Tuesday, June 11, 2019

It's one word - altruism - that makes a real difference. With a passionately delivered speech, Don McSweeney energised his audience at last week's Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting. Altruism is the self-less concern for the welfare of others. Citing examples as varied as the philanthropist Chuck Feeney and Medicine Sans Frontier, Don showed us how people can make a difference. The care of others has long been a central purpose of religious organisations and Don quoted a wonderful mantra - A tithe of yourtreasury, a tithe of your time and a tithe of your talent to illustrate that each and everyone of us can reach beyond ourselves and make that vital contribution to our community. This speech sees Don achieve the Competent Communicator Award, a wonderful milestone that acknowledges the improvements made by a speaker. 

By contrast, extreme selfishness featured in Bobby Buckley's presentation - Hero or Scallywag? No matter what you achieve, once you post it on Social Media you are derided by the faceless keyboard warriors. You can undertake the Tasmanian Trek in Australia which is hugely challenging, share the photos of your achievements and there are always the begrudgers, who from the comfort of their armchairs will set out to belittle you. In Toastmasters, achievements are applauded and acknowledged, there is never any denigration. 

Clare O'Connell got to the essence of good communication with "The Speech" In a helpful visual presentation, Claire gave helpful pointers on writing and presenting a speech. Focus on what you know, be it personal experience, family or career and be clear and specific about the message you wish to deliver. Mind mapping your ideas is a useful technique to assemble all your ideas. And importantly, rehearse. Speaking in front of a mirror is wonderful way to rehearse, providing you with immediate feedback on how you deliver your message. 

Advice was in plentiful supply in Shane O'Donnell's speech - Fun in the Sun. Sometimes, days of sunshine are so rare that we lose all sense of caution when its rays finally appear. Even worse, the fair skinned Irish are more prone to the effects of the Sun's harmful Ultra Violet rays. Skin Cancer, early ageing and a lower immune system can be the results of our carelessness while sun bathing. Cream up and cover up was the simple advice of Shane's speech and then enjoy the fun in the sun. 

Fatalism was the theme of the final two speeches at the meeting. Margaret O'Keeffe's "Bread and Butter" told the tale of two young people who were destined to be together from their early childhood through to their adult lives. Anne Marie Lehane's "Que Sera Sera" was a speech about acceptance regarding career, love and health. Everything happens for a reason was the take away message of this speech, reinforced by a rousing rendition of the Doris Day's song. 
Bobby Buckley, Claire O'Connell, Margaret O'Keeffe, Anne-Marie Lehane, Don McSweeney & Shane O'Donnell 

As always, there was plenty of advice and positive feedback to each speaker in the evaluation section of the meeting. Brendan Foley, Deirdre Linehan, Rachel Liston, Michael Cronin, Verna Byrne and Marie Lynes provided constructive and thoughtful insights to all the speakers. 
Michael Cronin, Deirdre Linehan, Verna Byrne, Rachel Liston, Marie Lynes & Brendan Foley. 

Anne O'Donovan acted as discussion leader for an engaging and entertaining Topics Session. The elections and modern day campaigning elicited a huge response. To much amusement,Jillian Harris described how a group of American tourists were convinced that "Healy - Rae" was a political party! Given their success in Kerry, they may have been right. A topic that elicited a huge "if only" was "if you could be any age for one week, what age would it be?" The days of endless possibilities were clearly described as post Leaving Cert, when the world stretched out in front of us like a promise. 

At the Meeting's conclusion, awards were presented to Vincent Harris - Best Topic, Marie Lynes - Best Evaluation and Don McSweeney - Best Speaker. However, the real winners at this meeting were all the contributers who made such an enjoyable meeting possible. 

Speakeasy Toastmasters will now take a short break for the Summer. We would like to thank this newspaper for it's continuous support. We also thank all our visitors who enhanced our meetings. 
The next season of meetings will commence on Thursday, 5th September in the Hibernian Hotel Mallow at 7.45 PM. We look forward to seeing you then. 
For more information on this Club, please check out our website speakeasytoastmasters.com or on Facebook.