Geraldine Smith, Hijesh Lohidhakshan, Lorraine Murphy,Philip Howlin, Niamh Tubirdy, Derek Walsh, Tony Viney, John Coyne, John Waldron, Mags Healy-Donoghue and Damien Rooney.

Mullingar Toastmasters: 'an excellent case against pineapple on pizza'

Toastmasters are nothing if not flexible and on Thursday April 27, they met in the Harp Suite of The Greville Arms Hotel with a programme so dynamic it was still changing.

Vice-president, education, Mags Healy-Donoghue kicked off the meeting by presenting club president Lorraine Murphy with a beautiful bouquet of flowers, congratulating her on her recent contest success and wishing her the best of luck in District 71 International Speech semi-final, due to be held in Liverpool on May 26. Lorraine will represent Mullingar Toastmasters, Area 9 (midlands) and Division F (most of Ireland) too.

“I have a feeling this is going to be a brilliant meeting,” Lorraine said, when she peeled herself off the floor, and handed the meeting over to Toastmaster for the night, Geraldine Smith.

Geraldine welcomed everyone and introduced the role players. On the door as fáilte officer, Damian Rooney announced the number in attendance, and John Coyne explained his role as timer. John delivered his instructions like the seasoned Toastmaster, which didn’t surprise because John has played a role at almost every meeting since becoming a member this Toastmaster year.

In a late change to the programme, Mags filled the general evaluator shoes. With her attention to detail, constructive advice and ever-present encouragement, Mags was the perfect person to jump in.

John Waldron explained his role as grammarian, endeavouring to help us use better language and less, I mean fewer, filler words. The word of the night was ‘endeavour’, so he was ar mhuin na muice from the start.

The first speaker was Niamh Tubridy, who wanted to know who moved her cheese. Inspired by the book Who moved my cheese? by Spencer Johnson, about mice, people and eh, cheese, this was an entertaining, funny and inspiring speech. With a message to change or be left behind, Niamh reminded us to take action swiftly and effectively.

The next speech came from Derek Walsh, ‘Coaching the Flying Dutchman’. Derek talked about his leadership style and his route to finding it. A well-constructed and interesting speech that included valuable life lessons he learned along the way.

The third and final speech of the evening came from oh-alright-twist-my-arm president, who gave the speech she will perform at the district contest. Talking about three miracles she witnessed, she’s now hoping for a fourth.

Speech evaluators were Tony Viney and Anke Von Bunau, who delivered encouragement and direction to the speakers.

After tea and biscuits, it was time for Philip Howlin’s mindful table topics. We’re not saying there weren’t many in attendance, but everyone who wanted a topic got a topic. With hilarious responses including a debate on marrying either Donald Trump or Stalin and a job in a rubber duck factory, even our guests got involved. Harry Rooney made an excellent case against pineapple on pizza and Philip’s topics educated and entertained.

As the president closed the meeting, she reminded members about the club AGM on May 11 and requested nominations for the incoming committee. She also spoke about the district conference in Liverpool on May 26-28, serving all of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the north of England.

And you know what? She was wrong. It was a better than brilliant meeting and that was because everyone mucked in and made it so.

Mullingar Toastmasters meet on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month at 8pm upstairs in the Greville Arms. Find us on Facebook or email New members and guests always welcome.