Monday, February 26, 2018

25th Anniversary

The stage is set and the speakers are prepared. The countdown is on. Speakeasy Toastmasters Celebration Night takes place on Friday 2nd March at 7.45PM at The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow. Club Members - past, present and, hopefully, future will gather to witness some of the finest speeches from our illustrations history. We invite our friends and readers of this column from all over North Cork to join us for a night of entertainment and reflection. For a modest fee of €10, you can enjoy a wide range of speakers and generous refreshments. The weather may be cold but the room will be warm and the atmosphere electric. We look forward to seeing you at this unique gathering. 

It was business as usual at last week's Speakeasy Meeting. Under the gentle control of our genial host, Sean Corcoran, 4 speeches provided us with a fascinating array of ideas and opinions. "I never knew that!" was the reaction to many of the facts presented by the speakers. Marie Fitzpatrick delivered a speech entitled - " You're not my Type" on the vital issue of the taking of blood or Phlebotomy. She outlined two key areas -the huge role that blood sampling plays in diagnosing illness and the rights of patients to refuse the taking of samples. With wry humour, she confessed her admiration for a prominent healthy blood vein!

Theresa O'Reilly advocated"The right approach". This was a powerful dissertation on the huge social problem of Drug addiction and it's impact on Irish communities. One startling statistic was that in 2014, more Irish people died from drug addiction than road traffic accidents! Using the 
example of Portugal, which introduced a successful  Drugs Policy, Theresa advocated an approach that included Decriminalisation, improving Therapeutical options, needle exchange, education and publicity campaigns. The old approach is not fit for purpose so a radical change of drug policy is essential.

Kieran Butler did a persuasive talk about "The Antique Sale". With the assistance of Liam Flynn, Kieran demonstrated the art of successful salesmanship. The focus must always be on the customer's needs and ensuring that these are met. Even though it was cold call selling, Kieran showed that the customer is always" King".

Valerie Murphy presented a detailed overview on "The Auras and Chakras of the Body". This was an interesting account of all aspects of mind, body and spirit and how all aspects of our lives are inter-comnected. Our feelings, creativity, our wisdom, insight and spirituality are the essence of our being.
From left: Theresa O' Reilly, Marie Fitzpatrick, Sean Corcoran, Valerie Murphy & Kieran Butler.

As always, all speeches were evaluated to ensure that speakers were provided with constructive feedback. The evaluation team of Ray Ryan, Bridie O'Connell, Brendan Foley and Liam Flynn gave comprehensive advice to the speakers, delivered in a sensitive manner. 

John Brennan assumed the role of Topicsmaster for the first time. The impromptu section of the meeting challenges members to "think on their feet". This skill is very useful in job interviews and interpersonal communication. It is quite important in Night - Clubs too! Bobby Buckley waxed eloquently on Brian Dobson and Morning Ireland, a topic which also featured the infamous  Ned O'Keeffe's interview about the film "Babe"! Mary Moynihan recalled her Ice Breaker speech and the words of encouragement she received from other members which helped her reach a significant milestone. Mary Buckley spoke about the satisfaction of a morning's work in the garden without the distraction of a smartphone. Don McSweeney gave an insight into the growth in sales for electric cars.A topic on Space travel led to flights of fantasy about Donald Trump being sent to infinity and beyond and the prospect of Mars becoming a suburb of Dublin. The charisma of Leonard Cohen was recalled with fondness. And finally, in response to the question of his favourite subject in school, Gerry O'Callaghan retorted - "the nearest subject to the 4 o'clock bell"! 

At the meeting's conclusion, the General Evaluator, Anne Buckley presented awards to Marie Fitzpatrick - Best Speaker, Bridie O'Connell - Best Evaluation and Jerry O'Callaghan - Best Topic

The next Fortnightly Meeting of Speakeasy Toastmasters takes place on Thursday 8th March. It will feature our annual Speech and Evaluation Contests. In the meantime, all focus is on our 25 Anniversary Celebration Night on the 2nd March. 
For more information, please check out our website, or Facebook. Alternatively you can contact our President, Helsa Giles - 0838858848. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

25 years a growing

This unique occasion will commencemorate our existence in the way we know best - through speeches. Since the first demonstration Toastmasters meeting was held in Mallow in October 1992,a whopping total of over 2,000 speeches have been delivered at Speakeasy Toastmasters. Each speech was an achievement for the speaker who delivered it, another milestone on the journey towards  excellent communication which is speaking with ease and confidence. Every speech was a story told, an opinion shared and a useful outpouring of ideas. 

So fluent were the members of Speakeasy that two collections of speeches were published. In 1995, "Unaccustomed as I am" became a local best seller. In 1999,it's sequel "Sin Scéal Eile" proved to be equally popular. 

Down through the years, there were several guests at meetings  who said - "I could never do that". Yet, a short time later they found themselves delivering speeches with the skills of a professional. The ethos of Speakeasy Toastmasters is to encourage and motivate each member to be the best they can be. With a friendly, yet formal atmosphere, and an emphasis on quality evaluation we have helped our members to acquire communicating excellence. 

Our Celebration Night will feature an array of speakers, both former and current members who will entertain, enlighten and give us cause for reflection. Among the speakers will be well-known personalities like Matt Lawlee.
Matt is synonymous with humour and represented Speakeasy in the Irish and English District Final on two occasions, emerging triumphant in 1995.

He will be joined by Michael Cronin, another speaker who is renowned for his humour.
Michael was a District winner in 2008. Several other speakers are remembered for powerful presentations that live long in the memory of all those who witnessed them.Kieran Butler will deliver his very enjoyable ode to the single life. Bobby Buckley will regale the attendance with his tales of a Mallow childhood  Other speakers  include Kieran Buckley, Vivien Buckley, Joan Linehan and Deirdre Linehan.

This "Greatest Hits" package is guaranteed to entertain and enthrall or to borrow a phrase from Gay Byrne will have "something for everyone in the audience". Food and beverages will also be available on the night.

We wish to invite all our friends and followers to join us in our celebrations. If you have never been to Speakeasy before, this is an ideal opportunity to sample us at our best. Guests will not be cajoled into speaking unless they really want to! So, remember the date :Friday 2nd March at 8.00PM in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow. 

Meanwhile, our next meeting will take place on Thursday 22nd February at 8.00 PM. in the Hibernian Hotel. As always, a fine selection of speakers is on the menu. We look forward to seeing you there. 
For further information on our Celebration Night or on Toastmasters in general, please check out Facebook or contact Helsa Giles, President at 0838858848. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Patricia breaks the ice in style.

Dealing with adversity was the central theme of speeches at last week's meeting of Speakeasy Toastmasters Club. Patricia Buckley presented her Icebreaker Speech. The purpose of an Icebreaker is to introduce yourself to your audience and to begin speaking in public. Patricia did this with style and passion as she spoke movingly of the challenges she had to overcome in early childhood. "I survived" was her mantra. Her evaluator, Marie Fitzpatrick commended her on her presentation as "composed and confident, delivered with grace and humour". 

Claire O'Connell delivered an entertaining speech - "I am the Greatest!" She outlined the three sources of contentment in her life - being positive, avoiding comparing herself to others because when you compare it leads to despair and being creative. As always, Claire provided humorous anecdotes to support her entertaining message. 

Michael Donegan took us for a trip down memory lane as he waxed nostalgically on - "Radio - what's new?" He celebrated the influence of the wireless or the transistor  on his life - from his early days listening to Radio Éireann when set dancing was on the wireless. He described his enjoyment of the comedy programmes on BBC Radio. And then he recalled the heady days of the Pirate Station,  Radio Caroline which broadcast from the English Channel. Like many an impressionable youth Michael was besotted with the wide range of music that crackled through the Medium Waveband. To many of "a particular age", Radio Caroline brings back very fond memories. 

The final speaker of the evening was Kevin O'Neill who addressed a subject that is familiar to  every Toastmaster- "Public Speaking - what's the problem?" In a friendly, conversational manner, Kevin spoke about overcoming his own fears of standing up before an audience and feeling nervous and self conscious. He strongly suggested to keep speaking. "The more often you do it, the better it gets". In the words of the writer, Ralph Waldo Emerson -" Once you do the thing you fear, the death of fear is certain". Throughout it's existence, Speakeasy Toastmasters has helped many members to overcome their anxieties and flourish as confident and competent communicators. And, you are never too young, too old or too busy to learn a new and important skill. 

Each of the speakers on the programme were comprehensively evaluated by their assigned evaluator. Marie Fitzpatrick, Liam Flynn, Mary Buckley and Marie Lynes provided appropriate commendation and recommendations to the speakers.
Michael Donegan, Claire O'Connell, Patricia Buckley & Kevin O' Neill

Topicsmaster Ray Ryan encouraged members to sound off on a broad range of issues from the Winter Olympics to the opening of Public Houses on Good Friday with detours to Smartphones for children and members' hidden talents along the way. Drug cheats, neglectful parents and stories of smuggled phones in prisons being used to download "Adult Content"were called out by various members. The amazing story of Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan was recalled which was rather appropriate with the release of the movie -" I Tonya".

At the Meeting's conclusion, awards were presented to Patricia Buckley, First Timer; Marie Lynes, Best Evaluation and Michael Donegan, Best Speaker. 

Meanwhile, plans are progressing for Speakeasy Toastmasters 25th Anniversary Celebration Night on Friday, 2nd March in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow. Tickets for this special event are available on the night and from Club President, Helsa Giles. This promises to be a wonderful showcase for Toastmasters as well as a great night of entertainment. 

The next Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting takes place on Thursday, 22nd February in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM. As always, guests are welcome and will not be obliged to speak unless they wish to do so. For more information please visit our website or on Facebook. Alternatively you can contact Helsa Giles - 0838858848. 

Monday, February 05, 2018

Horror in the Hospital ward!