Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Skeleton Woman

Last Thursday night in The Hibernian Hotel in Mallow saw another brilliant meeting of Speak Easy Toastmasters. Joining President, Ray Ryan at the top table was Toastmaster, Margaret O’Regan and Topicsmaster Cáit Murray.

Our first speaker was Declan Curtis with a speech entitled, “Adaption” in which Declan told us how we naturally adapt to various situations and that we would do so again in the climate that we find ourselves in.

Then it was the turn of Grant March who kept us in suspense with his speech, which was his interpretation of, “The Skeleton Woman”

Jean Sayers told us of the history of the Irish language in her speech, “Tír Gan Ainm” and how we could use the language more in our everyday lives..

Last on the programme was Eugene O’Connell with his speech, “In the beginning was a word” which was a history of The Word magazine from its inception in 1953 to its final edition last December.

Cáit Murray kept us on our toes with her topics. This is the part of the meeting where members are asked to speak for two minutes on a subject that Cáit had chosen. Great training for those times when a person is caught unawares to comment on something unexpected.

Other members who were on the programme were, General Evaluator, Anne Buckley, Timekeeper, Jerry Mulcahy, Evaluators, Michael Cronin, Bridie O’Connell, Liam Flynn and Ray Ryan.

Our next meeting on April 2nd is a theme meeting with the title “Rakes and Rebels” and is dedicated to Mallow in the late 1700 and early 1800’s. Toastmasters, Joe Hassett, Cáit Murray, Ray Ryan, Anne Buckley and Angela Sheehan will be delivering speeches, in the first person, on various people and events of that time.

For the evening, our normal meeting room in the Hibernian Hotel will for the evening become the famous Long Room.
If you are interested in the history of Mallow, why not come along to our meeting next Thursday, April 2nd at 7,50pm for an 8.00pm start.

Upcoming Toastmasters events are the Area 17 Finals in The Grand Hotel, Fermoy on April 7th, Division Finals on April 19th in The Oriel House Hotel, Ballincollig.

So to conclude, you are invited to come along to any of our meetings and see what toastmasters is all about? Guests are most welcome and will not be asked to speak.

Speak Easy Toastmasters meet on alternate Thursday nights in The Hibernian Hotel from September to May and further information can be had by visiting our website at or contact club PRO, Seán on 0866054784

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Don't get Trapped

Don’t get trapped in a routine. The secret of success is to practice what you are not good at. Get uncomfortable. A sport’s man, when asked to identify the secret of his success, replied ’I practiced what I was not good at’ All successful people both in and out of Toastmasters have had to overcome obstacles in life.

What determines their ability to transcend those obstacles and fears is a great willingness to stretch their comfort zones. In a Toastmaster’s Club your comfort zone is measured by the speeches you give and the assignments you take on.

Successful Toastmasters have one thing in common – they form the habit of THOROUGH PREPARATION and ACTIVE LISTENING. Those who clock watch and day dream do not get far.

Your habits reflect your personality. They influence how you dress; walk; sit; smile and laugh. As part of your internal makeup most habits are formed early in life. By adulthood those habits are much easier to follow than change. If you want to be more successful both in and out of Toastmasters, you must make an effort to reject stagnation, and form habits of self improvement. To evaluate your personal habits – ask yourself
• Do successful happy people seem to enjoy my company.
• Do others seek my advice
• Do I continue to grow through careful reading and exposure to stimulating ideas.
• Do I surround myself with positive uplifting influences.
• Do I usually feel good about myself
• Do I look for new ways to improve my speaking, writing, and listening skills

Remember a lack of time is almost always a lack of organization and management. The ability to invest time wisely is a habit acquired through deliberate choice. Success requires passion and is governed by the laws of habit.

To develop habits, one must have an objective. It is never the strength of a goal that will make you do anything in life. It is the strength of the purpose behind it. If your goal in life is to make money to put bread on the table, then that is all you will do. This standard requires you to cross the finish line only because it exists. In order to achieve a far greater level of success, you must have passion to go the distance. So finally “Never be content with what you are, if you want to be what you are not”

The dates for upcoming Speak Easy Toastmasters meetings are as follows,
March 19th, April 2nd and April 30th at 7.50 for an 8.00pm sharp start.

The meeting of April 2nd will be slightly different that usual insofar it is a “Theme Meeting” with the title “Rakes and Rebels”. It is dedicated to Mallow in the late 1700 to early 1800.

Members will be presenting speeches, speaking in the first instance, and is sure to be a fantastic evening so put it in your diaries.

Michael Cronin’s winning humorous speech, “Feel the fear and do it anyway” can now be viewed on Youtube. Just search for “Speak Easy Toastmasters Mallow.

Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had by visiting our website, or contact our PRO Seán on 0866054784

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Club Contest Night

Last Thursday night in The Hibernian Hotel in Mallow saw the club heat of both the International Speech Contest and the Evaluation Contest.

In Toastmasters International there are five contests each year, The Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests which are held in the Autumn and the International Speech and Evaluation Contests which are held in the spring.There is also a Tall Tales contest held in April.

The International Speech Contest is a contest in which there is a world champion, the final will be held at the International Convention in Connecticut USA on August 12-15th.
Each toastmasters club in the world are holding their contests about now and from one of them will come a world champion.

Before a large audience on Thursday night saw four of our club members delivering their speeches in the contest, and as the contest aims are to show how members benefit from their toastmasters training then no one could disagree on the benefits of toastmasters.

First to the lectern was Ray Ryan with his speech “Sword and Spear” followed by Michael Cronin with, “Making It”
Then it was Pat Sexton with, “Meeting with Martha” and Anne Buckley with, “The Red Crane”.

For the Evaluation Contest, Speak Easy Toastmasters were delighted to welcome the test speaker,
Paula Kelleher with her speech, “The Rules”. Paula is a member of Glanmire Toastmasters, and five of our members were in this contest to evaluate Paula’s speech and they were, Ray Ryan, Tony O’Regan ,Pat Sexton, Michael Cronin, and Margaret O’Regan.

The highest of standards once again prevailed in both contests and at the end of the meeting, when the judges votes were counted, Contest Chair, Pat Duggan announced the winners which were, 1st in the International Speech Contest was, Pat Sexton with Michael Cronin in 2nd place.

In the Evaluation Contest, the winner was Tony O’Regan with Pat Sexton as runner up.

Both Pat and Tony now go on to compete in the Area Final which will be held in The Grand Hotel, Fermoy on April 7th.The Division Final will be held in The Oriel House Hotel, Ballincollig on April 19th .

All toastmasters meetings require a team each night to make the meetings run smoothly and efficiently and this contest meeting was no different. With President Ray Ryan was Contest Chair, Pat Duggan, Topicsmaster, Bridie O’Connell.
Timekeepers were Mary Moynahan and Joe Hassett, and Demonstreation Speaker, Paula Kelleher.
Counters, Loretto Barry and Grant March with Sgt at Arms, Cáit Murray, Jean Sayers and Liam Flynn. Chief Judge was Sean Corcoran.

The Club would like to thank the judges on the night, both members and, especially judges who came from the other clubs.

Also last Thursday night the TV Programme, Capital D ran a segment on Dublin Toastmasters which can be seen on the RTE website,

Michael Cronins winning speech is now on Youtube and can be seen by searching for “Speak Easy Toastmasters Mallow”

Speak Easy Toastmasters meet again on Thursday, March 19th and also our theme meeting, “Rakes and Rebels” on April 2nd.

Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had on our website, or contact our Club PRO, Seán on 0866054784

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Humour is the thing

Whether you are an aspiring TV star, or a member of a local organization or just like to have a craic in a group you will at some stage need to use humour when you speak.

Humour is a great “ice breaker”. It shows especially, if you are in a position of authority over your audience that you are indeed human and you don’t take yourself or the occasion too seriously. Humour is also a great tool to win over audience, people pay more attention to a speaker who uses humour and of course humour keeps a presentation from becoming boring not to mention that an audience will be more likely to remember your message if you use humour to illustrate it.

But, caution is needed when using or attempting to use humour, as used incorrectly it can backfire. Let’s have a look at a few simple rules for using humour in a presentation.

Firstly, humour has to fit the content and tone of your speech. If humour doesn’t fit your speech then don’t use it.
Don’t tell an unrelated joke at the start of our speech, what is a lot more effective is a humorous story that introduces the theme of the talk.

You must also consider not only the age of your audience but also their cultural background and their mood when choosing humour for your speech as not all audiences respond the same type of humour. I.e. references local characters or events would not be understood outside your area.

Needless to mention, off colour humour is not appropriate around children and audiences who would be offended by it. Be careful here.
The best way to use humour is to illustrate a point and the best humour comes from your own experience. Talk about a humorous situation you had and what you learned from it. Your audience will be drawn to your story because it is personal and real. They can also relate to similar experiences they had. Using your own experiences will make you speeches fresher than if you culled jokes out of joke books.

Humour is an integral part of Toastmasters. It is a skill that all Toastmasters aspire to use confidently in all our presentations. It is what makes a Toastmaster stand out from the crowd when delivering a speech or presentation.

In April on BBC2 an entertainment series called “The Speaker” begins an 8 program run.
The program is searching for Britain’s best young speaker and features 14 to 18 year olds from around the country.

But guess what? Speak Easy Toastmasters, in Mallow have been training speakers and leaders since 1993 at our meetings every second Thursday night so why not come along and see it “live” so to speak?

Tonight, Thursday, Speak Easy Toastmasters will be holding their annual heat of the International Speech Contest so why not come and join us.

You will be most welcome and if unfortunately you cannot make tonight we will be meeting on March 19th and of course our theme meeting on April 2nd called “Rakes and Rebels”

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