Sunday, August 12, 2018

Chicago here we come!

Speakeasy Toastmasters Club will watch with bated breath as Deirdre Linehan steps forward to compete in the semi-finals of The World Championships of Public Speaking at The Toastmasters International Convention in Chicago on Thursday,23rd August.

Deirdre's chosen speech "Dob's  Army' recalls​ her time as a young teacher when she successfully​ coached Kildare to victory in the All-Ireland Final of the Schools Basketball competition. This was an exciting speech, reflecting the rollercoaster  nature of a Basketball Final with a nail biting finale. Beginning when Deirdre competed in Club Competitions in the Speakeasy and Failte Clubs, Deirdre has displayed​ sufficient eloquence to win the various qualifying contests, culminating with her spectacular success in the District 71 Final last  May.
Here,she overcame strong opposition from the finest speakers in Ireland and Britain, becoming the second Cork representative to win top prize in the 45 years of participation in this prestigious competition.On a broader scale,the ultimate prize of winning The World Championships has been achieved on one solitary occasion - 1985 when Marie Pyne from Ennis was the winner.

Deirdre will compete against a very strong field in Semi-final 3, taking her place alongside participants from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington,Hong Kong and The Philippines.If she overcomes this challenging field,she will go forward to the World Championships Final on Saturday,25th August.Here,she hopes to perform another speech - "Satin Sandals".This wonderful speech, inspired by the Jenny Joseph poem- "When I grow old, I shall wear purple" is about aging disgracefully and slowing down only for the kids to "catch up".

Deirdre lists drama​ and golf among her many interests.She plays off a very creditable 13 handicap.She was inspired to join Speakeasy Toastmasters after witnessing Matt Lawlee ,a club member deliver a humorous speech about"Male post-natal depression" at a Mallow Golf Club function. As Deirdre recalls : "I was fascinated that you could write and deliver a speech about ordinary, everyday things and make them interesting​ and entertaining.I was really impressed that you could  continue to hone and enhance your speaking skills in such a helpful forum.Toastmasters helped me find a voice for my creativity.Reaching the World Championships in Chicago has been a fantastic achievement​ and great fun. I really want to enjoy this experience".

As part of her preparations for the contest, Deirdre delivered her speeches at "The road to Chicago" rehearsal evening in London.The 3 European​ contenders presented their speeches to much applause and an abundance of helpful feedback from a receptive audience." It was both a challenging and rewarding experience", said Deirdre.

Her preparations are almost complete,her bags are packed and along with her husband,Barry, she is ready to go.All that's left is for Deirdre to arrive in " the windy City" of Chicago and blow them all away with the whirlwind performances​ that she is accustomed to give. Speakeasy Toastmasters wishes Deirdre every success on her wonderful journey.

In other news, Speakeasy Toastmasters commence the New Season on Thursday,6th September in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM.As always,guests and new members are welcome.For more information about Toastmasters, please check out our Club website or on Facebook.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Strength in Adversity

One second is all it takes. A punch thrown in anger by a complete stranger on a night out. And a life is changed irreparably. That was the story of Leonard who will never walk, never see or ever write again. In her quietly uplifting speech, "A man with a New Life", Margaret O'Regan chronicled the changing circumstances of one man's life. He bore no rancour towards his attacker but from the blackest pit he carved out a meaningful new life for himself.

Margaret's was just one of a host of wonderful speeches at last week's Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting that was woven from the rich tapestry of human experience. Tim Casey delivered another. His extraordinary speech - "Footprints in the Snow" - was a Canterbury Tale with a difference. Tim recalled his experiences as a volunteer at a shelter in Canterbury and the people he encountered. In a heart-felt piece of human observation, Tim introduced us to people or "characters" like Fred, Ralph, Ron and Eddie.

Sean Corcoran went back to the beginning with an "Ice Breaker" speech. "Knowledge is power, Information is Liberating" told of Sean's involvement with the Citizen's Information Service, a volunteer run service that offers confidential advice to the public. The role of the Citizen's Information Service is to provide practical information on employment law, statutory entitlements and legal counselling to those who request it.

Claire O'Connell delivered "The Press Conference". Covering the topic of waste recycling, Claire spoke on the subject of Green Bin contamination. She outlined the problem clearly and listed the solutions which were based on awareness and improved communication. In this project, Claire played the role of the Press Secretary impeccably.

"Home is where the heart is" was the theme of Valerie Murphy's speech - "Ballybeg and Me". With a beautifully worded speech, Valerie spoke of growing up in the Townland of Ballybeg, Buttevant at the foot of the Ballyhoura Hills. She spoke of the contrasts between the solitude of The Franciscan Abbey and the Awbeg River with it's beautiful stone Bridge and the Marian Shrine at Buttevant's Grotto where twenty thousand vehicles pass by daily. Childhood memories are recalled and Valerie declares that "Ballybeg is in my psyche". 
Speakers at our final meeting: Sean Corcoran, Valerie Murphy, Claire O' Connell, Tim Casey & Margaret O' Regan.

Marie Lynes played the role of Toastmaster or Chairperson, introducing each speaker and each part of the meeting. Noel O'Connor was the Topicsmaster. He had a range of everyday subjects like "taking the old road", the place of public shows and festivals and the raising of the retirement age. These real life issues elicited a huge response from Club members. 

At the meeting's conclusion, General Evaluator, Michael Donegan presented awards to Deirdre Linehan - Best Topic ; Michael Cronin - Best Evaluation ;Best Speaker - Tim Casey. 

Speakeasy Toastmasters will now take a break from meetings until Thursday 6th September. In the meantime, Club Officer Training will take place and planning for the next Season will continue apace. Meanwhile, it promises to be an extremely busy and exciting time for Deirdre Linehan who will participate in the World Championships of Public Speaking at the Toastmasters International Convention in Chicago on the 22nd August. We extend our best wishes to Deirdre.

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