Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Journeys through the past.

The words of English folk-singer, Sandy Denny - "Who knows where the Time Goes?" - echoed through many of the speeches at last week's Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting. It was a night of quiet reflection when many speakers looked back at their time in Toastmasters and significant events in their lives.
Noel O'Connor, Marie Fitzpatrick, Liam Flynn & Gordon Sharpe-Bolster

Liam Flynn's speech -" Just like starting over" - took us a trip of car boot sales in the quest of interesting trinkets and a love of history which Liam plans to develop further. Liam reflected on his "lucky thirteen " years in Speakeasy. "Being in Toastmasters is like being in a carriage on train. The people in the carriage are your fellow club members and that meeting is a journey", was the analogy that Liam drew. Liam has taken that "richly rewarding" journey and plans to remain in that carriage for another lucky thirteen years.

Noel O'Connor reflected on the many changes he has experienced since his Icebreaker Speech. "My life - Part Two" recalled how Noel visited Speakeasy Toastmasters on the night of it's Inaugural Meeting on the 8th October, 1992.Noel's love of learning spurred him to attend almost every meeting since. This love of learning has informed his farming life with his adopted motto of learning "something new every day". He recalled the year, 1985, when it rained almost every day. The "bad year" had a Silver lining as Noel tied the knot with Kathleen on a rare fine day at the end of August! Noel connected with a significant number of his audience when he spoke of the passing of time through the pictures of the important milestones in his children's lives. But, Noel addressed the future when he committed himself to learning much more in life and in Speakeasy.

Significant events in our children's lives also featured in Marie Fitzpatrick's humourous contribution - "Fairly Average". She looked at her life through the prism of descriptions in dating profiles. She doesn't consider herself as "not highly motivated or good at time keeping!" Fairly average was the description most applicable to her profile. And, most importantly, she is an optimist. Her optimism was tested during the Summer with her daughter's upcoming Debs Ball. Having committed herself to making her daughter's dress, she faced more hurdles and obstacles than the Aintree Grand National. She even overcame her mother's prophecy - "You'll be buying a dress yet". But, the committed optimism of the fairly average managed to deliver a stunning dress for the big occasion.

In stark contrast, Gordon Sharp-Bolster gave us a glimpse of the future and a journey through the forest. "Forestry in Ireland" addressed Ireland's plan to increased afforestation for environmental reasons. He illustrated the madness of current Government policy of focusing on the planting of the environmentally destructive Coniferous trees like Sitka Spruce. Originally imported from Alaska, Sitka Spruce releases the poisonous Potassium Sulphate which destroys the soil and waterways. In Sweden, it is considered an invasive species. At present, financial incentives are loaded in favour of conifers instead of the more luxuriant decidious forests. This current policy is self defeating and short sighted. As Franklin D. Roosevelt warned "A nation that poisons it's soil, destroys itself".

Presenting a speech is one of the many skills that members achieve through involvement in Toastmasters. To enable each member to develop their competence in communication, each member receives an evaluation from an assigned evaluator who presents feedback which is focused on helping the speaker to improve. Helsa Giles, Pat Sexton, Don McSweeney and Bobby Buckley presented appropriate feedback that exemplified the motto - "Evaluate to Motivate". At the meeting's conclusion, awards were presented to Marie Fitzpatrick - Best Speaker and Helsa Giles - Best Evaluation.

Speakeasy Toastmasters will continue it's Meeting Season on Thursday, 3rd of October in The Hibernian Hotel Mallow at 8.00PM. The best time to take up a new hobby or acquire a new skill is now. At a Speakeasy meeting you are assured of a good night's entertainment in a warm and friendly atmosphere and you can observe speakers blossom with confidence. As always, guests are welcome to attend and are never coerced into speaking, unless they wish to do so.
We look forward to seeing you on the 3rd October. 
For more information on this club, please check out our website speakeasytoastmasters.com or on Facebook. 
Alternatively, please contact Theresa O'Reilly - 087-6699156.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Bobby receives Top Award

Speakeasy Toastmasters member Bobby Buckley has received the Distinguished Toastmaster Award. This is the highest award that a Toastmasters member can receive and is based on accumulating the various communication and leadership awards that form part of the Toastmasters programme. Bobby completed 40 speeches, some educational sessions and leadership roles to accomplish the ultimate prize.

Mallow native, Bobby, recalls giving a speech at his son's wedding in Australia in 2008 and receiving " a rousing reception from the Aussies". He thought that the skill of public speaking would be a worthwhile one to develop and visited the Toastmasters Club in Rathfarnham where lives. Suitably impressed, he joined up and started speaking and speaking ! He gave his Ice-Breaker speech on " the North Cork mindset,it's pragmatism, it's good sense and cunning". He quoted Edmund Burke, educated in a hedge school in Killavullen. Having joined Toastmasters, Bobby became involved in leadership roles and has served as Club Vice President and in 2014 - 2015 was elected President of the Rathfarnham club.

Bobby returned to Mallow in 2015 and delivered a hugely memorable speech - The Man on the Bike - in Speakeasy and was bowled over by the positive reception he received. He then joined the club because " Speakeasy reconciled me with my native town.Here I met people that I aspired to meet in the Sixties when I was an aspiring young athlete and didn't! Here they were all waiting now to welcome me back. I felt I had come home". Bobby also commends the Club for the positive and helpful feedback it gives to speakers. Members of Speakeasy Toastmasters are delighted that Bobby made that homecoming journey and heartily applaud your wonderful achievement on becoming a "Distinguished Toastmaster".

Speakeasy Toastmasters continues it's meeting season on Thursday,19th September in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00 PM. Now is an ideal time to come along and witness a Toastmasters meeting and decide if this is your pastime pursuit for the winter months ahead. Though based in Mallow, we serve the entire North Cork and Duhallow area and draw our membership from a large geographical area. A great night's entertainment is assured and guests are never coerced into speaking unless they wish to do so.
For more information on our Club, please check out speakeasy toastmasters.com or on Facebook. Alternatively, you can contact our President, Theresa O'Reilly on 087-6699156.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Where humour and history rhyme.

Humour and history were the dominant themes at Speakeasy Toastmasters' Opening Meeting. In front of a packed audience,the Toastmaster of the Evening, Liam Flynn, introduced a fascinating and fun filled programme. From the outset, humour was to the fore. Despite all the dark news about Boris and Brexit and Britannia waiving the rules, it seems that laughter is the best medicine.

Michael Cronin kicked off proceedings with his 'autobiographical' speech -"Second Time Around". Coming from the townland of Ballybrack in Doneraile where "all roads lead to" he described himself as an accidental farmer with a herd of "pet cows" who like to have their ears waxed and fronts scratched.And like the boy whose idea of education was to meet the class on the way home from school, Michel learned his farming by "copying his neighbours".He spoke of his love of humour as a means of acquiring an audience's attention and overcoming any risk of "attention deficit disorder"!

Bobby Buckley continued the line of humour with "Outside the Box".He spoke of his experience of trying his hand at acting as a means of getting "outside of himself". But, this was no ordinary play that challenged his thespian skills. He found himself in a post-modern version of Shakespeare's comedy "As you Like it".Bobby became fascinated by the cast of characters playing parts that were completely opposite to their personalities. Yes, it is called " acting" for a reason. As always, pride of place goes to the director. And Gary, " The Director" didn't disappoint.He was the type of flamboyant character who yelled "Showtime" every time he opened his fridge in the morning!

Pat Sexton presented "The Picnic". But, this was no ordinary picnic. This was "The Pan European Picnic" which took place in the village of Sopron on the Hungarian-Austrian Border on the 19th August 1989. This somewhat innocuous event lit the spark that ignited a " people's revolution" that led to the dismantling of The Iron Curtain which divided a Cold War Europe for over four decades. In a little over five months after this event, when citizens of Hungary and Austria opened their Border, Communist rule was overthrown in all of Eastern Europe in a largely peaceful fashion. The iconic image of that incredible time was of the residents of East Berlin tearing down the Berlin Wall which had divided their city for twenty eight oppressive years.
Pat Sexton, Michael Cronin & Bobby Buckley. 

A frequently asked question about Toastmasters is " How do members learn the necessary skills"? They learn by doing and by receiving feedback which is called "Evaluation". The three aforementioned speakers were evaluated by Marie Lynes, Claire O'Connell and Marie Fitzpatrick respectively. Their role is to provide clear and positive feedback to the speakers , highlighting their strengths and pinpointing areas for improvement. By taking on board these suggestions, members continue to grow both in confidence and in skill as communicators. At the meeting's conclusion, awards were presented to Pat Sexton - Best Speaker and Marie Fitzpatrick.
Claire O'Connell, Marie Fitzpatrick & Marie Lynes

The next meeting of Speakeasy Toastmasters takes place on Thursday, 19th September in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00 PM. Guests are always welcome to attend our meetings and are never obliged to speak unless they wish to do so. The Autumn is a wonderful time to take up new interests and worthwhile challenges.Acquiring the skills of good communication will pay handsome dividends for work, for job interviews and for inter-personal communication. Toastmasters Meetings are also entertaining and friendly. We look forward to seeing you at our meetings.
For more information on Toastmasters, please check out our website, speakeasy toastmasters.com or on Facebook. Alternatively, contact our President,Theresa O'Reilly-
087 6699156.

Sunday, September 01, 2019

A new season begins!

Speakeasy Toastmasters begins it's new season of meetings in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday,5th September at 8.00PM.

At a time when many organisations fade away after a 10 year existence, Speakeasy is now in it's 27 year, continuing to achieve it's aims of enabling and empowering our members to communicate with confidence.

In an era when digital media is omnipotent,the need for oral communication skills has never been greater.The value of one on one communication, strong presentation skills and " good old fashioned" public speaking ability are at a premium - at work,at home and in the community.

Speakeasy Toastmasters, through it's communication and leadership programme enables it's members to master all of the necessary skills. January is usually the time for resolutions to change or "improve". September may well be a more appropriate time. The evenings are closing in and many people 's thoughts turn towards Adult Education and personal development classes .You get a three months headstart and you overcome the post Christmas slump.

Many people cite fear when challenged with speaking in public.In Toastmasters we learn by doing, with the assistance and encouragement of fellow club members.We embody the words of the American philosopher,Ralph Waldo Emerson- "Once you do the thing you fear, the death of fear is certain".

Speakeasy Toastmasters meet on a fortnightly basis,from September to June. Members present speeches and fulfill other meeting roles. Guests are always welcome at our meetings and are never coerced to speak, unless they wish to do so. If acquiring improved communication skills are among your goals or if you wish to learn a valuable life-skill. Perhaps, you are curious about our meetings or even looking for a good night's entertainment, why not pay us a visit?

Meetings take place on a forthrightly basis. Our first meeting on the 5th,will be followed by another on September 19th. Future events will include our Annual Humorous Speech and Table Topics Night and the schools Public Speaking Competition.

In the meantime, the room is ready,the speeches are prepared as we wait for the starter's pistol for our first meeting of the Season on Thursday, 5th September.Come along and witness the entertainment.

For more information about our Club, please check out our website speakeasytoastmasters.com or on Facebook.Alternatively, contact President, Theresa O'Reilly -0876699156.