Thursday, May 28, 2009

That Special Speech

Occasionally you may be called upon to give a special kind of speech, one presented in honour of a friend, relative or co-worker. Perhaps a loved one has passed away and you will be saying a few words at the service. Or you have been invited formal awards dinner at which you will be a recipient.

Speeches such as these can be difficult to give because they often involve sentiment or special decorum. If the occasion is a sad or even a happy one, you may be hesitant to speak for fear of breaking down or inadvertently saying something that will offend. Perhaps modesty and embarrassment also contribute towards making you hesitant to accept an award.

Such speeches are indeed challenging, but you can give them successfully.
The Speciality Speeches Program in Toastmasters contains five speaking assignments which will help a person develop the necessary skills for giving special occasion speeches.

In the first project, one would present a special occasion toast. In project two, requires one to give a speech in praise of another individual. In the third project, a person can have fun participating in a “roast”. The following project asks a person to present an award to someone and finally, in the last project, one will learn how to accept an award with style and ease.

Skills such as these can come into play not just during the dramatic events of your life, but during day-to-day experiences when a special comment or reply is required. However you apply the skills acquired in The Speciality Speeches Program you will be sure to expand your presentation skills and become a proficient special occasion speaker.

The Speciality Speeches Program is just one of the many programs that are practiced by Toastmasters to hone their presentation skills. Before a Toastmaster “graduates” to the more advanced programs he/she must complete the Competent Communicator Program.

This is where the basic skills of public speaking are learned.
Of course, as well as the skills of speaking, we also practice listening or evaluating. This is how we learn to give feedback to a speaker in such a way that gives praise and encouragement but also to tactfully make suggestions for improvement.

Speak Easy Toastmasters Club in Mallow was founded in 1993 and has been meeting fortnightly, September to May ever since.

The Club has approximately 30 members, with an equal gender balance, who meet from 8 to 10 pm in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow, to practice the skills of public speaking, listening and giving feedback and unprepared speaking (speaking “off the cuff”).

The club is a workshop where members practice the above skills in an atmosphere of fun and friendship and is open to anyone over 18 years of age.

Speak Easy Toastmasters meet tonight, May 28th is the Hibernian Hotel for our last meeting until early September so between now and then why not consider joining a toastmasters club?

Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had by logging on to our website at

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Skin Shedding and The Driving Test

Speak Easy Toastmasters held a dual purpose meeting last Thursday evening, May 4th insofar as it was both a regular meeting and also the club’s AGM.

Joining President Ray Ryan, at the top table were, Toastmasters Mary McCarthy and Topicsmaster, Tony O’Regan.
Mary introduced the first speaker of the evening, Josephine O’Sullivan Lenihan with her speech, “Skin Shedding” in which she challenged anyone approaching mid life to evaluate themselves and ask what is it all about.

Following Josephine was Mary Buckley with a speech entitled, “The Joys of Motoring” in which she humorously told a story of the ups and downs on the road to passing the driving test.

Topicsmaster, Tony O’Regan had us really practicing our “speaking off the cuff” skills as he asked members to speak for two minutes of famous and not so famous quotations.

General Evaluator Gerry Kelleher conducted the evaluation session where the speakers received feedback on their speeches from Jean Sayers and Marie Fitzpatrick.

After the coffee break the AGM took place and each officer made a presentation on their role for the past year.
The new committee elected for 2009/10 were as follows, President, Michael Cronin; Vice President Education, Margaret O’Regan; Vice President Public Relations, Liam Flynn, Vice President Membership, Joe Hassett, Treasurer, Cáit Murry; Secretary, Jean Sayers; Sgt at Arms, Declan Curtis, Josephine O'Sullivan Lenihan, Mary Moynahan

Our next meeting is on May 28th and will be the final one until the club resumes again in early September.

Speak Easy Toastmasters Club is a member of Toastmasters International (TI) which is a nonprofit educational organization that operates clubs worldwide for the purpose of helping members improve their communication, public speaking and leadership skills.

Through its thousands of member clubs, Toastmasters International offers a program of communication and leadership projects designed to help men and women learn the arts of speaking, listening, and thinking.

A Toastmasters Club is a workshop in which members practice these skills on a fortnightly basis in an atmosphere of fun and friendship.

Guests are most welcome at Toastmasters meetings and are never asked to speak so why not come along and see for yourself what Speak Easy Toastmasters have to offer?

We meet on alternate Thursdays, September to May in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow from 8 to 10pm
As our next meeting on May 28th is our last one before the summer break, why not come along and see for yourself what we are about? You will be delighted you did.

Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had by visiting our website at or contact our Club PRO Seán on 086 6054784

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Toastmasters for the Toast

Somewhere, sometime you will be asked to propose a toast. Be it a wedding, retirement or birthday or many other events. No problem to me I hear you say.
Great, but like all things in life there is a correct way and wrong way, and if you would like to do it correctly and prevent a major faux pas, we have today, some tips to make sure you are remembered for all the right reasons.

The purpose of a toast is to shine a gentle spotlight, and pay tribute to, the honoured guest. Toasts typically offer good wishes, good health, long life, health, happiness etc.

Composing a toast that is eloquent, poignant and witty can be a challenge but well worth it.

Depending on the situation you may start by introducing yourself and stating your connection with the guest of honour and then present the toast.

There are three rules to follow, all beginning with the letter B.

Be Brief: Keeping your remarks short gives the toast a greater impact and gets you in and out of the spotlight quickly.
Well crafted words will be appreciated by the attendance and make your tribute more likely to be remembered.

Be Bold: Stand proud and speak out loud. Ensure that everyone in the room including people sitting in the back row can hear your toast. Shouting out loud may not be needed and a survey of the room before people assemble will help you gauge how far you need to project your voice.
It can also help calm your nerves and provide some practice time.

Be Done: When finished, sit down. Resist the urge to take a bow or an encore. Smile, nod and accept any applause or acknowledgements then focus your attention on the guest of honour.

Like all aspects of public speaking no matter what they are, only practice will make you confident, will calm those nerves, and will make you be remembered for what you said and how you said it.

This is where being a member of Toastmasters International is of great benefit. Toastmasters are never caught for words, or the art of presentation, no matter what the occasion is.

In Speak Easy Toastmasters, on alternate Thursday evenings from 8.00 to 10.00 pm, we practice all those skills and much more. A Toastmasters Club is a workshop where members practice and learn, in an atmosphere of fun and friendship. (In other words “it’s a great craic”)

Being a member of Speak Easy Toastmasters is much, much more, it is an experience and you can see this for yourself just by coming along to any of our meetings, as our guest you will not be asked to speak.

We meet in the Garden Room of the Hibernian Hotel in Mallow so why not come along and experience the Speak Easy Toastmasters Experience?

We meet tonight, Thursday May 14th and our final meeting before the summer break in on May 28th.

Further information can on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had by visiting our website at or contact our Club PRO, Seán on 086 6054784

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Show Consideration, Please!!!

Last Thursday was the last day in April and hence the last day of spring, so hopefully we will get the good summer we have been waiting for.
In Speak Easy Toastmasters, we do not particularly mind what the seasons are, nor what kind of weather we get, as we look forward to our fortnightly meetings.

Last Thursday night it was also our last meeting of April and what a fantastic meeting it was.
We had four brilliant speeches, and the club were delighted to welcome Toastmasters from two other clubs who were on the programme.

After a welcome from President, Ray Ryan, Toastmaster for the evening, Jerry Mulcahy got the programme rolling by introducing the first of our speakers to the lectern, Declan Curtis.

Declan’s speech was entitled, “Show Consideration, Please” and was a tale of a journey from Derry to Cork and his humorous observation of various characters he met on the way.

Mary Buckley delivered a Storytelling project entitled, “The Fight at Burgishe House”, is which she told of an incident from the War of Independence.

Following Mary was Michael Buckley from The Crusaders Toastmasters Club in Cork City with his speech, “A Jewel in the Debris” which was the story of our planet, Earth.

Finally it was the turn of another visiting toastmaster, Sean Roche, from The Galtees Toastmasters Club with his speech, “You have to see it to believe it”, in which he explained and demonstrated the science of kinesiology.

After a most enjoyable table topics session with Topicsmaster, Jean Sayers, General Evaluator, Marie Fitzpatrick conducted the evaluation part of the meeting. This is where the speakers receive feedback from other members on how their speeches were received and how they could improve for the future.

During the AOB, President Ray Ryan congratulated Tony O’Regan and Pat Sexton on their recent performance in the Division Finals, Tony was placed 3rd in the evaluation contest.. Ray also congratulated Sean Corcoran on being awarded the Paul G Murphy Award (Toastmaster of the Year) for Division A (Cork, Kerry and West Limerick).

Toastmaster from all over Ireland and the UK will be making their way to The Cotswolds over the weekend of May 8-10th and Speak Easy Toastmasters send their best wishes to, Stanley Knott of Glanmire Toastmasters and Liam Cunningham of Carrigline Toastmasters who are representing Division A in the International Speech and Evaluation Contests, respectively.

If you would like to become comfortable speaking in public and to do so in an atmosphere of fun and friendship, why not come along to a Speak Easy Toastmasters meeting?

We meet in The Hibernian Hotel on alternate Thursdays, September to May from 8-10pm.
You can come along as our guest to any of our meetings. Guests are never asked to speak at a toastmasters meeting and you can come as many times as you wish.

Our next meeting is on Thursday May 14th with the final meeting before our summer break on May 28th.
Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had by visiting our website at or contact our Club PRO, Seán on 086 6054784