Monday, March 19, 2018

Theresa talks her way to the top!

Speakeasy Toastmasters Speech Contest Night is an opportunity for members to apply their skills in a competitive arena. This was evident in our recent Contest Night where emotion, entertainment, enthusiasm and good old fashioned rhetoric were on the menu. 

Bobby Buckley was the starter with a powerful speech - "My strange world of cups and mugs". He reflected on the stereotyping imposed by a teacher in his school days and it's impact on the lives of the pupils who were demeaned by his casual cruelty.

Brendan Foley's speech - "Go left or right" was not a commentary on political trends but an account of his G.A.A. Career. As a forward or a back, he was straight and direct, never going around an opponent when he could go through him. But, alas, his scoring skills always seemed to desert him at the crucial moment! Years later, he discovered why he never hit the target and it was a life changing moment.

Pat Sexton spoke about "A chance encounter" which turned out to be completely different to what he had envisaged. This speech highlighted the danger of rash judgments. On the other hand, Claire O'Connell gave a talk on self contentment and self acceptance - "The Greatest".

Theresa O'Reilly's speech "Choices" was a wry look at the very modern addiction of Social Media and  the way to overcome it by going "cold turkey".

The final speaker, Deirdre Linehan gave an exhilarating talk on "Dob's Army". She recalled the tension and excitement of The All-Ireland Schools Basketball Final. Would the contenders from Kildare overcome the favourites from Limerick in the nail biting cliffhanger? The clock is winding down and they are losing by a basket!

In a keenly fought contest, there can only be one winner and Therea O'Reilly emerged victorious, with Bobby Buckley finishing in second place.

The Speech Evaluation Contest was interesting, fascinating and informative. The test speaker was former Club President, Pat Duggan. His demonstration speech - "I have a Dream" followed Pat's ambition to bring a District Toastmasters Conference to Cork. He detailed the forthcoming District Conference - The Safe Haven Conference which takes place in May.

Five contestants, Brendan Foley, Claire O'Connell, Bobby Buckley, Pat Sexton and Ray Ryan all presented detailed feedback to the speaker, covering important areas like body language, voice projection and speech structure. Once the judges ballots were counted, Pat Sexton took first place with Ray Ryan as the runner up.

The top two contestants in each competition will go forward to the Area 17 Final which takes place in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday, 19th April.We wish them every good fortune.
Theresa O' Reilly, Bobby Buckley, Ray Ryan & Pat Sexton.

Meanwhile, planning goes on for the Twenty Fifth Anniversary Celebration Night which goes ahead on Saturday, 14th April in the Hibernian Hotel.More details soon. Watch this space! 

In the mean time, the next Speakeasy Toastmasters Meeting takes place in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday, 22nd March at 8.00PM. As always, guests are welcome to attend and observe proceedings. Visitors are not obliged to speak but are welcome to do so!

For more information please visit our website or on Facebook. Alternatively you can contact President, Helsa Giles - 0838858848. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Importance of Leadership

Don't follow leaders, watch your parking meters". Bob Dylan.

Whatever about Dylan's rather scathing commentary, good leadership can make an enormous difference in our community. Speakeasy Toastmasters is dedicated to enabling our members to acquire the skills of confident communication, skills that, in turn, are essential for all leaders in our community - from the coach of the underage team to the Chairperson of the local council.

Moreover, Toastmasters also provides invaluable leadership training to our members. At each Club Meeting, different members are given the opportunity to acquire and develop a range of skills in both communication and leadership. The Toastmaster of the evening performs the role of Chairperson, introducing each speaker and ensuring that the meeting is run in an orderly, time efficient  manner.

The Topicsmaster plays the role of Discussion Leader, ensuring that members are given the opportunity to speak impromptu on a range of subjects. The Topicsmaster sets the scene for members for members to develop the vital skills of speaking "off the cuff" in a confident and coherent fashion, skills that are essential in all areas of interpersonal communication, job interviews and work situations. 

Each speaker is assigned an evaluator who provides mentoring and support to the speaker. Mentoring is an important part of the Toastmasters programme ensuring that newer members can avail of the experience of long established members. In the world of work, more companies are focusing on mentoring as a means of team building. 

Within the Toastmasters Club, leadership plays a huge role. The Club President is the captain of the team, providing direction, guidance and support to the leadership team. The Education Officer plans each meeting and ensures that members are provided every opportunity to participate at Club Meetings, acting as part counsellor, part motivator and part strategist. The Pro ensures that the Club maintains a media profile. 

Within the larger Toastmasters organisation, there are several opportunities to serve in leadership roles - as local Area Director or Division Director who oversees a larger geographical area or as a member of the District 71 Executive which directs all Toastmasters activities in Ireland and Britain. Over the years, several members of Speakeasy have served as Division Directors, including Jeremiah Ronayne, Tony O'Regan, Seán Corcoran and Ray Ryan. One member, Jeremiah Ronayne served as District 71 Director in 2003-2004.

Many members of our Club have used their leadership skills to positive effect in various voluntary organisations from the G.A.A to Community Councils to Day Care Centres. Speakeasy Toastmasters is an enabling organisation, enabling it's members to develop a broad range of communication and leadership skills. And all of this is achieved through participation at Club Meetings. Indeed, the Toastmasters banner includes the motto - where leaders are made.

To witness Speakeasy in action, we invite you to attend our next meeting on Thursday, 22nd March in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM. As always, guests are welcome to attend and can sit back and observe proceedings with no obligation to speak, unless they wish to do so.

In other news, Speakeasy congratulates Club Members, Margaret and Tony O'Regan for their success in coaching Awbeg Macra na Feirme Debating Team who emerged victorious in The National Final last weekend. The team of Niall O'Regan, Niamh Curran, Breda O'Keeffe and Kate O'Regan achieved a spectacular victory over their opponents from Bree, County Wexford.You can take the Cork out of the bottle but you can't take the bottle out of Cork! 
Breda O' Keeffe, Kate O' Regan, Margaret O' Regan, Niall O' Regan & Niamh Curran

For more information on Toastmasters, please check out our website, or Facebook. Alternatively, please contact President, Helsa Giles - 0838858848. 

Sunday, March 04, 2018

The Ides of March!

Beware the ides of March - Shakespeare.

Like thousands other sporting and social events, Speakeasy Toastmasters 25th Anniversary Celebration Night fell foul to Storm Emma and was postponed. Sadly, the Red Weather Warning was issued after the Print Deadline for publication. Thankfully, this event is now scheduled to take place on Saturday 14th April in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow. Hopefully, by that time the bitter winds of March will be a distant memory.

In the meantime, it's full steam ahead for Speakeasy Toastmasters. On Thursday, 8th March, we are hosting our Annual Speech and Evaluation Contests. Toastmasters prides itself for hosting meetings that are friendly and relaxed. Speakers compete only with themselves - improving their communication skills step by step. However, twice a year we turn up the temperature and host competitions which both challenge and entertain. 

The International Speech Contest which ultimately leads to the World Championship Public Speaking Finals in America requires the speaker to present a speech with a strong message. In the past, Speakeasy has been well represented at the District 71 (Ireland and Britain) Final. In 2016, Kieran Butler finished Third with his ode to a single life. In 2004 and 2005, Deirdre Linehan finished in the top three with fine performances. In 1999, Pat Sexton represented the club in the District Final. 

In this year's competition, a range of speakers will cross verbal swords for the honour of representing the club in future rounds in Cork and Munster. In the Evaluation Contest, evaluators will pitch their skills and evaluate a guest speaker and provide him with appropriate feedback. Over the years, several members have reached the District Final, including Michael Cronin and Pat Sexton who both finished in Second Place. 

So, if you are looking for a night of entertainment, inspiration and reflection, look no further than Speakeasy Toastmasters Speech and Evaluation Contest Night on Thursday 8th March in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM. As always, guests are welcome to come and watch and will not be obliged to speak.

For further information, check out our website, or Facebook. Alternatively, please contact President Helsa Giles - 0838858848. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

25th Anniversary

The stage is set and the speakers are prepared. The countdown is on. Speakeasy Toastmasters Celebration Night takes place on Friday 2nd March at 7.45PM at The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow. Club Members - past, present and, hopefully, future will gather to witness some of the finest speeches from our illustrations history. We invite our friends and readers of this column from all over North Cork to join us for a night of entertainment and reflection. For a modest fee of €10, you can enjoy a wide range of speakers and generous refreshments. The weather may be cold but the room will be warm and the atmosphere electric. We look forward to seeing you at this unique gathering. 

It was business as usual at last week's Speakeasy Meeting. Under the gentle control of our genial host, Sean Corcoran, 4 speeches provided us with a fascinating array of ideas and opinions. "I never knew that!" was the reaction to many of the facts presented by the speakers. Marie Fitzpatrick delivered a speech entitled - " You're not my Type" on the vital issue of the taking of blood or Phlebotomy. She outlined two key areas -the huge role that blood sampling plays in diagnosing illness and the rights of patients to refuse the taking of samples. With wry humour, she confessed her admiration for a prominent healthy blood vein!

Theresa O'Reilly advocated"The right approach". This was a powerful dissertation on the huge social problem of Drug addiction and it's impact on Irish communities. One startling statistic was that in 2014, more Irish people died from drug addiction than road traffic accidents! Using the 
example of Portugal, which introduced a successful  Drugs Policy, Theresa advocated an approach that included Decriminalisation, improving Therapeutical options, needle exchange, education and publicity campaigns. The old approach is not fit for purpose so a radical change of drug policy is essential.

Kieran Butler did a persuasive talk about "The Antique Sale". With the assistance of Liam Flynn, Kieran demonstrated the art of successful salesmanship. The focus must always be on the customer's needs and ensuring that these are met. Even though it was cold call selling, Kieran showed that the customer is always" King".

Valerie Murphy presented a detailed overview on "The Auras and Chakras of the Body". This was an interesting account of all aspects of mind, body and spirit and how all aspects of our lives are inter-comnected. Our feelings, creativity, our wisdom, insight and spirituality are the essence of our being.
From left: Theresa O' Reilly, Marie Fitzpatrick, Sean Corcoran, Valerie Murphy & Kieran Butler.

As always, all speeches were evaluated to ensure that speakers were provided with constructive feedback. The evaluation team of Ray Ryan, Bridie O'Connell, Brendan Foley and Liam Flynn gave comprehensive advice to the speakers, delivered in a sensitive manner. 

John Brennan assumed the role of Topicsmaster for the first time. The impromptu section of the meeting challenges members to "think on their feet". This skill is very useful in job interviews and interpersonal communication. It is quite important in Night - Clubs too! Bobby Buckley waxed eloquently on Brian Dobson and Morning Ireland, a topic which also featured the infamous  Ned O'Keeffe's interview about the film "Babe"! Mary Moynihan recalled her Ice Breaker speech and the words of encouragement she received from other members which helped her reach a significant milestone. Mary Buckley spoke about the satisfaction of a morning's work in the garden without the distraction of a smartphone. Don McSweeney gave an insight into the growth in sales for electric cars.A topic on Space travel led to flights of fantasy about Donald Trump being sent to infinity and beyond and the prospect of Mars becoming a suburb of Dublin. The charisma of Leonard Cohen was recalled with fondness. And finally, in response to the question of his favourite subject in school, Gerry O'Callaghan retorted - "the nearest subject to the 4 o'clock bell"! 

At the meeting's conclusion, the General Evaluator, Anne Buckley presented awards to Marie Fitzpatrick - Best Speaker, Bridie O'Connell - Best Evaluation and Jerry O'Callaghan - Best Topic

The next Fortnightly Meeting of Speakeasy Toastmasters takes place on Thursday 8th March. It will feature our annual Speech and Evaluation Contests. In the meantime, all focus is on our 25 Anniversary Celebration Night on the 2nd March. 
For more information, please check out our website, or Facebook. Alternatively you can contact our President, Helsa Giles - 0838858848. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

25 years a growing

This unique occasion will commencemorate our existence in the way we know best - through speeches. Since the first demonstration Toastmasters meeting was held in Mallow in October 1992,a whopping total of over 2,000 speeches have been delivered at Speakeasy Toastmasters. Each speech was an achievement for the speaker who delivered it, another milestone on the journey towards  excellent communication which is speaking with ease and confidence. Every speech was a story told, an opinion shared and a useful outpouring of ideas. 

So fluent were the members of Speakeasy that two collections of speeches were published. In 1995, "Unaccustomed as I am" became a local best seller. In 1999,it's sequel "Sin Scéal Eile" proved to be equally popular. 

Down through the years, there were several guests at meetings  who said - "I could never do that". Yet, a short time later they found themselves delivering speeches with the skills of a professional. The ethos of Speakeasy Toastmasters is to encourage and motivate each member to be the best they can be. With a friendly, yet formal atmosphere, and an emphasis on quality evaluation we have helped our members to acquire communicating excellence. 

Our Celebration Night will feature an array of speakers, both former and current members who will entertain, enlighten and give us cause for reflection. Among the speakers will be well-known personalities like Matt Lawlee.
Matt is synonymous with humour and represented Speakeasy in the Irish and English District Final on two occasions, emerging triumphant in 1995.

He will be joined by Michael Cronin, another speaker who is renowned for his humour.
Michael was a District winner in 2008. Several other speakers are remembered for powerful presentations that live long in the memory of all those who witnessed them.Kieran Butler will deliver his very enjoyable ode to the single life. Bobby Buckley will regale the attendance with his tales of a Mallow childhood  Other speakers  include Kieran Buckley, Vivien Buckley, Joan Linehan and Deirdre Linehan.

This "Greatest Hits" package is guaranteed to entertain and enthrall or to borrow a phrase from Gay Byrne will have "something for everyone in the audience". Food and beverages will also be available on the night.

We wish to invite all our friends and followers to join us in our celebrations. If you have never been to Speakeasy before, this is an ideal opportunity to sample us at our best. Guests will not be cajoled into speaking unless they really want to! So, remember the date :Friday 2nd March at 8.00PM in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow. 

Meanwhile, our next meeting will take place on Thursday 22nd February at 8.00 PM. in the Hibernian Hotel. As always, a fine selection of speakers is on the menu. We look forward to seeing you there. 
For further information on our Celebration Night or on Toastmasters in general, please check out Facebook or contact Helsa Giles, President at 0838858848. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Patricia breaks the ice in style.

Dealing with adversity was the central theme of speeches at last week's meeting of Speakeasy Toastmasters Club. Patricia Buckley presented her Icebreaker Speech. The purpose of an Icebreaker is to introduce yourself to your audience and to begin speaking in public. Patricia did this with style and passion as she spoke movingly of the challenges she had to overcome in early childhood. "I survived" was her mantra. Her evaluator, Marie Fitzpatrick commended her on her presentation as "composed and confident, delivered with grace and humour". 

Claire O'Connell delivered an entertaining speech - "I am the Greatest!" She outlined the three sources of contentment in her life - being positive, avoiding comparing herself to others because when you compare it leads to despair and being creative. As always, Claire provided humorous anecdotes to support her entertaining message. 

Michael Donegan took us for a trip down memory lane as he waxed nostalgically on - "Radio - what's new?" He celebrated the influence of the wireless or the transistor  on his life - from his early days listening to Radio Éireann when set dancing was on the wireless. He described his enjoyment of the comedy programmes on BBC Radio. And then he recalled the heady days of the Pirate Station,  Radio Caroline which broadcast from the English Channel. Like many an impressionable youth Michael was besotted with the wide range of music that crackled through the Medium Waveband. To many of "a particular age", Radio Caroline brings back very fond memories. 

The final speaker of the evening was Kevin O'Neill who addressed a subject that is familiar to  every Toastmaster- "Public Speaking - what's the problem?" In a friendly, conversational manner, Kevin spoke about overcoming his own fears of standing up before an audience and feeling nervous and self conscious. He strongly suggested to keep speaking. "The more often you do it, the better it gets". In the words of the writer, Ralph Waldo Emerson -" Once you do the thing you fear, the death of fear is certain". Throughout it's existence, Speakeasy Toastmasters has helped many members to overcome their anxieties and flourish as confident and competent communicators. And, you are never too young, too old or too busy to learn a new and important skill. 

Each of the speakers on the programme were comprehensively evaluated by their assigned evaluator. Marie Fitzpatrick, Liam Flynn, Mary Buckley and Marie Lynes provided appropriate commendation and recommendations to the speakers.
Michael Donegan, Claire O'Connell, Patricia Buckley & Kevin O' Neill

Topicsmaster Ray Ryan encouraged members to sound off on a broad range of issues from the Winter Olympics to the opening of Public Houses on Good Friday with detours to Smartphones for children and members' hidden talents along the way. Drug cheats, neglectful parents and stories of smuggled phones in prisons being used to download "Adult Content"were called out by various members. The amazing story of Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan was recalled which was rather appropriate with the release of the movie -" I Tonya".

At the Meeting's conclusion, awards were presented to Patricia Buckley, First Timer; Marie Lynes, Best Evaluation and Michael Donegan, Best Speaker. 

Meanwhile, plans are progressing for Speakeasy Toastmasters 25th Anniversary Celebration Night on Friday, 2nd March in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow. Tickets for this special event are available on the night and from Club President, Helsa Giles. This promises to be a wonderful showcase for Toastmasters as well as a great night of entertainment. 

The next Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting takes place on Thursday, 22nd February in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM. As always, guests are welcome and will not be obliged to speak unless they wish to do so. For more information please visit our website or on Facebook. Alternatively you can contact Helsa Giles - 0838858848. 

Monday, February 05, 2018

Horror in the Hospital ward!

Monday, January 29, 2018

25th Anniversary.

Twenty Fifth Anniversary Celebration. 

Speakeasy Toastmasters will hold their Twenty Fifth Anniversary Celebration Night in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Friday 2nd March at 8.00PM.

We have decided to mark the occasion in the manner we know best - through speeches! It will be a night of "Reeling in the Years"as we take a journey through some of the best speeches delivered at our Club Meetings down through the two and a half decades of our existence. 

There will be an Omnibus Collection of speeches that still resonate. Some will be speeches that won acclaim in Contests in both Ireland and the UK, others that won popular acclaim within our Club. Members, both past and present will come together for a night of reflection, inspiration and humour. We encourage the public to join us on that night for what promises to be another Speakeasy Toastmasters Special Occasion.

In October1992, a demonstration meeting took place in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow to lay the groundwork to establish  a Toastmasters Club in North Cork. By March the following year, Speakeasy Toastmasters was formed. It's first President was Joe O'Connor of Boherbue. Members hailed from all over the North Cork area - from Bweeng, Buttevant, Liscarroll, Doneraile and Mallow. Indeed, the large geographical spread of our membership base has been a huge strength down through the decades. 

In the ensuing years, Speakeasy has achieved enormous success, both within the Toastmasters organisation and in greater community. Club members have won The District 71(Ireland and the UK) Speaking Contests on five occasions, including Matt Lawlee and Michael Cronin in the Humorous Speech Contest. Several other members have also qualified for District Finals. But, above all else Club Members have learned the art of confident communication and leadership skills. 

Members of Speakeasy have also assumed leadership positions within the organisation, including Jeremiah Ronayne who served as District 71 Governor in 2003-2004. Speakeasy's involvement in establishing other Toastmasters Clubs in the Munster area  is also significant. 

In November 2001,the Club hosted the Speakeasy Blackwater Conference in Springfort Hall,Mallow. Several hundred Toastmasters' members from all over Ireland and Britain came together for a spectacular weekend of Speech Contests and entertainment. In Toastmasters circles, this Conference was hailed as one of the greatest ever. 

Speakeasy members have also featured prominently in the Mallow Sports and Leisure Awards. Five members have won top awards, including Matt Lawlee, Jeremiah Ronayne, Michael Cronin and Mary Buckley. 

Involvement in the community has always featured prominently in our activities. Jerry Mulcahy introduced a Toastmasters programme to the Cope Foundation in Mallow. Members provide public speaking classes in various schools in North Cork. Each year, we host a Schools Public Speaking Competition, which provides a wonderful opportunity to participating students to acquire communication skills. 

It has been a richly rewarding Twenty Five years which we hope to celebrate in style on Friday, 2nd March. For those readers who have never attended our meetings, this is a great night to come along and join the celebrations. 

In the meantime, Meetings continue as usual. Our next meeting takes place in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday, 8th February at 8.00PM. You are more than welcome to come along and sample the entertainment. As always, guests will be able to enjoy the meeting without any obligation to speak, unless you wish to do so. 

For more information about our Club, please visit our website, or on Facebook. Alternatively, you can contact President, Helsa Giles-083-8858848.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Liam Neeson welcome!

At a recent function in Aras an Uachtaran, the actor Liam Neeson admitted that his greatest fear in life was speaking in public.It seems surprising that a hugely successful actor would have such a fear. Yet, there is something quite reassuring in learning that the fear of speaking in public can effect people from all walks of life , regardless of their career success. If you feel like Liam Neeson about speaking before an audience,Speakeasy Toastmasters can help you. Through our Meetings, you can acquire the art of communication with ease and confidence.And, most importantly this can be achieved in an enjoyable,effective,self placed programme.

Speech delivery is an integral part of a Toastmasters Meeting.At each meeting,different members present speeches to gain experience on organising their ideas and to feel comfortable in front of an audience.Speech subject matter is chosen by the speaker and usually reflects personal interests and viewpoints.As a result, Speakeasy Meetings have hosted subjects as diverse as the legalising of Marijuana to the art of thatching.At our last Meeting,a broad range of subjects were presented with historical events as a dominant theme.

John Brennan presented a fascinating dissertation on Legal Tender entitled- "Pounds,Shillings and Bitcoin -a brief history of money ".We devote most of our lives spending it,saving it or wondering where it all went.John took us back to a time before money was in use and bartering was in vogue. As John explained bartering had it's limitations.If one wished to exchange  a horse for a cow, you were dependent on " a coincidence of wants".Someone has to want a horse and have a cow for exchange at the same time. Things start to get messy when the value of the animals doesn't match! The Chinese were the first to introduce the unit of exchange in the form of IOU.And ,now, we have evolved to virtual currency in the form of Bitcoin.We live in an era of Contactless Payment and customers paying for mundane purchases with their watches.But, regardless of payment method,having "enough" money remains a universal need.

History of a different kind was the theme of Verna Byrne's speech."Spike- from past to present " was an absorbing and fascinating look at Spike Island,a 104 acres Island at the mouth of Cork Harbour.To readers of a particular age,Spike Island is synonymous with it's time as a prison for car thieves and joyriders in the 1980's.But it's story goes back to the Seventh Century when Spike was the site of a monastery.It's strategic location has seen it used as a Military Base by both the British and Irish forces and as a prison.At one stage,it housed up to Three Thousand prisoners, which is greater than the number incarcerated in Alcatraz.Following the handover of Irish Ports by the British authorities in 1938, Spike Island became an Irish Army base for forty five years. Verna spoke of living on the Island as a young child,a fact that brought a strong personal angle to her speech.In 2017, First Place in the World's Tourist Attraction was awarded to Spike Island,ahead of Buckingham Palace and The Eiffel Tower.

More up to date history formed the bedrock of Pat Sexton's speech -"1968 Apocalypse". Pat detailed the reasons why 1968 was an "Annus Horribilis".This was a year of uprisings, suppressions, blood on the streets,the end of dreams - a year when hope turned to despair and idealism for a better future became an orphan.It was the year when Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were murdered,thus disenfranchising an entire younger generation of American voters.In 1967 The Beatles sang -"All you need is Love" and The Rolling Stones sang -"We Love You".One year later,they sang "Revolution" and "Street Fighting Man".So why such a change in such a short time?Youth turned angry and frustrated at the perceived injustices perpetrated by "The Establishment ".Rioting in the streets of American Cities and all over the World seemed to rock the system but failed to overthrow it.1968 was the year that the Sixties Dream ended.

Conflict of a different nature was articulated by Liam Flynn with an interpretative reading from "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly".Jean Dominique Bauby, a French magazine editor suffered a massive stroke which left him completely paralysed and speechless.Able to use one eyelid, he managed to "dictate" an extraordinary memoir. Liam brought to life the writer's lonely existence and his flights of imagination that helped him rise above his circumstances.This interpretative piece rounded out an exciting programme of speeches.

A key  aspect of each Toastmasters Meeting is the Evaluation section. Each speaker is assigned an Evaluator whose role is to provide positive and detailed feedback.This reinforces the mutually supportive environment at our meetings - people building people.Michael Cronin, Marie Fitzpatrick,Noel O'Connor and Don McSweeney provided insightful,thoughtful and constructive recommendations to all the speakers. At the meeting's conclusion, awards were presented for outstanding contributions,including John Brennan,Best Speaker and Marie Fitzpatrick,Best Evaluator.

In other news,Speakeasy participated in The Davis College Model United Nations which took place over four days last week in The City Hall, Cork.This is the brainchild of Jose Horte of Davis College, Mallow. Since 2014 this project has grown spectacularly to involve Schools from all over Ireland and beyond.Each student plays the role of a Delegate to the UN and debating important motions on important issues like AIDS,the refugee crisis,weapon stockpiling and disabilities.
At the event's closing ceremony,Pat Sexton was Guest Speaker and Club President,Helsa Giles presented awards to various participants for outstanding Leadership and Communication.Speakeasy is privileged to be involved in such a worthy event and we congratulate Jose and the staff at Davis College for their achievements.

The next Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting takes place in The Hibernian Hotel,Mallow on Thursday,25th January at 8.00PM.As always,guests are welcome. Indeed,it is not too late to jump on the train and take up a new and richly rewarding pastime that will improve your confidence and communication skills. We look forward to seeing you.
For more information,check out our website or follow us on Facebook.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Taste of Topics

Did you hear the one about the Corkman with an inferiority complex?
He thought that Cork was as good as any other county".

At last week's Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting,Topicsmaster,Claire O'Connell, posed the question- "If you weren't living in Cork,in what other County would you like to live?"
In a clear act of treason against the Republic of Cork, Bobby Buckley spoke nostalgically of his mis-spent youth on holidays in Thurles and the joys of achieving equality with the boys of Tipp,and of being a passenger in his uncle's brand new Ford Cortina.Worse was to follow as Theresa O'Reilly admitted her admiration for Kerry before settling on County Mayo with it's cycle paths and Croke Patrick.That two Corkonians could express a preference for any county other than Cork is in the words of Donald Trump -"sad"!
This was just one of the many entertaining conundrums presented during a fascinating and diverse Topics Session. The purpose of the Topics Session is to encourage members of Toastmasters to " think on their feet ",to speak in an impromptu manner and express opinions,show knowledge (if appropriate) and use imagination. With practice,impromptu speaking can be enormously beneficial in real life situations like inter-personal communications, job interviews,even chatting up in Chasers!

Other topics that aroused much banter included the choice of having to abstain from your favourite food for a million Euros.Tim Ahern was adamant that a medium rare Sirloin Steak was worth more than a million especially if those he shared the table with stopped checking their smart -phones. Ray Ryan was challenged to name three Toastmasters to accompany him on a remote desert island.Much to the disappointment (or perhaps relief!) of his Speakeasy colleagues,he chose three lucky ladies from other parts of Ireland and Britain.Michael Cronin admitted that he would date other members of Toastmasters, if they were willing! Indeed, one of the unintended consequences of Toastmasters is the sizeable number of relationships that accrue!

Anne Buckley was asked to choose between the minimum wage and life on social welfare. She spoke eloquently on the value of work and the sense of purpose it provides in life.Mick Donegan addressed the importance of friendship and the value of having a true friend to confide in.T ony O'Regan evoked the Limerick comedy band,The Rubberbandits by speaking about his horse outside. Helsa Giles decried the use of artificial sweeteners and expressed the wish that the Sugar Industry could be revived in Ireland.

At the Meeting's conclusion,the Best Topic response was awarded to Tim Ahern. A Speakeasy Topics Session can be challenging,informative and entertaining.It can also be the source of great ideas for speeches.One great example of this was Michael Cronin feeling dissatisfied with a topic response and working on a proper answer which became a very successful entry in the Humorous Speech Contest,finishing second in the Irish and British District Final in 2005. In short,Table Topics is a wonderful brain storming opportunity.

Topics is only one aspect of a Speakeasy meeting.The prepared speech section is another.If you haven't witnessed for yourself what Toastmasters has to offer in the areas of personal development and confident communication, why not promise yourself to pay us a visit? Though we meet in Mallow,we serve the greater North Cork area,from the Kerry to the Tipperary borders. Guests are never put on the spot and coerced to speak unless they choose to do so .Our next meeting takes place in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday,25th January at 8.00PM.We look forward to seeing you.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Operation Transformation in Speakeasy!

Operation Transformation in Speakeasy!

Do you need to say a few we'll chosen words on those special occasions?
Do you need to sharpen your communication skills for work presentations or interviews?
Do you wish to chair meetings effectively?
Do you wish to improve your creative writing skills?
Or are you simply looking for a good night's entertainment?

If the answer to any of the above questions is "Yes",then Speakeasy Toastmasters is for you. For many people,speaking before an audience is a daunting challenge.In various surveys,respondents listed speaking in public as their number one fear,outranking even the fear of death by a two to one margin.

Speakeasy Toastmasters is devoted to enabling it's members to express their thoughts,ideas and opinions in an enjoyable,yet professional training programme."Learning by doing" is the best way to learn any new skill and that is how Toastmasters works.You start speaking in a helpful,supportive and positive environment and in an "Operation Transformation " fashion you will grow in confidence and will get better and better.

We are very familiar with the term - "butterflies in your stomach". Toastmasters will help you to manage your butterflies or to help them "fly in formation". You will be introduced to various speaking techniques on how to organise your thoughts and speech structure.You will gain valuable experience on body gestures,on vocal variety and on the use of language to get your across.

To assist each member, speakers are assigned an "evaluator".The evaluator provides helpful,constructive feedback to the speakers which helps them identify their strengths and gives useful suggestions for future speeches.Other important facets of Toastmasters is the experience gained in chairing a meeting and participating in the impromptu part of the meeting, which is called the "Topics Session ". The Topics Session gives members the opportunity to let off steam and express their views on a broad range of issues,some of them serious, others humorous. And all of this takes place in a two hour meeting,held fortnightly .

As we face into a New Year,now is an appropriate time to take up new challenges. And what more rewarding opportunity can there be than honing your communication skills.Toastmasters is open to everyone from 18 to 81 years of age and beyond! Old dogs can learn new tricks and important life skills.

With this in mind,Speakeasy Toastmasters issues an invitation to our first meeting of 2018. It takes place on Thursday,11th January in the Hibernian Hotel,Mallow at 8.00pm.
Guests will not be obliged to speak unless they wish to do so. We look forward to seeing you on Thursday night.
For more information on Toastmasters, please check out our website or look us up on Facebook. Alternatively,contact Helsa Giles -083-88588848.