Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mulled Wine and the Christmas Spirit

“Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way” , Not only was there bells a-jingling at Speak Easy Toastmasters meeting last Thursday night in the Hibernian Hotel but the sound of glasses a-tinkling as members and guests were met by a combination of the delicious aroma of mulled wine, mince pies, sweets and Christmas crackers during the evening.

President, Ray Ryan welcomed us all to the meeting and then left us in the capable hands of Marie Fitzpatrick for the remainder of the evening.
Maire introduced the officers of the meeting and their roles for the evening and then introduced the

First to the lectern was Grant March who was presenting his second speech to the club with the title “Look Behind You” and after Grant was Joe Hassett with an Interpretive Reading Project entitled “Christmas Carroll”
This was the first of the Interpretive Reading Projects of the evening as following Joe was Pat Sexton with “The Selfish Giant”.
Next came Mary Buckley with, “The Christmas Bear” and Jerry Mulcahy with, Eamon Kelly’s ,
“After Hours”.

After the break it was the turn of Liam Flynn who was Topicsmaster for the evening.
Liam kept us on our toes with both seasonal and up to date topics. The topics session is the part of the meeting in which the members are given a topic to speak on, without any preparation, and must try to speak for two minutes.

Gerry Kelleher was out General Evaluator and conducted the “Evaluation” part of the meeting.
This is where the speakers receive feedback from assigned members, the purpose of which is to encourage the speaker and suggest any areas where the he/she could improve.
It is also an exercise in listening for the person evaluating, as all speakers have objectives to their speech projects and the evaluator must listen carefully in order to give a proper evaluation.

Other officers for the meeting were, Sean Corcoran as Grammarian, Angela Sheehan, Ah-Counter, Timekeeper, Jean Sayers and Sgt at Arms was Cáit Murray.

Last Thursday night’s meeting was also the last meeting of the year for Speak Easy Toastmasters as we break for Christmas time.

Meetings again on Thursday, January 11th at the usual time of 8pm sharp.

If you are wondering what “resolution” you will make for the new year, let me make a suggestion.
Forget about giving up anything, in 2009, take up something instead.

If you feel like making new friends and learning a skill that will benefit you wherever you go.
A skill that does not require you to be a certain standard beforehand, a skill that will make you stand out in the crowd, a skill that you can learn no matter who or what you are, why not consider Toastmasters?

Speak Easy Toastmasters are one of 11,500 clubs in 92 countries with a membership of 235,000.
There are over 5000 members of Toastmasters Clubs in Ireland and the UK, with 500 members in Cork, Kerry and West Limerick.

If you get a few minutes over the Christmas period, look us up on the internet at and call to see us in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on January 11th at 8pm.

From Speak Easy Toastmasters, A Happy and Peaceful Christmas to you and yours.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Seeing is believing, Tips and Tricks

In our image rich world people have become visual learners so when making a speech or presentation it is important to use an effective visual aid or prop to enhance your message and to make your audience remember it.

Here are a number of tips that will help you use such visual aids correctly.
Visual aids should be easy to see. Whatever aid is chosen it should be seen by all of your audience, so choose the size and colour so that the people at the back of the room can see it clearly.

Visual aids should look professional. Your audience should be able to look at your aid and immediately get the point. If you are using a Flip Chart, Overhead Projector or Powerpoint, keep text or bullet points to a minimum.

Visual aids should be explained clearly. Don’t assume that your audience will automatically know what the prop means. Explain what it is for, and what it represents.

Visual aids should not be distracting. The aid that you use is meant to enhance your speech. Show the aid at the appropriate stage in your presentation. As a rule of thumb, you should not pass around a visual aid around a room during your presentation as the audience will be looking at it and not listening to you.

Visual aids should be appropriate to your audience. Use common sense when choosing an aid to use in your presentation. Choose a visual aid with the same care and attention that you prepare your speech with.

The above are just a few tips on the use of visual aids for a speech or presentation. Use of such aids is an important skill that needs to be practised regularly.

In Speak Easy Toastmasters every fortnight, this skill and indeed all of the many skills that go into making competent and professional speeches are practised and perfected by club members.

A Toastmasters Club is not a classroom but a workshop where Toastmasters meet to hone their skills and most importantly to enjoy themselves.

Tonight in the Hibernian Hotel it will be no different….well maybe a little different as it will be our Christmas meeting. Members will be getting into the festive spirit which means that another great Speak Easy Toastmasters meeting will be a certainty.

Tonight’s meeting, Dec 11th, will be the last for 2008 but Speak Easy Toastmasters will return on Thursday January 8th. There will also be a meeting on January 22nd.
So come along tonight, and any or our meeting nights, to the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 7.50 for an 8.00pm sharp start. You, as our guest will be most welcome, the craic will be 90 and remember guests will not be asked to speak.

For further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters, contact our Club PRO, Seán on 086 6054784 and also visit our website at

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Mighty Elephant and The Red Crane

The month of December is with us again and it seems like last week when I wrote those words last, and not 12 months ago like it really was.
December brings us a volume of social occasions and recession or not, it hoped that this year will be no different.

Speak Easy Toastmasters will be having their Christmas meeting next Thursday night when a Christmas will be very much in evidence so before we continue, take a moment to write Thursday December 11’th at 8pm in your diaries.

But lets go back to last Thursday night’s meeting, and what a meeting it was.
The night kicked off with a warm welcome from Club President, Ray Ryan who then handed control of the meeting to Toastmaster for the evening Pat Sexton.
Pat explained to members and guests the format for the evening and also the benefits that members receive from their toastmaster training.

For any toastmasters club to have a new member giving their first speech, called The Icebreaker, is a great occasion and last Thursday night new member, Máire Welford, delivered such as speech entitled, “Myself”. Club members look forward to many more wonderful speeches from Máire.

“You can make a difference” was the title of Jean Sayers speech and following Jean to the lectern was Anne Buckley with a speech project from the storytelling manual entitled, “The Red Crane”

Noel O’Connor was next to the lectern with an Interpretive Reading project, interpreting poetry. Noel choose one of Paul Durkan’s poems.

Finally it was the turn of our guest speaker of the evening from The Nice and Easy Club, Helen Buckley with a well received speech entitled “The Mighty Elephant”.

After the break, Topicsmaster for the evening Mary Buckley kept us on our toes with her mixed bag of topics, which in actual fact was a bag of topics. Mary filled a bag with household items and members had to take a lucky (?) dip and then speak for 2 minutes on what they found. The topics session in a toastmasters meeting, trains members to speak for two minutes, on any given subject without preparation.

The evaluation session part of a toastmasters meeting is designed to give feedback to those who have given a speech. The evaluator will give a mini speech in which the speaker is told how well they have done and what changes they should make to their presentation to help them improve. This part of the meeting was conducted by our General Evaluator for the evening, Angela Sheehan who also commented on how the speech evaluators performed. She also commented on the officers of the meeting, the layout of the room and made suggestions for improvements.

So, just a reminder, our Christmas meeting will be held on Thursday, December 11th in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8pm sharp and we would love to welcome any guests that would like to attend.
Be assured that guests are never asked to speak and can come as our guests as often as they wish.

Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had by visiting our website at or contact our PRO Sean on 086 6054784

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cold North Wind and Effective Communication

Almost the end of November, the north wind has been blowing and boy, don’t we know it.
The natural instinct is to put another block on the fire, boil the kettle and settle down to our favourite tv programme or catch up with face book or bebo.
Maybe even listen to the radio.

But there is one night in every fortnight that toastmasters will not stay at home, no matter what the weather is. Thursday night.

It is when we make our way to the Hibernian Hotel for our meeting, which, by the way lasts not longer than two hours, 8-10pm
It is there that we practice our toastmaster’s skills of speaking, listening, and off the cuff speaking in the company of our friends and have a great craic at the same time.

Today more than ever, being able to communicate is a must.
Sure, we have text messaging, email and the afore mentioned bebo and facebook etc but in the present economic climate it is those who have the skills to communicate effectively on a personal level who will have the edge

So effective Communication is a ‘must have’ in this electronic age. Being an effective communicator takes real skill. Communication skills have to be developed, honed and added to on an on-going basis. Communication is the basis of interpersonal skills and the greater your awareness of how it all works, the more effective your communication will be. To be effective in business, you have to communicate well.
To be a good manager, you have to communicate exceptionally well. Communication is individual. We are not all the same. There is never one right way to communicate. Authentic effective communication always happens when we reply on those things we know to be true about or for ourselves.

Your personal style can say more for you than all the words you use can. Most people look at what is wrong with themselves and other people, rather than focusing on what already works. Remember many things have to be working well for you to have got this far already. The communication cycle works as follows and you can take responsibility for every stage:

Spoken - Heard - Understood - Agreed To - Acted On - Implemented.

In Toastmasters you will become aware of where you or others tend to fall off the cycle. So, can I give you any greater reason for joining Speak Easy Toastmasters?
Why not give us a try. You are welcome as a guest, you can come as often as you like as a guest and you will never be asked to speak but you may join in a topics session if you so wish.

As well as getting a cead mile fáilte, you will get and biscuits during our break.

We meet tonight, Nov 27th and December 11th and we return in on January 8th after our Christmas break.

Why not check us out on the web at and further information can be had by contacting our PRO Sean on 086 6054784 after 4pm.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Theme Meeting WW1

The meeting of November 13th, differed from the usual meeting in that it was a “Theme Night”. As the name implys, a theme night is one where the meeting is given over to a partuiculat theme. Tonight the theme was to be World War 1 – the 90th anniversary.

The evening kicked off at the usual time of 8pm sharp with a welcome from the club president, Ray Ryan. Topicsmaster, Pat Duggan, and Toqastmester Joe Hassett.

The first speaker was Joe Hassett, who gave an overview of “The Great War”. He touched briefly on the causes, the deterioration into trench warfare, the casualties and the aftermath. The talk was accompanied by a slide show consisting of many rarerly seen photographs.

The next speaker was our President, Ray Ryan. Ray read an extract from Ernst Junger’s “Storm of Steel”. In the extract, the author dealt with a counter attack during the battle of Cambrai. It was interesting to hear a first hand account from the German perspective. The utter futility and horror of war was neatly summed up in Junger’s observation that “we killed each other, sight unseen” .

Angela Sheehan’s speech “You love us when we’re heros” gave us an insight into women’s lot during the conflict. While few women were in the front line, it was they who had to raise families unaided, take the place of the males on the factory floor, lost husbands, sons, lovers and, very often, their very futures.

The last speech of the night was delivered by Liam Flynn. Liam reminded us that “The war to end wars” did no such thing and took us through the “Cold War”. Though there were not many lives lost, he pointed out the potential for a nuclear holocaust which stalked this period. Very often, the strangest things turn up as props at our meetings and, on this occasion, Liam handed around a piece of the Berlin wall.

After the refreshment break, Pat Duggan led the meeting in the “Table Topics” section. This is a part of the meeting where speakers are asked to speak on a topic without preparation. This is often the most humourous part of the meeting and tonight was no exception. Topics ranged from the serious “what were the funny aspects of World War 1”?, to the”have you ever used a false name”?

President Ray Ryan, on behalf of the club members, made a presentation to Michael Cronin on his great win in recent District Humorous Speech Contest.

This was a most enjoyable meeting with a good attendance. If your appetite has been whetted, why not come along to the Hibernisan Hotel on Thursday 17th November at 8 p.m. and enjoy the craic yourself? Remember you won’t be asked to speak unless you want to.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Michael's a Winner

Congratulations Michael!!
On Saturday afternoon last, before a packed audience of Toastmasters from all corners of Ireland and the UK, Speak Easy Toastmasters member, Michael Cronin was crowned champion Humorous Speaker of Toastmasters District 71. This was a fantastic achievement as Michael was in competition with the best humorous speakers in this part of the world. The contest took place in the Ormond Hotel, Kilkenny City and was part of the regular bi-annual conferences.
Michael had a large contingent of supporters from all the clubs in the Cork, Kerry, West Limerick region which he represented.

Michael in no stranger to speech contests and for the past number of years he has been “knocking at the door”. He achieved 2’nd place in the Humorous Speech Contest in 2005 and also 2’nd place in the Evaluation Contest in 2006.
Michael now joins the previous Speak Easy, District Contest Winners, Matt Lawlee (Humorous Speech winner in ‘95) and Pat Sexton (Table Topics ’96, 06) in this fantastic achievement.

Many other members from the club have also won Area, Division contests and competed at District level and the list of these members and their achievements can be read in the history section of our website at

While speech contests form a very small part of a toastmasters club’s activities, they a showcase for the talents and skills that can be learned by being a member of a Toastmasters Club.

After the excitement of Michaels win on Saturday, the party lasted into the small hours and no doubt will continue tonight, Thursday, in the Hibernian Hotel at our regular meeting.

Why don’t you come along to any one of our meetings and see how being a member of toastmasters can be of benefit to you.
Your aims may not be to achieve high public office, or win and international speech contest like Michael Cronin just did, but it certainly can enhance the communication skills that we need in everyday life such as that job interview, making yourself heard and listened to, at a committee meeting or putting your point across at public meeting.

There are many more instances that relate to you, so why not come along to any of our meetings and see for yourself,f just as many others have done.

Speak Easy Toastmasters meet in the Hibernian Hotel on alternate Thursdays at 8.00pm sharp and should you decide to come along, you will be most welcome.
Meeting dates for November, are 13th and 27th and December 11th.

Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had by visiting our website at or contact Club PRO Seán on 086 6054784

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Photographs from Kilkenny District Conference Nov. 2008

Speak Easy Member and present EVP Michael Cronin wins the District 71 Humorous Speech Contest in Kilkenny on November 8th 2008

Speak Easy President, Ray Ryan with Michael Cronin

Marian Harnett, West limerick Toastmasters, 3'rd in Table Topics Contest with Michael Cronin

Billy Harnett, Marian Harnett, Michael Cronin and Máire Corbett, Area 17 Governor.

Michael Cronin and Máire Corbett

Tony O'Regan, Ray Ryan, Michael Cronin, Máire Corbett and Margaret O'Regan

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Congratulations Michael

We have mentioned many times in the Speak Easy Toastmasters notes of the numerous other benefits of being a member of a Toastmasters Club and our meeting of last Thursday night was a case in point when the club was delighted to welcome members of other Toastmasters clubs as guest speakers.
Why is that a benefit? You may ask. Well, it is a great opportunity to meet and get to know Toastmasters from different clubs and towns and of course to listen to their speeches and to learn from their style of speaking and experience.
The club was delighted to welcome Noreen Mortell from the Thomond Club in Limerick with her speech entitled, “Go for what you want” and also, John Keating from the Crusaders Club in Cork with his speech entitled, “Drink, Science and Supposition”.
When a new member in any Toastmasters Club makes their first speech to the club called, The Icebreaker Speech it is a very special evening indeed, and so it was as new member, Grant March delivered his first speech entitled, “ The road less travelled”.
Also on the speaking programme for the evening was Cáit Murray with her speech, “Mountain Log” and Michael Cronin with his interpretive reading project, “Dust and memories”
Mary Buckley was toastmaster for the evening with Tim Ahern as Topicsmaster and the meeting was presided over by Club President, Ray Ryan.
Also as a welcome guest to the club on the night was Area 17 Governor Máire Corbett who was also General Evaluator and Tony O’Regan as Timekeeper.
Speech Evaluators were, Noel O’Connor, Joe Hassett, Mary Moynahan, Angela Sheehan and Pat Sexton.
Congratulations Michael
Congratulations to Speak Easy member Michael Cronin who, on last Saturday night, before a packed house in the Vienna Woods Hotel, Cork, won the Division A (Cork, Kerry and West Limerick) Humorous Speech Contest.
This was no easy feat as the contest was recognised to be of one of the highest standard contests in recent years.
Right from the beginning the contestants had the audience, “in stitches” and it was with relief that the refreshment break arrived, so we could get our breath back and dry our eyes.
Michael will perform his speech entitled, “Feel the fear, and do it anyway” in the District (Ireland and UK) humorous Speech Contest Final next Saturday in Kilkenny and we wish him every success.
A special mention to Dave Bartley from Fermoy Toastmasters who was representing the North Cork clubs in the Table Topics Contest also on Saturday night and who put in a great performance.
Speak Easy Toastmasters meet again on Thursday night Nov. 13’th in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00pm sharp so why don’t you come along to see what we are about.
If you want to gain confidence speaking before an audience and enjoy learning how to do it, then Speak Easy Toastmasters is the place to be.
Further information can be had from our website, or from club PRO Sean on 086 6054784

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Speak Easy Toastmasters Inter Schools Contest

Pupils from North Cork Secondary Schools gathered in the Hibernian Hotel. Mallow, last Wednesday evening for the Speak Easy Toastmasters Inter Schools Public Speaking Contest and what a night we had.
3 pupils from each from Scoil Mhuire,Kanturk, Davis College, St Mary’s and the Patrician Academy, Mallow presented us with an hour of fantastic speeches on a wide range of topics.

From Schoil Mhuire there was Sarah Mullane, with her speech, “A healthy mind, a healthy body”, Brian Leahy with “Over indulgence in alcohol, is it ruining the youth of Ireland?” and Conor O’Shaughnessy with,”Mobile phones, friend of foe?”

Representing Davis College was Stephenie Matthews with,”The points system should be abolished”, Seoighe Kearney with, ”Capital Punishment” and David Hayes with, “The implication of genetically modified foods”.

The St. Mary’s team was Jessica Hourican with,”Dentists”, Sarnait Murray with, “Education Cutbacks” and Jennifer McCarthy with, “Transition year”.

And from the Patrician Acadamy was, Peter Leahy with, “Sports Fanatics” Lorcan Nyhan with, “My Mygraine” and Sean Ronayne with, “GM is ok”

As usual the judges had quiet a task in choosing a winner but when the results were in it was Lorcan Nyhan who was pronounced the individual winner with The Patrician Acadamy taking the school prize.

All contestants got a Certificate of Participation. The individual and team winners got plaques.
The Mallow Credit Union Perpetual Cup was presented to the winning team by Mr .John McDonnell and the Perpetual Cup, for the individual winner, sponsored by the Hibernian Hotel, was presented by Mr. Artac Tonoyan.

Pat Sexton from Speak Easy Toastmasters praised all the contestants for their extremely high standard of speaking skills and pointed out that each and every one of the them were winners.

President Ray Ryan officiated on the night with Mary Buckley as Topicsmaster and Tony O’Regan as Contest Chair.

Speak Easy Toastmasters meet again this Thursday night at 8.00pm in the Hibernian Hotel and you are most welcome to attend.
Be assured that guests are never asked to speak at a toastmasters meeting and you may come along as a guest as often as you like.

Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had by logging on to our website at or contact our club PRO Sean on 086 6054784

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Laughture IS the best medicine

Last Thursday night, Oct 23rd saw a large audience gather in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow to see and support, representative speakers from all the Toastmasters Clubs in the North Cork Area as they battled it out in the Area Finals of the Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests.

The evening kicked off at the usual time of 8pm sharp with a welcome from the host club president, Ray Ryan. Topicsmaster, Helena O’Callaghan, from The Galtees Toastmasters Club kept the audience entertained between contests and Jerry Kelleher from Speak Easy was the Contest Chair.

After a topics session to “warm up the audience” the contests got under way with the contestants in the Topics Contest leading the way.
Representing, Fáilte Toastmasters in Charleville was Stephen McKeogh, Sean Roche from the Galtees in Mitchelstown. Dave Bartly was ably representing Fermoy Toastmasters and Ray Ryan was flying the flag for Speak Easy.

Each of the contestants spoke for two minutes on a holiday preference topic and when the judging scores were counted, Dave Bartley from Fermoy Toastmasters was declared the winner with Ray Ryan from Speak Easy in 2’nd place.

After the refreshment break, the moment had arrived for the Humorous Speech Contest and when the draw for positions was made, it was Donal Jones from Fáilte Toastmasters who had the honour of starting the ball rolling which he did by having the audience “in stitches” with his speech entitled “Reincarnation”.

As we were still laughing from Donal, Brian O’Farrell, from Fermoy Toastmasters, followed with offering entitled, “Not just for Christmas”. Now our sides were really beginning to ache. Just when we thought we could take no more, up to the lectern stepped Dick Lyons, representing the Galtees Toastmasters with his speech entitled, “A good nights sleep”.

Now the tears were coming as well as the sore sides when the final speaker of the evening approached the lectern in the form of Michael Cronin of Speak Easy with, “Feel the fear and blow it up anyway”. We were on a high after listening to the three previous speakers and Michael sure kept us there.

Did there have to be a winner we wondered, but alas there did, and when the scores were counted it was Michael Cronin from Speak Easy who took the laurels with Brian O’Farrell from Fermoy as runner up.

Both Dave Bartley and Michael Cronin will represent North Cork (Toastmasters Area 17) in the Division Final in the Vienna Woods hotel on Saturday, Nov. 1st at 8.00pm sharp.

It is said, and indeed, is a proven fact that laughter is the best medicine, so over 40 happy and healthy people left the Hibernian Hotel that night after a brilliant two hours fun and laughter
with all the participants having learned their speaking skills by being a member of a toastmasters club.

Why not come and see for yourself? We meet on alternate Thursdays in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow and our next meeting is October 30th.
Looking forward to meeting you as our guest. (don’t worry, you won’t be asked to speak)

Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had from our website at or contact our Club PRO, Sean on 086 6054784

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Out and about....Speak Easy members in Limerick

Membership of Toastmasters is not all about learning to speak before and audience, it is about friendship also and we have a brilliant social scene.

Whenever there is a toastmasters event, one is sure to find Speak Easy members having a good time and the Limerick Toastmasters 25'th Anniversary was no different.

L-R, Cait Murray, Ray Ryan & Jean Sayers

Michael Ryan (Limerick Toastmasters), Karen Ryan (Limerick Toastmasters) & Michael Cronin.

L-R Michael Cronin, Noreen O' Brien (Thomond Toastmasters) & Ray Ryan.

Claire Dollard (Limerick Toastmasters), Ray Ryan, Robbie Corrigan (President Limerick Toastmasters) & Michael Ryan (Limerick Toastmasters).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

More Speaking Skills

Following on from the Speak Easy Notes on Oct 7th 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 lectures but a workshop in which the emphasis is on mutual support, learning but most importantly on enjoyment, fun and friendship.

So why not come along tonight, 16th 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.

Toastmasters from the Toastmaster Clubs in North Cork will be pitting their skills against each other for the area winner title and for the honour of representing their club and area in The Vienna Woods Hotel on Saturday November 1’st

Inter Schools Public Speaking Contest.
On Wednesday 22’nd October, at 8.00pm, the 3’rd annual Inter Schools Public Speaking Contest will be held in the Hibernian Hotel where pupils from the Patrician Academy, St. Mary’s and Davis College all from Mallow and Scoil Mhuire, Kanturk will be taking part in what promises, once again to be a most interesting evening..
Do come along and lend your support.
Remember, guests are most welcome at all toastmasters meetings so why not come along and bring a friend, you’ll be glad you did.
Looking forward to meeting you

Further information on The Speak Easy Toastmasters Club can be obtained by logging on to our website at or contact our Club PRO, Sean at 086 6054784

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Stripper is the winner

When the members of Speak Easy Toastmasters gather at their fortnightly meeting, there is sure to be plenty of laughter and craic go leoir, but when it is their Humorous Speech Contest night you are guaranteed it.

Such was the case last Thursday night when 4 of our members vied for the winners title of Contest Winner.

There were Gerry Mulcahy with his speech, ,”The Stripper”. Joe Hassett, with , “Ye Ole Employment Fairs”. Ray Ryan with “Passengers” and Michael Cronin with “Tech Aware”

After the laughter was over and the judges made their decision it was Gerry Mulcahy who was declared the winner with Michael Cronin as runner up.

After the break came the Table Topics Contest. In this contest, the contestants get two minutes to speak on one particular topic that they have not heard of before and because of the nature of the contest they must not be in the room before they speak.
The topic was “We learn more from our failures than our successes” and when the judges had made their decision Tony O’Regan was declared the winner with Pat Duggan as runner up.

The Area Finals of the Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests will take place in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on October 16th at 8pm sharp.
This is the night when the finalists of all the Toastmasters Clubs in North Cork will compete for a place in the Division Finals which will take place in the Vienna Woods Hotel on November 1’st.

From there the winners will go on to compete in the District Finals (Ireland and UK) which will take place in Kilkenny on November 8 and 9th.
Contests in Toastmasters play a very important part in the development of speaking skills.

It is when members of toastmasters clubs can see other members in action in a contest situation and can learn by observing how the contestants have benefited by their membership of Toastmasters.

For the contestants it is a way in which we can hone our speaking skills by putting ourselves under a little bit more pressure than normal.

So to remind you, that at our next meeting on Thursday, October 16th we will have the Area Finals of the Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests were you will be guaranteed a great night out.

You will be very welcome to come along as a guest (and why not bring a friend?). Remember that guests in Toastmasters meetings are never asked to speak and you can come to as many meetings as you like as a guest.

Hope to see you at the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday night, October 16th at 7.50 for an 8.00pm start.

Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had on our website, or contact club PRO, Seán on 086 6054784

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Missing Link

Speak Easy Toastmasters meeting on September 26th was another in which guests and members both learned from, and enjoyed and enjoyed themselves.

President, Ray Ryan welcomed everyone to the meeting and promised something that we would all enjoy, How right he was.

Joining Ray at the top table was Sean Corcoran as Toastmaster for the evening and Mary Moynahan as Topicsmaster.

First to the Lectern was Jean Sayers with a speech entitled, “Time and Tide waits for no Man” in which she told us the importance of planning in our daily lives. Jean had many examples of the benefits of this and her argument was such, that we were all more than convinced.

Following Jean was Mary Moynahan with her speech, “The missing link” in which she with much humour informed us of the power of advertising in all forms of the media and how much we are affected by it. Most eye opening indeed.

Next it was the turn of Bridie O’Connell with her speech, “I spy with my little eye”. This was a most informative speech on the benefits of caring for you own eyes with rest and exercise. Bridie backed up her talk by both demonstration and audience participation.

“The Stages of change” was the title of Anne Buckley’s speech in which she, with the aid of diagrams and examples showed us how we can change any habits that we may want to. Anne concentrated on smoking cessation on the night but explained that the model can be used for any habit.

Finally it was the turn of Tony O’Regan with his speech, “So you have been asked to judge”. This speech was not about jury duty but was a humorous look on the correct way to judge a toastmasters speech contest as most members will be asked to do this at some stage.
More about contests later.

Mary Moynahan kept us on our toes with her topics session in which she has us talking about flying, praying for fine weather, flying over cities and many more, which caused great amusement.

Jerry Kelleher was General Evaluator and conducted the part of the meeting in which the speakers received feedback from their assigned evaluators who were, Ray Ryan, Noel O’Connor, Pat Sexton, Michael Cronin and Angela Sheehan.

Margaret O’Regan was Ah Counter and gave feedback at the end of the meeting on how we performed regarding the use of “crutch words” and “fillers”. I.e. um’s and ah’s and so’s.

Cáit Murray, Liam Flynn and Jean Sayers as usual did a brilliant job as Sgt of Arms.

Our next meeting is on October 2nd and is the clubs Humorous Speech Contest night. This is a night not to be missed and is one of the highlights of the year. To see what Toastmasters can do for its members come along to the Hibernian Hotel at 7.50pm on October 2nd.

Further details of Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had on our website at or contact club PRO Sean on 086 6054784

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Do you have goals in life?

Whatever your goals in life may be, your success depends on your ability to communicate.
Individuals who can express their ideas so that they are heard, understood, and acted upon, possess one of the primary qualities of leadershop.
To day we have numerous means of developing our confidence and assertiveness through week-end seminars and personal development courses.
By joining Speakeasy Toastmasters Club you will cover the same issues in a sociable ‘fun’ way. In fact you will be embarking on a programme that will multiply your communication and leadership skills.
Over two million people have benefited from participating in Toastmasters. You will gain those same benefits. You will at your own pace learn to overcome the initial nervousness everyone feels when called to speak before an audience. You will learn how to organize and present your ideas logically and convincingly. You will improve your listening skills.
You will develop self confidence that will radiate in every situation involving other people. Club members have a wealth of experience to offer each other. Lots of different areas are covered - Public Relations; Technical Presentations; Speeches by Management. Remember all stages are taken at your own pace- no pressure but with plenty of support. In the warm friendly atmosphere of the club, members find that they overcome nerves, gain confidence, and assertiveness. They are able to inspire and motivate their fellow workers and clients.

A Toastmasters Club is not a class room.

It is a work shop in which you will develop communication and leadership skills among a group of friends. There are two parts to the two hour meeting . First the speeches, then a break for a coffee and circulating among members exchanging ideas and building new friendships. We have had a few weddings over the years also !! The second part of the meeting contains the topic session.

This is the fun part - the topic’s master of the night asks members of the audience to speak off the cuff for two minutes on a subject.
This is usually very popular and generates a lot of laughter. Needless to mention GUESTS are NEVER asked to speak, unless they volunteer to do so. Where else could you develop life enhancing; presentation; communication and leadership skills in a friendly outgoing atmosphere?

Only at Speakeasy Toastmasters Club, MALLOW. Our 2008/09 season started on Thursday 4th September, at the Hibernian Hotel, at 7.50 p.m. We meet alternate Thursdays. So come along and we will give you a ‘cead mile failte’ when you arrive, and a cup of tea

Do remember the Toastmaster of today was once at the stage you are now. For further details visit our website or contact Club PRO Sean on 086 6054784.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Laughing Ned and the Telescope

Last Thursday night, Sept 4th saw the Speak Easy Toastmasters Club get their 2008/09 season off to a fantastic start with a packed meeting in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow.
Quite a number of welcome guests joined with Speak Easy members to see Club President, Ray Ryan open the meeting by welcoming everyone and setting the tone both for the meeting and for the
and for future meetings under his presidency.

Noel O’Connor was our Toastmaster for the evening and guided us with his usual efficiency, through the meeting, He also explained, that as well as speakers practicing their craft at toastmaster meetings, other officers and participants were also practicing how to organize and participate in meetings.

First speaker of the evening was Liam Flynn with a speech entitled, “The Telescope” which as the name suggests was a most informative speech on the history and development of the telescope and its uses, from ancient to modern times. Liam also brought, for display, a selection of telescopes, binoculars and even a periscope from a Russian tank.

Following Liam, came Tim Ahern with his speech, “This is it”. Tim reminded us of the coming dark evenings and as Toastmasters only occupied one evening and there were plenty of night courses to partake in. He demonstrated to us his hobby of furniture restoration that he learned by attending evening classes.

Third speaker of the evening was Pat Sexton with an Interpretive Reading project entitled, “Laughing Ned and Zen Buddhism” in which he challenged us to compare the lyrics of Leonard Cohen to poetry. Pat backed up his argument by reciting the lyrics of three of Cohen’s songs and we were in no doubt that indeed they were sheer poetry.

The final speaker of the evening was Assistant Division Governor, Pat Duggan who explained to the importance of members completing the new Competent Leader program and that it promoted teamwork, listening, relationship skills not only in Toastmasters but in our family, social and work situations.

Topicsmaster of the evening was Margaret O’Regan with a well thought out bag of topics which kept the members on their feet and practicing their “speaking off the cuff” skills. Margaret’s topics ranged from the weather, through crimeline, shouting at matches, coming into money and many more.

Micheal Walsh was general evaluator and gave feedback on how the meeting was run, how the participants performed and made appropriate suggestions for improvement.

Other participants were evaluators, Jerry Mulcahy, Anne Buckley, Mary Buckley and Lorretto Barry. Timekeeper was Mary McCarthy and Ah Counter was Joe Hassett. Sgt at Arms were Cáit Murray, Liam Flynn and Jean Sayers.

Speak Easy Toastmasters next meeting is on September 18th in the Hibernian Hotel at 7.50 for and 8.00pm start. Further information from our website or from Club PRO Sean at 086 6054784.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

7 days and counting

Only a week to go to the return of Speak Easy Toastmasters after our summer break.

Just a reminder on what the Toastmasters International organization is..

A brief history; the Toastmasters organization began in 1924,more than three million men and women have benefited from its the communication and leadership programs. The first club was formed in October 1924, when a group of men assembled by Dr. Ralph C. Smedley met in the basement of the Santa Ana, California YMCA to form a club "to afford practice and training in the art of public speaking and in presiding over meetings, and to promote sociability and good fellowship among its members."

The group took the name "Toastmasters."

A year later, a second club was started in Anaheim, California, followed by a third in Los Angeles. By 1930, it was apparent that a federation was necessary to coordinate activities of the clubs and to provide standard methods. After formation of a club in Victoria, British Columbia, the group became known as Toastmasters International.

Growth was slow during the early years, but the number of clubs increased steadily. The forerunner of today's Communication and Leadership program, Basic Training, was introduced in 1942 and has been expanded and updated many times since then to keep abreast of the times and members' needs.

Membership in Toastmasters International increased rapidly after the end of World War II, and by 1954 the number of Toastmasters clubs had approached 1,500.
Today there are over 11.700 clubs with 235,000 members in 92 countries worldwide.
In Ireland and the UK (Toastmasters District 71) as of July 2008 there were 196 Clubs with 11,368 members meeting, mostly, once a forthnight.

Speak Easy Toastmasters were founded in 1993 and since then has been one of the most active clubs in the country, constantly achieving top Toastmasters International Club Awards and also Speak Easy members achieving top positions in speech contests.
In leadership roles, Speak Easy members have been continuously to the fore.

So don’t forget, Speak Easy Toastmasters meetings resume on Thursday September 4th in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow, at 7.50 for an 8pm sharp start.

If you are looking for something different to get involved in this September, why not try Toastmasters?

You will be delighted you did. Guests are very welcome and will not be asked to speak.

For further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters log on to our website at or contact our Club PRO, Seán on 086 6054784.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Countdown Begins

Hello again.

My how the summer (season) has flown. It is almost time to start thinking of what to do for the long evenings.

As of today there are only 125 shopping days left ‘till Christmas but better still there are only 14 days left until the first meeting of the Speak Easy Toastmasters Club.

So for the coming long evenings why not try something different?

Whether you are a professional, student, stay-at-home parent or retiree, Toastmasters is the best way to build great communication skills.

You will learn how to successfully organize and present your ideas and yourself.

Toastmasters will give you the skills and confidence you need to effectively express yourself in any situation.

A Toastmasters club is not a classroom, it is a workshop where members meet once a fortnight to learn communication skills, such as how to speak with confidence, think on your feet, listen effectively, make new friends and, most importantly, to enjoy themselves.

Speak Easy Toastmasters Club is affiliated to Toastmasters International which has over 90,000 clubs worldwide with almost a quarter of a million members and in Mallow Speak Easy Toastmasters meet on alternate Thursday nights at 8pm sharp, from September to May.

Guests are most welcome to attend our meetings and for as many times as they like, so why not come along as our guest on Thursday September 4th and see what we are about?

Don’t worry, guests attending a Toastmasters meeting are never asked to speak.

Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had by visiting our constantly updated website at www.speakeasytoastmasters .com or contact our club PRO, Sean on 086 6054784.

So on Thursday 4th of September and on alternate Thursdays thereafter why not beat the “Recession Depression” and come along to the Hibernian Hotel for a night out which includes enjoyment, education, and coffee and biscuits,

You’ll be delighted you did.

See you there.

Monday, June 02, 2008

All I Want for Christmas

All good things must come to an end….well for a few weeks anyway….as Speak Easy Toastmasters held their final meeting at the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow, last Thursday evening.

And what a fantastic meeting it was with three of our members achieving toastmaster’s awards and a special guest speaker from Carrigaline Toastmasters.

The meeting was opened by outgoing President Anne Buckley who was presiding over her last meeting as our president and joining her at the top table was Toastmaster of the evening, Michael Cronin and Topicsmaster, Mary Moynahan.

Michael introduced the speakers and first to the Lectern was Joe Hassett with a speech entitled “Another Brick in the Wall”. This was Joe’s tenth speech in Toastmasters and was his final one for achieving his Competent Communicator Award. Congratulations Joe.

Next was Mary Buckley with a Special Occasion speech entitled “Auntie Mary”. This was Mary’s final speech for her Advanced Communicator Award, Congratulations Mary.

Following Mary was Tony O’Regan who was also achieving his Competent Communicator Award with a speech entitled “Grow Your Own” Congratulations also to Tony.

Our final speaker of the evening was Liam Cunningham from Carrigaline Toastmasters. Liam is an accomplished speaker and both club and contest level and entertained us with a speech entitled “All I want for Christmas”

After the teabreak, Topicsmaster, Mary Moynahan got us thinking and talking “off the cuff” with her wide range of well thought out topics and then John Dillon conducted the evaluation session.

Speech evaluators were Sean Corcoran, Angela Sheehan, Pat Duggan and Pat Sexton.

Ah Counter was Ray Ryan Jnr and Timekeeper was Cáit Murray.

Other members who achieved Toastmaster Awards this year were Lorretto Barry (Advanced Communicator Bronze), Vivien Buckley (Advanced Communicator Silver) and Pat Sexton (Competent Leader)

To wind up the meeting President Anne Buckley welcomed the new committee by presenting each of the members with their officer manuals and also presented the incoming President, Ray Ryan Jnr with the chain office.

So Speak Easy Toastmasters are on their summer break but will be back again in the Hibernian Hotel on September 4th.

Over the summer weeks, why not consider coming to our meetings in the autumn, see what we do and how we do it.

Meanwhile, have a look at our website where you will find all the information you kneed on Toastmasters and how it can benefit you, no matter who you are, or what your aims or goals are.

You can also contact our Club PRO, Sean on 086 6054784.

Until these notes resume again in early August, have a great summer.

Slán agus beannaught

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Speak Easy members visit to COPE

Thursday 29th of May will the members of Speak Easy Toastmasters gather for their final meeting of the current toastmaster’s year.

This is the time of year for every toastmasters club in which members realise their goals for the year and in Speak Easy a number of our members will be achieving their toastmaster awards.

Clubs also have an award scheme, called the DCP or Distinguished Club Program. This program is administered by Toastmasters International and recognises clubs around the world who reach TI standards in helping their members achieve their goals.

Speak Easy Toastmasters have traditionally achieved the highest awards in this program and this year is expected to be no different.

From July 1st the newly elected officers in toastmasters worldwide will take office, not only at club level but also at area, division, district and indeed international level.

Last Thursday , 22nd of May, members of Speak Easy Toastmasters visited the Cope Foundation facility in Quartertown, Mallow and spent a most pleasant two hours in the company of Jerry Mullane, the staff and some of the 70 service users of the facility. Jerry took us on a tour where we saw activities from gardening to computers to art and much, much more.

The visit culminated with a beautiful lunch with members of the Nice and Easy Toastmasters Club who have delivered speeches at our Club meetings and whom we look forward to meeting again after our summer break. Why not visit the Cope Foundation’s website at

Summer is here, hopefully, and as you wind down your evening activities for those long hazy lazy days over the coming months we hope you have a great summer. Speak Easy Toastmasters will be back in the Hibernian Hotel again in early September, refreshed, relaxed and looking forward another great year of learning and honing our skills in the art of speaking, listening and leadership.

Why not consider joining Speak Easy Toastmasters in the Autumn?. But between now and then visit our website where you can find out all about toastmasters, who we are and what we do. Browse through our online photo album and put faces to the names that you have been reading about in these notes.

For further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters visit our website at or contact our Club PRO, Sean on 086 6054784.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Icebreaker and AGM

How the year has flown. It seems only last week that we started off our toastmaster’s year but last Thursday night Speak Easy Toastmasters held our AGM and elected a new committee to lead and guide the club for 2008/08.

Our AGM night began with a regular toastmasters meeting with speeches, evaluations and topics with President Anne Buckley welcoming members and guests.

The meeting began with Marie Fitzpatrick as Topicsmaster keeping members on their toes with a well thought out range of topics for members to practice their speaking “off the cuff” skills.

Then Toastmaster of the evening, Tony O’Regan took us through the meeting with his usual skill and humour.

First speaker of the evening was our newest member, Cáit Murray, with a speech entitled “Work and Me”. A first speech by a member is known as an “Icebreaker” and Cáit certainly broke the ice with and informative and humorous speech.

Following Cáit, was Mary Moynahan with a speech entitled “Watch the Gum Drops” in which she gave us some fascinating facts on the history, manufacture and scourge of….chewing gum.

Finally it was the turn of John Dillon with a project from the Interpretive Reading Program. John performed a monologue and choose a piece from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “To be, or not to be”.

General Evaluator was Pat Sexton with evaluations by, Lorretto Barry, Margaret O’Regan and Pat Duggan. Timekeeper was Joe Hassett with Sgt at Arms, Mary Moynahan.

After the tea break it was time for the AGM and after the minutes of last years AGM were read, matters arising dealt with, each of the officers of the committee gave a report to the meeting.

In her Presidents address, Anne Buckley outlined the activities of the Club over the past year including the many social activities of the club, successful contests and achievements of members and also what being President of Speak Easy Toastmasters meant to her personally. She thanked her team of committee members for their work during the previous year.

Then followed the election of the new officers for next year and they are as follows. President, Ray Ryan; Educational Vice President, Michael Cronin; Vice President Public Relations, Seán Corcoran; Vice President Membership, Pat Duggan; Secretary, Joe Hassett; Treasurer, Mary Moynahan; Sgt at Arms, Jean Sayers, Liam Flynn and Cáit Murray.

Speak Easy Toastmasters will hold their final meeting before the summer break on Thursday 29th of May at 8pm sharp in the Hibernian Hotel so why not come along and join us for a taste of toastmasters in what promises to be a great evening of speeches, education and entertainment. You, as our guest will be very welcome indeed and remember guests are never asked to speak.

For further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters, log on to our website at or contact club PRO, Seán on 0866054784

Monday, May 12, 2008

Conference Time, Party Time

From Inverness in Scotland to Castletownbere, from Eastbourn in the south east of England to Sligo, and just about anywhere in between, Toastmasters descended on Killarney for the semi-annual conference which was held last weekend.

It was the first time ever that this conference was held in Killarney and was a major achievement for Killarney Toastmasters Club who were the conference hosts.

What can one say about a weekend that had it all? Good food, great friends. A weekend packed with workshops and contests during the day and in the evening singing, dancing, a banquet and craic until the small hours and breakfast while looking out at the majestic Tomies and Purple Mountain on the far side of Lough Leane as deer grazed in the field just across from our hotel, The Gleneagle. And of course the weather…. warm and sunny.

So, what can one say about the weekend? perfect, just perfect.

A toastmasters club spend will many, many months organizing such a conference and to bring over 300 delegates to such an event (and to see that they all get home again) takes huge organizational and leadership skills.

But learning and putting these skills into practice are part of the toastmaster ethos and are on par with public speaking skills which toastmasters international are famous for.

Speak Easy Toastmasters hosted such a conference back in 2001 and is still fondly remembered by conference goers.

Our next conference will take place at the Ormond Hotel, Kilkenny City on November 7-9th

But this week it is back to club business with our meeting as usual on May 15 with the usual mix of speeches, evaluations and topics.

So why not call in and say hello, you will be most welcome and rest assured that guests are never asked to speak at a toastmasters meeting

If you would like to find out more about Speak Easy Toastmasters and Toastmasters International just visit our constantly updated website at where you will find information about all aspects of Toastmasters and also a page of questions and answers where you will find an answer to any questions you may have.

Also, you may contact our club PRO on 086 6054784.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Get Your Motor Running

Thursday, May 1’st saw another brilliant meeting of the Speak Easy Toastmasters Club in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow.

Indeed it was a special night as the club were hosting the Area Final of the Tall Tales Contest and toastmasters from The Galtees Club in Mitchelstown and Fermoy Toastmasters joined Speak Easy members for an evening of, well, tall tales.

And the tales were indeed tall with a speech from Oliver Reilly from Fermoy Toastmasters entitled, “The Diagnosis”. Dick Lyons from The Galtees Club gave us a speech entitled, “The Real Story Behind the Peace Process” and from Angela Sheehan from Speak Easy, “Get Your Motor Running”.

The judges really had to work hard to choose a winner from the above speeches but in the end it was Speak Easy’s own Angela Sheehan who was declared the winner.

Congratulations, Angela.

As well as giving us an exhibition on crafting and delivering a tall tale, the speakers showed us how they have benefited from their Toastmaster training.

The meeting was presided over by Toastmasters International Area 17 (North Cork) Governor, Pat Duggan and joining him at the top table was Toastmaster/Contest Chair and President of Fermoy Toastmasters, Michael Sheehan.

Topicsmaster for the evening was Sean Corcoran who got many more tall tales during the topics session from those present.

Chief Judge for the contest was Maire Corbett, President of The Galtees Toastmasters and timers were Eamon Rea (The Galtees) and Cáit Murry (Speak Easy)

After the break we were treated to an interpretive reading project speech by John Dillon which was evaluated by Tony O’Regan.

This weekend, as far as Toastmasters are concerned its all roads lead to Killarney, where the Toastmasters District 71 Spring Conference will be held in the Gleneagle Hotel.

Toastmasters from all over Ireland and he UK will be attending for a weekend of contests, workshops and election of officers, not to mention singing, dancing, meeting up with old friends, making new ones and general merry making.

The next meeting of Speak Easy Toastmasters takes place in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday, May 15th at 8pm and you are invited.

Speak Easy Toastmasters are delighted to welcome guests to our meetings so why not come along and see what we are about.

Rest assured, as our guest, you will not be asked to speak.

If you have any questions on any aspect of Toastmasters International or Speak Easy Toastmasters, why not log on to our website at where you will find a comprehensive question and answer (Q&A) section.

If you have missed out on any of our weekly notes, you will find them archived in our continuously updated blog which is also accessible through our website.

Don’t forget, our next meeting on May 15’th. Looking forward to meeting you. Further information from our PRO , Sean on 086 6054784

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ah! go on, go on, go on.

“Ah! go on, go on, go on”, is probably the expression that most people associate with highly successful TV Series, Fr Ted. It is associated with housekeeper, Mrs Doyle as she endeavoured to persuade Fr, Ted, Dougall, and their visitors to have tea and more when they did not really want to.

So, I hear you ask, what does Mrs, Doyle and Speak Easy Toastmasters have in common.

The answer is quiet simple really, you see, if Mrs Doyle was a member of Toastmasters she would have a very different approach and indeed one that is sure to work.

We all have in our daily lives, cause to persuade people to do what we want them to do. Whether it is a work situation where we want to boss or people on a team to take on one of our ideas, or maybe we want to persuade the wife/girlfriend that a golfing holiday in Portugal is far superior to a cruise in the Pacific. Maybe even, as a wife/girlfriend you want to persuade him, that the cruise is way better than a boring ole golfing holiday.

You may want to persuade your son or daughter to tidy their room and have tried coaxing, dire threats even to the point that you will leave, and nothing seems to work.

Well, I have great news for you; Speak Easy Toastmasters is the place to be. As I have said before, Toastmasters International have many different programs and yes, there is even a program for you, if you can identify with any of the above. It is called, yes, “Persuasive Speaking”.

Like all Toastmasters Programs, “Persuasive Speaking” has five different projects in which all the required skills can be learned with practice.

If you find that in your life you need to persuade people to your viewpoint and are getting nowhere, why not try Toastmasters? 200,000 people in 92 countries around the world have, and have found a huge difference in their lives.

Speak Easy Toastmasters meet in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on alternate Thursday nights from 8 until 10pm and guests are most welcome. As a guest, you will not be asked to speak and you can come as our guest as often as you like.

On Saturday April 17th, at 8pm sharp, The Radisson SAS Hotel, Cork Airport is the place to be, as Toastmasters from Cork, Kerry and West Limerick gather for the final of the International Speech and Evaluation Contests. Speak Easy Toastmasters are proud to have Pat Sexton as representative of the clubs in North Cork, competing in the Evaluation Contest. Best of luck, Pat.

Tonight, Thursday 10th is the Club Tall Tales contest night which is going to be just fantastic, so why not come along?

Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had by visiting or contact Club PRO, Sean on 086 6054784

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Toastmasters skills in your daily life

While most of public speaking/toastmaster training is centred on a person giving a presentation and the audience listening, i.e. you talk, they listen. This type of communication is training is extremely important when one’s job or community activities require such presentations.

Think about your daily life, however, and another kind of communication becomes equally important.

Each day we interact with many people in a variety of situations. We may deal with clients and co-workers at work, our family and friends. We may be called upon to calm an upset customer/friend/relation or convince a sales assistant to refund your money. Persuade your son or daughter to clean their room or negotiate a raise with your employer.

Special skills are needed to successfully handle these types of situations and Toastmasters International; “Interpersonal Communications Program” will help you to develop them.

The program consists of five projects that require different interpersonal communication skills.

In the first project we learn how to start a conversation with a stranger.

Project two requires one to negotiate using win/win strategies to achieve a goal.

In the third project, we learn how techniques on how to diffuse verbal criticism.

In the next project we practice coaching someone who is not performing on your satisfaction and finally, you’ll learn to assert yourself effectively.

The projects in this program are challenging but they will provide you with valuable experience in communication with others.

As with all Toastmasters programs, toastmasters are required to complete the basic program, called “The Competent Communicator” program in which all the basic skills of speaking are learned and practiced.

So why not come along to any of our meetings and see for yourself? Speak Easy Toastmasters meet in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on alternate Thursdays from September to May.

Toastmaster meetings are not a classroom but a workshop in which members learn at their own pace in a mutually supportive atmosphere where the emphasis is on fun and friendship.

You are welcome to come along as our guest for as often as you want and rest assured, you, as a guest, will never be asked to speak.

Congratulations to Pat Sexton who won the Area Final of the Evaluation Contest which was held in the Charleville Park Hotel, last Saturday night. Pat will now compete in the next stage of the contest which will take place in the Raddisson Hotel, Cork Airport on Saturday, April 19th.

Well done, Pat.

The next 2 meetings of Speak Easy Toastmasters are on April 3rd and April 17th (Club Tall Tales Contest).

Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had by logging on to our website or contact club PRO, Sean on 086 6054784

Saints and Rats

What does a rat, St. Patrick and JB Keane have in common? They were all the subject of speeches by Speak Easy Toastmasters last Thursday evening in the Hibernian Hotel.

What an enjoyable meeting we had as five members of the club delivered great speeches.

The meeting was as usual opened by President, Anne Buckley who welcomed everyone.

Pat Duggan who is also Toastmasters International Area Governor was Toastmaster for the evening.

Pat started the evening with a slightly different format, by introducing Topicsmaster, Ray Ryan Jnr who kept our “speaking off the cuff “ skills sharpened with his well though out topics.

Pat then introduced the speakers and the first to the lectern was Jean Sayers.

Jean who is a relatively new member to Speak Easy Toastmasters was delivering her second speech which was entitled, “The wearing of the Green”. A most fascinating story of St Patrick which was filled with facts of the Saint himself and the day of celebration.

Following Jean was Anne Buckley with a speech entitled, “Distant Memories”. Anne told us of meeting JB Keane himself and also the contribution he made to rural Ireland and its people through the medium of his plays, stories, poetry and song.

Next to the lectern was Mary Buckley whose speech project was from “Speciality Speeches” was “Receiving an Award”. Mary is a past President of Speak Easy is the Coordinator of the Inter Schools Public Speaking Competition.

Following Mary was Marie Fitzpatrick with a speech entitled, “Closure” which told of her hilarious student experiences with a rat who took up residence in her apartment.

And last but not least to the lectern was the club’s newest member, Nora Murphy, with her Icebreaker Speech. (the Icebreaker Speech is one in which the new member delivers first to a club).

The speech was entitled, “The Volunteer” in which she told us of her experiences and the effect that being a full time volunteer for a year had on her.

Other members on the program were Sean Corcoran, Timekeeper; Michael Cronin, Ah-Counter; Bridie O’Connell, General Evaluator; Sgt at Arms, Mary Moynahan and Evaluators, Angela Sheehan, Loretto Barry, Jerry Mulcahy, Liam Flynn and Pat Sexton.

The next meeting of Speak Easy Toastmasters will take place on April 17th and will be the club’s Tall Tales Contest. This is a contest were members vie to see who could in 3-5 minutes tell the tallest tale. It is an evening not to be missed as there are sure to be some fantastic yarns told.

So remember if you want to hear some “good ones” come along the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on April 17th at 7.50 for an 8pm start.

Remember that guests are most welcome to attend our meetings and are never asked to speak so come along and relax.

Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had by visiting our website at or contact our club PRO Sean on 086 6054784.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Stories, Bubbly and Nibbles

Wednesday 27th of March saw another brilliant meeting of Speak East Toastmasters. A meeting which had everything from Storytelling to education, plus of course, fun, laughter and what Speak Easy Toastmasters are famous for….”craic” this night we had the added enjoyment of a glass of champaign. But more about that later.

President Anne Buckley welcomed us, one and all to the meeting and introduced us to Joe Hassett, our Toastmaster for the evening. Joe guided us smoothly and efficiently through the meeting with plenty of humour as he introduced the speakers and officers.

Next to the lectern was guest speaker and visiting toastmaster, Dick Lyons from the Galtees Toastmasters in Mitchelstown .Dick entertained us with a light hearted storytelling project entitled, “Once upon a time”. Storytelling is something that is ingrained in us all and Dick certainly showed his talents in this skill.

Following Dick to the lectern was our club EVP (Educational Vice President) with a “Speaking to Inform” project called “The Abstract Concept” in which he had to research and organize the thought of experts on an abstract concept, theory, historical force, or social/political issue and
present the ideas in a clear and interesting manner. The title of Ray’s speech was “The Porter Diamond” which was a business concept.

Finally it was the turn of Vivien Buckley who was presenting an educational session. Vivien gave us a presentation entitled, “Don’t put them to sleep” in which she told us how to present an interesting talk to any audience taking into consideration items such as audience age and gender, educational background, and much more. Vivien emphasised her presentation with a dynamic Power Point Presentation.

A special presentation was made by the club to Mike Cronin to celebrate his winning the Mallow Sports and Leisure, Club Person/Leisure Award 2008. The presentation as made by Toastmasters International Area Governor, Pat Duggan who praised Mike for his dedication to the Speak Easy Club over the years holding many different officer roles within and outside the club. Mike replied appropriately.

Then club members and guests toasted Mike with a glass of bubbly and some nibbles (edible ones)

After the break it was the turn of Mary Buckley who led a most entertaining topics session in which she made certain that every toastmaster present had a chance of answering a topic.

General Evaluator was Angela Sheehan.

The next meeting of Speak Easy Toastmasters will take place in the Hibernian Hotel on April 3rd at 7.50 for and 8.00pm start.

Area 17 (North Cork) finals of the International Speech and Evaluation Contests will take place in the Charelville Park Hotel tonight, Thursday 27 in which Pat Sexton represents Speak Easy Toastmasters.

Best of luck, Pat.

Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had on our website or contact Club PRO on 086 5054784

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Speciality Speeches

Occasionally you may be called upon to give a special kind of speech, one presented in honour of a friend, relative or co-worker. Perhaps a loved one has passed away and you will be saying a few words at the service. Or you have been invited formal awards dinner at which you will be a recipient.

Speeches such as these can be difficult to give because they often involve sentiment or special decorum. If the occasion is a sad or even a happy one, you may be hesitant to speak for fear of breaking down or inadvertently saying something that will offend. Perhaps modesty and embarrassment also contribute towards making you hesitant to accept an award.

Such speeches are indeed challenging, but you can give them successfully.

The Speciality Speeches Program in Toastmasters contains five speaking assignments which will help a person develop the necessary skills for giving special occasion speeches.

In the first project, one would present a special occasion toast. In project two, requires one to give a speech in praise of another individual. In the third project, a person can have fun participating in a “roast”. The following project asks a person to present an award to someone and finally, in the last project, one will learn how to accept an award with style and ease.

Skills such as these can come into play not just during the dramatic events of your life, but during day-to-day experiences when a special comment or reply is required. However you apply the skills acquired in The Speciality Speeches Program you will be sure to expand your presentation skills and become a proficient special occasion speaker.

The Speciality Speeches Program is just one of the many programs that are practiced by Toastmasters to hone their presentation skills. Before a Toastmaster “graduates” to the more advanced programs he/she must complete the Competent Communicator Program.

This is where the basic skills of public speaking are learned.

Of course, as well as the skills of speaking, we also practice listening or evaluating. This is how we learn to give feedback to a speaker in such a way that gives praise and encouragement but also to tactfully make suggestions for improvement.

It is now Easter week and we have just five more meetings to go before the summer break.

Why don’t you take the opportunity to come along to one of our meetings after Easter and see what we do in Speak Easy Toastmasters? You will be very welcome indeed and I will guarantee that you will enjoy the Toastmaster experience and don’t worry, non Toastmasters are never asked to speak at a Toastmasters meeting.

Further information can be had from our website at or contact club PRO, Sean on 086 6054784

Monday, March 10, 2008

Winners and Winners

Oliver Wendell Holmes the great American physician, poet and writer once said, “It is the province of knowledge to speak, it is the privilege of wisdom to listen”. It could be argued that he was writing specifically about the Speak Easy Toastmasters Speech and Evaluation Contests which were held in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow last Thursday night.

What a night of great speeches presented by great speakers we had. One of the purposes of speech contests is to provide an opportunity to learn by observing the more proficient speakers who have benefited by their toastmaster training.

That is certainly what happened as all the skills of great speechmaking were on show.

Pat Sexton with his speech entitled, “ Can We Do It”. Michael Cronin with, “Happiness”. Joe Hassett with, “ Overpopulation, the Real Problem”. Liam Flynn with, “The Anvil of Life” and Ray Ryan Jnr. With “Mobile Phone Hazard”

This was one of these contests where the judges are not to be envied in their job of choosing a winner but a winner had to be chosen and it was Pat Sexton who was victor on the night with Michael Cronin as runner up.

The contestants in the Evaluation Contest were Michael Cronin, Ray Ryan Jnr, Tony O’Regan, Pat Sexton and Marie Fitzpatrick and once again we were treated to an amazingly high standard. The Test Speaker in this contest was Brian McLoughlan from Mullingar Toastmasters with a hilariously funny speech entitled, “Did you hear the one about the….?” Pat Sexton was the eventual winner of this contest with Tony O’Regan as runner up.

Even though in all contests there has to be a winner but in Toastmasters Contests all contestants are winners for the commitment that is put into the preparation of their speeches.

Congratulations to all who took part.

No contest can be a success without the teamwork and attention to detail that is put into the organization of such events and congratulations to Club President Anne Buckley and EVP Ray Ryan and the team on the night. Contest Chair, Sean Corcoran, Topicsmaster, Margaret O’Regan who kept us on out toes with her topics during contest breaks,

Chief Judge, Angela Sheehan and here team who were, Counters, Cait Murray and Mary Moynahan, Timekeepers, Jerry Mulcahy and Michael Walsh and the Judges from the four North Cork Clubs of The Galtees (Mitchelstown), Fáilte (Charleville) and Fermoy Toastmasters.

Pat Sexton represents Speak Easy Toastmasters in the Area Final which will take place in the Charleville Park Hotel on March 27th.

The next meeting of Speak Easy Toastmasters will take place on Wednesday 19th (please note the change of night).

Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had on our website at or contact Club PRO, Sean on 086 6054784

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

All About Contests

As we have been discussing in these notes over the past number of months, being a toastmaster is the best way of developing a large array of skills such as presentation, listening and evaluating, speaking off the cuff, leadership skills etc. but also in Toastmasters members like to push the boat out a little further and step outside our comfort zone.

As Edward Gibbon the English historian once said “we improve ourselves by victories over ourselves” and that really is the purpose of toastmasters contests and of course other toastmasters learn by watching the more experienced members taking part in contests.

In Toastmasters we have five contests each year. The International Speech Contest, the Humorous Speech Contest, the Tall Tales Contest, the Evaluation Contest and the Table Topics Contest.

Since Speak Easy Toastmasters was founded in 1993 members have been successful in contest at Area, Division and District contests and this success is due both to member’s dedication and club ethos.

Toastmasters contests are run according to strict rules laid down by Toastmasters International and no matter where in the world a toastmasters contest is held the rules and criteria will be the exactly same.

The winners from a club contest will go on to compete at the next level which is Area level (group of 3-5 clubs in a geographical area). The winner of the Area Contest will then go on to compete in a Division Contest (group of 6-8 areas in a larger geographical area) and the winners of a Division Contest will then compete in a District Final which in our case is District 71 and encompasses Ireland and the UK.

Speak Easy Toastmasters hold their International Speech contest and Evaluation Contests on Thursday night March 6’th in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow and “you” are welcome to come along and see club members demonstrating their speaking skills.

The next contest which will be the Area Final will take place in the new Charleville Park Hotel on Thursday March 27th . Put it in our diary now.

The Division final will be held on Saturday April 19th in the Radisson Hotel, Cork Airport.

So why not come along tonight, Thursday, to the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow and join us for the evening. Guests at our meetings are most welcome. We will serve you tea/coffee and biscuits and have a chat in our relaxed atmosphere and afterwards if you like, join us in the bar.

Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had on our website at or contact our PRO Sean on 086 6054784

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Well Done, Mike

Speak Easy Toastmasters brought February to a close with another brilliant meeting at the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow with four great speeches from three members and one guest speaker.

The meeting was opened by President Anne Buckley who welcomed members and guests and introduced the officers for the evening, Toastmaster, Marie Fitzpatrick and Topicsmaster, Joe Hassett.

Marie, explained the duties of the various officers of the evening and then brought us smoothly through the meeting in her own style of humour and efficiency.

Marie introduced our first speaker of the evening, Jean Sayers. Not only was Jane the first speaker of the evening, it was also her first speech (Icebreaker Speech) to the club, with the title of, “Me” in which she introduced herself to the club members. “Welcome to Speak Easy Toastmasters, Jean”.

Following Jean was Mary Moynahan with a speech entitled, “The Real Deal” in which she told us of her love of traditional music and sessions with plenty of anecdotes to enhance her speech.

Next to the lectern was our guest speaker, Helen Buckley from the “Nice and Easy Club”. In a speech called, “My Day Trip”, Helen told us of a trip to Dublin which took in a visit to the Guinness Brewery. Helen’s visit and speech was most appreciated by members and guests alike and we hope it will not be too long before Helen is back in Speak Easy again.

Finally it was the turn of Pat Duggan with an Interpretive Reading project in which he recited a poem by Tennyson.

Pat Duggan is also Area Governor for Area 17 (North Cork) and in his address to the meeting he praised the Club and officers for Toastmasters achievements

After the break, Topicsmaster, Joe Hassett both entertained and kept us on our toes with a varied and innovative topics session and Margaret O’Regan conducted the evaluation session giving both praise and suggestions for improvement as necessary.

Congratulations to Speak Easy member Michael Cronin who received the “Club Person/Leisure Award 2008 at the Annual Mallow Sports and Leisure Awards Ceremony last Friday night in Springfort Hall. Michael is a very popular and long time member of the Club and members are delighted that he has achieved the recognition that he so richly deserved for his dedication not only to the Speak Easy Club but to Toastmasters International.

Our next meeting is on Thursday, March 6th and will be the club heats of the International Speech Contest and Evaluation Contest. It is one of the highlights of our year and a night not to be missed.

Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had from our website, or contact our PRO, Sean on 086 6054784