Last Tuesday saw another great meeting of the Galtees Toastmasters at the Firgrove Hotel, Mitchelstown. It was a vibrant demonstration of all that is good about Toastmasters… developing skills, cooperation, supporting people and making friends.
Dick Lyons got the evening off to a solid start as topics master and defined his role as being someone who would ‘provoke, entertain and challenge’. He did this in spades! However he also prefaced his session by reassuring our most welcome guests that while they are welcome to speak, they will not be put on the spot to do so.
The range of topics posed by Dick to members was diverse. He challenged us to speak about topics from London fashion week to the value of play for young children. He asked if cushions should be for comfort or for show and he asked if the old adage of an apple a day keeping the doctor away was true or a myth. He even ventured to suggest that mobile phones are making us more anti social. The replies were thought provoking, funny and downright outrageous! The perfect antidote to the doom and gloom that is so pervasive in the current climate!
When the topics session was over, Toastmaster Máire Corbett introduced our three speakers. Mary Meaney has progressed to area and division level speech contests with her unique take on life, regaled us with her tales of her co-dependent cats. This witty and entertaining speech was from the humorous speaking advanced stageand Mary told us about how the cats have wound their way into her life. Our president, Neil Mc Auliffe, also speaking from an advanced stage, filled us in, very topically, about the life and times of Ronan O’Gara. His speech was well researched, filled with facts and delivered in a very interesting, natural manner.
One of our members was held up with matters of agriculture, so Conor O’Brien filled in at extremely short notice, demonstrating the cooperative nature of being in Toastmasters. Conor’s speech was a fascinating story about the intelligence of crows! Yes indeed, you can learn a lot about all kinds of subjects when you are a Toastmaster! Did you know that crows have the ability to think ahead, recognise faces and change their habits based on previous experience? I certainly didn’t, but Conor says all this and more has been proven by extensive research!
The evaluators of these speeches were respectively Conor O’Brien, Peggy O’Donoghue and John Sherlock, all of whom reflected on their thoughts on the speeches and gave positive ideas on how the speakers could develop their skills further. The evaluation session was chaired by Ann Lyons, the general evaluator and Margaret O’Keeffe kept everyone on time, another of the skills needed by good communicators and speakers. Peter Langley ensures all we need for the meeting is there and greets everyone in a very warm, welcoming manner! Michael Sheehan, our area governor also attended and was very supportive and encouraging of our club.
At our next meeting, members will take part in 2 contests. One is known as the International Speech Contest, where speakers, who have progressed past their 6th speech, will compete for the honour of representing Galtees Toastmasters at the upcoming area final. This contest reaches its ultimate conclusion in the USA in August, where Toastmasters from all over the world vie for the Speaker of the Year accolade.
The second contest is the evaluation contest. As suggested by the title the objective is to find the Toastmaster who delivers the most supportive evaluation of a speech, looking for skills such as being encouraging and offering effective recommendations. This all take place on March 19, at 8pm in the Firgrove Hotel, Mitchelstown. Entry is €5, so a great night out for a small fee! Guests are welcome to contribute, but will never be put on the spot to do so! Hope to see you soon!