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, www.speakeasytoastmasters.com or contact our PRO, Sean on 086 6054784

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Storytelling has been a form of communication throughout the history of mankind. It’s part of every civilisation on every continent. Early storytellers told of the deeds of their heroes; these stories were expanded over the years to include tales and fables.

The earliest known epic was “Gilgamesh” first told by the Sumerians. Later, came the Anglo Saxton tale of “Beowulf”. Storytellers related the Greek myths, which included gods with supernatural powers.

Storytelling continued during the Middle Ages, with tellers delighting their listeners with tales of war and love. In the 14th century Geoffrey Chaucer retold the stories he’d heard from a band of pilgrims travelling from London to Canterbury. Chaucer put the stories on paper in his “Canterbury Tales”.

In Ireland we have a long tradition of storytelling and tales from “Na Fianna” “Cuchullan” etc are well known to generations. We also are so lucky to have our Seanchai (which means a bearer of old lore), The late Eamon Kelly possibly being the most famous. Speak Easy Toastmasters were indeed honoured that Eamon launched the Area 17 book of speeches, “ A Taste of Toastmasters” in March 1996.

Storytelling continues to be popular. People love to hear and tell stories.

Storytelling is great entertainment, yet it has a purpose, too. We tell stories to children to introduce them to the world of literature.

In many families, tales about family history and ancestors are passed down from generation to generation through storytelling. Many public speakers tell stories as part of their presentations. They find that a well-told story will attract listeners attention and can emphasize or illustrate a point.

Toastmasters International have a program which is very popular with members and is aptly named “Storytelling”. This program has 5 projects, “The Folk Tale”, “Lets Get Personal”, “The Moral of the Story”, “The Touching Story” and “Bringing History to Life”

Each of these projects are designed to progressively increase the Toastmasters skills in the art of Storytelling and great emphasis is placed on such skills as tempo and rhythm, bringing a story to life, keeping a story simple, introducing a twist and to arouse emotion.

So you see, in Toastmasters we have a much varied program that keeps members both entertained and constantly increasing their communication skills.

So why not come along to any of our meeting and see for yourself. You will be very welcome and don’t worry, you will not be asked to speak as guests at a Toastmasters meeting never are.

Tonight, Thursday 21 we meet as usual in the Hibernian Hotel, Davis St. Mallow at 7.50 for an 8pm sharp start.

Joining President Anne Buckley at the top table will be Toastmaster for the evening, Marie Fitzpatrick, Topicsmaster, Joe Hassett. General Evaluator is Margaret O’Regan.

Speakers on the program are Jean Sayers, Mary Moynahan, Dennis Taylor and guest speaker, Helen Buckley from the “Nice and Easy Club”

Speak Easy Toastmasters are also honoured to have an address by Toastmasters Area 17 Governor, Pat Duggan.

So come along tonight to the Hibernian Hotel in Mallow, tonight, we will be delighted to meet you.

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

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Little Bit of History

On February 7th 1964 the Beatles landed in New York to be greeted by 3000 fans and a piece of history made. On Thursday February 7th 2008 members of Speak Easy Toastmasters gathered in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow for their fortnightly meeting where we had our little bit of history, fun and enjoyment.

We had our usual attendance of, approx.30 members and guests who were greeted and made welcome by our President, Anne Buckley who then introduced the top table of Toastmaster for the evening, Margaret O’Regan and Topicsmaster, Sean Corcoran.

Margaret, guided us though the meeting in her efficient, amiable and humorous style and the first speaker she called to the lectern was Liam Flynn.

Liam, was completing his stage 6 speech which was entitled, “May Day” and was a well researched history of the Lifeboat Service interspersed with anecdotes both humorous and sad and made all the more interesting by Liam’s personal experiences.

Following Liam was Joe Hassett with a speech entitled, “We Couldn’t do that”. Joe delivered this speech with out notes (which was one of the aims of his project) and challenged us to look at the drug problem in Ireland in a different light. A well researched speech backed up by statistics to enhance his viewpoint.

Then it was the turn of Anne Buckley who was doing a Storytelling project. Anne had us enthralled for the duration of her speech as she told us of memories of her Grandmother and stories from the War of Independence, emigration and life in the early part of the century.

Next to the lectern was Pat Duggan. Pat is a past president of Speak Easy Toastmasters and is at present Toastmasters Area 17 Governor (North Cork) and he was doing an Interpretive Reading project. He choose to read and interpret two of Nelson Mandella’s speeches, “I am the first accused” and “Free at Last”

Our last speaker of the evening was Michael Cronin with a speech entitled “Car Trouble” in which he took a hillarious look at his experience with his car, the NCT and general maintenance.

President Anne Buckley also congratulated Michael on his nomination for the Mallow Sports and Leisure Awards which will be held in Springfort Hall on Friday 22nd of February.

After the tea break it was the turn of our Topicsmaster for the evening, Sean Corcoran who had members practicing their “off the cuff” speaking skills with topics such as, “ Dustin the Turkey and Eurosong 2008”, “little white lies”, “most useless gadget” “3 person murder mystery” and “lucky dip”.

This “Topics” section of a Toastmasters meeting usually lasts for twenty minutes after which it is the turn of the General Evaluator to conduct the Evaluation session.

This is the part of the meeting that feedback is given to those members who presented speeches, good points praised, encouragement and recommendations for improvement made.

Members who evaluate are also practicing their speaking and listening skills.

Ray Ryan Jnr. Was our General Evaluator and gave his view on how the meeting was ran, made observations on how the evaluators performed and offered suggestions on improvements.

Evaluators were, John Dillon, Tony O’Regan, Pat Sexton, Angela Sheehan and Marie Fitzpatrick.

Mary Buckley was our “Ah Counter”. This is a relatively new position in Speak Easy Toastmasters and is designed to help members improve on their speaking by reducing their use of “crutch words” like “um”, “ah”, “like” etc.

Gerry Mulcahy was timekeeper and Joe Hassett and Mary Moynahan were Sgt at Arms.

Speak Easy Toastmasters next meeting is on February 21st in the Hibernian Hotel and you are invited to come along as our guest for the evening. Don’t worry, guests are never asked to speak at a Toastmasters meeting.

Toastmaster meetings start at 8pm sharp and finish and 10pm with an optional 3rd part of the meeting in the bar afterwards for a chat.

Toastmasters is a great way to brush up on, or learn speaking skills and indeed listening skills and best of all, the skills are learned in a workshop type environment where the emphasis is on fun and friendship.

Why not give us a call and see for yourself? You won’t be disappointed.

For further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters, visit our continuously updated website at www. Speakeasytoastmasters.com or give our PRO, Sean a ring on 086 6054784

Monday, February 04, 2008

Laughter is the best....

As you look around you, now that we are into February you can see the signs that spring is here. The daffodils are well above ground and indeed in some sheltered places they are even flowering. New growth can be seen on plants and hedging and

There is a notable stretch in the evenings. It makes one feel good.

Of course there is another way to feel good whether it is in spring, or the dead of winter. “Really, and how is that, I hear you ask” and the answer is of course to join Speak Easy Toastmasters.

You see, in Toastmasters we have fun at every meeting and indeed some of us even specialise in fun and good humour.

The Toastmasters International Program is structured in such a way that when a member has mastered the basics of public speaking we then go on to complete more advanced projects and this week we have a look at the Toastmasters Humorous Speech Program.

People like to laugh, right? Of course they do because laughter is a release and an escape from problems and situations that people encounter daily. Laughter has even been found to have positive physical benefits. It relieves stress and tension and relaxes us.

The purpose of the Toastmasters Humorous Speech Program is not to make one into a comedian but to simply help one to use humour in speeches and presentations and indeed when one is talking among a group of friends or one to one.

Using humour in the above situations will help establish a bond with ones audience.

It certainly helps win over a hostile audience and keep them interested.

It will certainly make people remember you.

The Humorous Speech Program is divided up into five separate modules,

A, how to use a short humorous story to open a speech or presentation.

B. to start a speech with a humorous story and to use one to emphasize the main point of the speech when closing the speech.

C. this module requires one to use jokes to emphasize the presentation’s main points.

D. teaches one how to tell an opening joke and string together several jokes in the presentation.

E. this project allows you to use your creativity to tell a long humorous story.

All the material to master using humour is contained in the Toastmasters Humorous Speech Manual and remember that the skills learned in this program are just as valid for someone telling a humorous story at a party, family gathering or, yes, even in the pub.

Many people in Toastmasters used to be of the opinion that they couldn’t “do humour” but after completing this program found out that not only could they “do humour” but were extremely good at it and even went on to take part in and win humorous speech contests.

Don’t just take my word for it, come along to any meeting of Speak Easy Toastmasters and see for yourself. We will be delighted to welcome you as our guest for the night and don’t worry, guests at a Toastmasters meeting are never asked to speak so come along, relax and enjoy yourself.

If you are reading this on Thursday 7th come along tonight to the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 7.50 for and 8pm start. If you read this too late, don’t worry we meet again on February 21. Put it in your diary.

On our program tonight we have Margaret O’Regan as Toastmaster for the evening with Bridie O’Connell as Topicsmaster and Ray Ryan Jnr. as General Evaluator.

Speakers on the program are Joe Hassett, Liam Flynn, Anne Buckley, Pat Duggan and Michael Cronin.

Don’t forget, The Hibernian Hotel. Mallow, tonight. Looking forward to meeting you.

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