"It's only words and words are all I have" was how Sean Corcoran introduced his speech entry in last week's Speakeasy Toastmasters Annual Speech Contest. "Words" dealt with the importance of words and how they can uplift or undermine, depending on the users intentions. Words manipulate - the L'oreal advertising slogan "Because I'm worth it" or the Tesco motto -"Every little helps" heve entered popular culture. But, most sinister of all, words can be used in a subliminal fashion to sell a message. The songwriter, Jackson Browne, once wrote - "It's just the same old murder movie and they call it the news". Much of modern day news and political commentary accentuates the negative which is why Sean never listens to the news.
Rachel Liston delved into the complex and, sometimes, fractious nature of the work environment. "Breaking Point" illustrated the impact that work conflicts can have on the individuals involved. Once again, inappropriate language can leave a deep scar and extract a huge toll on the person offended. Sometimes, it is better to engage in flight rather than fight and hope to flourish in a different work situation. But, even in the toughest of conficts, there are positives - you develop resilience.
Resilience featured strongly in Pat Sexton's speech -"On the Ropes". Here, we found ourselves brought back in time to the golden era of World Heavyweight Boxing when George Foreman and Mohammed Ali did battle in " The rumble in the Jungle".In what was deemed as the biggest sporting event of the century, Ali tapped into his vast reserves of courage and resilience to forge a victory in the unlikliest of circumstances. The resilience displayed on that occasion cut both ways as the vanquished, George Foreman subsequently regained his World Heavyweight Title at the age of 45, becoming the oldest Title winner in the history of the sport.
Turning loss into victory was the theme of Claire O'Connell's entry - "The Loser Effect". The pawn in chess is a weak piece. Yet, on certain occasions, it can become a Queen, an example of a loser being transformed into a winner. In life, the experience of losing can be used as hard won experience. We just need to be willing to learn from our losses. In aviation, the information retrieved from the "black box'' has been processed and analysed to ensure that air travel maintains it's impressive safety record.
Life's experiences was reflected in Brendan Foley's presentation - "It's the journey,not the destination". Imagine running a long race where you are so focused on reaching the finishing line that you don't appreciate the scenery? Sometimes, our focus is such that goals enslave rather than enable. Achieving goals can be a soul-destroying exercise if we don't enjoy the journey.
After a well earned coffee break, proceedings resumed with the Speech Evaluation Contest. The challenge for the participants was to provide concise and meaningful feedback to a speaker and do it within a positive framework. The "Test Speaker" was Johanna Hegarty of Fermoy Toastmasters who delivered a hugely entertaining story about her " Job Interview". The 4 Contestants, Sean Corcoran, Brendan Foley, Pat Sexton and Claire O'Connell each gave detailed and helpful advice to the speaker.
At the meeting's conclusion,the results were announced - Pat Sexton was the Speech Contest Winner with Brendan Foley in runner up position. In the Speech Evaluation Contest, Pat Sexton and Sean Corcoran were in First and Second Places, in that order. Brendan, Sean and Pat will now represent Speakeasy in the Area 17 (North Cork) Finals which will be take place at the next Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting on Thursday,7th March in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM.
|Pat Sexton, Sean Corcoran & Brendan Foley, Club Contest Winners.|
This is a wonderful opportunity to witness some of the more accomplished Toastmasters in North Cork "strutting their stuff" on the bigger stage. As always, guests are very welcome to come along. Guests are never coerced into speaking unless they wish to do so and the athmosphere is warm and welcoming. For more information, please check out our websitespeakeasytoastmasters.com or on Facebook.