Monday, March 25, 2019

Goldilocks Porridge

Goldilocks' Porridge.

Ireland has been called many things - the "Island of Saints and Scholars" or a "Nation of Begrudgers" are two that spring to mind. However, at last week's Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting, Don McSweeney likened Ireland to Goldilocks' Porridge - not too hot, not too salty, just right. His speech - "Home Sweet Home" was a celebration of everything positive that Ireland has to offer. We have geologically sound earth beneath our feet and are never prone to earthquakes and volcanoes. Our climate is temperate, lacking the extremes of weather that blight other countries. Likewise, our politics is moderate and lacking the idiocy that is evident elsewhere. As a people, we are cultured, welcoming, humorous and generous. All things considered, Ireland is "just right".

By contrast, Valerie Murphy lauded the Republic of Slovakia. Her speech - "My special Slovak Holiday" recalled her experiences in that beautiful country while holidaying there. Prior to 1993,Slovakia was joined together in one State with the Czech Republic in the country known as Czechoslovakia.It was under the yoke of Communism until the momentous events of 1989 which saw the Iron Curtain torn apart. It is a land of welcomes on the banks of the River Danube. It is a place of breathtaking Medieval Castles, best encapsulated by it's capital city of Bratislava.

Deirdre Linehan reflected on her life through the prism of Sport with her presentation - "This Sporting Life". On growing older, she realises that for many of her loved ones, their game is over - they have reached "full time". She still views herself as a participant in life - not a spectator or a referee. She keeps going through her life with the attitude of the golfer, Gary Player as her motto - "The more I practice, the luckier I get".

Mark Twain once remarked that "Man is the only animal that blushes - or needs to". Susan Hegarty's speech - "Beetroot" focused on her embarrassing tendency to blush far too easily. Susan goes red" when she is angry or happy, when she doesn't like the truth or suspects that someone is untruthful. The Science of Blushing defines it as a voluntary process that those afflicted have no control over. But Susan is not alone in pulsating like a beetroot. Simon Cowell and the singer, Pink, suffer from over frequent bouts of blushing. But blushing can be camouflaged by make-up but that leaves the wearer looking like "Shrek"! 

Philip O'Riordan delivered his Ice-breaker, simply called "The Wedding Speech". He confessed to getting married on the day after the Brexit deadline! Hopefully, he will not require a backstop!" Following his engagement, he realised that hewould have to "give a speech". And then he resolved to join Toastmasters to learn the basics of public speaking. Philip's story is like many others who need to speak for a specific reason. Participation in the Toastmasters programme has helped thousands of people to overcome their nervousness and anxiety about speaking in front of an audience. Members of Speakeasy were privelaged to hear Philip's rehearsal of his "Wedding Speech" and we wish him well on his "Big Day". 
Deirdre Linehan, Don McSweeney, Philip O'Riordan, Valerie Murphy & Susan Hegarty. 

All the speeches delivered were given thoughtful and incisive evaluations from their chosen evaluator. Evaluations were provided by Claire O'Connell, Pat Sexton, Bobby Buckley, Bridie O'Connell and Verna Byrne who were cognisant of our evaluationethos - "Evaluate to motivate". At the meetings conclusion, awards were presented to Don McSweeney - Best Speaker and Verna Byrne - Best Evaluation. 

In other news, the Division B (North Munster) Speech and Evaluation Contests will take place in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Ennis Road, Limerick on Sunday 31st March at 1.30pm. Speakeasy will be represented by Sean Corcoran, Pat Sexton and Brendan Foley. It promises to be a wonderful evening of entertainment and everyone is welcome. 

The next Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting will take place on Thursday, 4th April in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM. As always, guests are welcome to attend and will not be cajoled into speaking unless they wish to do so. 
For more information about our club, please check out our website, speakeasy or on Facebook. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

A weekend to savour.

A weekend to savour.

Speakeasy Toastmasters were privelaged to be among the many participants at this year's Kanturk Arts Festival. On Friday night, three Club members performed at the Festival's Opening Night at O'Callaghans Showroom. Gerry O'Callaghan regaled his audience, both young and old, with his hilarious recollection of his "First Date".
Gerry O'Callaghan. 

Liam Flynn gave a reading of two famous Sea Poems - "The Inchcape Rock" and "The Wreck of the Hesperus". Bobby Buckley rounded off the Speakeasy contributions with his sublime tale of subservience - "Yes Man".
                       Liam Flynn
                   Bobby Buckley 

It was a night of the spoken word, the written word and, some might suggest the painted word. And, it was beautifully interwoven with the wonderful acapella sounds of the vocal group, "Various Voices". By contrast, Saturday night was dedicated to dramatic presentations. Taking the stage in The Edel Quinn Hall, Sean Corcoran displayed his matchmaking skills with an interpretation of John B Keane's "The Letter".
Sean Corcoran 

Former Club President Kieran Buckley gave an emotional, poignant and powerful rendition of his World War 1 Monodrama - "Lions led by donkeys".
Kieran Buckley 

 Former member, Vivien Buckley was on hand to deliver her humorous tale of parachute misadventure - The Jump".

Kanturk Arts Festival has now established itself as a vibrant event, enhancing the cultural life of North Cork. We congratulate the organisers for their success with this venture and look forward to working with the Festival in the future.

Speakeasy Toastmasters will return to it's normal speaking routine at our next meeting on Thursday, 21st March in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00 PM. Having devoted the last two meetings to Contests, Thursday night will be an opportunity to witness a standard meeting, with the emphasis on speeches, evaluations and table topics. Even though the Club is located in Mallow, it draws it's membership from all over the North Cork area. We have attracted members from Rathpeacon to Rockchapel, andfrom Kiskeam to Kildorrery. Our aim is to serve the North Cork regions of Avondhu and Duhallow and beyond. 

If you feel that you need to acquire or hone the skills of good communication or if would like a night of good entertainment, why not join us on Thursday night?Any time is a good time to learn a new skill, be it Spring or Autumn. You will be guaranteed a night of reflection and musings, coupled with sound advice on speaking well, and a dose of humour thrown in - for good measure! You will get all this and a cup of tea as well. As always, guests are welcome to attend and are under no obligationto speak - unless they wish to do so.
For more information about our Club, please check out our website, speakeasy or on Facebook.
Looking forward to seeing you on Thursday Night. 

Monday, March 11, 2019

A victorious week

A victorious week for Speakeasy.

The Area 17 Finals ( North Cork) of the Speech and Evaluation Contests took place at last week's Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting. 

Over the course of two hours, a wonderful range of ideas and speaking styles was on display. The chosen subjects were serious in nature but humour abounded. Gerry Hennessy of Fermoy Toastmasters spoke on the many joys of music. "If music is the food of love" chronicled the important role that eight musical notes have on our lives. For some,it might be "the clinger" at the local ballroom to more sombre notes of a classical composer. Musical tastes can range from the discordant notes of "Guns and Roses" to soft romantic sounds. "Would you like some Marvin Gaye"? Whatever, you are having yourself, remember the words of Shakespeare and "play on".

In stark contrast, Brendan Foley exhorted his audience that "It's the journey, not the destination". Setting goals and working towards achieving them is an important ingredient of success. However, there is a danger that obsession with "Goals" can enslave rather than enable the individual. Brendan recalled running a road race on a beautiful, scenic route with his head down. Such was his focus in reaching the finishing line, he was he oblivious to the natural beauty that coloured his route. Steppingback a little and enjoying the journey is more beneficial to our well being than obsessing on the destination.

"Things aren't always what they first appear" was the hugely enjoyable contribution of Frank O'Driscoll of Fermoy. Delegated the task of concluding the sale of his son's car, Frank found himself in a very uncomfortable position when a group of Eastern Europeans turned up on a Sunday morning to test drive the car, prior to purchasing it. He found himself facing up his prejudices. Ultimately, to his immense relief, such concerns proved to be unfounded and a deal was done. His speech was a salutary lesson on the dangers of judging a book by it's cover.

Pat Sexton's "On the Ropes" took us back in time to the legendary "Rumble in the Jungle" World Heavyweight Boxing Title fight in 1974. This was an era when Ali and Foreman were Kings of the ring. The speech focused on the lessons we can draw from this incredible story and how the qualities displayed by both boxers can inform our own life's challenges.
Sean Corcoran, Rachel Liston, Pat Sexton & Frank O'Driscoll. 

In the Speech Evaluation Contest, the Keynote Speech was delivered by Mohammed Omar of the Clonmel Club. Simply titled - "An apple a day", this presentation dealt with how small changes to our lifestyle can make the biggest difference. It is now medically proven that the consumption of one apple each day reduces the risk of stroke. Likewise, a new language can be mastered in a year by learning a mere three words every day. Life is not just about big changes. Small changes can make the difference. The competing Evaluators, Sean Corcoran, Pat Sexton, Frank O'Driscoll and Johanna Hegarty were required to present a critique of this speech. There is an impromptu aspect to this Contest as Competitors have 5 minutes to prepare their notes and do not hear the Competitors who have spoken previously.

Following the adjudication, Speakeasy's Pat Sexton emerged victorious in the Speech and Evaluation Contests. Frank O'Driscoll of Fermoy finished second in the Speech Contest while Sean Corcoran of Speakeasy was runner-up in the Evaluation Contest. Sean, Frank and Pat will go forward to the Division B Finals which take place in the Radisson Hotel, Limerick on Sunday, 31st March at 1.00PM. This event will bring together participants from Claire, Kerry, Limerick, North Tipperary and North Cork. A wonderful afternoon of entertainment is assured.

The Mallow and District Sports and Leisure Awards Gala Night was held at Springfort Hall on Saturday, 2nd March. The Speakeasy Club was absolutely delighted to receive a prestigious Club Award. This award acknowledges the contribution that the Club has made to the North Cork community over the past twenty five years. During that time, the Club has assisted many members to acquire good communication skills. It has also provided public speaking training in various Secondary Schools in the locality. The Club wish to thank the Mallow Sports and Leisure Council and their sponsors for organising such a wonderful event.
Sean Corcoran & Anne O'Donovan at Mallow Sports & Leisure awards. 

Meanwhile, Speakeasy members will participate at this weekend's Kanturk Arts Festival. On Friday evening, Bobby Buckley, Gerry O'Callaghan and Liam Flynn will be part of an impressive programme at O'Callaghan Motor World, Kanturk. On Saturday night, Sean Corcoran and Kieran Buckley are performing on the Drama evening at the Edel Quinn Hall. More details are available on the Arts Festival website.

The next Speakeasy meeting will take place on Thursday, 21st March in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at8.00PM.As always, guests are welcome to attend. Unlike conventional courses and classes, you can join Toastmasters at any time and start on a meaningful journey to improved communications. Guests are never coerced to speak unless they wish to do so.
For more information about our Club, please check out our website, or on Facebook. 

Monday, March 04, 2019

A night of verbal jousting beckons.

Speakeasy Toastmasters Club will host the North Cork (Area 17) Finals of the Speech and Evaluation Contests this Thursday night in the Hibernian Hotel Mallow at 8.00PM.

Qualifying Contestants from Fermoy, Failte (Charleville), and Speakeasy Toastmasters will do verbal battle in two Contests. Among the participants will be Frank O'Driscoll, Jerry Hennessy and Johanna Hegarty of Fermoy and Sean Corcoran, Brendan Foley and Pat Sexton of Speakeasy.
Sean Corcoran & Tadgh O'Keeffe, Fáilte Toastmasters. 

The conventional Toastmasters meeting works at creating a relaxed athmosphere to reduce any nervousness that speakers may have. The two competition nights are a little like what speakers might experience in speaking engagements in the workplace, in the dressing room or in meetings of voluntary organisations. Competition encourages members to move outside of their " comfort zone". It provides the opportunity to members to test their skills in a competitive context. It helps them to broaden their communicationskills.

Moreover, Contests can be hugely entertaining and fascinating for an audience, be it of Toastmasters members or guests. We witness speakers perform at a higher level and experience a broad range of ideas on a range of worthy subjects. Speeches are of a 5 to 7 minutes duration and Contestants are judged on communication skills and speech value. In the Speech Evaluation Contest, Contestants are required to listen to a "Test Speaker" and provide a 3 minute evaluation of that speech ( Contest Contestants cannot hear previous evaluations). They are judged on their analytical skills and the quality of the recommendations offered to the speaker.

The First and second place winners in each Contest will qualify for the Division B (North Munster) Finals in Limerick,7th April.Area 17 has a proud record of achievements in these Contests. Kevin Walsh, Orison Carlie(Fermoy), Joe Portley (Crusaders) and Deirdre Linehan, Kieran Butler and Pat Sexton of Speakeasy have all participated in Irish and British ( District 71) Speech Contest Finals. Indeed, Joe Portley in 1998 and Deirdre Linehan in 2018 are the only Cork representatives to capture victory at District level. In the Speech Evaluation Contest, Michael Cronin,Pat Sexton
and Tony O'Regan have represented Speakeasy and Area 17 at District level, with Pat Sexton emerging victorious in 2018.

In other news, Speakeasy members are privileged to be involved in the up coming Kanturk Arts Festival. Liam Flynn, Bobby Buckley and Kieran Butler will be part of the impressive lineup of performers at the Festival Opening Night at O'Callaghans Motors Showroom on Friday,15th March. On Saturday,16th March, Sean Corcoran and Kieran Buckley will participate in the Drama Night at the Edel Quinn Hall. Both events are worthy of support. 

In the meantime, all roads lead to the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on this Thursday Night for the Area Finals of the Speech and Evaluation Contests. Proceedings commence at 8.00 PM sharp. As always, guests are welcome to come along and join us for what promises to be a fascinating night. For more information about this Club, please check out our or on Facebook.