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, speakeasytoastmasters.com or Facebook.Alternatively, contact Club President, Sean Corcoran -086-6054784.


Bobby Buckley said...

Spontaneous spoken madness! Where else can you do it?

Patrick Sexton said...

You can do it in a pub.There you have a ready made excuse. More of your spoken madness please!!

Bobby Buckley said...

Fortunately or unfortunately I am not the pub type.