Dublin South Toastmasters Information Site http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com Speaking and leadership Sat, 31 Jul 2021 16:55:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.2 DSTM 2020/21: A Summary of the Year http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/dstm-2020-21-a-summary-of-the-year/ Sat, 31 Jul 2021 16:55:46 +0000 http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/?p=864 A Year Like No Other – Dublin South Toastmasters 2020/21 Toastmasters in the 2020/21 year has been a year like no other at Dublin South Toastmasters, a year defined by online meetings. We may be apart but we have definitely not been alone, and for many of our members, it has been a shining beacon
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A Year Like No Other – Dublin South Toastmasters 2020/21

Toastmasters in the 2020/21 year has been a year like no other at Dublin South Toastmasters, a year defined by online meetings. We may be apart but we have definitely not been alone, and for many of our members, it has been a shining beacon in the toughest of years. We have been very lucky that none of our members have had any repercussions as a result of the pandemic.

 

Club Contests

Of our five club contests, Colette Ainscough (CC, CL IP2, PM1) managed to win Tall Tales, Humorous and International Speech contests, going on to represent Area 54 at the Division Level no less for the International Speech Contest. This makes it the third consecutive year that Dublin South has had a competitor at that level. This means we have been represented at Evaluation, Humorous, International and Table Topics contests at Division Level at least once during that time.

Stuart Parkinson (ACB, ALB) managed to win the Evaluation Contest and joined Colette at the Division Level in April, and Michael Kenny (ACG, ALB) continued his fine form in Table Topics making it to Area level before coming up against stiff competition.

 

Dublin South Toastmasters 10 Year Anniversary

This year, Dublin South Toastmasters achieved a big milestone, the 10 year anniversary, with many Past Presidents and Club Founders including John Kelly (DTM), John Joyce (DTM) and Colin Byford (DTM) joining in for an exceptional evening. Stuart Parkinson (ACB, ALB) took on the Toastmaster role and rose splendidly to the occasion.

We had exceptional speeches by club VPE Garvan Gallagher (CC, ALB), Michael Kenny (ACG, ALB) and Chris Werner (DTM) and it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

 

Awards and Achievements

The members who have achieved awards this year have done so in Presentation Mastery (PM), Innovative Planning (IP), Leadership Development (LD) paths, across 4 different levels.

  • Colette Ainscough, IP1, IP2, PM1
  • Susan Brown, IP1, IP2
  • Adrienne Burke Ringrose, PM3
  • Graham Dungan, IP2, IP3
  • Ruairi Farrelly, DL2
  • Peter Golden, PM3, PM4
  • Stephen Harper, DL1
  • Derek O’Brien, PM1
  • Shantha Perera, LD1
  • Christopher Werner, IP1

A huge congratulations to everyone who has achieved Pathways awards this year. We are looking forward to your continued success over the course of the coming year. We also wish the continuing success of our newer members who are closing in on their Level 1 awards.

Our more coveted prizes however, the awards for Most Improved Toastmaster of the Year and Toastmaster of the Year couldn’t have been given to two more worthy recipients, Eilish Cashman and Colette Ainscough, who, despite everything showed up at nearly every meeting throughout the year and more importantly than that, kept everyone else’s spirits up.

 

A Look Forward to the Year Ahead 2021/22

Garvan Gallagher will lead a strong new committee into the new Toastmasters year, welcoming three new committee members. Colette Ainscough will take over Logistics Manager, Eilish Cashman as Secretary and Stephen Harper as VP Membership. We will continue to stay online, but hopefully we will be back in person before too long. Regardless of the setting, it will be busy when we result in September. Our first contest of the year, the Tall Tales contest will on Tuesday 21st September.

In the meantime however, our first meeting back will be held on Tuesday September 7th, starting at 20:00. We look forward to welcoming you all back then, or maybe even for your first Toastmasters meeting! Have a safe and enjoyable summer!

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Eilish Cashman: Most Improved Toastmaster of the Year 2020/21 http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/eilish-cashman-most-improved-toastmaster-of-the-year-2020-21/ Sat, 31 Jul 2021 11:07:40 +0000 http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/?p=856 Dublin South Toastmasters: Most Improved Toastmaster of the Year 2020/21   The other significant award of the year, “Most Improved Toastmaster of the Year”, has been awarded to Eilish Cashman, who joined in February 2020, only attending a few meetings before we all were confined to the online environment. It has, however, proved to be
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Dublin South Toastmasters: Most Improved Toastmaster of the Year 2020/21

 

The other significant award of the year, “Most Improved Toastmaster of the Year”, has been awarded to Eilish Cashman, who joined in February 2020, only attending a few meetings before we all were confined to the online environment. It has, however, proved to be very beneficial for Eilish, her icebreaker speech deviating from the norm, about the Apollo missions in her speech entitled “One Giant Leap for Mankind”. Throughout her journey providing speeches with deeper meaning and purpose, she has drastically improved along the way and a true role model for any new member joining Dublin South.

We caught up with Eilish to reflect on her achievement.

 

1. Congratulations on being Dublin South’s “Most Improved Toastmaster of the Year for 2020/21”, how do you feel?

I was really grateful to receive the award.  It came as a bit of a surprise to me, however I was really appreciative to receive the recognition.

 

2. What advice would you give to other newer members to be in line for following in your footsteps? 

I think it is important to set short term goals, for example  plan to complete 1 speech in the next 4-6 weeks or plan to put your name down for specific roles over 4-6 week period. Also, preparation for your speech really helps to make you feel more confident and also gives you the chance to enjoy the experience a bit more.

 

3. Have there been any particular standout moments that you have looked back on fondly?

I have enjoyed all of the Toastmasters evenings, therefore it is difficult to pick out a particular standout moment.  However, I would say that since I joined Toastmasters,  I have become more acutely aware of the fact that we are all on a learning journey, that it is rewarding to push yourself out of your comfort zone and also that you are part of a group proactively working to support each other.

 

4. Despite most of your time with Toastmasters thus far has been on Zoom, how do you feel it has impacted your life so far?

Of course, Toastmasters has been quite different on Zoom compared to meeting in person in the Clayton Hotel. However, I think it has been a good experience for me as it gave me some  valuable lessons on how to make a speech presentation/perform various roles on-line. Post Covid, I imagine that a significant amount of communications (professional / personal) will continue to take place on-line, therefore I think the Toastmasters Zoom meetings have helped to give me a good grounding in managing communications on-line.

 

5. What are your goals for this coming year as a speaker and a new member of the committee? 

I am hoping to make a significant impact on speech assignments in Level 3, which will be a tall task as there are a lot of speeches in Level 3 and hopefully also continue to improve in my speech preparation and delivery. As a new member of the committee, I hope that I can support the onboarding of new members and also encouraging existing members to progress in their Toastmasters journey. Relative  to other on-line courses, which can sometimes be quite expense, I think Toastmasters is exceptional value for money, providing members with access to such a well structured syllabus, opportunity to improve your skills in a practical way and the support of like-minded team members.

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Colette Ainscough: Toastmaster of the Year 2020/21 http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/colette-ainscough-toastmaster-of-the-year-2020-21/ Sat, 31 Jul 2021 10:21:48 +0000 http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/?p=848 Dublin South Toastmasters: “Toastmaster of the Year 2020/21”   At the end of another year Dublin South Toastmasters we reflect on a very special year for Colette Ainscough. She has been a true trailblazer since joining here from another club in February 2020 and has firmly established with such nicknames as the “Emoji Queen”. Winning
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Dublin South Toastmasters: “Toastmaster of the Year 2020/21”

 

At the end of another year Dublin South Toastmasters we reflect on a very special year for Colette Ainscough. She has been a true trailblazer since joining here from another club in February 2020 and has firmly established with such nicknames as the “Emoji Queen”. Winning the Club Tall Tales, Humorous, and International Speech Contests, going on to represent the club at Area and Division Levels this year, it has been a stellar year for her.

But one of the more important things has been her attitude in these strange times. Always enthusiastic and guaranteed to put a smile on your face, she has been a true source of light during these times. I am always guaranteed a laugh or a smile when I see Colette on the screen, and personally cannot wait to see what she can bring to the club in a face to face setting at some point when we all return.

We caught up with Colette to reflect on her magnificent year and splendid achievement.

1. So, Dublin South Toastmasters “Toastmaster of the Year 2020/21”, how does it feel?

It is an absolute honour to have been chosen as ‘Toastmaster of the Year 2020/21 at Dublin South Toastmasters, I feel very humbled by it given that there are an amazing group of members at the Club.

 

2. Do you have a particular favourite moment over the last year at Toastmasters?

I cannot say that I have one particular ‘stand out moment’. Stuart Parkinson (Evaluation Contestant) and I got tremendous support getting to Division Level.  Dublin South rallied round organising practice Zoom sessions also the amount of Club Members who supported us at the actual competitions through to Division Level was incredible.

 

3. You are the defending champion in the Tall Tales, Humorous Speech and International Speech Contests, getting to Division Level in the International Speech Contest. What goes through your mind when preparing for a contest, and what advice would you give?

I am not going to lie, it was absolutely nerve wracking to be competing at Division Level.  I had practiced until I was ‘blue in the face’, had everything off to a tee, yet still managed to forget a couple of lines!  My advice to anyone competing in speech competitions is to develop your speech topic around some personal anecdotes and more importantly have fun with it.

 

4. You’ve been with Toastmasters for a while, leaving your previous club before joining Dublin South just before our Zoom meetings started. What message do you want to send out to potential joiners?

Potential joiners whether it is for career prospects or undertaking a hobby… if you want to gain confidence in your speaking, learn how to communicate effectively, develop skills as a leader, if you are willing to self-direct your learning, want to have fun and meet interesting like-minded people then… go no further than Dublin South, Leopardstown! Do it believe me you will not regret it”.

 

5. How have you found the online format? What benefits and drawbacks have you found with it?

The online meeting format works very well.  Dublin South accommodate a packed Toastmasters agenda at every Zoom meeting with high numbers of attendees.  The benefits of online meetings?  Number one has to be ‘peace of mind’ for Club Members regarding staying safe, there are monetary savings to be made regarding membership fees, the whole idea of developing tech skills, the way that everyone can see/hear/talk to each other in ‘gallery’ mode and the ability to visit  TM clubs from around the world. 

Main drawbacks in terms of the online format for me?  When a person delivers a speech at an in-house meeting a myriad of thoughts and feelings can transpire.  It takes guts to go to the top of a room to speak in front of people.  When you do carry out a speech project there is nothing like the sense of achievement having spoken publicly and hearing an audiences applause of appreciation.  I believe that the network break is an important time for peer to peer support, this is unfortunately lost with an online format.

 

6. What would your advice be for someone wanting to develop their leadership skills through Toastmasters?

I believe it would depend on the club members experience of leading to date.  Newer club members can begin to develop leadership skills by carrying out eg. the Toastmaster of the Day role. I would advise more experienced club members who wanted to develop their leadership skills through Toastmasters to consider jumping up the Pathway Levels.  It is possible to work on Levels 3 or 4 over Levels 1 and 2!

A member can consider joining the clubs committee.  If a member is really keen on developing leadership skills and committee places have been taken I think it might be an idea to buddy up with a committee member to learn a particular role.  On from that, throughout the TM year there are opportunities in the form of mentoring and directorships that increase leadership skills.

 

7. What are your goals for this coming year, both as a speaker and a new member of the committee?

My goals are already set in stone, I want to complete up to Level 4 of Innovative Planning and am currently busy working on my next speech project for the club beginning September 2021.  As Sergeant at Arms/Logistics Manager my goal is to be a committee member who operates drawing upon the Toastmasters International core values of Integrity, Respect, Service and Excellence…these very values are how I roll in life.

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An interview with club President Ruairi Farrelly http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/an-interview-with-club-president-ruairi-farrelly/ Sun, 14 Feb 2021 22:36:16 +0000 http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/?p=825 As we approach a big milestone for Dublin South Toastmasters, our 10-year anniversary, we caught up with President Ruairi Farrelly. Ruairi has been a member of the club since 2014, taking up numerous roles on the committee on his way to becoming President. Ruairi has also become one of the most accomplished speakers at our
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As we approach a big milestone for Dublin South Toastmasters, our 10-year anniversary, we caught up with President Ruairi Farrelly. Ruairi has been a member of the club since 2014, taking up numerous roles on the committee on his way to becoming President. Ruairi has also become one of the most accomplished speakers at our club, achieving Competent Communicator, Competent Leader, Advanced Leadership Bronze and Triple Crown awards – along with becoming the Most Improved Toastmaster of the Year in 2018. He has also completed 2 levels of the Dynamic Leadership path on Pathways.

We talked to Ruairi to discuss why he joined Toastmasters, what advice he would have for people who are thinking about joining and what it has been like to be President of the club in such a unique year.

 

 1. When did you first attend a Toastmasters meeting and what did you think of it?

I First attended a meeting in October 2014. I did not know what to think. I had a preconception that it was just speeches. I did not know about evaluation, timekeeper roles etc. When they did the dry toast, I thought it was some sort of Cult. I was lucky to sit beside Peter Graham who talked me through the meeting, what it entails and what the benefit of all the roles were.

 

2. Did you join immediately after attending the first meeting?

Yes, I joined straight after the meeting. I signed up to do the Poetmaster role at the next meeting and completed my first speech in March.

 

3. Why did you join Toastmasters?

I worked in HR and when I first started working, I felt that I was very shy in meetings. If I had a point to make, I would not make it during the meeting. I would wait until after and then say it to the boss. I felt that if I wanted to progress in HR, I needed to change. Someone mentioned Toastmasters and I said I would give it a go. What helped me the most, was the different roles. Getting up and explaining the roles really helped build my confidence. I also felt that the dreaded table topics session was a great confidence booster – being called up to talk about a topic which you had not prepared! This can happen a lot in HR.

 

Ruairi giving a speech

Ruairi giving a speech

 

4. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about joining Toastmasters?

Come visit the club and see what it is all about. The beauty is that you will not be asked to speak. You can sit, relax and enjoy the meeting. Have a chat with a member and ask questions. They will be happy to talk to you. Toastmasters is something that I feel very passionate about. I have spoken to a lot of guests and they have been in the same position as myself. They are shy and they don’t want to say anything. Within 3 months of Toastmasters, you will notice the difference. After the first year in Toastmasters, my boss asked for a volunteer to present an induction in front of 100 people. I volunteered. This would not have happened if I had not joined Toastmasters.

 

5. Why did you join Dublin South Toastmasters?

Any toastmasters club is about self-progression. I joined Dublin South because, when I joined, I felt welcome straight away. There was a great friendly atmosphere. All members wanted to talk to me and help me. Over the years, I have seen what a great positive environment Dublin South Toastmasters is. Guests have said to me that they have visited other clubs and they did not feel as welcome as they did in Dublin South Toastmasters.

 

6. When and why did you join the committee?

I joined the Committee in 2015. Cathal Deasey sent me a text message asking if I would be interested in taking up the role of treasurer. When I joined toastmasters, I said to myself whatever was asked of me, I would do. When talking to Cathal at the next meeting, he said “you’re an accountant aren’t you?”. I said no and he replied, “I’m sure it will be alright!!!!”. And the rest is history.

 

7. How did you find it?

I thought it was brilliant. I learned so much about the workings of a committee. I got to see how a club functions, what it costs to run it and I learned about the Distinguished club programme. Personally, I felt it was great because I was an important part of team. People listened and my opinion counted.

 

8. Taking on the presidency role sounds like a big challenge, but you also had a pandemic to deal with. How have you found the year so far?

I have found the role of president brilliant. We, like most clubs, are in a different place compared to this time last year. We have managed to move online and yet we are still able to conduct the meetings at the same high standard. A lot of this is thanks to the committee – both this year and last year. A special thanks must go to Pauline Flusk who put in a lot of work to move us online initially. The role of President is tough but with a great committee, it is a lot easier.

 

Ruairi wearing the chains of office

Ruairi wearing the chains of office

 

9. What advice would you have for a member who was thinking of joining the committee?

I would advise them to take it on. When I joined the committee, it was a new challenge and I never looked back. The confidence I gained from Toastmasters has come through as a committee member. It’s a great opportunity to improve your leadership skills. It also looks great on your CV.

 

10. A lot of people have joined toastmasters during the pandemic. Why do you think that is?

I don’t think we will ever be where we were a year ago. The days where meetings need to be face-to-face are behind us. It’s a new skill. Being comfortable on screen is something that we all must learn. There is also a certain convenience online. I found toastmasters a great source of stress relief. I am on the computer all day in work and while I do have meetings, I have very little social interaction. I find that Toastmasters gives me a real boost on Tuesday.

 

11. What impact has Toastmasters had on your personal and professional life?

Since I joined Toastmasters, I have become more confident both in my personal and professional life. I have become more assertive. If I am not happy with something in a restaurant or a shop, I will raise the issue. In an office environment, I now volunteer to give presentations at team meetings. I also speak at workplace relations and labour court hearings. I could not have done this without Toastmasters.

 

Ruairi giving a presentation about Andrea Pirlo

Ruairi giving a presentation about Andrea Pirlo

 

12. What has been your greatest memory since joining Dublin South Toastmasters?

My greatest personal memory was when I achieved my Competent Communicator award. I had to give a speech that inspired people. I gave a speech about something that I found very hard to talk about. However, I knew that I would be able to do it with my Toastmasters experience behind me.

 

13. What does the 10-year anniversary mean to the club?

I think this is a big milestone for the club, but it is just another milestone. This club has achieved a lot in 10 years, but it will be around for a long time to come. Since I joined six years ago, members have come and gone but the club continually attracts new members. This is on account of the excellent reputation of the club. It has been a pleasure to be the President of this club, but more importantly, it’s been an absolute pleasure to be a member of it.

 

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An interview with club founder John Kelly DTM http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/an-interview-with-club-founder-john-kelly-dtm/ Fri, 12 Feb 2021 13:29:48 +0000 http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/?p=792 Dublin South Toastmasters has reached a big milestone – the 10th Anniversary. This is a special moment for a club which has played such an important role in developing peoples speaking ability, and their overall communication and leadership skills.   Dublin South Toastmasters club prides itself on being a welcoming, vibrant, organised and successful club.
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Dublin South Toastmasters has reached a big milestone – the 10th Anniversary. This is a special moment for a club which has played such an important role in developing peoples speaking ability, and their overall communication and leadership skills.

 

Dublin South Toastmasters club prides itself on being a welcoming, vibrant, organised and successful club. The same can be said about our club founder John Kelly DTM. Upon setting up our club, John went on to achieve the highest level of achievement in Toastmasters, when he received his Distinguished Toastmaster Award in 2016.

 

To mark the occasion, we caught up with John to discuss the club he setup in 2011. We talk about why he joined Toastmasters, his progression to Distinguished Toastmaster and why he decided to setup his own club. We get an insight into what drives John and what it takes to setup a Toastmasters club.

 

Dublin South Toastmasters

Dublin South Toastmasters

 

1. When did you attend your first Toastmasters meeting at what did you think of it?

The first Toastmasters I attended were in Greystones Co. Wicklow. I went there to support a friend who seemed to be struggling at work with his presentation skills. He didn’t join but I enjoyed it so much, I joined in 2004.  I liked the idea of the support and camaraderie. Back then in the club, there weren’t that many people attending the club meetings, so everyone got to answer a question, or had a role.

 

2. Why did you join Toastmasters?

While I was a confident young man I wasn’t always confident about speaking in public and I wasn’t too happy with the sound of my own public speaking voice. I remember reading an advertisement in the local newspaper, encouraging people to become members of Greystones Toastmasters club. So as a business owner and at 38, I finally walked through the doors and never looked back.

 

3. What did you learn?

I learnt that it’s all about the preparation. If you are prepared for your role or presentation, you can speak with confidence on any subject. One of the hardest speeches that I have ever given is a eulogy. As an experienced Toastmaster I still find it difficult to speak when you’re emotional. Back in 1989 when my father died, I was unable to find the courage to speak at his funeral. Since joining toastmasters I have proudly overcome that fear of speaking in public and have delivered three eulogies. Each of them were different.  I did one for, my uncle, my father-in-law, and one for my friend Gerry Collins. Gerry was a chartered member of Dublin South Toastmasters.

 

Gerry Collins & Michael Kenny

Gerry Collins & Michael Kenny

 

4. What was the drive to complete Distinguished Toastmaster Award (DTM)?

Looking back, I could have completed a degree or two in the time I completed my Distinguished Toastmaster award. The drive for me was initially to complete my CC (Competent Communicator) manual. Then I moved onto the CL (Competent Leadership) manual which I loved. That was it, I just wanted to achieve my CC and CL awards. Then you get the drive to achieve the next levels in the communication and leadership tracks, which lead me to finally achieving my DTM in 2016.

 

DTM Award Night

DTM Award Night

 

5. How did you progress to there?

I took on many committee roles, including the Sergeant of Arms (Logistics Manager), Vice President of Membership, Vice President of Education, and then club President of the Greystones Toastmasters Club. From there, it was onto Area Governor (now Area Director). I decided to undertake a Youth Leadership Programme. It was the tougher option but the most rewarding, enjoyable and beneficial to me as a person.

I felt it was my duty to give back to the club and especially to the newer members. You feel obliged and I liked the idea of giving back. For me, it was all about helping people become competent communicators, and more importantly, competent leaders.

 

6. What is the key to progressing on your path at Toastmasters?

The key is mentorship and friendship. I had at least three mentors at Toastmasters. I didn’t ask them to be my mentor, but I listened to them and asked them questions and so long as I was prepared to listen to them and follow their advise, I found that they were willing to part with their experience, wisdom and knowledge. Paul Cantwell DTM (RIP) was one of my mentors. Paul was a chartered member of Dublin South Toastmasters Club and he was the person who first suggested to me to set up a club in the Sandyford/ Leopardstown area. He had a great way about him and was a huge supporter of our club. I also had two other people from Greystones toastmasters who I regarded as mentors Philip Davenport & Eddie Dunphy DTM. Mentors and mentees eventually become good friends for life.  Today I know I could pick up the phone now and ring Eddie or Philip for a bit of advice and they would offer it freely.

 

Club Sponsors & Club Mentors

Club Sponsors & Club Mentors

 

7. Why did you setup a Toastmasters club?

If I’m honest, there was an element of ego and also I felt it joined a number of dots for me. One of the goals to becoming a Distinguished Toastmaster was to found a new club.

I also thought, if I have come this far in the toastmasters programme, I may as well keep going. It’s a bit like running a 42 km marathon, no point stopping at 41km. It gradually grew on me and I said, “Why don’t I do it?”.

 

Toastmasters promotion notice

 

8. How did you go about setting up a new club?

To setup a club we needed 16 new members and 4 dual members. We ended up having 10 dual members who were willing to give speeches, evaluations, taking on roles as general evaluator and so on. I had the dual members give educational presentations and repeat old speeches. I also invited members from other clubs present their speeches at our club. The program for the first 10 meetings was prepared. When new people like Michael Kenny ACG ALB arrived, he was impressed because he was looking at good people speaking in public and he probably thought, I can do that, I’ll give it a go.  When newer members joined, the dual members dropped out of their roles. They still attended which created a positive atmosphere. I arranged financial support from both Dun Laoghaire and Greystones clubs, along with smaller amounts from a number of other clubs and toastmasters. With the money, I purchased all the paraphernalia such as a club chain of office, manuals, pins, trophies and so on. Meetings were started on time by experienced toastmasters and a very professional vibe was created from the get go. Visitors were impressed, stayed and soon became new members, people like Eugene, Stuart and Ruairi.  It was a great challenge, and looking back, a great achievement. . Every club has its own unique way of doing things. When I was Area Governor, I took what I felt was good out of clubs such as Bray, Wicklow, Dun Laoghaire and Greystones, the birth of DSTM was born.

 

Chartered members of Dublin South Toastmasters

Chartered members of Dublin South Toastmasters

 

9. Was there a lot of work in setting up a club from an administration side?

Yes! You have the pre-chartered stage and the chartered stage.

Before we chartered, I met with Orla Cantwell ACG ALB fellow club Sponsor along John Joyce DTM Valerie Farrell both who were from Dun Laoghaire toastmasters club and who were our club coaches. We were joined by Colin Byford DTM and Paul Cantwell DTM who assisted in planning our very successful club launch which was attended by 100+ people on Tuesday 15th February 2011 in the then Bewleys Hotel Leopardstown. We thought about naming our club Leopardstown & Foxrock Club but decided on Dublin South. Our club was the first of its kind to be launched through the Facebook social media platform.

 

Orla Cantwell ACG ALB sponsor & John Kelly DTM

 

10. How did the second Toastmasters club come about?

As far as I’m aware, there is no other club in Ireland that has setup a sister club operating in the same town, venue and same night.

By the time Dublin 18 was formed, I had taken a break from toastmasters, as I had simply burned out. The success of our club was so great that it was decided to split into two clubs. Many members couldn’t get a slot for a speech. I felt all of the hard work in creating our club could have been undermined by setting up Dublin 18 on our own door step it creates too much competition for both clubs to grow.  My fear was, and still is, that both clubs could have collapsed and they still could.

 

 

First Toastmaster of the year award - Paul Cantwell DTM

First Toastmaster of the year award – Paul Cantwell DTM

 

11. How has Toastmasters impacted your personal and professional life?

The first thing that comes to mind is friends. I have friends today from Toastmasters who I met in 2004. I have met people I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Everyone is on the same level and they are only interested in becoming a better speaker and leader and are willing to help others in their journey.

Today I’m very confident speaking in public about Toastmasters or whatever topic I feel I have prepared for. I have developed my listening skills and many other skills as laid out in the competent leadership manual. I have also gained the ability to answer impromptu questions, like in this interview. I’m comfortable, because of Toastmasters

It has also joined a few dots in my life. Becoming a Distinguished Toastmaster had led me to become a Life Coach, study in Human Relations with Dale Carnegie and to publishing my own book, Random Tips for Life.

 

Peter Graham, John Kelly & Michael Kenny

Peter Graham, John Kelly & Michael Kenny

 

12. What advice would you have for someone who is thinking about joining Toastmasters?

Attend each meeting, come prepared and have fun. You’re going to make mistakes. As Warren Buffet said on communications “Honing this skill could even increase your worth by 50%”. In our club you are provided with an audience, who will give you positive feedback.  If you make a mistake, there will be someone there to say, “I was there too, it’s ok”. It provides you with an opportunity to speak with the support of a safety net. You can’t put a value on that.

That’s the camaraderie and friendship that will stay with you forever.

 

Dublin South Toastmasters Committee 2015/2016

Dublin South Toastmasters Committee 2015/2016

 

13. What does the 10-year anniversary mean to you and the club?

It feels amazing because it reinforces the message that it was a good thing to do. To see that the club has achieved The Presidents Distinguished Club award for so many years is a testament to the many members and past committees that have walked through our doors.

Dublin South is not just a successful club because it still exists; it is a high achieving successful club because of its members.

I firmly believe, when you have a good committee, you will have a good club. Toastmasters is as much about leadership as it is about communication. Dublin South Toastmasters has developed good communicators and great leaders over the years and that has been reflected in the ribbons. I still get huge pride when I see those results. When I attend the meetings, I always feel a sense of pride and I always appreciate it when I am warmly recognised and welcomed at each meeting that I have attended.

 

Kevin McManamon, Rebecca Crampton & Cecil Kirk

Kevin McManamon, Rebecca Crampton & Cecil Kirk

 

14. Any last bit of advice for our members?

I would encourage every member of Dublin South Toastmasters to attend another club. Whether it’s on Zoom or attending in person, you will be able to see what they do so you can compare. It will also encourage members from that club to visit your club. Back in 2006, I decided to visit my two sisters who had emmigrated to Toronto Canada. Prior to flying off to meet them, I contacted the VPE in a club in Oakville Toronto, I asked to attend and to present a speech, which was accepted. While I was so excited to see my sisters, but if I am being honest, I was equally excited to present a speech in a club in Toronto. They thought it was an honour that someone from Ireland would bother calling to their club and learned something too, I had gone out of my comfort zone and lived to tell the tale.

 

South Side Local News - 2011

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The Journey to Distinguished Toastmaster http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/the-journey-to-distinguished-toastmaster/ http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/the-journey-to-distinguished-toastmaster/#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2020 12:09:01 +0000 http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/?p=763 5 years, 49 speeches, Club Vice President of Education (VPE) 2017-18, Club President 2018-19, Area 54 Director 2019-20, along with the following awards: Competent Communicator (CC), Competent Leader (CL), Advanced Communicator Bronze (ACB), Advanced Communicator Silver (ACS), Advanced Communicator Gold (ACG), Advanced Leader Bronze (ALB), Advanced Leader Silver (ALS), resulting in Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM), there
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5 years, 49 speeches, Club Vice President of Education (VPE) 2017-18, Club President 2018-19, Area 54 Director 2019-20, along with the following awards: Competent Communicator (CC), Competent Leader (CL), Advanced Communicator Bronze (ACB), Advanced Communicator Silver (ACS), Advanced Communicator Gold (ACG), Advanced Leader Bronze (ALB), Advanced Leader Silver (ALS), resulting in Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM), there is not much Chris Werner has not achieved at Toastmasters. And this is without mentioning the many other roles he has taken up and the amount of people in Dublin South Toastmasters who he has helped along the way.

 

Chris presenting at Toastmasters training in UCD this year

 

Chris was awarded DTM in June this year. For anyone not familiar with Toastmasters, this represents the highest level of educational achievement in Toastmasters. A phenomenal achievement which takes incredible commitment and a fantastic work ethic.

We caught up with Chris to discuss his journey in Toastmasters.  Below we discuss many topics including why he joined, first impressions and his routine for taking on speeches.

 

1. Why did you join Toastmasters?

I joined thanks to a friend of my mothers, who oddly enough still hasn’t joined a club herself! I was receiving some coaching from her on interview techniques, as I was midway through my second MSc at the time, and looking on the job market. She recommended Toastmasters to me, so I looked up Toastmasters in South Dublin… and the rest as they say is history. I had always enjoyed giving presentations in college, but they were few and far between and as a result, I would be imagining the ground swallowing me up whole when I said a single thing wrong. As a scientist, giving presentations at conferences etc. is common, but by reputation, most scientists are rubbish at presenting. So I wanted to change that mentality and not become a stereotype! I also felt that at that stage of my career, in my early 20s, was a great time to upskill in an area where many businesses are looking for people who can present and are comfortable in doing so. Being able to present effectively is such a key skill in our modern workplace, whether in person or online and many fail to grasp that the best way of doing it is with practice. Toastmasters I felt was a safe environment in which you can practice these skills, fine tune them, then implement them in real life

 

2. Did anything surprise you about Toastmasters when you first joined?

Standing up for the dry toast and raising of the imaginary glass at the start of a meeting. That’s what usually unnerves a lot of new guests out when they first come along to a meeting and I was no different. My original thoughts were, “What on Earth have I got myself into!? Is this some sort of cult?”. By the end of the meeting though, I had let that slide as I got the pleasant surprise of seeing the variety of abilities, some speakers being absolute naturals very early on in their journey, and others still working on their confidence despite having done 5+ speeches, and vice versa. I was buzzing after I gave my first table topic, and then first speech. It became a fix, something which I enjoyed, very quickly.

 

3. Tell me your journey to DTM

The first 4 years since joining in July 2015 saw me accumulate a CC, CL, ACB, and ALB, at which point I thought, “that’ll do me grand”. I finished my CC in April 2017, Cl the following month, ACB in April 2019 and ALB in March 2019. Following that I had thought of doing an ACS alongside Innovative Planning L1 for this year but the DTM opportunity, when it presented itself was a real carrot on the end of the string. If in early May 2019 you came to me regarding a DTM, I’d have laughed it off. By 4th June 2019, I’d decided to go through with it. My time being a regular member was gone! No competitions for the year as I had to put on the boss hat!

And the last year has been tough, basically cramming the previous four years into one. But despite the challenges I had ahead of me, and the challenges I would encounter during the 2019/20 year, the thing that kept motivating me was, “imagine if I hadn’t gone through with it… would I have regretted not doing it?” As I look back on it now, I am seriously glad that I did it. Was it hard, yes… if it were easy everyone would do it.

 

4. How many speeches have you done and was there a lot of work in it?

Oh yes, there was a lot of work. In total, I needed to give a minimum of 47 speeches, across educational, manual and leadership projects. Like I said previously, the 2019/20 season was tough, not only because of Covid, but because I had to finish an ACS, ACG, whilst fulfilling duties as Area Director, undertaking a High Performance Leadership Project, and mentor a new club (JTI in CityWest), all three of which being requirements of ALS. Knowing of the June 30th deadline, I crammed my speech schedule with 14 speeches between June and December of 19, so I could ‘relax’ for the next 6 months (in theory). There were times I had 2-3 speeches a week!

 

5. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of joining?

I can share a feeling from my first meeting, with that dry toast, I thought it was really odd, as many do. But stick with it. I was very nervous prior to joining, but instead of being intimidated by the speakers I heard, I took the optimistic approach. “I could sound like her, I could glide seamlessly across the stage like he can, I could make the audience feel inspired like they did.” The only thing that’s stopping you is doubt, Toastmasters helps remove the self-doubt and turn it into self-belief. When you develop that self-belief, the sky’s the limit.

 

6. What advice would you have for someone who has recently joined?

Get some roles under your belt. The poetmaster, grammarian and timer roles are great to start out on, particularly the former of the three. You get to read directly from a book in front of a crowd and that’s it. It’s a perfect way of stopping the uncertainty of the unknown.

 

7. What is the most important thing you have learned while at Toastmasters?

I can’t say just one, as both of these are equally important. The first is counter-intuitive, which is the value of saying nothing at all, i.e. the value of pausing. I learnt it in practice and from other members. Pausing creates tension…”what’s he going to say next?” It draws the audience in and gets them engaged with what you are saying. Secondly is a message. As a speaker, your job is to deliver a message to the audience, what is your message and how are you going to influence people with your message? Those would be the two main ones, but I still have a lot to learn even as a DTM!

 

8. Given the amount of speeches you have done, did you ever come across the problem of choosing a topic to speak about?

Oh definitely, some were easier than others however, especially when trying to tie it in to the objectives of your speech.

I remember the toughest speech I had to give was the Roast, i.e. take the mickey out of someone, or a group of people, and although I got through it I absolutely tanked it.

When thinking about a speech topic, go back to the basics and think to yourself… “What do I like/What am I interested in?” Then, what do you want to say to share your interest with others and more importantly, what is your message?

 

9. Do you have a particular routine you follow when writing and learning a speech?

As the speeches came more clumped together this year, any method I had went out the window, as there were times I had 2 speeches in as many days. When things were not as hectic and I had my idea, I would ask myself one question before committing to writing. “What is my message?”. When you give a speech you’re there to improve your confidence etc, but as you give more speeches the emphasis turns onto your audience. What do you want them to see, hear and feel from you. This ties back into one of the tips I got from Phillip Khan Panni, D71 International Speech Contest winner, where you reach the point of “arrival”. Once I have my message, the rest of the speech can be seen as a journey on how I get to that message.

When it came to learning it I’d read the first draft aloud a few times, and if it didn’t flow, I’d edit it again to make it more memorable for me, add in a few ‘power of threes’, stage positioning, vocal varieties etc. Once I was comfortable with how it sounded, I would cast aside the notes and give it about 5 test runs either the Sunday or Monday before, then two more on the night. It’ll always be different, and it’s how you adapt to it as a result which is important.

 

Chris is continuing his journey with Toastmasters and has signed up to Pathways which is the new education system. We look forward to seeing Chris break new ground and inspire more members during his Toastmasters journey.

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Benefits of Online Toastmaster Meetings http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/benefits-of-online-toastmaster-meetings/ Fri, 15 May 2020 20:51:49 +0000 http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/?p=751 Due to the ongoing situation with Covid-19, Dublin South Toastmasters continues to host meetings online, which have been a tremendous success. Our members are adopting to this new format and thriving in their new roles. We would encourage all members to engage with the new online format and have listed out a number of benefits
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Due to the ongoing situation with Covid-19, Dublin South Toastmasters continues to host meetings online, which have been a tremendous success. Our members are adopting to this new format and thriving in their new roles.

We would encourage all members to engage with the new online format and have listed out a number of benefits of our online meetings below –

  • Online meetings are a great way to improve video conferencing skills, which are becoming more and more prevalent in the workplace even Pre-Covid.
  • Its also a great way to stay in touch with your friends and fellow members from your club. Who knows how long the current situation might last, but what is for certain, by joining us on a Tuesday night you will be sure to hear some interesting speeches, improve your presenting skills and generally have a laugh.
  • While we remain in the online world, it is still a great way to get speeches under your belt. All speeches conducted online count towards the various Toastmaster awards and manuals. Remember Toastmasters moves to a new education program in July 2020 Pathways, so getting speeches done online is a great way to get awards under your belt before Pathways comes into effect.
  • Attendance is easy – no more being stuck in traffic to attend a Toastmasters meeting, you can now join us from the comfort of you own living room.

We would also encourage any guests who are interesting in seeing one of our online meetings to reach out to us and schedule an introduction.

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Awards Annoucements http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/awards-annoucements/ Wed, 13 May 2020 21:23:00 +0000 http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/?p=749 Dublin South Toastmasters would like to congratulate the following members on significant awards achieved over the past number of weeks – Chris achieved Advanced Communicator Silver, and is well on track to achieving DTM level over the coming months Killian achieved Advanced Communicator Bronze and Competent Leader awards Eimear achieved Competent Communicator Susan B achieved
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Dublin South Toastmasters would like to congratulate the following members on significant awards achieved over the past number of weeks –

  • Chris achieved Advanced Communicator Silver, and is well on track to achieving DTM level over the coming months
  • Killian achieved Advanced Communicator Bronze and Competent Leader awards
  • Eimear achieved Competent Communicator
  • Susan B achieved Level 1 Innovative Planning

The number of members in Dublin South Toastmasters obtaining strong awards through giving innovative speeches is indicative of what a great place Dublin South is to learn the art of public speaking. Please get in touch if you would like to learn more about our club.

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Dublin South Hosts Area Speech Competition with Guest Speaker Phillip Khan Panni http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/dublin-south-hosts-area-speech-competition-with-guest-speaker-phillip-khan-panni/ Tue, 12 May 2020 20:27:27 +0000 http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/?p=746 On Friday 24th April, Dublin South Toastmasters hosted the Area 54 Speech and Evaluation Competition. Dublin South Toastmasters is one of 5 clubs in Area 54, which covers the Stillorgan and Sandyford region. The event was due to take place at the Clayton Hotel, our usual venue, but given the ongoing Covid-19 situation it clearly
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On Friday 24th April, Dublin South Toastmasters hosted the Area 54 Speech and Evaluation Competition. Dublin South Toastmasters is one of 5 clubs in Area 54, which covers the Stillorgan and Sandyford region.

The event was due to take place at the Clayton Hotel, our usual venue, but given the ongoing Covid-19 situation it clearly had to move online. This represented the first time the Area competition was hosted online.

Our guest speaker for the evening was Phillip Khan Panni. Phillip is a very accomplished Toastmaster and an acclaimed speaker, trainer and writer. He runs his own communications consultancy and is a founder director of the Professional Speakers Association. He placed 2nd at the International Speech Contest in 1995. On the evening, Phillip gave an excellent speech about search for his identity growing up. It was truly an honor to have Philip speak at our club (albeit virtually).

It was a terrific evening and ran very smoothly with some excellent speeches. Michael and Peter from our club represented us in the Speech and Evaluation Competition respectively. Michael faced stiff competition on the night and was unlucky not to place. Peter came 2nd in the Evaluation Competition on the night and went on to represent the club at the District Level.

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Dublin South Toastmasters Moves Online http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/dublin-south-toastmasters-moves-online/ Tue, 12 May 2020 19:50:05 +0000 http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/?p=743 Since mid-March, like many other organisations and businesses in the country, Dublin South Toastmasters has had to move to the online realm. We’ve successfully made the transition from our cosy room in the Clayton Hotel Sandyford to the Zoom Meeting Rooms. The transition has been a huge success with members reveling in their online roles.
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Since mid-March, like many other organisations and businesses in the country, Dublin South Toastmasters has had to move to the online realm. We’ve successfully made the transition from our cosy room in the Clayton Hotel Sandyford to the Zoom Meeting Rooms.

The transition has been a huge success with members reveling in their online roles.

We will continue to conduct online meetings until it is safe to return to the Clayton. Until then, we encourage all members to get as involved as possible in our online meetings and take up roles. We are also still interested in speaking to guests who may be interested in joining our club. Please feel free to reach out via the contact form on our website.

 

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