Mullingar Toastmasters (from left) Ian Cahill, Catherine Ryan, Area Director, Geraldine Smith, club president; Eilish Fox and Niamh Tubridy.

Toastmasters challenge themselves on podium

The last meeting of Mullingar Toastmasters meeting was an opportunity for members to challenge themselves through their speeches and engage in the topics sessions later in the evening.

Geraldine Smith, club president, opened the meeting and introduced Pat Kenny as the dedicated Toastmaster. Pat opened the meeting and welcomed everyone, especially the guests, and did a fabulous job at explaining how the meeting works to those who were new to the club.

He introduced Jacqui Wiley to the audience as the fáilte officer for the night who greeted everyone at the door with a friendly smile. Jacqui explained her role and took count of those in attendance. Deirdre Bigley was next in line for an introduction as timekeeper for the evening, an important role which keeps the meeting running smoothly and punctually. Timekeeping is an important part of the skill of a Toastmaster.

Pat Cavanagh did an outstanding job as grammarian, choosing the word of the evening, taking notes of interesting language and imagery as well as noting any filler words the speakers used. Linda Gavigan, as general evaluator, was introduced.

Eilish Fox, having only been with Toastmasters for a number of weeks, took on her first speech introducing herself to the club. She was evaluated by Anke Von Bunau, who explained that the ice-breaker speech is the beginning of a Toastmaster’s journey. Eilish displayed confidence, candour and speech-craft, in a speech titled ‘Here I am, the best is yet to come’,

Eilish took everyone through her childhood and adolescent years along with navigating family life and careers. Anke evaluated Eilish’s speech and hit the nail on the head when she referred to the applause Eilish received.

Next, Niamh Tubridy, with a humorous speech entitled ‘What I want to be when I grow up’, was evaluated by experienced Toastmaster and committee member Derek Walsh. Niamh used colourful language, mostly pink, taking everyone along for the ride while she reminisced on the careers she considered growing up, the careers she considered in college and the careers that she still considers, even now. Derek’s feedback noted Niamh’s body language and use of props.

Ian Cahill was next to take the stage, evaluated by John Waldron. Although many cringed at the idea of looking at a PowerPoint presentation, Ian really turned it on its head. With a speech called ‘The signs were all there’, Ian explained to us that he recently broke his foot playing football.

He thought that turning the big 5-0 was to blame but, reluctant to give up his sporting endeavours, he came to the conclusion that that was not the case and he was confident of that as the signs were all there. Ian took his audience through his speech using road signs (most of which they believed to be official) as visual aids. The laughter erupted from the audience and John rightly described the affair as action packed, despite the injury.

There was a break for chats and cake to celebrate some very presidential birthdays – Pauline’s birthday in her absence and Geraldine’s upcoming one.

After the break, Catherine Ryan, area director, took to the podium and kept everyone on their toes with some interesting and thought provoking topics. There was engagement all round and a number of add-ons, particularly when it came to the mystical and mysterious topic of love. The audience also heard from some of the newcomers about why they are interested in joining the club and what they think of it so far. All positive, thankfully!

Pat Kenny rounded off that part of the session by highlighting the emotive language he found particularly compelling throughout the meeting. Linda Gavigan then gave her report as general evaluator for the evening, meticulously noting all of the areas in which the meeting succeeded and those which may benefit from some fine tuning. Both Pat and Geraldine gave kudos to Deirdre for the amazing work that she puts in to make the meetings happen as the vice-president of Education.

President Geraldine Smith closed the meeting and invited everyone to the pub for an informal chat and perhaps a drink, for those not driving.

The next Toastmaster meeting, which will include the humorous speech contest, is at the Greville Arms Hotel on Thursday October 26 at 8pm. All welcome.

– by Anthony Viney, PRO