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.