Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Gift of Speechcraft

The final Speakeasy Toastmasters Meeting of the year will take place on Thursday Night, 12th December in The Hibernian Hotel Mallow at 8.00PM. 

It will incorporate Seasonal Festivities with the usual opportunities for members to hone their communication skills. One of skills focused on will be the delivery of "special occasion" speeches. We often find ourselves having to do the honours on specific occasions, be it at weddings, retirement parties and other celebrations. Quite often, such events are marred by meandering speeches. In Toastmasters, we learn "the art of brevity" - long enough to cover the essentials and short enough to remain interesting.

Over the past two weeks, Speakeasy has been privelaged to witness speechcraft at it's finest. At the last Club Meeting, we were treated to some wonderful speeches and stories where the listener got to "walk a mile in someone else's shoes".

Marie Lynes offered a beautiful reflection on her journey through the decades. "My Time Lines" chronicled her parents returning home from Bolton to set up a business in the town of Newmarket. She humorously believes that the "Sixties" happened in the Seventies! She spoke about the impact of the Northern Troubles and the last hurrah (in hindsight) of the Papal Visit in 1979. She eloquently described her experiences as a teacher and working in an envoirnment "where everyone has gifts and everyone has difficulties".

"26 years a growing" was how Margaret O'Regan described her experience of being a member of Speakeasy. She couldn't recall when she overcame her nervousness about speaking in public - it happened gradually and then suddenly which is a common story in Toastmasters. She detailed her many roles in life - a mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a nurse and a farmer. He outlined the reasons why she upped sticks  for 9 months and went volunteering on the Congolese /Congolese border - an adventure that proved to be humbling, enlightening, challenging and fun.

"Responsibilities" was the title of Mary Moynihan's entertaining look at growing up in a County which was described by Queen Victoria - The Famine Queen - as The Kingdom. Growing up in the Sliabh Luachra area, Mary spoke about the Holy Trinity that was School Education, Church Salvation and Pub Damnation. She also summed up the notorious Kerry reticence towards travelling - "Why would I travel when everything is in the Kingdom?"

Travel was certainly the theme of the Gillian Harris' fascinating account of the life of Sophie Catherine Theresa Mary Pierce Evans. "A girl from Newcastle - West" was an extraordinary tale of pioneering adventure and trail blazing. Born in 1896 and orphaned at an early age, Sophie lived a life less ordinary with numerous financially enriching marriages and a pioneering spirit which including a campaign to admit  Women Athletes in the Olympics. She then blazed a trail in aviation, inspiring many women to spread their wings. She was a woman of style and substance who was born to fly. 

Speeches were also to the fore at last week's Schools Public Speaking Competition. A total of 16 students participated, drawn from Schools stretching from the Kerry Border to Charleville and taking in Kanturk, Doneraile and Mallow. A packed room was enthralled by a diverse and fascinating array of speeches on subjects like Michelle Obama, smoking, farming and mental health. 

Following some serious deliberations by the adjudicators, Sinéad Barry, St. Mary's Secondary school, Mallow finished in 3rd Place; Molly Kirwan, Scoil Mhuire Kanturk was Runner-up and Fiona Lonergan, St. Mary's Secondary School Mallow was the winner. Fiona's speech - "What If" was a strong presentation on the importance of gender equality and worthy of the Hibernian Hotel Perpetual Trophy. The Mallow Credit Union Perpetual  Prize for Best School was awarded to St. Mary's Secondary school, Mallow.

Speakeasy Toastmasters wishes to thank Mallow Credit Union for their continued sponsorship of this Competition. Thanks are also due to the various Schools and their teaching staff as well as the various mentors whose contribution helped make this occasion such an overwhelming success.

Finally, a reminder that guests are welcome to attend any of of the Club's Meetings including this week's Meeting on this Thursday night. Guests are assured of a great night's entertainment and are not obliged to speak unless they wish to do so.
For more information on this club, please check out our website speakeasytoastmasters.com or on Facebook. 

Monday, December 02, 2019

Schools Public Speaking Competition.

Schools Public Speaking Competition.

Speakeasy Toastmasters Club continues it's busy schedule when it hosts the Annual Schools Public Speaking Competition on this coming Thursday night,5th December in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PMsharp. 

Since it's inception in 2006, this competition has given Transition Year students the opportunity to acquire and display their communication skills in an exciting verbal joust. It is an opportunity for everyone else to try and figure out what goes on in a teenager's head!Down through the years, Secondary Schools from all over the North Cork area have participated in this Competition.

The winning School and individual speaker will receive perpetual trophies, which were kindly sponsored by the Hibernian Hotel and Mallow Credit Union. 

This year, we are delighted to have participating Schools from Doneraile, Kanturk, Charleville, Rathmore and Mallow who will address topical issues like teenage life, addiction, sport, humour and positive thinking.As always, guests are welcome. Support for all the contestants is greatly appreciated.

We are now approaching the Fourth Anniversary of the sad passing of esteemed member Jerry Mulcahy. Jerry was a hugely committed and highly popular member of our Club for seventeen years. He served on many Club Committees in various positions, culminating with his Presidency in 2013.

His many speeches chronicled the life of the Irish immigrants in London in the 1950's.He spoke about surviving on a diet of 'iffits' - if it's there we'll eat it! He was a fountain of knowledge on the changing face of Rural Ireland through the decades. 

So enthusiastic about the benefits of Toastmasters, Jerry established 'Nice and Easy Toastmasters in the Cope Foundation in Mallow. Over the years, many clients of Cope benefitted from Jerry's gentle tuition. He will be long remembered for his wit, wisdom and generosity of spirit. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.

Speakeasy Toastmasters will host it's final Meeting of the year on the following Thursday, the 12th December in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM. This will be the final opportunity to experience Toastmasters this year and as such offers the chance to see the Club have to offer as a meaningful new pursuit in the New Year. The skill of good communication is an essential one to acquire and it's benefits can be felt in all aspects of life - at work, in interviews, in social situations and in leadership roles in sporting and community organisations.

For more information on Toastmasters, please check out our website speakeasytoastmasters.com or visit us on Facebook. 

Monday, November 25, 2019

A Hectic Schedule!

A Hectic Schedule!

Speakeasy Toastmasters Club is entering a very busy phase of it's Meeting Season. It begins on this Thursday night, 28th November in The Hibernian Hotel Mallow at 8.00PM with our fortnightly meeting. As always, there will be a entertaining programme of speakers and the usual impromptu section. It presents another opportunity to witness what Toastmasters has to offer. Being able to say the "cúpla focal" at the appropriate occasion is an essential skill which can open several doors and create many opportunities. Confidence is a "trick" that can be developed in Toastmasters and is key to acquiring communication skills. Guests are always welcome at our meetings and are never obliged to speak unless they wish to do so. Now is the time to get in ahead of the Christmas rush and consider Speakeasy Toastmasters are a New Year's Resolution.

On Thursday, the 5th of December, Speakeasy will host their Annual Schools Public Speaking Competition. Since it's inception in 2006,this competition has gone from strength to strength. In it's initial year, the three Secondary Schools in Mallow participated. However, the competition now encompasses the North Cork Area with participating Schools from Doneraile, Charleville Kanturk and Rathmore. In last year's Competition the winning team came from Nagle Rice College, Doneraile and the winning speaker was Grace O'Brien of Scoil Mhuire, Kanturk. Over the years, this worthy competition has been sponsored by Mallow Credit Union. We look forward to another excellent night of speakers on the 5th December in The Hibernian Hotel Mallow. 

The Club's Christmas Meeting will take place on Thursday, 12th December in The Hibernian Hotel. As is customary, the Club embraces the festive spirit in our Meeting format and like all meetings, guests are welcome to attend.

In other news the Club congratulates immediate Past President Sean Corcoran who was recently appointed Chairman of Mallow Day Care Centre. Like many members of the Club, Sean has brought many of the skills acquired in Speakeasy and put them to good use within the community. We wish Sean well in his new position.

The Division B Finals of the Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests took place in Listowel last weekend. Speakeasy was represented in both Contests by Pat Sexton. On this occasion, however, the honours went elsewhere. Speakeasy congratulates John Clohessy and Marie Clancy, winners of The Table Topics and The Humorous Speech Contest, every success in The Irish and British District Finals in Killarney next May.

And so begins a busy schedule for Speakeasy Toastmasters. Looking forward to seeing you on this Thursday night 5th December in The Hibernian Hotel Mallow at 8.00PM. 
For more information, please check out our website speakeasytoastmasters.com 
or on Facebook. 

Monday, November 18, 2019

Taking the Plunge

Taking the Plunge

A large attendance at last week's Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting was rewarded with a highly entertaining and diverse range of speeches. As is customary in Toastmasters, speech topics are self - chosen and the five speakers delivered speeches that were poignant, poetic, informative and motivational. "Pulling out all the stops" was the description used to describe the performances of the speakers.

Theresa O'Reilly posed a fascinating challenge to "take the plunge" in a highly motivational talk - "What you don't use, you lose". She spoke of how modern central heating and air conditioning systems have removed temperature variations and degraded our immune systems. She cited examples of Ice Swimming in Nordic countries and Russia and the exploits of Wim Hof who has dedicated himself to extreme cold water and icy pursuits, including climbing Everest in shorts! From the relative comfort of our own bathrooms, we can invigorate ourselves with cold shower treatments that are extreme, energising and exhilarating! Forget about Global Warming, try "Cold Exposure"!

Ann Nyhan's speech - "Should I stay or should I go?" explored the long and chequered history of emigration in Ireland. Perhaps, Ireland's insular nature on the periphery of Europe would indicate isolationism. Yet, emigration has been the Irish way. Between the sixth and ninth century, Irish monks brought Christianity, culture and civilisation to Europe. In the wake of the Tudor conquest of Ireland, thousands of our soldiers - The Wild Geese - fled to Europe and served in the French and Spanish armies. Sadly, economic necessity and oppression sparked the mass emigration rate in the nineteenth century. Famine ridden Ireland was no place for young women and men and millions made their way to Van Diemans Land and America. The Irish Wake is etched in our phyche as families were torn apart - children never saw their parents again and parents lost their offspring. Like all migrant communities, we brought a fearless spirit to our chosen destinations. We became the "man who built America". 

Vincent Harris took "A second chance to make a first impression". He spoke about his hens who have decided that "no layers pellets means no eggs". He spoke about how time changes attitudes - when he was younger, he couldn't wait to leave small town Tralee. Now, the qualities that repelled him as a young man now attract him. Toastmasters has given him the opportunity to speak on his many and varied opinions - on Trump, Brexit, the sickness industry and the future of the polar-bear! In short, Vincent's approach to life is informed by his motto - "Do the best you can until you know better and when you know better, you do better". 

"Sliding" was the title of Sean Corcoran's demonstration of playing the Dobro. Invented in 1928 by a Slovakian immigrant, John Dopyera, this resonator guitar is synonymous with country bluegrass and folk music. Sean deftly demonstrated the unique sound of the Dobro. Moreover, he discussed the technique used by guitarist, Ry Cooder and his distinctive "bottleneck" style. He explained the different types of Slide and Pedal Steel guitars. All that was missing from Sean's speech was a soundtrack of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys or Lowell George and Little Feat. Sean celebrated the unadulterated joy of music and the playing of musical instruments. Play on, Sean. 

After four speeches, Pat Sexton's chosen topic was speeches. "It's About the Speech" was a tribute to the wonderful opportunities that present themselves when Toastmasters members organise their ideas into speech form. Our interests, our opinions and our creativity are developed when we commit to presenting a speech. Everyone has a story to tell, Speakeasy provides the ideal forum to sound off, grow in confidence and find our voices. No speech is perfect. Indeed, the speaker humorously referenced a less than stellar presentation which could cure insomnia! Pat's speech was a call to members and guests to "take the plunge", a dive into acquiring self confidence that is somewhat warmer than Ice water swimming!

As is customary in Speakeasy, all speakers were evaluated by a team of evaluators that included Helsa Giles, Claire O'Connell, Marie Fitzpatrick, Don McSweeney and Rachel Liston. All evaluators provided worthy commendations and appropriate recommendations to their assigned speaker. 

An entertaining Topics Session was presented by Noel O’ Connor who provided members with an impromptu challenge. A huge discussion on the passing of Broadcaster, Gay Byrne and his contribution to Irish life. The vexed question of our attitudes to alcohol was analysed in a topic on Christmas Day Pub openings. The perennial subject of the generation gap was examined in a hilarious "role play" by Deirdre Linehan and Margaret O’Regan on a daughter's inappropriate dress code for a night out!

At the meeting's conclusion, the General Evaluator, Margaret O' Regan presented awards to Ann Nyhan - Best Speaker and Don McSweeney - Best Evaluation. In truth, all contributors were winners. 

In other news, the North Cork Area Finals of The Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests took place in Fermoy Community Centre last week. Speakeasy was represented in both Contests by Michael Cronin and Pat Sexton. On a night when speeches were punctuated with laughter Pat Sexton emerged as winner in both Contests, with Kevin Walsh of Fermoy in Second Place. Both contestants will go forward to the Division B Finals in Listowel on Sunday, 24th November. They will cross verbal swords with participants from Kerry, Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary. 

The next Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting will take place in The Hibernian Hotel Mallow on Thursday, 28th November at 8.00PM. As always, guests are welcome to attend and are never obliged to speak unless they wish to do so. For more information on this club, please check out our website speakeasytoastmasters.com or on Facebook.

Club meets on alternate Thursday Nights of each month, September to May at 8.00 PM Sharp in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow: Speak Easy Toastmasters was founded in April 1993