Wednesday, January 26, 2011

‘An open invitation’

Speak Easy Toastmasters is one of approx. 11.000 clubs affiliated to Toastmasters International which is a voluntary organization dedicated to training its members in the art of public speaking, speaking off the cuff, listening and leadership skills.
Each meeting of a toastmasters club is a unique learning experience. We learn by doing and by observation.

Doing is taking part in a toastmasters meeting program, be it as a speaker, evaluator, toastmaster etc and by observing what the more experienced members do and say and of course how they do and say it.

Learning is a personal journey, whether it is learning by being involved with toastmasters or learning to drive or use a computer. There are many different theories and ideas on how people learn but they can be put into four main areas.

1. How the brain works- The brain has different parts and each part has a function. Our brain is wired to learn new things and when we learn, our brain changes in some way. This is how memory and learning develop and this sets the pace for lifelong learning. In fact, our brain changes with use, throughout our lifetime. As we se the brain, we strengthen certain patterns of connection, making each connection easier to create next time.

2. Learning styles – Each of us has a different way of learning, some of us may learn by seeing and some of us by doing.

3. Social learning – The world in which we live in can play a big part in what we learn, how we learn and also what we know and think about lots of different things.

4. Multiple Intelligence – This explains why some people are better than others at learning some things. For example, one person may be good at playing sport, while others may be good with numbers.

Learning the skills of toastmasters comes under the same headings and it becomes obvious when the toastmaster is a member of a club for a length of time. One person may find that they have skills of leadership which they develop by becoming involved with toastmasters committees.
Another may find that they have a skill in humorous speeches while another may find that they have evaluation or speaking off the cuff skills.

Whatever way a person learns, in toastmasters the one most important factor in which we all strive to accomplish, is that we enjoy our two hours a fortnight in the company of like minded members in Speak Easy Toastmasters.

If you are interested, why not come along to our next meeting at the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow, January 27th 2011 at 7:50PM. Non-members are more than welcome to attend and will not be asked to speak. Further details about the Club are available on our website, or on Speak Easy Facebook

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Packing Woe's

Speak Easy Toastmasters meeting on January 13th 2011 was another in which guests and members enjoyed themselves. There was a great atmosphere created by the Toastmasters during our first meeting pack.

Joining President Margaret O’ Regan at the top table was Pat Sexton, Toastmaster who chaired the meeting and Michael Walsh who was Topicsmaster.

First to the lectern was Anne Buckley with a speech entitled ‘Packing Woes’.
Anne told the group about some of her past experiences on holidays. She has learnt over the years that packing a case is a strategic exercise for maximizing space and minimizing wrinkles. She concluded by informing the group that it is not what you put in your suitcase it is what you leave behind that tests your metal

Following Anne was Loretto Barry who interpreted ‘The Gettysburg Address’. Loretto interpreted Abraham Lincoln’s address with great dramatic effect totally captivating the audience with her performance. Loretto informed the group that despite the fact that the original address was brief, lasting only 3.5 minutes, its message has endured the test of time and is still quoted. It still is a wonderful example of speech writing.

Loretto was followed by Marie Fitzpatrick with a speech entitled ‘The Black Hole’. Maire’s speech provided the audience with information and statistics regarding the huge amounts of money spent in the health service in Ireland. She referred to the benefits that will arise from the introduction of the smoking ban in a few years ago.

Finally it was the turn of Ray Ryan with his presentation entitled ‘The Galtee Evaluation Workshop Report’. Ray presented a report on a High Performance Leadership Program which he had recently completed. The program was devised by Toast Master International to allow one exercise one’s leadership skills in a project. The audience found presentation very informative.

The topic session for the evening was conducted by Topicsmaster Michael Walsh. Michael’s topics caused great amusement.

Timekeeper Dave Clarke reminded speakers/people contributing to topics when their allocated times were up while grammarian/ah counter Bridie O’ Connell gave feedback at the end of the meeting on how the group performed regarding the use of ‘crutch words’ and ‘fillers’ e.g. um’s and ah’s. She encouraged the use of the word ‘propensity’ which means a natural propensity, disposition or inclination throughout the meeting.

Liam Flynn, conducted the General Evaluation Session and conducted the part of the meeting in which speakers received feedback from their assigned evaluators who were Mary Moynihan, Cait Murray, Jean Sayers and Tony O’ Regan. The Sergeants at Arms for the meeting were Liam Flynn and Jerry Mulcahy.

Speak Easy Toastmasters will hold their next meeting at the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow, January 27th 2011 at 7:50PM. Non-members are more than welcome to attend and will not be asked to speak. Further details about the Club are available on our website, or on Speak Easy Facebook

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

‘Have you made a New Years Resolution for 2011?’

Happy New Year from Speak Easy Toastmasters and we hope you had a great Christmas.

Oh, and by the way, have you made your new years resolution yet?
It is said that 90% of New Year resolutions will be discarded by the end of January and some of the reasons are, setting yourself too high a goal, not having a specific plan, keeping your resolution to yourself, not having the will power and so on.

So what about making a resolution that you really can keep, one whose goals are readily reachable and in which you will have a specific plan.

One with whom you do not have to keep to yourself and as for will power, all you need, is to want to, and you won’t believe the will power that you will achieve.

No one, but no one, will disagree that communication or lack of it is a serious issue in today’s world and it seems that face to face communication, in some situations, is a dying art.

So what about in 2011 learning the art of communication? Communication is a two way process, talking and listening, meeting and interacting with people as well as enjoying yourself and having fun while you are at it.

Ok, I hear you asking, “what’s in it for me?, why should I?”
How about this then? Personal Impact for a start.

You see, personal impact includes key elements of Communication; Presentation; Assertiveness and Influencing techniques. All these components enable you to make the impact you want. We all can improve our ability to influence others. You all cringe at that interview that went badly wrong or that appraisal you wish to forget.

Here is an opportunity to ensure that you will not repeat these experiences. In order to know making an impact works, there are a few areas you have to consider, and study.
 Knowing how and why things go wrong
 Improving your ability to influence others
 Understanding rules and conventions and boundaries
 Speaking your mind without offending
 Finding out how others see you

An awareness of all of these will increase confidence and raise self esteem. Come along to the next meeting, of Speak Easy Toastmasters, as a guest and see for yourself how we put these skills into practice. We do it in stages and in an encouraging way and you will be most welcome and don’t worry, guests are never asked to speak at a Toastmasters meeting and you can come as a guest as often as you like.

Speak Easy Toastmasters meet just once a fortnight, on Thursday nights, for two hours, 8-10pm in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow and our first meeting of 2011 is on Thursday, January 13th.

Now, two hours every two weeks to learn the art of communication, meet new friends from all walks of life and all ages, and to really enjoy yourself is a must for 2011, don’t you agree?
After all, “you’re worth it”

So put Thursday, January 13th at 8pm, in your brand new 2011 diaries and alternate Thursdays from then on until the end of May.