Turn over a new leaf with Toastmasters

It’s New Year’s resolution time and what better way to begin the year than by joining a club which is both fun and functional!

It’s New Year’s resolution time and what better way to begin the year than by joining a club which is both fun and functional!

In Toastmasters, members learn to improve their communication skills in a positive and friendly environment. The skills gained will lead to a greater self-confidence and a life-long ability to lose the fear of speaking in public.

On Monday December 10, Toastmasters celebrated at their Christmas party. Before the festivities began however, it was business as usual for the first half of the night. The very capable Ann Duncan was Toastmaster and she presided over a meeting which contained four speeches. Two of these speeches were delivered by new members making their very first speech and this is always a very special occasion.

Kevin Tobin broke the ice when he spoke about “My holiday memories” with great affection. His travels took him from trips to the Aran Islands, Alwee Caves, Wicklow and then to France. This latter holiday was especially memorable as his mother packed the camping equipment in a black sack, which his father proceeded to dump in the bin. This lead to a very interesting situation, as you can well imagine, when they discovered on arrival, that they were equipmentless! Kevin’s speech was both fun and informative and he showed very little nerves.

Next up was Mary Cuddy with her icebreaking speech entitled “There’s something about Mary”. There sure was! She was hilarious and regaled us with stories of her life so far, which had the audience in peals of laughter. Mary’s wit and wisdom, combined with her great sense of humour and delivery should ensure that she wins many ‘Humorous speech’ contests in the future.

Not to be outdone, Martina Walsh in her stage 3 speech spoke positively and with great pride about the town of Portlaoise. She traced its history and shared some anecdotes and concluded by appealing to the audience to “shop local” this Christmas. Martina delivered her speech with great confidence and her civic pride in her town shone brightly.

Last but not least was a unique experience delivered by 2 seasoned toastmasters Mary White and Carmel Kelly. Their task was to conduct a TV interview on a special subject and to do so in a professional manner. Mary interviewed Carmel about the subject of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and confidence and delivery was such that the audience felt they were experiencing a live broadcast. Congratulations to both for such a highly professional presentation.

Evaluators Orlagh McCrory, Mary Heaney, Mark Bastow, Bryan Holland and Meree O’Sullivan complimented the speakers and provided some helpful suggestions where the speakers could improve.

Donal Cahill was master of ceremonies at the party which followed. Food and beverages were accompanied by a quiz where Donal set questions and whoever gave the correct answer had to speak on a topic for one minute before gaining marks. As you can imagine this lead to a hilarious night and the winning table were very deserving of their prize. Music and a sing song followed and this was a fitting end to a highly successful first term.

While the first meeting of the New Year took place last Monday, January 10 Portlaoise’s Toastmasters meet regularly on Mondays in the Killeshin Hotel.

Why not treat yourself to a night out every two weeks where you meet new people and increase your confidence. The first two meetings are free for guests and we hope to see you there!