Imagine a room where all smartphones and digital devices are switched off. A room where people engage in real communication, in real time without the distraction of searching for "likes", a room where there is no digital distraction? That is the room where Speakeasy Toastmasters hold their meetings . Last week, we had two hours of undivided attention for the Area 17 Final of the Speech and Evaluation Contests.
A large attendance witnessed the cream of North Cork's most accomplished communicators in action. Theresa O'Reilly of Speakeasy kicked off proceedings with "The Choice". She spoke honestly about her addiction to Social Media, her fear of missing out on every little notification by all her virtual friends and her efforts to go "cold turkey".
Deirdre Linehan, representing the Fáilte Club in Charleville spoke about her time as coach in "Dob's Army'. The year is 1975 and the Final of the Schools Basketball Final is in full swing. Can the underdogs of Kildare School overcome the overwhelming favourites, Laurel Hill of Limerick. Time is running out and the title is in the balance.
Bobby Buckley, Speakeasy, presented the eloquent "The call of the litter picker". He described his new vocation as a volunteer, devoting his Saturday mornings to restoring Bray Head to it's intended beauty. Meaning in life can be found by looking outside oneself and devoting time and energy to the community's benefit.
"Imagination" saw Liam Jones of Fáilte having a relationship with what goes on inside his head. Invoking the words of Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King and Walter Disney, he showed how powerful the imagination can be.
"Positivity" was the worthy theme of Frank O'Driscoll's contribution. Representing Fermoy Toastmasters, he recalled the film "The Shawshank Redemption" and the famous line "Get busy living or get busy dying". In times of adversity, be it domestic or financial, the willingness to keep going and never, ever give in is the key to a positive outcome.
Finally, the golden voiced Kevin Walsh of Fermoy gave a lively and entertaining talk on the "Strangers". Recalling his experience of travelling in Britain for the first time in his life, he was pleasantly amazed at the welcome he received, reinforcing the old adage "that a stranger is a friend you haven't met yet".
In the Speech Evaluation Contest, 5 Contestants, Fanahan Colbert, Frances Lowry, Pat Sexton, Ray Ryan and Michelle O'Brien were challenged to provide meaningful feedback to a test speaker. Philip O'Brien of Bandon Toastmasters delivered a fascinating reflection on "Lessons from the Strawberry Fields". He explained how his life was moulded in a positive way from the planting, picking and pruning of the strawberry crop and the lessons learned continue to guide his life. All contestants provided detailed, honest and sensible feedback to the speaker.
When the adjudicators ballots were counted, Pat Sexton and Ray Ryan, both Speakeasy emerged First and Second in the Speech Evaluation Contest. In the Speech Contest, Deirdre Linehan was declared Winner, with Theresa O'Reilly in Second place. These contestants will now advance to the Division B (North Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary) Final in the Castletroy Park Hotel in Limerick on Sunday 29th April. We wish them every success.
|Pat Sexton, Ray Ryan, Gerard Mannix & Theresa O' Reilly|
In other news, Speakeasy is saddened to learn of the death of former member, Máire Welford. Máire, a well known writer, graced our meetings with her kind wisdom. We extend our condolences to her family and friends.
For readers who are interested in savouring the atmosphere of our Celebration Night, footage is available on our Facebook page.
Our next meeting will take place in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday, 3rd May at 8.00.PM. Another night of reflection and entertainment in a Smartphone Free Zone is assured. Guests are welcome and will not be coerced to speak unless they wish to do so.
For more information, please check us out on our website speakeasytoastmasters.com or on Facebook. Alternatively, please contact Club President, Helsa Giles - 0838858848.