Monday, October 15, 2018

No longer invisible

"No longer invisible'.

This is the testimony of a Toastmasters member.

"All my life it seemed that I was invisible.In school,in the dressing room at a match and at work. It wasn't because I didn't have anything to say. Quite the opposite,in fact. I was tongue-tied. Often I would discreetly make suggestions that were taken on board and proved to be effective in the workplace. When I gained a significant promotion, it was put to me that public presentations would be part of my brief and that I needed to step forward.

I considered a Public Speaking Course but then I became aware of a Toastmasters Club in my locality and resolved to attend a meeting. At the door, I was warmly welcomed and reassured that I wouldn't have to speak. I found the standard of the speeches extremely high and the part of the meeting devoted to "the Topics Session" to be both fascinating and daunting. The President of the Club, who spoke  to me during  the tea break, advised me to attend a few meetings and "get a feel" for the Club. At the next meeting, I witnessed an "Ice-breaker" speech.It was a pretty straightforward speech and it showed me that delivering such a speech was achievable. I resolved to "give it a shot".

I was very impressed by the "evaluation" of my speech.The evaluator acted as a mentor, proving to be both motivational and supportive as I prepared for my Ice-breaker. I delivered that vital speech and lived to tell the tale! Over the next three years, I have given another 10 speeches, becoming a "Competent Communicator". Much to my surprise I began to enjoy the Topics Session and became adept at speaking around a subject. Some people might call that "bluffing".My confidence grew to such an extent that I competed in a Speech Contest last year.My work presentations are no longer an ordeal to be endured by both audience and speaker. In fact,I now enjoy them. I firmly believe that the Toastmasters approach can help anyone who wishes to overcome their anxiety about speaking up.Because I made that vital first step and attended a Toastmasters meeting, I believe I am no longer invisible".

If you wish to see what happens at a meeting, why not come along to our next Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting which takes place in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00 PM. Guests are always welcome and are never cajoled into speaking unless they wish to do so.
For more information about our Club, please check out our website or on Facebook. Alternatively, you can contact President, Sean Corcoran -086-6054784.

Monday, October 08, 2018

A night of laughter!

If laughter is the best medicine,then a lot of people were cured at last week's Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests at Speakeasy Toastmasters. In front of a full house, 7 Contestants crossed verbal swords to the sound of laughter and loudguffaws.

Claire O'Connell commenced proceedings with a hilarious account of her "somewhat unusual" relationship with her pocket calculator! Entitled " Cal Sharp", Claire regaled us with tales of her obsession with that little electronic device and her ability to "turn him on" by pushing the right buttons, her nights of fun getting the accounts to "add up". To "sum it all up", Claire proved that accountants have a healthy sense of humour.

Sean Corcoran entertained us with his clever offering called "The Spit". Coming from an unremarkable family that had no relatives who fought in the G.P.O.or the World Wars or even emigrated to America, all was quiet in the Corcoran family until they decided to investigate the 1901 Cenus which unearthed a few cousins very close to home! And then, they decided to provide a DNA sample to trace down any celebrity cousins that might exist. And here is the rub - that very same saliva sample opens up a Pandora's Box of privacy issues.Big Brother has it covered!

Waiting patiently in a queue was the theme of Michael Cronin's speech -"The Long Wait". Michael detailed the agony of being a blood donor at Mallow Racecourse - watching yourself grow old while answering questions about "having contact with a baboon in South West Africa". Indeed,if the answer is affirmative to any of the last questions on the questionnaire, it means that you have lived a "full life". But, it's all worth it for Michael as he is rewarded with a packet of crisps!

"Development" was the theme of Kieran Butler's presentation.To much amusement,he confessed his dangerous addiction to self-development courses. Be it online language tutorials or under graduate courses, Kieran cannot resist getting "a hit". His attempts at cold turkey have proved futile as he broke down while binge watching Love Island, Big Brother and Gogglebox! Can he resist further temptation?

In the Table Topics Contest, Brendan Foley, Michael Cronin,Pat Sexton, Ray Ryan and Claire O'Connell confronted the topical question - "Is the role of the President of Ireland still relevant"? The various contributions on the topic wouldn't provide much consolation to the contenders in the race for the Aras.

While the judges' ballots we're being counted, Topicsmaster Anne Buckley led a highly entertaining Topics Session on the theme of laughter and the Irish sense of humour.
Marie Fitzpatrick & Anne Buckley
When White Smoke was eventually seen, Kieran Butler was declared the winner of the Humorous Speech Contest with the runner-up spot going to Michael Cronin.In the Table Topics Contest, Ray Ryan was the winner, with Pat Sexton in second place.These four contestants will go forward to represent Speakeasy at the North Cork Area Final in Fermoy on Tuesday,6th November.
Kieran Butler, Michael Cronin, Marie Fitzpatrick Ray Ryan & Pat Sexton. 

Meanwhile,the Speakeasy Meeting Season continues unabated. It is never too late to take the vital first step and come along to our meetings.Overcome your shyness, become an accomplished communicator and grow in confidence - all these and morecan be achieved in Toastmasters.We look forward to seeing you on Thursday,18th October in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM.As always, guests are welcome and are never coerced into speaking unless they wish to do so.

For more information about Toastmasters, please check out our website, or on Facebook. Alternatively,you can contact Club President, Sean Corcoran -086-6054784.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Fragrant memories of Mallow!

At last week's Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting, Gerry O'Callaghan was asked about what smell reminded him of his childhood. With a glint of mischief in his eyes, he spoke about his daily stroll around Mallow and stopping outside a well knowncoffee shop in Market Square where he took in the beautiful aroma - not of coffee but of memories of the piggery that his family had in that area when he was a child! All these years later,Gerry still recalls an unmistakable and unforgettable fragrance.

This is just an example of the magic that can happen during a Topics Session at a Speakeasy meeting. The notion of speaking "off the cuff" is one that many readers and Toastmasters members find daunting. Yet, we do it all the time in our daily lives and finding ourselves,after a conversation has concluded, wishing "I had said that when I had the chance".Table Topics gives members the opportunity to enhance their impromptu speaking skills.Like all aspects of Toastmasters, we learn by doing.And, the more frequently we do it, the more accomplished we become. The Topics Session helps us to speak more confidently in social situations, in work presentations and at interviews.

Ably conducted by Noel O'Connor, last week's Topics Session encompassed a broad discussion on several issues. The subject of children being assigned household chores, elicited strong responses about "helicopter parents" whose good intentions deny their children the chance to learn self-reliance and resilience. Drowning in a sea of plastic provoked multiple responses on the importance of recycling and on questionable practices by retailers.Is it really necessary to sell fruit and vegetables in plastic packaging? Self-development featured prominently with topics on time management and night classes. Indeed,it was mentioned that the most rewarding night class to partake in is a Toastmasters Club - life long learning at it's best.Outdoor pursuits in the fine weather like mushroom foraging were name checked and the thorny subject of Greenways and private property rights resulted in another meaningful discussion. Such was the level of involvement in the Topics Session, guests became involved, enhancing the evening with their contributions. At the meeting's conclusion,the award for Best Topic went to the aforementioned Gerry O'Callaghan.

Table Topics will take centre stage at our next meeting.In conjunction with the Annual Humorous Speech Contest, the Table Topics Contest will take place. Here, the challenge for participants is to walk into the room and respond to the chosenTopic and display the skills of an impromptu speaker - composure, confidence and coherency. Contest night's are always a great night to visit our Club.You will be guaranteed entertainment and refreshments and a few good laughs.

Guests are always made feel welcome at our meetings and are never obliged to speak unless they wish to do so. We look forward to seeing you at the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday,4th October at 8.00PM.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Night of humour beckons

A night of humour beckons
Speakeasy  toastmasters Club is hosting it's annual Humorous Speech Contest on Thursday,4th October at 8.00PM. Since the Club's inception, the Humorous Contest has occupied a special place in the Club's calendar, providing members with the opportunity to regale their audience and make them laugh. The contest is not a stand - up comedy routine with a bunch of one-liners strung together.The aim is to present a speech that is humorous in nature.

Over the years, many members have excelled in Humorous Contest at several levels, winning different stages of the event in Ireland and Britain. Matt Lawlee participated in the District 71 ( British and Irish) Final on two occasions, winning in 1995 with his hilarious speech on the fear of flying entitled "The First and Last". This feat was emulated by four time finalist Michael Cronin with his humorous tale about his laptop - "Feel the fear and blow it up anyway" winning top prize in 2008. Other notable successes include Gerry O'Callaghan who competed in the 2003 District Final in Glasgow with the eulogy to his pet rat - "Toby".

In conjunction with the Humorous Contest,the Club will also stage the Table Topics Contest. Here, the contestants are challenged to give an impromptu response to a topic with points awarded for content,logic, relevance to the topic and delivery.Both the winners and runners up in each contest will go forward to participate in the North Cork Area Final which take place in late October.

At last week's meeting, members were treated to a wonderful array of speeches, overflowing with challenging ideas, fascinating detail and humour. Ray Ryan presented "A re-introduction". Like many members of the Club, Ray is participating in the new Toastmasters Programme - "Pathways" and presenting an Ice-breaker speech again.With a dollop of understated humour,he spoke of his "dancing achievements" and his role as a magician's assistant. He described his fascination with astronomy and "the beauty of the stars shining against the blackness of the night sky".Ray spoke too about his various employments and what the future may hold. If, as seems likely, Ray moves on to pastures new, his contributions to Speakeasy has been immense.

John Sherlock of Fermoy Toastmasters presented a stark potrait on the constant erosion of our privacy with his speech - "The numbers are in - 1984 is here!" He cited the many everyday examples of how we leave an indelible mark of our activities - from Credit Cards, Barcodes to mobile tracking devices that are our Smartphones. It poses the question - is exchanging our personal privacy for the benefits of modern technology a price too high to pay?

The price we pay was also the theme of Don McSweeney's speech - "Biodiversity".Who would have thought that the Spider Monkey in the jungle in Borneo plays a huge role in the Earth's continued existence? Don provided fascinating examples of the interaction between the earth's species and the corrosive impact of human intervention .It is estimated that about half of the species alive in 1970 exist today as mankind continues to kill, chop and eat it's way through the Earth's resources. Is the survival of the Planet at risk because of human behavior?

By way of light relief, Kieran Butler spoke about "Addiction".He confessed in moving, graphic and hilarious detail of " Breaking Bad" with his addiction to self-development.
Be it courses,classes,online tutorials and under graduate degrees, Kieran is hooked. Initially,he dabbled but now has become a hard core self-improvement junkie.He has gone cold turkey but alas, despite watching "Love Island"found himself succumbing once again to his cravings! Another class beckons and like Oscar Wilde he finds out that the best way to resist temptation is to yield to it.
Don McSweeney, John Sherlock, Anne O'Donovan, Ray Ryan & Kieran Butler.

Each speech was comprehensively evaluated by Marie Fitzpatrick, Michael Cronin,Marie Lynes and Bobby Buckley who provided incisive feedback to the speakers, offering commendation and recommendations where appropriate. The art of evaluation is another skill that members develop in Toastmasters, a skill so valuable in our daily interactions at work and in the community.Better speaking, better listening and better thinking are the three vital skills we learn in Toastmasters.At the meeting's conclusion,awards were presented to Don McSweeney - Best Speaker and Michael Cronin - Best Evaluator.

And so ended another highly satisfactory and entertaining Speakeasy meeting.More fun will follow at our Humorous Speech night.If you haven't been to Toastmasters or if you would like a good night's entertainment, why not drop along to The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday, October 4th at 8.00PM? Indeed, bring a friend and double the fun. Guests are never obliged to speak, unless they wish to do so.Looking forward to seeing you.

For more information about Toastmasters, please check out our website or on Facebook.l

Monday, September 17, 2018

Week 2

Don’t get trapped in a routine. The secret of success is to practice what you are not good at. Get uncomfortable. A sport’s man, when asked to identify the secret of his success, replied ’I practiced what I was not good at’ All successful people both in and out of Toastmasters have had to overcome obstacles in life. What determines their ability to transcend those obstacles and fears is a great willingness to stretch their comfort zones. In a Toastmaster’s Club your comfort zone is measured by the speeches you give and the assignments you take on. Successful Toastmasters have one thing in common – they form the habit of THOROUGH PREPARATION and ACTIVE LISTENING. Those who clock watch and day dream do not get far.

Your habits reflect your personality. They influence how you dress; walk; sit; smile and laugh. As part of your internal makeup most habits are formed early in life. By adulthood those habits are much easier to follow than change. If you want to be more successful both in and out of Toastmasters, you must make an effort to reject stagnation, and form habits of self improvement. To evaluate your personal habits – ask yourself
  • Do successful happy people seem to enjoy my company.
  • Do others seek my advice
  • Do I continue to grow through careful reading and exposure to stimulating ideas.
  • Do I surround myself with positive uplifting influences.
  • Do I usually feel good about myself
  • Do I look for new ways to improve my speaking, writing, and listening skills
Remember a lack of time is almost always a lack of organization and management. The ability to invest time wisely is a habit acquired through deliberate choice. Success requires passion and is governed by the laws of habit. To develop habits, one must have an objective. It is never the strength of a goal that will make you do anything in life. It is the strength of the purpose behind it. If your goal in life is to make money to put bread on the table, then that is all you will do. This standard requires you to cross the finish line only because it exists. In order to achieve a far greater level of success, you must have passion to go the distance. So finally “Never be content with what you are, if you want to be what you are not”
After that PARTY POLITICAL BROADCAST - the party being Speakeasy Toastmasters – let me turn to the immediate. Speakeasy Toastmasters will hold their next meeting at the Hibernian Hotel, next Thursday Sept. 20th and on  alternate Thursdays, at 7.50 for and 8.00 pm start. Do call in to see what is going on. You will be most welcome. We have a full and varied programme, and the usual delicious ‘cuppa’ at the interval.
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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

It all began here

Last Thursday night's meeting of Speakeasy Toastmasters Club was a night of beginnings - the beginning of a new season of meetings,a beginner speech in the new educational programme "Pathways", and a reminder of where it all begins.

Addressing the large turnout, Deirdre Linehan, District 71 Speech Contestant , spoke about her incredible journey to the World Championships Public Speaking Semi-Final in Chicago. Though qualification for the World Final proved elusive, Deirdre spoke of her satisfaction at her performance of her speech, "Dob's Army".

"It all began in here", stressed Deirdre, referring to Speakeasy Club meetings where Deirdre became accustomed to the challenges of speaking in front of an audience. Whether it is at a big speech contest or speaking before a small group at work, the training received at Toastmasters enables the speaker to perform with confidence.Deirdre thanked the members of both the Speakeasy and Failte Toastmasters Clubs for their support and Speakeasy member Tony O'Regan for his coaching.Deirdre pointed out that the top three placings in The World Final went to women, a unique first.
Deirdre Linehan (2nd from left) at the International Speech semi-final, held in Chicago

Club President, Sean Corcoran lauded Deirdre's spectacular performances and commented on how she did District 71 proud in Chicago.And, then it was business as usual as Speakeasy members delivered another top notch meeting.

Marie Lynes gave an entertaining and fascinating account on "The Pirish". This was the phrase she coined to describe the small but growing Polish- Irish community. Inspired by the arrival of baby William to her extended family, Marie decided to research facts and traditions of the Polish nation.She was advised not to learn the Polish language - " even the Poles don't know the Polish language. And, as for grammar, well  life is too short". Historically, Poland and Ireland have much in common.Both have endured invasion.But Poland has the oldest Constitution in Europe - established in 1791 and celebrated annually on Constitution Day - the 3rd May. Their funerals may be dour affairs but their weddings are sumptuous occasions with seven courses, punctuated with dancing.Their celebration of Christmas is equally elaborate with a twelve course dinner and an empty space to symbolise a welcome for strangers. With over a Hundred Thousand Poles now resident in this country, Marie concluded that the two cultures have more that unites that divides them.

With a speech entitled - "That's why I'm here", Pat Sexton went back to the start with an Ice - Breaker speech.In beginning once again, Pat asserted that the reasons were the same - to improve his communication skills.Speaking before an audience is an acquired skill.The more frequently you do it, the more proficient you get.Moreover, you grow I'm confidence and feel more comfortable about speaking in public.

Liam Flynn delivered a fascinating talk on " The Man who saved the world".Liam painted a chilling picture of the world teetering on the edge of extinction during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October,1962. With the island of Cuba, surrounded by American warships and Russian submarines circling the warships, it seemed that " Mutually Assured Destruction' was inevitable.American and Russian diplomats tried to talk their way back from the brink as the whole world held it's breath. Meanwhile, a Russian submarine,B59, and armed with a Nuclear warhead was circling underwater, outside of radio contact.Falsely believing that war had broken out, it fell on the shoulders of one man -Vasili Arkhipov - to exercise his power to veto the Commander's order to fire their lethal weapon . Instead, he insisted that the submarine should rise to the surface and check out the situation.In the brief time it took the vessel to surface, Russia agreed to withdraw their missiles. And so, world destruction was averted by seconds and the bravery of one man -Vasili Arkhipov.

Less pressing matters were discussed by Claire O'Connell in "Killarney Blues". Humour has been described as moments of chaos recalled in tranquility. Claire detailed the friends and events of her time spent in Killarney working as a waitress.Some friendships last for life, others are temporary while some can be rather strange indeed.

A unique feature of all Toastmasters meetings is the 'Topics Session". Ably led by Theresa O'Reilly, members were given the opportunity to speak 'off the cuff" on a broad range of subjects.The claims to the status of genius to be conferred to David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen was discussed. Bobby Buckley was challenged to speak spontaneously on anything at all . Valerie Murphy spoke of her ambition to trek around the African Continent.Brendan Foley lauded the books of Steven King while Noel O'Connor spoke about the role of the Irish Presidency. Bridie O'Connell remarked on how a device like the Smartphone contains so many positive and negative qualities.

At the meeting's conclusion, Ray Ryan assumed the role of General Evaluator, offering feedback on the meeting. He awarded Best Speaker to Marie Lynes, Best Evaluator to Helsa Giles and Best Topic to Brendan Foley.He contended that all participants were winners for the efforts made.

Speakeasy's meeting season continues on Thursday,20th September in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM. Guests and prospective members are welcome to attend and will not be coerced to speak unless they wish to do so. For more information about Speakeasy, please check out our Club website, or Facebook.Alternatively, contact Club President, Sean Corcoran -086-6054784.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

New Season Begins!

Speakeasy Toastmasters begins it's new season of meetings in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday,6th September at 8.00PM.

At a time when many organisations fade away after a 10 year existence, Speakeasy is now in it's 26th year, continuing to achieve it's aims of enabling and empowering our members to communicate with confidence.

In an era when digital media is omnipotent,the need for oral communication skills has never been greater.The value of one on one communication, strong presentation skills and " good old fashioned" public speaking ability are at a premium - at work,at home and in the community.

Speakeasy Toastmasters, through it's communication and leadership programme enables it's members to master all of the necessary skills. January is usually the time for resolutions to change or "improve". September may well be a more appropriate time.You get a three months headstart and you overcome the post Christmas slump.

Many people cite fear when challenged with speaking in public.In Toastmasters we learn by doing, with the assistance and encouragement of fellow club members.We embody the words of the American philosopher,Ralph Waldo Emerson- "Once you do the thing you fear, the death of fear is certain".

We meet on a fortnightly basis,from September to June.Guests are always welcome at our meetings and are never coerced to speak, unless they wish to do so. If you wish to learn a valuable life-skill , perhaps curious about our meetings or even looking for a good night's entertainment, why not pay us a visit?

In other news, Past President,Helsa Giles has been appointed Area 17 Director for 2018-2019.
Helsa Giles, Area 17 Director with her immediate predecessor, Liam Flynn.
A resident of Castletownroche,Helsa has been a member of Speakeasy since 2013."I have really enjoyed the experience of being in Toastmasters.Every meeting is entertaining and the atmosphere is so friendly",comments Helsa on her time in Toastmasters.Her role is to oversee and co-ordinate the activities of the Failte,Fermoy and Speakeasy Club's.We wish her every success in her new role.

In the meantime, the room is ready,the speeches are prepared as we wait for the starter's pistol for our first meeting of the Season on Thursday,6th September. Come along and witness the entertainment.

For more information about our Club, please check out our website on Facebook.Alternatively, contact President, Sean Corcoran - 086-6054784.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Invitation to Toastmasters

An invitation.

Speakeasy Toastmasters Club invites you to attend our opening meeting of the new season in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday,6th September at 8.00 PM.

It is that time of year again.The nights are closing in, there is an Autumnal feel in the air and we seek out meaningful pursuits to prise us away from that "box in the corner". Adult education classes become popular. Speakeasy Toastmasters is an adult education course with a lot of entertainment attached.

Like all adult education classes, Speakeasy helps it's members acquire and develop a skill. Our focus is on effective communication.The skill of speaking with confidence is hugely beneficial in work related presentations,in sporting and other voluntary organisations and in interpersonal communication.

Members of Toastmasters come from all walks of life and have varying skill levels. Some have prior experience of speaking in front of an audience and wish to develop their skills further, others join as inexperienced beginners and over a period of time become adept at communicating their ideas.The Toastmasters programme is self- paced, members present speeches when they feel they are ready.

Now in our 26th year, Speakeasy draws it's membership from the large hinterland area of North Cork - from "the County bounds" with Kerry to the Tipperary border. Our members hail from Kiskeam to Kildorrery, from Cecilstown to Castletownroche, from Banteer to Buttevant as well as the Mallow area. Our meetings have been described as hotbeds of education, entertainment and "the occasional gush of hot air".

Our incoming President is Sean Corcoran of Baltydaniel. Sean describes Speakeasy as "having a hugely positive impact on his life.Over a few short years,I became comfortable about speaking before an audience and at chairing public meetings. Toastmasters enables us to speak out". Sean believes that the biggest gift that Toastmasters gives it's members is "self-confidence.You get better all the time.You believe that you can do it.And the help and goodwill you get from other club members is inspiring".
Club President Sean Corcoran with immediate Past President Helsa Giles

Sean's aim over the coming season is to preside over " enjoyable and rewarding meetings where new members and guests will feel at home".

So,why not let Speakeasy be your night class and forthnighly workout.You are welcome to attend our first meeting in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on the 6th September at 8.00 PM.Guests are never obliged to speak unless they wish to do so.For further information, please check out our website or Facebook.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The gift of confident communication can be yours

Can you always say what you really mean? Are you confident about speaking in public? Do you need to speak a few well chosen words on special occasions? If you find that you are apprehensive about speaking before an audience take consolation.You are good company! In various surveys, almost half the people questioned listed speaking in public as their number one fear,outranking even the fear of death.

This is where Speakeasy Toastmasters comes in. We are devoted to showing our members how to overcome this fear and to express their thoughts,ideas and opinions through an enjoyable,yet professional educational programme."Learning by doing" is the most effective way of learning, and this is how Toastmasters works. You will start speaking and just get better and better.

The Toastmasters programme will help you overcome the initial nervousness everyone experiences when speaking before an audience.It will show you how to make "your butterflies fly in formation". The first speech a  new member delivers is called "the ice breaker", an opportunity to introduce yourself to your audience.From then on you work at a pace that suits you.You will practice techniques on constructing a speech and grabbing the audience's attention.You will gain valuable experience in vocal variety and the use of body gestures.

To assist each member, the Toastmasters programme includes evaluation. Every speech delivered is evaluated by another member, providing helpful and positive feedback, enabling the speaker to grow in confidence and competence

Thinking "on the spot" is another skill you will acquire in Toastmasters.Each meeting has an impromptu segment known as the"Topics Session" where you respond to topic and give your opinions .Speaking "off the cuff"in this fashion hones your inter-personal communication skills which are essential in job interviews, home and workplace situations.

All of this takes place within the format of a meeting which are always varied, educational, entertaining and friendly.The motto of Speakeasy Toastmasters is -"We learn most in moments of enjoyment".Since our establishment in 1993, Speakeasy Toastmasters has assisted hundreds of members to speak out in style and confidence. If you wish to acquire or improve your communication skills why not pay us a visit? 

The first meeting of the new season is on Thursday,6th of September in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM sharp.Guests are always welcome and are never coerced to speak unless they wish to do so.We look forward to seeing you.

In other news, Ray Ryan is this year 's recipient of The Jerry Mulcahy Award.
Jerry Mulcahy, former Club President and long term member,was a devoted club person, synonymous with his work behind the scenes. In presenting this award,outgoing President,Helsa Giles praised Ray for "his unseen work, his willingness to help in the smooth running of the club and his curating of the club's website and Facebook".,We congratulate Ray on receiving this coveted award.

For further information on Toastmasters, please check out our website, or on Facebook.Alternatively, you can contact President, Sean Corcoran -086-6054784. 

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. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Grand Finale

All good things come to a(temporary) end as Speakeasy Toastmasters wraps up it's meeting schedule on Thursday night. But, as in all things Speakeasy, meetings will finish with a flourish. An exciting and varied programme of speeches is planned.

It will be the final meeting presided over by Helsa Giles. It has been an eventful year for her Presidency - a year of celebrations. Centre stage went to our 25th Anniversary Celebration Night which showcased some of the best speeches delivered by our members over the last quarter of a century.

Pride of place also goes to speech contestants who reached the Irish and British District Finals in three contests, winning two of them.

Within the club, one member, Michael Cronin, achieved Distinguished Toastmaster Award, the highest award for Toastmasters members worldwide. 

The Schools Public Speaking Competition is now established as a major event on the School calendar. Once again, we hosted a very successful competition with the honours of Best Overall Speaker and Best Overall School going to Scoil Mhuire and Scoil Treasa, Kanturk. 

The club has held a wonderful series of meetings since early September in our usual relaxed and entertaining fashion. "I didn't know that!" was a common reaction to some trinket of knowledge or wisdom spoken at our meetings. 

Now is a great time to plan Autumn activities. So, why not pay us a visit and get a feel for what we are about with a view to planning your future nights out . Guests are always welcome at our meetings and are never corralled into speaking unless they wish to do so. We look forward to seeing you on Thursday, 31st May in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM.

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

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Feel the Fear

Each one of us has experienced it. It's like a knot twisting in your stomach with  that awful sense of dread and  an inability to move. It's called fear - a four letter word that holds us back, if we allow it. 

Theresa O'Reilly addressed the subject head on in her excellent speech - "Feel the fear" which was a highlight of last week's Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting. She gave a hilarious account of her efforts to learn how to swim. She swallowed more water than The Titanic, she was drowning, not waving but she did it! And, just in case, she started doing triathlons! Alongside all that, she joined Speakeasy and overcame her fear of speaking in public! She embodies the famous words of Emerson - "Once you do the thing you fear,the death of fear is certain" '

Vincent Harris entertained us with a fascinating discourse on "Peacocks, Pit bulls and pigs". He explained how the humble "Corgi" dog, so beloved by the British Royal Family, began it's ife as a  dog, whose sole purpose was to keep the oven hot by walking on a wheel. They were known as the Kitchen Dog. 
He spoke also of the Danish Pig, bred to show off his national colours on the Danish /German Border at a time when tensions between the two countries were strained. 

In a hugely enjoyable Topics Session, ably conducted by Bobby Buckley, a wide range of subjects were addressed. Marie Lynes spoke about being on the bandwagon while supporting her club members in recent competitions. Liam Flynn spoke about the Treacys of Carlow who have finished in second place in the World Ploughing Championships on numerous occasions and their willingness to keep trying for the top prize. Memories of all the memorable characters in Mallow in days long gone were exchanged. No discussion on this subject can be complete without a mention of Eddie O'Donovan of the Central Cinema."You're wanted outside and bring your coat". The Royal Wedding was also on the agenda, with Mary Buckley articulating the views of many Irish Royal Wedding watchers. 

Last week saw our AGM,where events of the previous twelve months were recalled. It was a year of excitement. It was a year of celebrations - for our Twenty Fifth Anniversary and our unprecedented success in competions.It was a year of another amazing Schools Public Speaking competition where the top prizes went to the schools of Kanturk. In truth, it was a another brilliant Speakeasy year. 
Pat Sexton, Helsa Giles & Deirdre Linehan

The following officers were elected for the coming year : President - Sean Corcoran;Vice - President Education - Theresa O'Reilly ;Vice President Membership - Michael Cronin;Treasurer - Marie Fitzpatrick ;Secretary - Don McSweeney ;Sergeant at Arms - Helsa Giles; Pathways Mentor - Ray Ryan. 

The next Speakeasy meeting will take place in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday, 31st May at 8.00PM.As always, guests are welcome to attend and will not be obliged to speak unless they want to! For more information about Speakeasy, please visit our website speakeasytmasters.comor on Facebook. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Victorious on "The Double"!

It's a bit like waiting for a bus to come. It's raining, it seems to be taking forever. Civilisations have risen and fallen in less time than that. And then, two buses arrive together. For years, Speakeasy Toastmasters have longed for a top place on the winners podium at the District Spring Conference in one or the other of the big competitions - the International Speech Contest or the Speech Evaluation Contest. And last weekend at the District 71 Spring Conference in Cork, the unbelievable double was achieved. 

The packed attendance at the Clayton Hotel, Silver Springs rose to applaud the achievements of two Speakeasy members. In the International Speech Contest, Deirdre Linehan engaged in verbal jousting with nine of the most accomplished speakers in Ireland and the United Kingdom. It was a thoroughly fascinating contest with very little deviation in quality between ten brilliant speeches. Anne Dooley, a native of County Clare but representing Warrington Toastmasters in the UK, delivered an emotionally uplifting speech - "Take that chance" which chronicled her struggles as a young immigrant in London. Holly Blake of Carrigaline referenced her experiences with the homeless in London in a moving presentation - "Always, always be a little bit kinder". Colm McGlade of Rathfarnham delivered a touching tribute to his mother in "A Reason to Live". 

However, Deirdre, representing Fáilte and Speakeasy Toastmasters lifted the roof off the Convention Centre with her rendition of "DOB's Army". And in so doing, lifted the ultimate prize! She becomes only the second Cork representative in the forty years of the International Speech Contest to win the award District 71 title. Déirdre will now go forward to represent Ireland and the UK in the World Semi-Finals in Chicago in August. We send her our every best wish as she strives to achieve the title of World Champion Public Speaker.

In the Speech Evaluation Contest, Pat Sexton emerged victorious at the fourth time of asking. Facing stiff opposition from competitors from Cork, Tipperary, Dublin, Glasgow and the North of England, Pat's critique of Laura Bruce's "Give up the house cleaning" won over the minds and perhaps the hearts of the adjudicators. He becomes the only Cork representative ever to win this elusive title. 

Victories of this magnitude are extremely rare. Yet, at each and every Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting, important "little victories" happen. It could be the guest who answers a topic, or the member presenting an" Ice-breaker"speech,or even acting as the Chairperson of the meeting. It is everyone who takes part and gives it their best shot. 

With that in mind, we invite you to attend our next meeting in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday, 17th May at 8.00PM. Guests are always welcome and are not obliged to speak unless they wish to do so. The Rolling Stones may be playing in Croke Park but we can give you satisfaction or even a "honky Tonk" woman. We look forward to seeing you.