Wednesday, January 29, 2020


Another Thursday night and another fascinating night of inspiration, motivation and information at a Speakeasy Toastmasters Meeting. With a speech programme of 4 speeches, there was an abundance of worthy ideas and "food for thought".

In the week that commemorated Martin Luther King, it was appropriate that Susan Hegarty addressed the subject of leadership. "Lead the way to a better future" looked at the different types of leadership - be it the political leaders or the lycra clad Operation Transformation to the unsung leaders in voluntary organisations who change people's lives. She contrasted the different types of leadership situations she experienced in school and in the workplace from the rules obsessed bureaucratic model to the to the altruistic, democratic, innovative and empowering.

Empowerment was a central theme of Rachel Liston's speech - "Hooked". Asking herself the question - "How difficult could it be?" - she embarked on acquiring the skill of crochet.In short, crochet is about finding a hook and put it all together. Like learning any new skill, it requires curiosity, enthusiasm, persistence and a desired goal. The persistence paid off with the finished article and a meaningful new skill. Other benefits included mindfulness - of being in the moment with total focus required. Learning any new skill, be it crochet or communication is empowering and rewarding with the benefits far outweighing the effort involved.

Anne Marie Lehane outlined the challenging and empowering subject of "Health and Wellness at Work" Setting up staff wellness committees can reap huge dividends, especially in the health care sector. Encouraging staff to "wear the wellness cap" empowers staff to enhance their working environment and improve the quality of their working life. This in turn helps to improve the quality of care that hospital staff provide to patients. Staff involvement in such initiatives "maximises us and minimises them".

Michael Buckley had plenty "Food for Thought" in a detailed presentation on the significance of food combining. Citing the research of Dr. Howard Hay, Michael explained how the combination of protein and carbohydrates in one meal is both a counter productive and an inefficient way of eating as the food is not absorbed properly. By eating proteins and carbohydrates in separate sittings, the health benefits are many - it helps maintain our ideal weight, slows down aging, reduces the need for supplements. And all this can be achieved with less dieting and a reduction in strenuous exercise. It seems like a less humiliating form of Operation Transformation. In short, we take control of our diet which is another form of empowerment. 

In Toastmasters, there is huge emphasis placed on encouraging all participants to realise their full potential as communicators. Each speaker is designated an evaluator whose role is to provide honest feedback, delivered in a positive manner. This encourages and motivates the speaker to grow more confident and accomplished in their presentations. The evaluations of the aforementioned speakers were provided by Jillian Harris, Marie Fitzpatrick, Verna Byrne and Michael Cronin who provided comprehensive feedback that was sensitive to the speakers' needs. 

At the Meeting's conclusion, awards were presented to Rachel Liston - Best Speaker and Michael Cronin - Best Evaluation.

The Speakeasy Toastmasters Season continues with our next Meeting on Thursday, 6th Feb in The Hibernian Hotel Mallow at 8.00PM. If you are looking for a good night's entertainment or if you are looking to acquire a new and empowering skill, or if you seek a distraction from the General Election, why not pay us a visit. You will be warmly welcomed and guests are never obliged to speak unless they wish to do so.
For more information on this club, please check out our website or on Facebook. 

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