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