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