Monday, January 28, 2008

Ghosts, Fairies and Toastmaster Contests

Last Thursday night in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow saw another fantastic meeting of Speak Easy Toastmasters in which President, Anne Buckley began by welcoming the usual great attendance of over thirty members and guests.

She also welcomed, especially, the three visiting toastmasters who were on the program, Mark Twomey from the “Nice and Easy Club”, Maire Corbett, from “The Galtees” and Michael Buckley from “Crusaders” in Cork City.

Angela Sheehan was our Toastmaster for the night and guided us through the meeting with her usual humour and efficiency.

First to the lectern was Mark Twomey with a speech entitled “Going Through Life” in which he told us about himself and the area in which he lives with such skill that we were there with him all the way. We hope it will not be too long until we welcome Mark back again with another speech. Mark’s speech was evaluated by Tony O’Regan.

Following Mark was Maire Corbett with a speech entitled “We manage fine without them” in which she humorously told us of her experiences with mobile phones, both as a user and unintentional listener. Lorretto Barry evaluated Maire’s speech.

Then it was the turn of Michael Buckley with an interpretive reading project. Michael entertained us by reciting, is his own distinctive style and humour, two songs from the seventies, Ape Man and Free Electric Band. Michael Walsh evaluated.

Following Michael was Tim Casey with a cleverly constructed speech in which he performed a dialogue between father and son on ghosts and fairies. Sean Corcoran evaluated.

Pat Sexton gave us what is known in Toastmasters as, an educational session, in which he told us how speech contests were organized as there are five of these contests annually. Ray Ryan was Pat’s evaluator.

After the tea break it was of Topicsmaster of the evening Jerry Kelleher who both entertained and educated with his well researched list of topics. This is the part of every toastmasters meeting in which the members are asked to speak for two minutes on a particular topic. The Topicsmaster of the evening is the only one who knows what the topics are so members must speak “off the cuff”.

A daunting task for even the most experienced toastmasters but that is how we improve, by doing.

Yes, the answers can be hilarious and that is why it is known as the “fun” part of the meeting.

Finally General Evaluator for the evening, Michael Cronin, who conducted the “Evaluation Session”. In this part of the meeting, members who have been designated as evaluators give feedback to those who made speeches. A most important aspect of Toastmasters, as speakers are told how they performed and what improvements they could make in the future to make them become even better speakers.

Michael also called for reports from the Sgt at Arms, Joe Hassett and Mary Moynihan, Timekeeper, Margaret O’Regan and “Ah Counter”, Maire Fitzpatrick.

The next meeting of Speak Easy Toastmasters will be on Thursday night, February 7th at 7.50pm.

Once again, Speak Easy Toastmasters invite “you” to come along as our guest.

You will be made most welcome and please note that guests are never asked to speak at a Toastmasters meeting.

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

Monday, January 21, 2008

More and More

From September last, in these notes, we have looked at the various skills that are practiced at toastmasters meetings. Skills such as voice projection, using overheads, organizing your speech etc.

On alternate Thursdays over the coming months we will look at how Toastmasters use these skills.

We (Toastmasters) are often asked, “What do you do when all these skills are learnt, is that it?” and we are delighted to answer, “No, it is only the beginning”

You see, the Toastmasters program is designed that once a person has the initial program (or manual) called “The Competent Communicator”, completed, they can go on to specialise in or learn other skills.

For instance, if in a person’s job they had to give presentations before colleagues or customers they would benefit by completing the “Technical Presentations”, or “Speeches by Management” programs.

Would you like to be the life and soul of the party? Then you could complete the “Humorously Speaking”, “Entertaining Speaker” or even “The Storytelling” programs

If someone was active in the community and was attending or organizing functions then one could get involved in “The Leadership” aspect of Toastmasters where you learn organizational and leadership skills.

If a person really wants to hone their speechmaking skills, there are contests, yes, contests.

In Toastmasters we have five separate contests annually which have various heats at club, area, division and district levels.

“Is it all work and no play”? I hear you ask. Not at all. The two f’s are a very important part of Toastmasters meetings and gatherings. Go on ask, what are the two f’s. Fun and friendship, that’s what.

Fun and friendship within toastmasters is what brings over 30 members, friends and guests each fortnight to Speak Easy Toastmasters meetings.

Only last Saturday night members, spouses and friends paid another visit to the Everyman Theatre to the performance of “Tom Crean - Antarctic Explorer” A remarkable show by Aidan Dooley.

Such is the camaraderie within the club.

So why not come along to any of our meetings as our guest and see for yourself? We meet in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on alternate Thursdays at 7.50 for an 8pm sharp start.

You will be made most welcome and don’t worry, guests are never asked to speak at a Toastmasters meeting.

Our next meeting is….Tonight, Thursday 24th , as it happens, and on the program we have Angela Sheehan as Toastmaster of the evening and keeping members on their toes will be Jerry Kelleher as Topicsmaster. Watching over the proceedings will be Michael Cronin as General Evaluator and making sure we don’t go over time is Margaret O’Regan as Timekeeper.

The Speakers will be, Mark Twomey fron the Nice and Easy Club. Maire Corbett from The Galtees Club, Michael Buckley from the Crusaders Club and Tim Casey and Pat Sexton from Speak Easy.

Don’t forget, The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow, tonight at 7.50pm.

See you there.

Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had from our website, for contact Club PRO, Seán on 086 6054784

Friday, January 11, 2008

Wind and Rain? No problem to Speak Easy Toastmasters

Over thirty members and guests made there way to the Hibernian Hotel in Mallow last Thursday night for the first meeting of Speak Easy Toastmasters.

Did the bad weather or the threat of further rain and wind bother us? Not at all such is the commitment of club members.

Our Vice President Education, Ray Ryan Jnr had a great program laid out on the night and joining President, Anne Buckley at the top table were Lorretto Barry who was Toastmaster (MC) for the evening and Gerry O’Callaghan as Topicsmaster.

Anne welcomed members and guests and announced the Club Outing to the Everyman Theatre so see Tom Crean - Antarctic Explorer which we are all looking forward to.

Lorretto Barry started the off evening in her own individual style, by introducing all the officers and their roles for the evening and then introduced and welcomed the speakers.

First to the lectern was Club PRO Sean Corcoran, with a speech entitled, “A Good Fishing Spot” which was a humorous look at a fishing trip on a recent holiday. Marie Fitzpatrick evaluated.

Following Sean was Joe Hassett with a speech entitled, “The Third Sector”. Joe told us, with the aid of a well created Power Point Presentation, about the sector of the economy who were neither in the public nor private sectors and included striking statistics to bring home his message. Pat Sexton evaluated.

Next to the lectern was Noel O’Connor with a project from the Interpretive Reading Manual. Noel choose to read to us a story called “Off The Scrapheap” from the book, “On Land and Water” by local Author, Marie Welford. Jerry Mulcahy evaluated.

Finally, it was the turn of Club VPE, Ray Ryan Jnr, with a speech entitled “Mobile Health Hazard” which he told up, with the aid of overheads, of the health issues involved in the excessive use of mobile phones, Michael Cronin evaluated.

After the tea break is was the turn of Gerry O’Callaghan to keep us on our toes with the Table Topics session, This is where the members are asked to speak for two minutes, completely unprepared, on any subject of Gerry’s choice. Gerry had a range of topics from, the spring sales to water charges to schools.

The final part of the meeting was the Evaluation Session which was conducted by Pat Duggan. This is the part of every Toastmasters meeting were valuable feedback is given to the speakers by their evaluator.

Giving evaluations is a skill learned by all Toastmasters and requires the individual to listen carefully to the speech and to be able to tell the speaker where he or she excelled and where improvements may be made for future projects.

Pat also gave his comments on how the officers of the meeting performed and his impression of the meeting in general.

The next meeting of Speak Easy Toastmasters takes place on Thursday, January 24th. Why not come along and join us for the evening. Guests and of course, past members are very welcome to come along. Don’t worry, as a guest, you will not be asked to speak and you can come along as often as you like.

The purpose of a Toastmasters Club is to get people to be comfortable speaking before and audience so, the more the merrier.

So remember the date, Thursday, January 24th at 7.50pm for an 8.00pm start in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow.

Looking forward to meeting you.

For further information, visit our website or contact Sean on 086 6054784

Monday, January 07, 2008

First Meeting of 2008

Tonight, Thursday 10th, all roads lead to the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow, why?

Because it’s the first meeting of 2008 for Speak Easy Toastmasters, that’s why. We are facing a couple of more months of dark and maybe cold evenings and where better to spend one evening every fortnight than with friends, enjoying oneself, having a chat, learning and having fun.

Speak Easy Toastmaster are part of Toastmasters International which is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations.

Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organization has nearly 220,000 members in 11,300 clubs in 90 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience.

A Toastmasters meeting is a learn-by-doing workshop in which participants hone their speaking and leadership skills in a friendly atmosphere. A typical group has 20 to 40 members who meet fortnightly to practice public speaking techniques. Meetings last for 2 hours 8-10pm

Members learn communication skills by working in the Competent Communication manual, a series of 10 self-paced speaking assignments designed to instill a basic foundation in public speaking. Participants learn skills related to use of humor, gestures, eye contact, speech organization and overall delivery. When finished with this manual, members can choose from 15 advanced manuals to learn skills related to specific interests.

Members also learn leadership skills by taking on various meeting roles and serving as officers at the club and district levels, and by working in the Competent Leadership manual and the High Performance Leadership program. In our learn-by-doing approach, we don't lecture our members about leadership skills; we give them responsibilities and ask them to lead.

There is no instructor in a Toastmasters meeting. Instead, members evaluate one another’s presentations. This feedback process is a key part of the program’s success. Meeting participants also give impromptu talks on assigned topics, conduct meetings, serve as officers in various leadership roles and learn rules related to timing, grammar and parliamentary procedure.

Speak Easy Toastmasters in one of many clubs that can be found all over Ireland and was formed in 1993. The Club has approx. 30 members from all walks of life and is gender equal.

Since it’s formation Speak Easy members have won numerous toastmaster contests at both local and district (Ireland and UK) level.

The club are constantly recognised by Toastmasters International by being presented with the “Presidents Distinguished Award” which is the highest award that a club can get.

Further details of the club history and awards can be obtained by logging on to the club’s website,

Over the past few months we, in these notes, have been looking at some of the skills that are learned at Speak Easy Toastmasters meetings and on alternate Thursdays we will be looking at how Toastmasters use these skills.

If you have missed any of our weekly notes, they can be read on our blog which is accessed through our website.

Tonight, joining our President Anne Buckley at the top table will be Toastmaster of the evening, Lorretto Barry and Topicsmaster, Gerry O’Callaghan.

With Pat Duggan as General Evaluator and Timekeeper, Jane Sayers..

Speeches will be delivered by Joe Hassett, Noel O’Connor, Sean Corcoran and Ray Ryan. Evaluators are Pat Sexton, Marie Fitzpatrick, Jerry Mulcahy and Michael Cronin.

So why not come along tonight, Thursday 10th to the Hibernian Hotel in Mallow.

You will be most welcome and remember that guests at a toastmaster meeting are never asked to speak.

You can come along as our guest as many times as you like and enjoy yourself.

Don’t forget, Hibernian Hotel, Mallow tonight Thursday 10th at 7.50pm for and 8pm start.

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