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.

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