Sunday, December 30, 2018

New Year's Invitation

A New Year's Invitation!

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step" - Buddha.

It's that time of the year again when we reflect on our lives and we make resolutions.Usually, we decide to "lose" something,be it some weight or a bad habit. However,far more can be achieved by trying to "gain"something, to acquire a good habit or a new andvaluable skill.

January is also a time when we consider Adult Education Classes for our personal development.If you haven't done so already,have you ever considered acquiring or developing your communication skills?The ability to communicate with clarity and confidence is an invaluable life skill which can transform your life.There are many reasons why people wish to learn communication skills-to help improve their self- confidence; to help in job interviews and work presentations; to improve their leaderships skills and toenhance their social and conversational skills.Sometimes, gaining a new competency can be both satisfying and fun! There can be the "Yes! factor" that comes with acquiring a new skill.

Speakeasy Toastmasters has been to the forefront in providing communication training in the North Cork Area for 26 years . Since October 1992, when the first meeting was held in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow, Speakeasy has enabled it's members to flourish.Wedon't just train, we entertain. Our motto is - "we learn most in moments of enjoyment". Though our meetings appear formal,fun can be had. And,on many occasions,we have witnessed the "shy" and "introverted" members find their voices and soar with Toastmasters is self-paced. You speak when you feel that you are ready. Advice, encouragement and support is given to all members on the "how to" of speaking in front of an audience and enjoying it.

But, we are not just about speaking.We also listen. One of the most fascinating aspect of our meetings is the diversity of subjects discussed by various speakers.From the sublime to the ridiculous, from the profound to the preposterous,speeches presented at our forthrightly meetings are a constant source of fascination and enlightenment.
Liam Flynn, Sean Corcoran & Kieran Butler

So, if you are interested in gaining a new and vital skill why not pay us a visit?, Indeed one member, Liam Flynn, attended his first meeting in early January 2007, having read newspaper articles about our meetings and having his curiosity aroused.He took thefirst step, describing it as one of the best decisions of his life and the source of many enjoyable nights.So, make a resolution and make that first step by coming along to our first meeting of 2019. It takes place in The Hibernian Hotel ,Mallow on Thursday,10thJanuary at 8.00PM.
As always, guests are welcome and will not be obliged to speak unless they choose to do so.
For more information,please check out our website or follow us on Facebook.Alternatively,contact Helsa Giles 083-8858848.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Rachel lights up the Christmas meeting.

Delivering her maiden speech in Speakeasy, Rachel Liston gave a fascinating account of growing up in West Limerick. To a packed room of members and guests she recalled her fascination with the colours of everything - how the sky was blue and the grass was green and wondering why. This curiousity drove her interest in the Sciences and ultimately to a career in biochemistry.

Anne O'Donovan delivered a "re-introductory" speech. Delivering a talk of a personal nature, Anne spoke about her six years of involvement in Speakeasy and of how the new Pathways Programme offers her a fresh challenge.

Maria Connolly transported her audience back to warmer days. With a speech entitled - "Ireland's Gem", Maria painted a beautiful pen picture of West Cork and the Wild Atlantic Way. She showed by her well chosen examples - from Mizen Head to the Old Head of Kinsale, from Dursey Island to Sherkin Island - that West Cork is a place apart.

With his "After-dinner Speech", Brendan Foley became the grinch that stole Christmas or made it miserable for some."Minority rules" described how Brendan found himself preparing Christmas dinner for twelve people and then discovering that two were vegetarians! In a parallel universe, Brendan would have bent over backwards to accommodate their dietary requirements. In reality, they had to make-do with potatoes and vegetables! Outside of cooking and eating, Christmas Day can be boring, so he tries innovative ways to pass the time like winding up passive aggressive guests until they "lose it"!
Anne O'Donovan, Rachel Liston, Brendan Foley & Maria Connolly

Christmas cheer was in evidence everywhere else throughout the meeting. Kieran Butler, Toastmaster of the Evening, dressed the part with his Vercase designed festive jumper. The Topicsmaster, Liam Flynn, conducted a themed Topics Session on the Season.
In a year when #metoo dominared the headlines, he posed the question -"Is it time for a Mother Christmas?" He challenged his audience with the prospect of a Christmas dinner without turkey, ham or pudding. Other subjects covered included real or artificial trees, Billy Smart's Circus and the things we dread about Christmas. Gerry O'Callaghan responded to the question of favourite Seasonal songs by singing a verse of " Jingle Bells". 

At the meeting's conclusion, Claire O'Connell in her role as General Evaluator presented awards to Michael Donegan - Best Evaluator, Bridie O'Connell - Best Topic and Rachel Liston - Best Speaker. 

This was the final meeting of 2018. From Storm Emma to Storm Deirdre, it has been quite an eventful twelve months for Speakeasy Toastmasters. The Club celebrated it's Twenty-Fifth Anniversary in fine style. Initially stymied by snow storms, the celebratory night was a rip roaring success with ten of the best speakers presenting their memorable speeches. It was the year when several club members performed successfully at various Contests. In May,at the District Conference in Cork, Deirdre Linehan emerged victorious in the District 71 (Britain and Ireland) Final of the International Speech Contest with her exciting speech - "Dob's Army". Subsequently, she went on to participate in the World Championship Public Speaking Finals in Chicago. In the DistrictFinal of the Speech Evaluation Contest, Pat Sexton won the top prize.In the recent Division B (Munster)Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests Speakeasy were represented by Kieran Butler, Claire O'Connell, Pat Sexton and Ray Ryan. Pat Sexton emerged as Winner of the Table Topics Contest and will go forward to the District 71 Final in Norwich next May.

But, above all else, it has been a year of educational, entertaining and exhilarating meetings that embody the Speakeasy motto - We learn most in moments of enjoyment. Our First meeting of the 2019 takes place in the Hibernian Hotel Mallow on Thursday,10th January at 8.00PM. We look forward to seeing you then. In the meantime, Speakeasy Toastmasters wishes it's members, guests and readers of this column a Happy and Peaceful Christmas.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Deirdre receives Mayoral Award.

Speakeasy member, Deirdre Linehan received an Award at the Cork County Council Mayoral Reception which took place last week in the Cork County Hall.

Hosted by the Mayor of Cork County Council,Cllr. Patrick Gerard Murphy, the Mayoral Reception honours the remarkable achievers in Cork over the past year. Deirdre's award was in recognition of her achievement in winning the District 71 Final of the International Speech Contest and competing in the World Championship Public Speaking Finals in Chicago. Mallow featured prominently in the Ceremony with local golfer, James Sugrue, winning an award for his sporting prowess. The Mallow Lifesaving Team of 1968 received recognition of the 50th anniversary of winning the All Ireland and Water Safety President's Trophy.Speakeasy Toastmasters congratulates Deirdre and all the Mallow recipients on their achievements
Deirdre Linehan with Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy & Nicola Radley

Speakeasy will hold it's final meeting of the year in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday,13th December at 8.00PM. Even though the festive season is fast approaching, the meeting will be business as usual with an impressive array of speakers and evaluators. The skills of good communication aren't "just for Christmas" but are extremely useful all year round. Unlike other personal development courses or conventional night classes, it is never too late to start in the calendar year. Toastmasters is self-paced - the member decides the time to speak. With a New Year approaching, now it an appropriate opportunity to check out meaningful activity to add to the list of resolutions.

Guests are always welcome to come along to Speakeasy meetings to observe what happens. There are two guarantees - a good night's entertainment is assured and guests are never coerced into speaking unless they wish to do so. So, why not pay us a visit on Thursday night. For more information about Toastmasters please check out our or on Facebook.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Schools Public Speaking Contest

Grace grabs victory in Schools Public Speaking Competition.

Grace O'Brien won the Best Speaker Award at last week's Speakeasy Schools Public Speaking Competition.
Grace O' Brien with Speakeasy Club President Sean Corcoran

Representing Scoil Mhuire Kanturk, Grace delivered a powerful presentation on the dangers of sugar - "Alcohol to a child". This is the second year in succession that the Hibernian Hotel Best Speaker Perpetual Cup travels to Scoil Mhuire, following on from the success of Darragh Healy-Fitzgerald in 2017.

In Second Place was Sharon Campbell of Nagle Rice College, Doneraile with touching and emotional speech on -'Teenagers' Mental Health". Finishing a very creditable Third was Liam McSherry of Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachre Rathmore with an entertaining polemic - "The advertising industry is defining society".

In total, Contestants from seven schools presented speeches on a broad range of subjects - from the legalising of soft drugs and video violence to Donald Trump's ingenuity and ballet dancing. Participating schools included Scoil Mhuire and Colaiste Treasa, Kanturk, Davis College, Patrician Academy and St. Mary's Mallow, Nagle Rice College,Doneraile and Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachre Rathmore.In addition to the Individual Speaker Awards, the Best School Award was wondering by Nagle Rice College Doneraile represented by Conrad Werner and Sharon Campbell.
Nagle Rice Secondary School Doneraile, receiving the best overall school prize from Pat O' Mahony, Mallow Credit Union.

Speaking on behalf of the Competition Sponsors, Mallow Credit Union, Gerry O'Callaghan lauded the tremendous efforts of all participants, referring to them as "Winners".He spoke of how 
Mallow Credit Union was delighted to be a long term sponsor of this competition with it's focus on personal development and youth.

Speakeasy Toastmasters will host it's final meeting of the year in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday,13th December at 8.00PM. In keeping with the festivities of the season, it will be a meeting that will mix mulled wine and speeches. As always, guests are welcome to come along and witness what happens at a Speakeasy meeting. Indeed, with a New Year beckoning, why not avail of the opportunity to check out a very worthwhile activity to meet one's New Year's resolutions. Speakeasy Toastmasters enables it's members to master the skills of good communication through meetings that are both educational and entertaining. We look forward to seeing you on the 13th December.