Monday, February 04, 2019

A box of topics.

"Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get". The words of Forest Gump came to mind at last week's Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting as the Topicsmaster, Helsa Giles opened up a wonderful selection box of topics for the audience to devour.

Some call it speaking "off the cuff", others refer to it as "impromptu speaking", the more academic amongst us describe it as "speaking extemporaneously". Call it what you wish but being "put on the spot" is challenging. However, when you master a few basic skills, it can be hugely rewarding. Mark Twain famously said - "It takes me two weeks to prepare my impromptu speech". In real life, we don't have that luxury. Being able to converse coherently without preparation enables us to excell at job interviews, work situations and in general conversation.

The Table Topics Session helps us to become comfortable and confident in these situations. Don McSweeney got to engage in some whimsical fantasy when addressing the choice of three famous dinner guests. Bob Dylan, Albert Einstein and Alex Fergusonwere his nominees. Warming to the task, 
Michael Cronin opted for Joanne O'Riordan, Roy Keane and the Historian, Diarmaid Ferreter for some lively company. Not so lively was the dinner conversation when Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and their concert promoter enjoyed or endured a night out in each other's company, a dinner date from hell if ever there was one!
On the subject of dream holidays, Tim Aherne stuck to to the immediate choice of his recent stay in Marabella. The weather and it's place in our everyday conversation was elaborated on by Philip O'Brien and Shane O'Donnell.It seems that the farming community are preoccupied by the weather on an almost daily basis.
Speech Evaluators Pat Sexton, Rachel Liston, Michael Cronin, Marie Lynes & Vincent Harris

Clearing out the clutter elicited diverse reactions. For Mary Buckley, it seemed to be a case of re-arranging rather than removal.Susan Hegarty extolled the virtues of the industrial shredder to open up the crowded cupboards and filing cabinets.Marie Fitzpatrick established an important basis to justify keeping every item in your house - "does it create joy?" Hoarders might say 'yes" even if they can't find anything in the midst of all the clutter.

Mark Leahy from the West Limerick Club enthusiastically embraced the idea of " a wall around Cork and Dublin to pay for it!" Rude phone behaviour was adressed by Bobby Buckley while Vincent Harris nailed his preferences to the mast in relation to cats and dogs. Nevertheless, dogs can be a warning sign about the state of a relationship - "The more I understand men, the more I appreciate dogs". The most uplifting advice of the evening was borrowed from Coco Channel - "You don't find yourself,you createyourself".

At the meeting's conclusion, the Best Topic Award was presented to Philip O'Brien for his contribution on the topic of the weather as a constant source of conversation. In such a lively session, all participants were winners as continuous participation in the Topics Session enables members to "think on their feet" and converse confidently.

In other news, Club Officers from Speakeasy recently participated in the Area Club Officer Training. While most of the focus in Toastmasters is on speaking skills, leadership development is also important. Through participation in the Toastmasters programme, many members develop the necessary tools to become leaders in the local community and in sporting organisations. Confident communicators make better leaders.

The next Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting takes place in the Hibernian Hotel Mallow on Thursday,7th February at 8.00PM. As always, guests are welcome and are not obliged to speak, unless they wish to do so. For more information, please check out our website or on Facebook. Alternatively, contact Sean Corcoran Speakeasy President - 086-6054784.

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