Friday, January 17, 2020

The difference that Toastmasters made!


"Toastmasters made the difference", according to Don McSweeney in his speech at last week's Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting. Entitled "Rewind", Don recalled many of the events that have shaped his life. He recalled the nervous anxiety he felt when he delivered his Icebreaker Speech in Speakeasy in 2015 and how he no longer feels that way when standing in front of an audience. "Toastmasters has been a positive experience for me".Other positive experiences include his prowess at karate and organic gardening. His continued fandom of both Manchester United and Bob Dylan have been somewhat of a "mixed blessing lately, given the indifferent nature of their performances"



In other speeches, the audience were regaled with fascinating stories and wild opinions. Michael Cronin delved into Nineteenth Century American History with the spell binding tale of the musician and band leader, Patrick Gilmore. "Almost Forgotten" chronicled the the eventful life and times of one of Ireland's unheralded sons. Born in County Galway in1829, Patrick had a fascination for musical instruments. Starting off with the Fife and Drum, before discovering Brass instruments and the Coronet, Michael departed from Ireland for greener American pastures in the 1840s. Here he made his mark in Brass Bands and Orchestras before joining the Union Army during the Civil War, alongside his brothers and Band. Witnessing the horrors of war inspired him to write the legendary anti - war anthem -"When Johnny comes Marching Home". After the war, he devoted his energies to musical extravaganzas on the theme of Peace and Reconciliation. With musicians in their thousands and choirs of tens of thousands, Patrick conducted huge events with extraordinary accompaniment from drums and Artillery Cannons.These events attracted thousands of people. Up until his untimely death in 1892, he continued to tour America by train and bring music to the people. Patrick Gilmore remains the most renowned musical figure in Nineteenth Century America. However, the absence of sound recordings and visual footage have meant that he is "almost forgotten". 

Legendary figures from the Patrician Academy in Mallow were central characters in Bobby Buckley's highly entertaining speech - "The Fun and The Terror". With a certain amount of fondness, Bobby recalled "Gally and Sally", two Patrician Brothers than had quite an influence on their students! One was the source of great amusement, a strange creature with a humungous head and very peculiar mannerisms. The other was a volatile genius and a figure of terror. There were instances of pupils with no homework finished who would chew on Carbolic soap to induce sickness and try to avoid the frightening prospect of a Brother in full fury. And yet, it turned out that the influence was a positive one as Bobby became a teacher of some repute!

In the final speech of the evening, Vincent Harris offered a contrarian and uplifting view of our world. "Are we going in the Right Direction?" He focused on the Global Media where "good news is no news" and argued strongly that while bad things may happen, things are getting better. Technology is leading to greater efficiency in how the Earth's resources are being used. He cited the example of how America's 9 million Dairy Cows are now producing more milk than the 23 Million in the 1970's. Moreover, he asserted that Global Inequality is shrinking and poverty is reducing while child mortality and famine is diminishing. We live in a smarter and more efficient world. At the dawn of a new decade, Vincent brought a note of optimism to our meeting. 

At the Meeting's conclusion, all speeches were evaluated in a positive and constructive fashion by the assigned evaluation team of Rachel Liston, Margaret O'Regan, Pat Sexton and Marie Lynes. Commend, recommend and commend was the approach adopted by all evaluators. Awards were presented to Bobby Buckley for Best Speech and to Rachel Liston for Best Evaluation. 

Positivity and optimism are two qualities in great abundance at Speakeasy Meetings. The feelings of empowerment and satisfaction that one experiences when speaking in front of an audience helps to to make the Toastmasters experience a positive one.Learning a new skill is also a positive experience. Any time is a good time to visit a Speakeasy meeting. Any time is a good time to join. Unlike various educational courses which have specified Commencing and End dates, Toastmasters is open ended. 

With that in mind, why not pay us a visit. New members are always welcome. Guests are always welcome to attend and are never obliged to speak unless they wish to do so. 
Our next meeting takes place in the Hibernian Hotel Mallow on Thursday 23rd January at 8.00PM. We look forward to seeing you there. 
For more information about our Club please check out our website speakeasytoastmasters.com or on Facebook. 




Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Operation Transformation in Speakeasy!


Do you need to say a few well chosen words on those special occasions?
Do you need to sharpen your communication skills for work presentations or interviews?
Do you wish to chair meetings effectively?
Do you wish to improve your creative writing skills?
Or are you simply looking for a good night's entertainment?



If the answer to any of the above questions is "Yes", then Speakeasy Toastmasters is for you. For many people, speaking before an audience is a daunting challenge. In various surveys, respondents listed speaking in public as their number one fear,outranking even the fear of death by a two to one margin.

Speakeasy Toastmasters is devoted to enabling it's members to express their thoughts, ideas and opinions in an enjoyable, yet professional training programme. "Learning by doing" is the best way to learn any new skill and that is how Toastmasters works. You start speaking in a helpful, supportive and positive environment and in an "Operation Transformation " fashion you will grow in confidence and will get better and better.

We are very familiar with the term - "butterflies in your stomach". Toastmasters will help you to manage your butterflies or to help them "fly in formation". You will be introduced to various speaking techniques on how to organise your thoughts and speech structure. You will gain valuable experience on body gestures, on vocal variety and on the use of language to get your across. 

To assist each member, speakers are assigned an "evaluator". The evaluator provides helpful, constructive feedback to the speakers which helps them pinpoint their strengths, identify areas for improvement and gives useful suggestions for future speeches. Other important facets of Toastmasters is the experience gained in chairing a meeting and participating in the impromptu part of the meeting, which is called the "Topics Session ". The Topics Session gives members the opportunity to let off steam and express their views on a broad range of issues, some of them serious, others humorous. And all of this takes place in a two hour meeting, held fortnightly .

          Participation in Toastmasters helps take take the fear out of speaking. In fact, many members 
          begin to find Speaking in public to be an enjoyable and confidence building experience. Many
          members of Speakeasy go forward and do what they previously thought unthinkable and take             up leadership roles in the Club and in many other sporting and community organisations. 

          Speakeasy Toastmasters draws it's membership from across a large hinterland area of North 
          Cork, taking in both Avondhu and Duhallow regions - from Rathmore to Mitchelstown.            Members come from all walks of life - nurses, self-employed, farmers, teachers and housewives. 
         
      
As we face into a New Year,now is an appropriate time to take up new challenges or do the things you've often promised yourself you'd do. And what more rewarding opportunity can there be than honing your communication skills.Toastmasters is open to everyone from 18 to 81 years of age and beyond! Old dogs can learn new tricks and important life skills.



With this in mind,Speakeasy Toastmasters issues an invitation to the interested and the curious to our first meeting of 2020. It takes place on Thursday,9th January in the Hibernian Hotel,Mallow at 8.00pm.
Guests will not be obliged to speak unless they wish to do so. We look forward to seeing you on Thursday night.
For more information on Toasmasters,please check out our website speakeasytoastmasters.com or look us up on Facebook.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

A New Year's Invitation!


"The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step" - Buddha.





It's that time of the year again when we reflect on our lives and we make resolutions. Usually, we decide to "lose" something, be it some weight or a bad habit. However, far more can be achieved by trying to "gain" something, to acquire a good habit or a new and valuable skill.

January is also a time when we consider Adult Education Classes for our personal development. If you haven't done so already, have you ever considered acquiring or developing your communication skills? The ability to communicate with clarity and confidence is an invaluable life skill which can help transform your life and open up wonderful possibilities. There are many reasons why people wish to learn communication skills - to help improve their self- confidence; to help in job interviews and work presentations; to improve their leaderships skills and to enhance their social and conversational skills. Sometimes, gaining a new competency can be both satisfying and fun!

Speakeasy Toastmasters has been to the forefront in providing communication training in the North Cork Area for over 27 years . Since October 1992, when the first meeting was held in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow, Speakeasy has enabled it's members to flourish. We don't just train, we entertain. Our motto is - "we learn most in moments of enjoyment". Though our meetings appear formal, fun can be had. And, on many occasions, we have witnessed the "shy" and "introverted" members find their voices and soar with confidence. In an era of Social Media communications, the ability to communicate your feelings, ideas and opinions in real life situations, is more important than ever.

But, we are not just about speaking. We also listen. One of the most fascinating aspect of our meetings is the diversity of subjects discussed by various speakers. From the sublime to the ridiculous, from the profound to the preposterous, speeches presented at our forthrightly meetings are a constant source of fascination and enlightenment. Moreover, the "Table Topics" of the meeting, gives members the opportunity to speak "off the cuff", a hugely beneficial skill in many social situations.

So, if you are interested in gaining a new and vital skill why not pay us a visit?, Indeed many members have stepped across the threshold to attend their first ever Toastmasters Meeting having read an article in this newspaper and were suitably impressed by what they witnessed.

    Speakeasy draws its members from all over the North Cork and Duhallow area. As Club President, Theresa O'Reilly asserts - "There is a mistaken belief that Toastmasters is for Solicitors, Auctioneers and suchlike But, our Club is for everyone. Our members come from all walks of life and of all ages. Everyone is welcome". 



So, make a resolution and make that first step by coming along to our first meeting of 2020. It takes place in The Hibernian Hotel ,Mallow on Thursday,9th January at 8.00PM.
As always, guests are made feel welcome and will not be obliged to speak unless they choose to do so.
For more information,please check out our website speakeasytoastmasters@gmail.com or follow us on Facebook.