The speakers at the last meeting of Mullingar Toastmasters (from left) Billy Gough, Deirdre Bigley, Niamh Tubridy and Hijesh Lohidakshan.

Local Toastmasters exceed expectations

The area director of the Toastmasters, Charles Malone, told the Mullingar club that they exceeded expectations, at their meeting on Thursday February 9. But then, the members weren’t surprised, and they would say they always exceed expectations!

That makes them sound like they lack modesty but that is not the case; it’s more that they are confident in one another and the way they support all efforts by the club and members.

So, that night, this is what happened: at 8pm sharp, club president Lorraine Murphy opened the meeting and handed it over to Toastmaster for the evening, Derek Walsh.

Derek introduced the role players, fáilte officer Jacqui Wiley; grammarian Damien Rooney (who chose microcosm as the word for the night); and timekeeper John Coyne (who introduced his role) – and then it was on to the speeches.

Of the four scheduled speakers, two were first timers. One of those was speaking for the second time, and the last of the speakers was an old friend saying goodbye.

First up was new member Hijesh Lohidakshan with his icebreaker speech ‘A Bit About Me’. He spoke of the small village where he grew up in the southern Indian state of Kerala and how, as an IT professional, he arrived in Ireland in 2017. Hijesh reported his experience has been positive. Speaking confidently, with no notes, never once faltering or losing his way, Hijesh made a powerful introduction to the club.

Linda Gavagan, who evaluated Hijesh’s speech, complimented him on his storytelling skills and on his presence as he owned the stage and captivated the room.

New member Deirdre Bigley followed with her icebreaker, ‘Forever Young’, in which she spoke of her mother, who sadly passed away at 52 years of age. A tender, heartfelt speech, it was funny at times and deeply poignant at others. Deirdre’s exquisite timing, pausing and audience engagement enhanced a story that she delivered to the room with clarity.

Ian Cahill evaluated Deirdre, in awe of her talent and remarking it was a contest winning speech. The whole room nodded in agreement.

Next was a second speech from new member Niamh Tubridy, ‘The Seven Necessary Sins’, inspired by a book Niamh said was a manifesto. It was a rousing speech delivered with passion, conviction and confidence.

Lorraine Murphy evaluated Niamh’s speech, complimenting her conviction and subject matter, saying there is no doubt that Niamh is destined for great things. One day Mullingar Toastmasters will be honoured to say she was a member of their club.

Finally, Billy Gough had his turn with his speech, ‘My Journey with Toastmasters – a Change in Life’. Billy gave an account of his last five years, accrediting many positive events to his time in Toastmasters. He thanked members who helped him and said he will be back one day.

Philip Howlin evaluated, complimenting Billy on a well-considered speech using humour and the whole room to enhance his story,

Best of luck to Billy from all the club. His humility, wit and authenticity will be missed.

Table topics followed after the break and members networked (drank tea and chatted).

Topics master Tony Viney was on top form and provided a wild range of topics that proved popular and entertaining.

The general evaluation came from Alma Manny, who advised members on the good things they are doing in their meetings and identified areas for improvement.

Derek handed the meeting back to Lorraine to close the meeting, and she said it had exceeded her expectations, again.

Mullingar Toastmasters meet every second and fourth Thursday of the month, in The Greville Arms Hotel at 8pm. New members and guests are always welcome;