Monthly Archives: February 2013

An enjoyable evening on Valentine’s Day

Tullamore Toastmasters meet every second Thursday. And our last meeting, for the first time in the club’s history, fell on Valentine’s Day. We decided to go ahead with the normal schedule. Some people, understandably, had other commitments on the night, so it was a smaller meeting than usual, but it was still as enjoyable as ever. The first item on the agenda was voting a new member into the club: Michael Mulvin. David Reynolds treated us to a lively topics session, urging us to speak on short notice (or no notice at all) on prompts as varied as our worst ever meal and why people read death notices.

For the second part of the meeting, the prepared speeches, there was more entertainment in store. Phil Newton’s brief was to talk about an abstract concept. Phil is a founder member of Tullamore Toastmasters, and is a very experienced speaker. She chose to talk about love, and how it has affected history, with examples of poets, philosophers and politicians who have fallen in love, and how love touched their lives and work. John Murphy, our second speaker, was also speaking from an advanced manual. His brief was to retell a folk tale. He ignored the podium, and spoke to us as as to a bunch of friends sitting round an open fire as he told us the scary story of “The man in the coffin”, warning us of the terrible dangers in interfering in fairy forts.

Finally, we had a guest speaker, who came to us for practice and for feedback before she enters an all-Ireland competition.

Our next meeting is on the 28th of February, at the usual time of 8:30 p.m., in the Tullamore Court Hotel. See you all there!

Toastmasters Officer Training

Tullamore Toastmasters is a local group, but it’s part of Toastmasters International, a worldwide body which provides educational material, coordinates competitions and other forms of inter-club cooperation, and provides training. A training session for club officers in our district was arranged for Monday night, so four of us — Nuala Murtagh-Carton, Donal Hogan, Jennifer Dillon, and Timothy Green — travelled to Ballymahon. The meeting turned out to be useful and informative. Club officers were in attendance from Athlone, Longford, Mullingar, and the newest club in the area: Carlow.

First, we were educated on the structure of the organisation. Most of us had an idea how Toastmasters was organised, but there was plenty of fine detail which was new to me, at least. There was also education and sharing of ideas on how to attract new members to Toastmasters. That can be tricky, because different people come to Toasmasters for different reasons: some people want to improve their public speaking skills for business reasons; some people find the many and varied topics discussed at Toasmasters meetings engaging and interesting, and come because they always learn something; some people want to learn how to chair and manage meetings, and to improve their leadership skills; some people come for the social evening. And no doubt there are many other reasons I’ve not thought of. A Toastmasters club can serve all these goals and more, and the same club can serve different goals for different people. A large part of both the fun and the learning come from the fact that the membership is quite varied, with different ages, different levels of experience, different jobs. For myself, the initial reason for coming was actually the social evening — and Tullamore Toastmasters provide a good social evening —, but my skills and my self-confidence at public speaking have also received a massive boost.

I’m glad I went to the officer training night. It was interesting, and we all learned something. I always learn something at Toastmaster meetings.

Next club meeting is at 20:30 in the Tullamore Court Hotel on Thursday the 14th of February.