting is on March 5th which will be our Speech Contest night.

Speak Easy Toastmasters meet fortnightly and you are most welcome to come along and join us.
Further information from our website, or contact our Club PRO, Sean on 086 6054784

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Speak Easy Toastmasters in the Spring

As you look around you, now that we are mid way through February you can see the signs that spring is here. The daffodils are well above ground and indeed in some sheltered places they are even flowering. New growth can be seen on plants and hedging and there is a notable stretch in the evenings.

It makes one feel good.

Of course there is another way to feel good whether it is in spring, or the dead of winter. “Really, and how is that, I hear you ask” and the answer is of course to join Speak Easy Toastmasters.

You see, in Toastmasters we have fun at every meeting and indeed some of us even specialise in fun and good humour.

The Toastmasters International Program is structured in such a way that when a member has mastered the basics of public speaking we then go on to complete more advanced projects and this week we have a look at the Toastmasters Humorous Speech Program.

People like to laugh, right? Of course they do because laughter is a release and an escape from problems and situations that people encounter daily. Laughter has even been found to have positive physical benefits. It relieves stress and tension and relaxes us.

The purpose of the Toastmasters Humorous Speech Program is not to make one into a comedian but to simply help one to use humour in speeches and presentations and indeed when one is talking among a group of friends or one to one.

Using humour in the above situations will help establish a bond with ones audience.
It certainly helps win over a hostile audience and keep them interested.
It will certainly make people remember you.

The Humorous Speech Program is divided up into five separate modules,

A, how to use a short humorous story to open a speech or presentation.

B. to start a speech with a humorous story and to use one to emphasize the main point of the speech when closing the speech.

C. this module requires one to use jokes to emphasize the presentation’s main points.

D. teaches one how to tell an opening joke and string together several jokes in the presentation.

E. this project allows you to use your creativity to tell a long humorous story.

All the material to master using humour is contained in the Toastmasters Humorous Speech Manual and remember that the skills learned in this program are just as valid for someone telling a humorous story at a party, family gathering or, yes, even in the pub.

Don’t just take my word for it, come along to any meeting of Speak Easy Toastmasters and see for yourself. We will be delighted to welcome you as our guest for the night and don’t worry, guests at a Toastmasters meeting are never asked to speak so come along, relax and enjoy yourself.

We meet, tonight in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow, at 8pm sharp and the meeting lasts for two hours. If you cannot make it why not put our next two dates in your diary, March 5th and March 19th.

Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had from our website at or from our Club PRO, Seán on 086 6054784

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Say What?

Where can one go to on a Thursday night and hear highly informative speeches and fascinating facts together with a great atmosphere? Yes, you’ve guessed it, a Speak Easy Toastmasters meeting.

Last Thursday night, despite the cold and frost we had a large attendance of members and guests who were privileged to her four brilliantly researched and delivered speeches and just to put icing on the cake, one of our new members gave his first speech in the club.

President Ray Ryan as usual presided, and started us off at 8pm sharp. Mary Moynahan was Toastmaster for the night and Grant March as Topicsmaster. For both, it was their first time in the role and they brought with them, their own style and personalities.

Mary introduced our first speaker, Declan Curtis who delivered his Icebreaker speech which was entitled, “From There to Here”. The Icebreaker Speech is one that every member delivers to the club, the purpose of which is to get the member to statr speaking before an audience and also for club members to get to know the new member. A toastmaster never forgets his or her Icebreaker speech.

Following Declan was another of our newer members, Máire Welford, who delivered a marvellous and highly informative speech entitled, “Newgrange, A World Heritage Site” in which she told us the history of Newgrange and the people who built it.

Then is was the turn of Anne Buckley with her speech, “Left, Get it Right” in which she informed us, backed up with research, statistics and fascinating facts, about people who are naturally left handed.

Finally, Angela Sheehan, delivered her speech entitled, “Say What” which was a most fascinating look at cheese making. Angela told us of the history of cheese and also the modern process of cheese making.

After the break, Grant March, conducted the topics session in which the members (and only members, are asked to speak on a topic) practice their skills of speaking “off the cuff” on a variety of different topics in which they have to speak, unprepared, for two minutes.

Jerry Mulcahy was our General Evaulator for the evening and conducted the evaluation session.
This is the part of every meeting in which members receive feedback from other designated members on how they delivered their speeches and suggestions made on how they could improve.
Just as every member delivers a speech, members also get the opportunity to evaluate other members speeches. Evaluating another member’s speech is a skill in itself and is learned by practice.

The next meeting of Speak Easy Toastmasters is on February 19th and also on March 5th which will be our club heat of the International Speech and Evaluation Contests.

The Area final is being hosted by Fermoy Toastmastes on April 7th with the Division Finals on April 19th .

If you have never been to a Toastmasters meeting, why not come along to our next one and see for yourself what happens?. Don’t worry, you will not be asked to speak, guests never are, and, you can come as many times as you like as a guest.

For further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters, visit our website at or contact our Club PRO, Seán on 086 6054784.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Storytelling, A Toastmasters Art.

Are you fed up with all the doom and gloom reports in the media? Afraid to switch on the TV or radio for fear of hearing of more closures and job losses? Would you like to be in the company of people who think positively, and who enjoy themselves and each other company? Of course you would.

Speak Easy Toastmasters meet one a fortnight, on Thursday evenings, in the Hibernian Hotel so why not come along and see for yourself what we are about.

The Toastmasters education programmes are many and varied and our meetings are workshops rather than classrooms. The following is an example of one such toastmasters programme.

Storytelling, has been a form of communication throughout the history of mankind. It’s part of every civilisation on every continent. Early storytellers told of the deeds of their heroes; these stories were expanded over the years to include tales and fables.

The earliest known epic was “Gilgamesh” first told by the Sumerians. Later, came the Anglo Saxton tale of “Beowulf”. Storytellers related the Greek myths, which included gods with supernatural powers.

Storytelling continued during the Middle Ages, with tellers delighting their listeners with tales of war and love. In the 14th century Geoffrey Chaucer retold the stories he’d heard from a band of pilgrims travelling from London to Canterbury. Chaucer put the stories on paper in his “Canterbury Tales”.

In Ireland we have a long tradition of storytelling and tales from “Na Fianna” “Cuchullan” etc are well known to generations. We also are so lucky to have our Seanchai (which means a bearer of old lore), The late Eamon Kelly possibly being the most famous. Speak Easy Toastmasters were indeed honoured that Eamon launched the Area 17 book of speeches, “ A Taste of Toastmasters” in March 1996.

Storytelling continues to be popular. People love to hear and tell stories.
Storytelling is great entertainment, yet it has a purpose, too. We tell stories to children to introduce them to the world of literature.

In many families, tales about family history and ancestors are passed down from generation to generation through storytelling. Many public speakers tell stories as part of their presentations. They find that a well-told story will attract listener’s attention and can emphasize or illustrate a point.

Toastmasters International have a program which is very popular with members and is aptly named “Storytelling”. This program has 5 projects, “The Folk Tale”, “Lets Get Personal”, “The Moral of the Story”, “The Touching Story” and “Bringing History to Life”

Each of these projects are designed to progressively increase the Toastmasters skills in the art of Storytelling and great emphasis is placed on such skills as tempo and rhythm, bringing a story to life, keeping a story simple, introducing a twist and to arouse emotion.

So you see, in Toastmasters we have a much varied program that keeps members both entertained and constantly increasing their communication skills.
Why not come along to any of our meeting and see for yourself. You will be very welcome and don’t worry, you will not be asked to speak as guests at a Toastmasters meeting never are.

Speak Easy Toastmasters meet. tonight, February 5th and on February 19th and March 5th.

Further information from our website, or from Seán our PRO on 086 6054784