Friday, September 29, 2017

Hairy women and bald men!

Hairy women and bald men!

'Once the mind is stretched by a new idea, it can never return to it's original state'. Albert Einstein.
The minds of the audience at the recent Toastmasters meeting were well and truly stretched by the quantity and diversity of ideas expressed that they will never again return to their previous condition! Five speakers covered a broad range of topics and styles from informative to creative to the reflective.As a guest remarked -'This is both educational and fun'.And all at the same time.'

The meeting commenced with Theresa O'Reilly presenting a sales presentation called Superchoice. This is not to be confused with a brand of cattle ration from Dairygold ,but rather a selection of food supplements that Theresa wished to market. In a relaxed style, Theresa articulated the 'Unique selling point' of her product.She also demonstrated her sales technique with the willing assistance of fellow member, Kieran Butler. If only all sales reps could be as non aggressive in their approach to customers!
Marie Connolly gave a beautifully reflective speech - A special place.She spoke about being a reluctant visitor to Medjegoria but finding herself totally entranced by the peace and tranquility of the place. She spoke movingly on the beauty to be found in the solitude and simplicity permeating her visit and how it helped her make important life decisions.
Don McSweeny delivered his talk called GYO or Grow your Own.With great amusement,he described how he read a lot of books on this and concluded that you couldn't grow anything in Ireland! But he took on board a sound piece of advice to put away the books and start planting! Soon he was learning to distinguish between potato stalks and weeds and how to compost.This was a wonderful 'down to earth' talk, appreciated by his many green fingered listeners.
'Donita Daval' was the title of Claire O'Connell's presentation.This was the bizarre and surreal story from the first three chapters of Donita's diaries. This creative and imaginative story had the audience in tears -of laughter! Her comment on hairy women brought the house down.
Continuing with the theme of hair, Ray Ryan spoke on 'Wigs'.With tongue in cheek,Ray brought us on a very enjoyable historical journey from Tutankhamen's hair-piece to King Louis the Thirteenth,from the Renaissance to the French Revolution.Did you know that women once shaved their heads and wore wigs? This was just one of the many wonderful trinkets of information that we learned from Ray's speech.They say that it is a very poor day,indeed, when you don't learn something new.A Toastmasters meeting can be a very rich night out with the ideas,information and inspiration that is on offer!

Each speaker was comprehensively evaluated by their assigned evaluator.Mary Buckley, John Brennan, Anne Buckley, Michael Cronin and Noel O'Connor gave both commendations and recommendations as they deemed appropriate to the speakers.This is the section of the meeting where members  can refine their communication skills and improve beyond recognition.

Liam Flynn from Millstreet was Topicsmaster .He ably conducted the impromptu section of the meeting.His topics ranged from the ploughing championship,to the Ryanair crisis,from a favourite smell to hitch-hiking.One outstanding contribution came from Marie Lynes who spoke about the distinctive hardware smell in Buckley Brothers in Mallow evoking childhood  memories of her parents' hardware shop in Newmarket.

At the meeting's conclusion, Bobby Buckley , General Evaluator lauded the contributions  from all members and guests who cooked up a tasty Speakeasy Toastmasters stew.He reminded guests that he was once in their shoes and was delighted that he jumped on board the Toastmasters train for a very enjoyable and rewarding journey. He awarded ribbons to Marie Lynes for Best Topic; Noel O'Connor for Best Evaluator; and Don McSweeny for Best Speech.

After two very successful meetings, Speakeasy returns on Thursday,5th October with our Annual Humorous Speech Contest.Lots of fun assured on the night.As always,we welcome guests to come along and experience Speakeasy. Like magic mushrooms, it might become addictive and remember that you will not be compelled to speak unless you really want to! Looking forward to seeing you in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM.
For further details visit or contact Helsa at 083-8858848.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Contest beckons!

A night of humour beckons!
> The Speakeasy Toastmasters Club will host their Annual Humorous Speech Contest on Thursday 5th October in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00pm.
> Charlie Chaplin famously remarked- 'That a day without laughter is a day wasted'. Well, your day and your night will not be wasted at this evening of humour and laughter.
> A number of speakers will pit their wit and joust their verbal swords to regale and entertain the audience. Speakeasy is usually a non competitive environment except for 2 meetings in the year, one in Spring for the International Speech Contest and in the Autumn for the Humorous Night.
> Speakeasy Toastmasters members have a proud and distinguished record in this competition. In 1995, Matt Lawlee won the British and Irish District Final with a brilliant speech about his fear of flying entitled - 'First and Last'. This feat was emulated by Michael Cronin in 2008 when he emerged victorious with his advisory speech- Feel the fear and blow it up anyway '.This hilarious speech told the sad story of his broken laptop and his attempts to fix it. 
> As well as winning this prestigious competition, both Matt and Michael also came close to winning on four other occasions between them. Gerry O' Callaghan was also a participant in the 2003 District Final with his eulogy to his pet rat called Toby. So, a humorous quip and a witty imagination is never far from the minds of Speakeasy members.
> In conjunction with the Humorous Contest,we will also host The Table Topics Contest. Mark Twain boasted that- 'It usually takes me more than 3 weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech'. In our contest, however, participants will speak on a subject on which they have no prior knowledge with about 30 seconds to organise their thoughts.
> Topics that have been used in previous contests include - 'Is it the taking part or the winning that matters?' and 'Congratulations, you have just won the lottery'. One of the most entertaining topics ever was the vexed question - 'Where would we be without the Kerryman'? This also promises to be a very enjoyable contest and a challenging experience for the contestants.
> So, put Netflix on pause, put Fair City on record and come along to a night of live entertainment at Speakeasy Toastmasters in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 7.45 for 8.00 Pm start. As always, guests will not asked to speak but can do so, if they wish.
> For more information on Speakeasy, check out our website You will also find recordings of some winning Humorous Speeches. You can also follow us on Facebook and Blog. 
> Further information from Pat Sexton, PRO,-0861564567. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Toastmasters: Your Evening Class?

Let Speakeasy be your Autumn Class!

The Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting season continues on Thursday,21st. September in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8 PM. We have now reached that time of Autumn when the nights are longer and Television becomes a bad habit. For many people, thoughts turn towords evening classes to gainfully use those extra hours.Have you considered Toastmasters as your evening class?

Like all evening classes, people participate in Toastmasters to learn a new skill.Just like swimming classes or 'computer courses for the terrified',competent communications is a skill worth acquiring.It gives one that extra bit of confidence and self-belief and a willingness to take on challenges. It's a skill that pays handsome dividends in workplace situations where presentations to work colleagues is regularly required or,indeed in job interviews.It is beneficial,also, in the area of inter-personal communication skills where the appropriate few words can make a big impression.
Sharpening your speaking skills can make all the difference for that 'Special Occasion' speech,be it at Golf Club presentation,that Best Man Speech or even the bride or groom's speech.Good communication skills helps enormously in leadership roles in voluntary, community or sporting organisations.Sometimes, speaking in front of an audience gives the participant a lot of pleasure,satisfaction and that bit of 'buzz'.

Unlike other night classes, one can join in the Toastmasters Programme at any time.Once you decide to join, you begin to take part in the meetings.The first speech members make is called the Ice-Breaker and a speaker presents speeches at his or her own pace.Each speech is evaluated by an experienced club member who give appropriate advice to the speaker.And all of this is done in a positive helpful envoirnment to help all speakers feel at ease.As one prominent member of our club remarked :' In Speakeasy Toastmasters, you have nothing to lose except your nervousness'!

'But I couldn't say boo to a goose', one guest once said .Yet, after attending a number of meetings, that guest made the leap of faith and joined up.Eventually,she delivered her Ice-Breaker Speech.Within a few short years, she had presented ten speeches to become a competent communicator and had risen in the leadership ranks to become Club President.This is a common tale told by a lot of toastmasters members who found their vocal wings at club meetings and soared to wonderful heights.

Guests are always welcome at our meetings and are never obliged to speak unless they wish to join in. So, if you would like to learn a new and exciting skill or if you are curious about what happens at a Toastmasters meeting,you are welcome to come along to the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday,21st.September at 7.45 for an 8.00 PM start.As the Romans once said :Carpe Diem.Seize the day!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

First meeting

A night to remember at Speakeasy!

"God made everyone right handed.Only the truly gifted overcome it".So spoke Verna Byrne in her wonderful speech on left handed people at the opening meeting of Speakeasy Toastmasters Club last Thursday night.

In front of a large audience of members and a sizeable number of guests,Club President Helsa Giles opened proceedings for the 2017-2018 Season. Toasmaster of the Evening,introduced a wide range of diverse speeches.
With a speech entitled "Spreading your wings",Pat Sexton gave an interpretive reading from Richard Bach's best selling novel, Jonathon Livingston Seagull. This inspirational reading was dedicated to everyone who wished to make a leap of fate,accept a new challenge,perhaps asking themselves the questions -will I? or can I? The answer is : go for it, you can learn how to fly!

Kieran Butler presented some fascinating and insightful information in his speech-Educational Discrimination. Among the jaw dropping pieces of information presented was the survey that showed that boys were one third more likely to be graded more highly if the examiner didn't know it was a boy! This speech gave an insight into the often complex nature of gender equality.

Verna Byrne delivered a highly entertaining speech on "Left-handed people",or "citeogs" as they are called in Irish. Left handlers or "lefties" have always been regarded as different and not in good way. Yet many famous people in history have been left handed. Among those truly gifted left handlers were  several U.S.Presidents, including Clinton and Obama.Being a lefty can be alright.

Marie Fitzpatrick spoke a lot of rubbish or,  to be more precise about "Flytipping",one of the biggest problems facing rural dwellers. A lot of rubbish indeed,as our countryside is inundated with garbage, dumped by unprincipled people.Sometimes a serious message can be conveyed effectively by use of satire as Marie adeptly illustrated.

Finally,Sean Cocoran gave an educational presentation. Choosing a topic is of interest to all speakers in Toastmasters.Sean is an experienced Toastmaser and gave us the benefit of his many years experience ,with very practical ideas and suggestions.

Indeed, one of the questions that new members and guests frequently ask is - "Where do I get ideas for speeches?" The best ideas are often found in the simple straightforward,everyday issues of life.This meeting was an example of that.Speeches ranged from Flytipping to learning to fly,from boys and girls in the classroom to left-handed people. Not a hint of rocket science anywhere!

All speeches were ably and sensitively evaluated by Liam Flynn,Michael Cronin,Bobby Buckley,Marie Lynes and Bridie O'Connell.All evaluations in our Club focus on motivating the member to improved performances and fostering self belief and confidence.All evaluators at this meeting epitomised the mantra :"evaluate to motivate".

The Topics Session provides our members with the opportunity to speak off the cuff,an essential skill in honing our social communication, for job interviews and for aspiring politicians! Theresa O'Reilly ably conducted this portion of the meeting.She challenged the audience with some well chosen subjects with the emphasis on topical issues.From topics like 'first day at school from a parents' perspective to how Donald Trump is faring in making America great again ,from Princess Diana to Conor McGregor, Theresa elicited   
a great response from the audience.

It is worth noting that guests are not pounced on or coerced into responding to topics but can join in if they wish..Guests' contributions often enhance the discussion and leave the contributors feeling ten feet tall.

At the meeting's conclusion,the General Evaluator, Ray Ryan, spoke in positive terms about the high quality of the contributors.Awards were presented to Verna Byrne - Best Speaker, Bridie O'Connell - Best Evaluator and Best Topic-!! Angela Sheehan.

Our Meeting Season continues on the Thursday,21st September in the Hibernian  Hotel at 7.45 PM for 8PM start.Guests are always welcome. Unlike Night Classes where there is a defined starting and concluding points  to every course,you can join Toastmasters at any time.So if you always wanted to do a communications course but didn't know where to begin, then you are most welcome to our meetings.Resolutions don't have to wait until January,you can start at any time and the sooner the better!
For further information check out Alternatively,you can contact Pat Sexton,PRO, (086-1564567) or Michael Cronin,Membership Officer (087-8298443).