Monday, November 27, 2017

Schools Public Speaking Competition

Schools Public Speaking Competition.

Speakeasy Toastmasters Club is hosting their Annual Schools Public Speaking Competition on Thursday 30th November in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM sharp. 

Since it's inception in 2006, this competition has given Transition Year students the opportunity to acquire and display their communication skills in an exciting verbal joust. It is an opportunity for everyone else to try and figure out what goes on in a teenager's head!Down through the years, Secondary Schools from all over the North Cork area have participated in this Competition.

The winning School and individual speaker will receive perpetual trophies, which were kindly sponsored by the Hibernian Hotel and Mallow Credit Union. 

This year, we are delighted to have participating Schools from Doneraile, Kanturk and Mallow who will address topical issues like teenage life, addiction, sport, humour and stereotyping. As always, guests are welcome. Support for all the contestants is greatly appreciated.

We are now approaching the Second Anniversary of the sad passing of esteemed member Jerry Mulcahy. Jerry was a hugely committed and highly popular member of our Club for seventeen years. He served on many Club Committees in various positions, culminating with his Presidency in 2013.
Jerry Mulcahy
His many speeches chronicled the life of the Irish immigrants in London in the 1950's.He spoke about surviving on a diet of 'iffits' - if it's there we'll eat it! He was a fountain of knowledge on the changing face of Rural Ireland through the decades. 

So enthusiastic about the benefits of Toastmasters, Jerry established 'Nice and Easy Toastmasters in the Cope Foundation in Mallow. Over the years, many clients of Cope benefitted from Jerry's gentle tuition. He will be long remembered for his wit, wisdom and generosity of spirit. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.

For more information on Toastmasters, please check out our website or visit us on Facebook. 
Alternatively, contact Helsa Giles, 083 8858848. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Distinguished Toastmaster

The Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting last week was a special occasion that marked the wonderful achievements of one of our most illustrious members, Michael Cronin. To mark the occasion, fellow Club Member, Tony O'Regan performed a 'Roast'. The Frank Murphy of Speakeasy!', was how Tony described the continuous involvement of Michael Cronin on Club committees for year on year. With gentle humour, Tony paid tribute to Michael on twenty - one years of membership of the Club and on his many accomplishments during this time. As a result of his long term participation in the Toastmasters Programme - over 40 speeches and several leadership roles, Michael has recently  achieved the 'Distinguished Toastmaster' Award which is the highest recognition achievable in Toastmasters. 
Michael Cronin is presented with His Distinguished Toastmaster Award by Noel O'Connor (left). Noel introduced Michael to Toastmasters and acted as a mentor. 

From a shy and humble beginning, Michael has blossomed to becoming a well-known and popular member, known throughout Ireland and Britain for his Humorous speeches. During the day, Michael is a dairy farmer in Ballybrack, Doneraile. By night, he is an all-round entertainer. His winning speech in the 2008 District Final is remembered with particular fondness. As Tony reminded his audience, he also served as Club President, not once but twice and finally getting it right on the second occasion. To the applause of a packed audience, Tony presented Michael with a wall plaque to acknowledge this spectacular achievement. 

Once again, Speakeasy produced a meeting to remember. Other speaking highlights came from Claire O'Connell who simulated a Television Broadcast. Entitled 'Double Standards', Claire addressed the recently announced French ban on the use of underweight models.Using a soapbox style, Claire mused that in the interests of consistency, perhaps the ban should be extended to overweight models. She spoke about the the complex nature of Body Mass Index.

Michael Donegan presented an Icebreaker speech entitled 'Second Time Around'. In fact, this was Michael's second Icebreaker, he delivered the first 24 years ago, in the Club's first year. He reminisced on the changes that have happened in his life in the meantime. These changes were most obvious in the lives of his children who have moved from little steps to giant strides in adult life. He spoke about retirement and the need for new interests. He has joined the cheapest gym of all - walking the roads around Mallow.

Mary Moynihan did an interpretive reading from Frank O'Connor's classic story 'A first Confession'. She brought to life the humour of the piece - the narrator's ongoing skirmishes with his grandmother and sister, the fear of being sent to the Bishop and the rather confusing architecture of the confessional. It is a story with a twist, suggesting that God may be benign after all!

We were privileged to have a special guest speaker to round out our speech programme. Meena Verma of Raheen Toastmasters in Limerick delivered her wonderfully entertaining speech - 'There are plenty of fish in the sea-really?' Meena recently competed in The District 71 Humorous Speech Contest Final in Sheffield.Amid much laughter, she recalled how as an Indian girl, she had only experienced cowboys on Internet dating sites. It seems that most men seem to lie about their age, their marital status, their height and their interests. And jealousy sets takes over! Hilariously, she recalls the woman who has met her third husband, 'having cremated her first two husbands'. As Meena put it- 'I am looking for one husband and she has husbands to burn!!' 
Meena Verma with Margaret O'Regan.
  The Toastmaster of the Evening was the ever genial Bobby Buckley. A native of Mallow, Bobby found fame,  fortune and family bliss in Dublin. He is a former President of Rathfarnham Toastmasters and colourfully describes Rathfarnham as his wife and Speakeasy as his mistress. 

Don McSweeney from Kanturk acted as discussion leader for the Topics Session. On the subject of winter, Gerry O"Callaghan made loneliness seem humorous. Anne O'Donovan and Brendan Foley presented alternative views on the sending of Christmas cards. On the subject of futuristic driving, we had the quote of the evening - 'With driverless cars, how will the Gardai fake breathyliser tests?'

During the Evaluation section of the meeting, the assigned evaluators of the speeches, Brendan Foley, Pat Sexton, Noel O'Connor, Theresa O'Reilly and Margaret O'Regan gave detailed and constructive feedback to all the speakers. Awards were presented to Tony O'Regan - Best Speaker; Margaret O'Regan - Best Evaluation ; Bridie O'Connell - Best Topic.  However, it is worth emphasising that all participants at a meeting are winners. 

Speakeasy Toastmasters were saddened to hear of the sad passing of Adrian Melia. Adrian was a hugely popular and charismatic member of Kildare Toastmasters. He travelled the length and breadth of Leinster and Munster, participating at Club meetings. He was also well known as a sports photographer for The Leinster Leader newspaper. We convey our condolences to his partner and his family. He will be much missed but fondly remembered by his many friends in Toastmasters and in Kildare G.A.A.

Speakeasy Toastmasters next meeting will be The Schools Public Speaking Competition. The cream of Transition Year Students in North Cork will battle it out for the Top Prizes. It promises to be another fascinating night. As always, guests are welcome. It takes place in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday 30th November at 8.00PM. 

For more information please visit our website or follow us on Facebook. Alternatively you can contact Helsa Giles 083 8858848. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Do you ever feel that you are invisible?

You wish to say something. You want to express your feelings. You have an important point to make. The words are there but you can't open your mouth to speak. Once again, your courage betrays you, it's like that you are invisible. 

That is the feeling experienced by the 'silent' majority, by people with something valid to say but too nervous to say  it. That is where Toastmasters comes in. It provides an opportunity and a platform to learn the skills of communication and the confidence to do it in a relaxed, non intimidating environment. 
For 25 years, Speakeasy Toastmasters has been helping it's members to find their voice,  assert their point of view and be invisible no more.

Everything that happens in Toastmasters, is centred around the Club Meeting. This is both our forum and our workshop. Members are encouraged to participate and the 'nerve wracking' is replaced by a positive feeling where you are shown that your words really matter.

Toastmasters was founded in California over ninety years ago. It's founder, Ralph Smedley, had the motto - 'We learn most in moments of enjoyment'. Speakeasy takes that message to heart. At all times, we strive to entertain and educate and to make everyone feel at ease. Our success can be measured by the number of members who have applied the skills learnt and the confidence gained to leadership roles throughout the community, from the G.A.A. to local Day-care Centers. It is also clearly evident in the manner in which members have been transformed from being 'tongue tied' to being confident communicators. 

Our Meeting Programme continues on Thursday night, 16th of November. As always, guests are welcome to come and visit us to see our Meetings  for themselves. You will not be press ganged into speaking, unless you choose to do so. A varied selection of speakers will be the main focus of the night, with a strong 'Topics Session' to round off proceedings. Among the speakers will be Meena Verma from the Raheen Club in Limerick, who recently won the Division B Humorous Speech Contest and participated in the District Final in Sheffield. It promises to be another entertaining night. It takes place in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM on Thursday, 16th November. You are welcome to come along and enjoy the experience.

For more information, check out our website or follow us on Facebook.
Alternatively, you can contact Helsa Giles, 083 8858848. 

Monday, November 06, 2017

Cultures collide in Toastmasters travelogue.

I kept looking up and I could not see the sky',this was how Valerie Murphy described the culture shock she experienced when setting foot in Tokyo for the first time.

Last week's meeting of Speakeasy Toastmasters was a night of culture and travel - from Japan to the early days of Transatlantic flight, and from the vineyards of Alsace to the ski slopes of Austria.

It was a meeting where the common theme was travel and mobility. Valerie Murphy commenced proceedings with a speech entitled 'Preparation for my first week in Japan'. She recalled her experiences as a 22 year old student in Japan, setting off on a year long term of teaching English in Konin City. It all began with an orientation course in Tokyo where Valerie was awe struck by the sight of the new and exciting Neon lights and skyscrapers that seemed to sway in the breeze. And that was just the start of a fruitful and challenging year in Valerie's life. 

Theresa O'Reilly kept the theme breezing along with 'Smooth Driving'. This was a sales presentation on the art of 'Cold Calling'. With the willing participation of Marie Fitzpatrick, Theresa deftly demonstrated the skills required to successfully develop a rapport with a potential client and how to close the sale. The items on sale - a fleet of Volkswagon vans. 

Jillian Harris artfully presented 'A great expectation'. She bought us back to 1980s, when German wine exporters targeted the Irish market with labels like Blue Nun and Black Tower, wines of dubious quality. Great German wines were considered too good to export. They were kept for the home market and inferior quality plonk exported. A huge mistake as the German wine industry still hasn't found favour in Irish hearts. Gillian spoke glowingly about the charms of the Riesling grape and it's aromatic dry wines, a warm companion on a cold night. She outlined it's aging qualities and described wines with a vintage of a century or more, which seemed rather sad for those of us in the audience who wish to enjoy a wine in our own lifetime!! 

Don McSweeney took us on a journey to 'Foynes and Beyond'. He recalled the days when flying was in it's infancy and when Aviation's biggest challenge was to cross the  Atlantic. It was the era of the flying boat and the village of Foynes in the Shannon Estuary became the hub for Pan American flights into Europe,becoming one of the largest Airports in the world. The luxurious Yankee Clipper took to the skies, carrying 70 passengers including Hollywood superstars like Humphrey Bogart and members of the Royal Family. Alas, it was surpassed by technology and the land to land aeroplane but the Foynes legacy endures to this day in the form of Irish Coffee. 

Liam Jones closed out the Speech Programme with his outlandish tale of 'Séamus with a Fada'. He flew us to the Austrian Alps, with the flamboyant Limerick man, the maestro of the belly-dance and a dapper dresser who deemed it appropriate to wear his all white ensemble on the piste. Needless to say that all forms of mayhem ensued with the irrepressible Séamus sliding backwards down the 'Mercy Slide' to earn his place in Austrian folklore! 

The Toastmaster of the meeting was John Brennan. Though new to our Club, he performed like a seasoned professional, introducing each speaker with style and creating a positive, friendly environment. Chairing meetings is a vital skill and Speakeasy provides an opportunity to master that skill. 

As always, each presentation was thoroughly evaluated by the assigned evaluators, Helsa Giles, Marie Lynes, Ray Ryan, Mary Buckley and Pat Sexton. Evaluation is a hugely important aspect of our Meetings, providing all speakers with feedback and guidance on how to acquire the competency skills and the confidence levels for future development. It is somewhat like 'Operation Transformation', without the humiliation! 

Topicsmaster of the evening , Bridie O'Connell challenged our impromptu skills with provocative questions on the negative impact of Facebook, temptation, first impressions and the future of electric cars. We learned that Facebook is like a fridge - you know that there is nothing in there but you look anyway. A new affliction is taking hold - 'Range anxiety'. That is what drivers of electric cars feel as they fret about reaching the next charging point! 

Our General Evaluator, Sean Corcoran appraised the meetings strengths and awarded prizes to Marie Fitzpatrick (Best Topic), Mary Buckley (Best Evaluation) and Jillian Harris (Best Speaker).

Our meeting season continues on Thursday, 16th November. It will be an opportunity for another broad range of speeches, some education, a useful exchange of ideas  and lots of fun! As always, guests are always welcome. You will always be entertained but never coerced into speaking unless you choose to do so. So, put your TV on record and drop into The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM.

For more information about our Club,please visit our website or follow us on Facebook. Alternatively, contact Helsa Giles 083 8858848.