Thursday, October 18, 2007

Nerves and Contests

Over previous weeks we discussed how to make a presentation with reference to the “opening body and conclusion” and “preparing yourself”. This week we look at presenting your talk or preparation.

Now, regardless of your preparation beforehand, nervousness, to varying degrees is inevitable….and natural. Even the most experienced of speakers are nervous before a speech or presentation but they know how to control that nervousness and indeed turn in into positive energy that adds to their presentation.

If your palms sweat and your knees shake, let them. Focus on your material, you have it prepared and rehearsed and very soon into your delivery you will find that your nervousness will dissipate.

When you are being introduced or just before you start, take a deep breath and slowly exhale. This will make your voice sound resonant and natural.

While speaking, make eye contact with as many members of the audience as possible so no one feels left out of your talk.

There are of course many more skills to be learned in making a presentation such as, how to use hand gestures, when to use humour, body movement, voice projection etc and these are learned and practiced at every Toastmasters meeting.

Remember that Toastmasters is about people developing their public speaking and leadership skills by practising in a comfortable sociable environment with other learners.

Why don’t you come along to any one of our meetings and see for yourself?

You will be delighted that you did and we would be delighted to meet you.

Speech Contests.

On Monday night last in the Firgrove Hotel, Mitchelstown, members of the Toastmasters Clubs in North Cork gathered for what was described as “a fun night of friendly rivalry”.

It was the Area 17 final of the Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests.

Congratulations to Margaret O’Regan who won the Humorous Speech Contest with her speech entitled “The Greatest” and to Richard Coughlan who won the Table Topics Contest.

Margaret and Richard now compete in the Division Final (Cork,Kerry and West Limerick) which will take place next Saturday night, 20th in the Radison SAS Hotel, Cork Airport at 8pm sharp with the winners competing in Harrogate, England in Movember.

The very best of luck to you both.

Tonight’s meeting.

Speak Easy Toastmasters meet again tonight,18th, in the Hibernian Hotel Mallow at 7.50pm for an 8pm sharp start.

We will be in the capable hands of Toastmaster for the evening, Noel O’Connor, Topicsmaster, Jerry Mulcahy and speeches will be by Liam Flynn, Joe Hassett, Loretto Barry and Mary Buckley.

Why don’t you come along and join us for a great evening? You will be glad you did and we will be delighted to meet and talk to you.

Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had from our website

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest

Last Thursday the 4th of October saw one of the highlights of the Speak Easy Toastmasters calendar with the club holding the Humorous Speech Contest and Table Topics Contest.

This was the first round of a series of contest culminating in the District Finals which will be held in Harrogate in England on November 10th.

“Romans delay Irish Investments” was the title of Joe Hassetts speech and Pat Sexton’s speech was titled, “The Frogs Chorus”.

Mary Buckley’s speech was entitled, “Our Day Will Come” and Michael Cronin’s was entitled, “The Long and the Short of it”.

The Table Topics Contest took part in the second half of the meeting with 4 members taking part, Liam Flynn, Mary Buckley, Michael Cronin and Joe Hassett.

The topic in which each had to speak for 2 minutes, unprepared, was, “Which would you prefer, to be loved or respected”

Winner of the Humorous Speech Contest was Michael Cronin with Pat Sexton as runner up.

Table Topics winner was also Michael Cronin with Mary Buckley in second place.

Michael will now represent Speak Easy Toastmasters in the Area final which will be held in the Firgrove Hotel, Mitchelstown next Monday night 15th October at 8.00pm sharp.

So why not come along and join us, together with members of the other Toastmaster Clubs in North Cork for a great night.

President Anne Buckley presided over the meeting and was joined at the top table for the evening by Toastmaster/Contest Chair, Ray Ryan Jnr. And as Topics Master with his usual brand of humorous and entertaining topics was Pat Duggan.

Also on the evening Speak Easy Toastmasters welcomed President of The Galtees Toastmasters, Maire Corbett as Chief Judge.

Speak Easy Toastmasters will meet again on Thursday night 18th of October at 7.50pm for an 8pm start so put it in your diary now.

Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters and Toastmasters International can be had by logging on to our continuously updated website at

Pracatice Makes Perfect

Following on from the Speak Easy Notes on Sept 20th in which we discussed the way to structure a speech or presentation with the “Opening, Body and Conclusion”, this week we look at preparing yourself to make that presentation.

How do you do that? By rehearsing.

Practice the talk until you are comfortable with it.

You won’t need to memorise the body of the talk since you already know all about the subject. As mentioned already, you should memorise your opening and conclusion.

Present the talk to a family member or friend and ask for comments.

They may give you some helpful suggestions. If you have a tape recorder, record the talk and listen to it carefully making any necessary improvements to improve your speaking ability. Rehearse as often as it takes until you are comfortable with your presentation. Use visualizing techniques in which you imagine yourself in front of your audience delivering that perfect presentation.

Another very important aspect of making your presentation is appearance.

Be well groomed and appropriately dressed. When you look right, you feel good about yourself. You will then forget about your appearance and concentrating about presenting your talk. You will have increased confidence because you know you have made a good first impression on your audience.

All these presentation skills and many more are learned and practiced at every toastmaster meeting. A toastmaster meeting is not a classroom or lecture but a workshop in which the emphasis is on mutual support, learning but most importantly on enjoyment, fun and friendship.

Don’t just take my word for it, come along and see for yourself.

As a guest you will be most welcome and you will not be asked to speak

So why not come along tonight, 4th of October to the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 7.50pm and join us.

Tonight we present the Club Humorous Speech Contest and Table Topics Contest in which is one of our highlights of the toastmaster year.

Here you will see club members using their speaking skills just to make you laugh.

Remember, tonight at the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 7.50pm

Looking forward to meeting you

Further information on The Speak Easy Toastmasters Club can be obtained by logging on to our website at