Dublin South Toastmasters Information Site http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/ Speaking and leadership Thu, 31 Mar 2022 16:30:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.6 Peter Golden wins Club and Area 54 Evaluation Contests http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/peter-golden-wins-club-and-area-54-evaluation-contests/ Thu, 31 Mar 2022 16:30:50 +0000 http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/?p=939 Peter Golden heads to Division Level in Evaluation Contest Club Contest Summary Despite the easing of restrictions, online was the venue of the DSTM Evaluation contest for the second year running. It was the final “Contest Night” and the club was treated to a fantastic show. Two experienced Toastmasters, Colette Ainscough and Chris Werner served
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Peter Golden heads to Division Level in Evaluation Contest

Club Contest Summary

Despite the easing of restrictions, online was the venue of the DSTM Evaluation contest for the second year running. It was the final “Contest Night” and the club was treated to a fantastic show. Two experienced Toastmasters, Colette Ainscough and Chris Werner served as Contest Chair and Chief Judge respectively.  For the evaluation contest, widely considered to be one of the toughest contest, three committee members battled it out for the bragging rights.

Garvan Gallagher (President),  Graham Dungan (Vice President for Education) and Peter Golden (Treasurer) were the competitors evaluating a magnificent speech by visiting Toastmaster, Cliff Kirker. In the end, it was Peter Golden who came out on top and progressed through to the Area Level.

We caught up with Peter following his second Evaluation Contest win.

 

How are you feeling after winning this contest for a second time?

I obviously seem to enjoy this competition and was thrilled to win. I like the evaluation competition and find the challenge of evaluating a new speech each time very rewarding and unique.

 

After winning the contest previously in 2020, just before the pandemic hit, how do you feel your evaluation skills have progressed since?

I am used to hearing great evaluations in the club from a variety of members which has really helped me to pick up on new techniques and skills. I would credit everything I have learned to date to the club.

What in your mind makes a great evaluation?

In my mind a great evaluation should contain;

  1. A brilliant introduction where you set the scene of what the speech was like and how you approached the evaluation.
  2. A strong body where you point out a few things the speaker did great and always a few recommendations
  3. A very strong conclusion summarising your points and wrapping up

It’s not always easy to do this in the 3 minutes!

How do you organise your notes in preparation for what is essentially an impromptu speech?

I usually arrange my thoughts when listening to the speech in terms of what I heard, what I saw and what I felt from the speech. This helps me to make sure that I hit all the major attributes of a great speech. I then flesh it out with an introduction and strong conclusion which are essential. While you are not allowed to check your notes while the other contestants are evaluating, I do tend to go over in my head what I plan to say so I have a clear roadmap for when it is my turn.

Any tips for someone who wants to try and challenge for your crown next year?

I’d say just go for it. You will only get better by more and more practice and entering a competition is the ultimate way to put yourself under pressure to improve. My main advice is just to be honest when evaluating the speech and try not to take it too seriously. Just try to have fun and everything else will flow from there.

Area Contest Summary

Thankfully Peter’s run of good form continued, and against stiff competition he came out on top, and in so doing, ensured a 75% record for Dublin South wins at the Area Level this year. He goes through to the Division contest, his second time at that level. After his win, we asked Peter about how his past experience will help him.

“I definitely find myself a lot more relaxed in competitions now which is the main thing. As I alluded to, you just need to enjoy it and make the most of it which is the main thing.”

Peter will represent Area 54 at the Division Level in early April. This will once again be online, so anyone is willing to join. In the meantime, we wish Peter the very best of luck at the next stage!

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Graham Dungan wins DSTM Club Contest http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/graham-dungan-wins-dstm-club-contest/ Thu, 31 Mar 2022 16:21:58 +0000 http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/?p=942 First Contest Win for Graham Dungan Despite the easing of restrictions, online was the venue of the DSTM International Speech contest for the second year running. It was the final “Contest Night” and the club was treated to a fantastic show. Two experienced Toastmasters, Colette Ainscough and Chris Werner served as Contest Chair and Chief
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First Contest Win for Graham Dungan

Despite the easing of restrictions, online was the venue of the DSTM International Speech contest for the second year running. It was the final “Contest Night” and the club was treated to a fantastic show. Two experienced Toastmasters, Colette Ainscough and Chris Werner served as Contest Chair and Chief Judge respectively.  For the international speech contest, widely considered to be the most prestigious contest, five members battled it out for what is essentially the “speech of the year”.

Garvan Gallagher (President),  Graham Dungan (Vice President for Education), Stephen Harper (Vice President of Membership), Derek O’Brien and Shantha Perera were the competitors and the members were in for a great show. The International Speech contest is unique as all those competing need at least a Level 2 to compete. When all was said and done, in a nail-biting vote, Graham Dungan went on to win his first club contest after years of trying.

We caught up with him following his victory.

How does it feel to finally have a speech contest win under your belt?

Winning the contest feels great. It is the first thing that I have won so what is rare is wonderful.

 

What extra measures did you take and feedback did you get to prepare for this speech?

I was asked to do the evaluation speech for another club and started this speech about 2 days before the day and it went fairly well. I got some feedback at this contest and made a few changes in the week before our own competition. I practiced it on a lot more occasions than normal and also got a bit of feedback from my daughter Emma, who is one of the stars of the speech!

You hosted a panel as part of your Level 4 in Innovative Planning. Did you learn anything from the panelists that you used in your speech?

I cannot say that I was aware, but everything adds to the overall experience. Hosting a panel of 4 excellent Toastmasters was a great experience for me and hopefully for the group lucky enough to be at the meeting. There were a wide range of snippets from speech tips to evaluation, table topics and meeting roles, all given by previous proven winners.

How did you come up with the topic and develop it into the speech we heard?

The topic came from a recent holiday trip, seeing the experience of that trip, listening to the comments made and then adding a bit of poetic license.

Do you have any tips for preparation, or ideas for someone wishing to do this contest next year?

I have attended all the recent Area finals (mainly to support club members) and have learned fo much from the successes at these competitions with three people in mind. One was Chris Werner (DTM) and Colette Ainscough from our own club and Mary Burnham from Dun Laoghaire Toastmasters, who beat Chris in the Division Humorous Speech Division Final in 2021. That latter speech resonated as I brought a repeated action into this speech which really helped.

 

Graham was very unfortunate to narrowly miss out on a trip to the Division contest following a tightly fought Area 54 final. Despite this, reaching the Area finals is always an experience to remember and Graham has learned so much from taking part in contests. Hopefully those reading this will end up in a similar contest in the coming years!

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DSTM returns to Hybrid Meetings http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/dstm-returns-to-hybrid-meetings/ Fri, 04 Mar 2022 20:14:26 +0000 http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/?p=933 The Great Return   700 days… that’s a long time. From March 3rd 2020 through to February 1st 2022, Dublin South Toastmasters was forced online during the Covid-19 pandemic. We had tried to get back to normality in December, with an in-person meeting in early December. Unfortunately, Covid once again threw us another challenge with
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The Great Return

 

700 days… that’s a long time. From March 3rd 2020 through to February 1st 2022, Dublin South Toastmasters was forced online during the Covid-19 pandemic. We had tried to get back to normality in December, with an in-person meeting in early December. Unfortunately, Covid once again threw us another challenge with the Omicron variant, so Zoom once again came to the rescue.

But then, with a New Year dawned new hope, and by February 1st we were officially back in the Clayton Hotel! It was amazing to see everyone again, and despite only a dozen or so being present at first, that will only grow in the coming meetings. In the two meetings we have had since, we have had some challenges. For most of us, it has been two years since physically speaking in front of our fellow members. For other members, who have joined us since the start of the pandemic, it was their first time speaking to an audience instead of a camera.

We have known for a while that hybrid meetings were the way forward. After some planning in November, we set up a Hybrid Test team. With a combination of committee members and fellow members, speakers, laptops and microphones, the team found a way to make it work.

Our current hybrid setup has one laptop on the lectern, with speaker and microphone connected by cable or Bluetooth. Our club President uses a second laptop, which is pointed towards the audience, so online members can experience a ‘crowd’ setting. We connect this laptop to the screen in the room, so anyone online can be seen by the whole room. A third laptop can also be used by the timer, so online members can check themselves against the clock.

 

Opportunities of Hybrid Meetings

 

Despite the challenges that one can face with technology with hybrid meetings, as was discovered in our first meeting back, it can present a number of opportunities.

  1. It gives club members more experience of working with technology and the different challenges one can encounter. No-one likes the experience when technology fails in a Toastmasters meeting, but what if it was an important sales pitch? Keeping a cool head under pressure is one of the skills one can develop as a Toastmaster.
  2. Understanding how to effectively use technology can greatly enhance your competency as a speaker. Sometimes telling something to an audience is not enough, and you need a visual aid to back you up.
  3. Sometimes club member have to cancel a speech due to illness or being a close contact, sometimes hours beforehand! Having a hybrid setup means that if you get caught up at work or are a close Covid contact, you can still perform your role. Being flexible in an active and busy world can be a very important skill to develop.

Is there room for improvement, of course! More members need familiarise themselves with technology setups, as currently, only a few of us know the setup routine and requirements! When speaking, we learn to adapt and how give the best speech we can. Part of that success is in the build up. But then again, what is Toastmasters if not learning how to respond and adapt to real-life situations.

We look forward to welcoming you in person, and also online in the very near future.

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Division M Finals: Chris Werner comes 2nd in Humorous http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/division-m-finals-chris-werner-comes-2nd-in-humorous/ Thu, 18 Nov 2021 10:14:54 +0000 http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/?p=926 Chris Werner places 2nd in Division M Humorous Contest In his third delivery of the popular comedy, the Office: IE, Chris Werner, DTM met his match at Division Level and had to settle for a very well deserved 2nd place in the Division M Humorous Speech Contest Final. Although Chris put up a superb performance,
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Chris Werner places 2nd in Division M Humorous Contest

In his third delivery of the popular comedy, the Office: IE, Chris Werner, DTM met his match at Division Level and had to settle for a very well deserved 2nd place in the Division M Humorous Speech Contest Final. Although Chris put up a superb performance, it wasn’t quite enough to guarantee a place in the District Finals in May 2022.

We caught up with Chris shortly afterwards.

The competition was fierce at this level, and additionally the judges are not allowed to be from the clubs of any of the competitors. I really am delighted to get second place. I extend my congratulations to Mary Burnham from Dun Laoghaire Toastmasters on reaching the District Finals.

Chris was also involved in the Table Topics contest, however was up against very stiff competition.

“I was last to go, so the nerves had time to build up! I never know where best to be in Table Topics. It was a very well rounded topic, which I enjoyed answering. It would have been interesting to hear others’ take on it.”

“I was very appreciative of the support of all the club members, to whom I extend a profound thanks!”

Have you been inspired to join Toastmasters or want to know more about contests? Feel free to email us at dublinsouthtoastmasters@gmail.com and check out our blog post on Contests here.

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Chris Werner: Area 54 Humorous and Table Topics Winner http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/chris-werner-area-54-humorous-and-table-topics-winner/ Wed, 03 Nov 2021 16:27:01 +0000 http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/?p=918 Chris Werner Doubles up AGAIN at Area 54 Contest In a rare feat, Dublin South’s Chris Werner (DTM) once again won both contests on the night to make it a clean sweep for Dublin South at the Area 54 Contest held on November 2nd. Dublin South hosted the event, which was attended by 4 neighbouring
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Chris Werner Doubles up AGAIN at Area 54 Contest

In a rare feat, Dublin South’s Chris Werner (DTM) once again won both contests on the night to make it a clean sweep for Dublin South at the Area 54 Contest held on November 2nd.

Dublin South hosted the event, which was attended by 4 neighbouring clubs, Dublin 18, Tara, Microsoft OneVoice and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

We caught up with Chris shortly after his landmark win.

“I had certainly hoped to get through to the Area level, but never did I think that I would win both of the contests on the night. It was completely unexpected.”

It wasn’t all plain sailing for Chris however, as he was up against very stiff competition in both contests.

“I thought if I put in a good performance, I knew I’d be there or thereabouts with the Humorous speech. Table topics though was a different matter though. The topic on the COP26 was right up my street, being someone who works in that field. However it’s very tough to condense something you could talk for hours about into 2 minutes. I was first out, so when I heard the other speakers, I thought I’d fluffed it! When you are up against the best speakers from other represented clubs, there is much less room for error! I am now really looking forward to the Division M contest, where the intensity ramps up another notch!”

Chris will now go on to represent Area 54 at the Division M contest, which will be held on Sunday November 14th. He will be joined by the second place winners of the Humorous Speech (Christian McKenna) and Table Topics (Prashanth Nair), both representing UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School Toastmasters.

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Chris Werner: 2021 Humorous and Table Topics Contest Winner http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/chris-werner-2021-humorous-and-table-topics-contest-winner/ Sun, 24 Oct 2021 08:51:42 +0000 http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/?p=889 Chris Werner (DTM) wins both Humorous and Table Topics Club Contests   Club Contest Summary 19th October   Despite the ongoing easing of restrictions, DSTMs Humorous Speech and Table Topics contests were held online for the second year in a row. As one of the three big “Contest Nights”, it is one of the signature
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Chris Werner (DTM) wins both Humorous and Table Topics Club Contests

 

Club Contest Summary 19th October

 

Despite the ongoing easing of restrictions, DSTMs Humorous Speech and Table Topics contests were held online for the second year in a row. As one of the three big “Contest Nights”, it is one of the signature nights of the year. As always, it was a night filled with laughs and opinionated statements. At the end of it, Chris Werner, DTM, managed to win not just one, but both contests of the night.

We caught up with Chris shortly after his achievement to get his thoughts on his clean sweep.

“It was definitely a huge surprise to win both! I had taken a step back from contests for the past couple of years, so its good to know that I’ve still got it!”

“For the humorous speech contest, I decided to go for something we can all associate with, office life. It’s something we have all missed and the fun/pranks we can all have when we eventually get back. It still looks a long way off though! I want to also congratulate the other contestants, who all had strong speeches. It’s always interesting to hear other’s take on a humorous speech. It certainly feels different doing a humorous speech when you can’t see or hear others laughing!”

“As for the table topics, I was up last, so had no clue of what the other contestants had done. It was good as the pressure was off in that sense, and it was a good topic which expresses an opinion. I always find those to be the best ones. Table topics really is a toss of a dice, free game for everyone. Anyone can win on the night, and I am delighted to have won, especially as table topics is still an area which I need to improve on. There are longer standing members of the club who I still keenly look at regarding structuring a good response.”

 

Area Contest Preparation 02/11

 

Chris will now go on to the Area contest, where he will be Dublin South’s sole representative. He will be joined by the winners of club contests held by Dublin 18, Tara, Microsoft OneVoice and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School clubs. Chris has had experience at competing at the Area level before, so we asked him to comment on what he expects at the Area level.

The Area contests is where I learnt the most when starting out. I highly recommend other members from all across the Area to join in as well and listen. They were always jam-packed when in person, and its definitely a step up from the club level. I don’t know who I’ll be up against, but I know that I will have to perform even better than the other night!

Dublin South Toastmasters will be hosting the Area 54 Humorous Speech and Table Topics contests on Tuesday November 2nd which will still be held online through Zoom. If you wish to attend, please email dublinsouthtoastmasters@gmail.com for the link and start time.

We look forward to welcoming you there!

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Toastmasters Contests 101 http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/toastmasters-contests-101/ Wed, 13 Oct 2021 19:29:05 +0000 http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/?p=876 Toastmasters Contests: All you need to know! Following the summer break, all Toastmasters clubs have a very busy schedule ahead of them. Not only is it to get reacquainted and hear some splendid speeches inspired by the time off, but it is also contest season. But what are the different contests, why do Toastmasters have
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Toastmasters Contests: All you need to know!

Following the summer break, all Toastmasters clubs have a very busy schedule ahead of them. Not only is it to get reacquainted and hear some splendid speeches inspired by the time off, but it is also contest season.

But what are the different contests, why do Toastmasters have contests and why should you partake? This article gives the answers to all those questions, and to the ones you didn’t know you had.

 

The what, why and how…

 

1. What are the different contests?

Speech contests are a Toastmasters tradition worldwide, with thousands competing across 5 different contests throughout the year.  Humorous Speech and Table Topics contests are usually held in October, and the International Speech and Evaluation contests are held around March. The winners of each contest progress to the next level.

Tall Tales however stays at the Club level, some clubs no longer partake in this event, but for us, its one of the most fun nights of the year!

 

2. The next level? What different levels are there?

The Humorous, Evaluation and Table Topics contests are competed at 4 different levels. The first is the club level, speaking to the people you share your Toastmasters journey with. 

Upon winning your club contest, you advance to the Area level. The Area consists of about 4-5 clubs in the surrounding area. For Dublin South Toastmasters, our neighbouring clubs are Dublin 18 Toastmasters, Microsoft Onevoice, Tara Toastmasters, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School Toastmasters and Salesforce Dublin Toastmasters. Whoever comes first and second in this book a spot in the Division Finals.

The Division consists of 3-5 Areas and usually a very big crowd gathers either online or in person to witness the best that the division can offer. It is not uncommon to speak to 75 or more people at events like this. These usually take place over a weekend morning a couple of months after a club holds their contest. At Dublin South, Division M covers South Dublin, Wicklow, across to Lucan. Following on from this, the winners progress through to the District.

The District contests are the most significant event in the Toastmasters year, and a large conference is held in May that usually alternates being held in either the UK or Ireland. District 71 contains our very own Division M along with 11 others, and spans the whole of Ireland and the UK (north of London). Getting here is some feat, and winning here is something else entirely. This is the pinnacle for the Humorous, Evaluation and Table Topics Contests. The International Speech contest, you guessed it, has a class of its own, heading onto the Semifinal and World Championships.

 

3. Why should I partake in a contest anyway, what’s in it for me?

No member is under any obligation to partake in a contest, many do it because its fun! Yes, you read that correctly! Participating in a club contest is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Not only that when you win you can take home some silverware and have your name engraved on a plaque, but its also enjoyable to challenge yourself against and maybe even beat the fellow members that you have admired. 

The thrill and self confidence that you can get from winning a contest can really help you in your Toastmasters journey and career. It challenges you in ways that you can’t find in a standard Pathways speech. It adds another bit of pressure, which some people desperately crave when trying to simulate a work situation where the stakes are high. Most Toastmasters learn more from contests than regular club meetings! As you progress, you get to hear better written speeches get delivered by more and more experienced Toastmasters. If you want to grow, if you want to be stretched, if you want to become a better speaker, then sign up for the next contest!

 

4. What’s in the rulebook?

The rulebook has a lot of material in it, but can be summarised very quickly. Stick to the allotted time! You need to keep an eye on the lights, as there is no saving grace with the bell. If you are 30 seconds below the minimum time, you are disqualified. Similarly with 30 seconds over the maximum allowed time. 

For the speeches, your material needs to be original. You can be inspired from something from someone else, but your own originality must carry the speech.

 

5. How am I judged?

At the back of the judges ballot there is a list of criteria that must be satisfied to award marks, and are divided up into the content, delivery and language of your speech, so its a good idea to have a look through it so you know where you need to prioritise. There may be more points awarded to how you’re saying something as what you are actually saying! Many of the most experienced Toastmasters build their speeches around the contents of this ballot!

 

Humorous Speech Contest

What’s involved? It’s exactly what it says on the tin. Do you have a funny story from your past? Or maybe have you found a gold nugget of humour in everyday life? The Humorous Speech Contest is the night when contestants play their hand at making the audience laugh in a 5-7 minute speech. It is not a bunch of one-liners though, there needs to be a progression.

We asked Chris Werner, Dublin South’s most recent DTM to give an overview of the experience. Chris competed at the District level with his humorous speech whilst he was DSTM President in 2019.

For the humorous speech, there is an extra pressure, because not only does it need to be a good speech, it also has to be funny. At the Norwich conference, there were two semi-finals, of which only half of the competitors went through to the finals. It was handy going second to then hear the quality of the speakers which came afterwards. They, and those who went through to the final were experts in using puns, and being able to play around with the meanings of different words, allowing time for the joke to sink in. No matter what though, there will always be someone in the audience who doesn’t get the joke. If the majority does, that’s all you can ask for! Give your audience time to laugh, pausing is the key!

Chris Werner, DTM

 

Table Topics Contest

Held on the same night as the Humorous Speech, all contestants except one are required to leave the room. The remaining contestant gets asked a single table topics question, in which they have 1-2 minutes to come up with an answer. After them, the next contestant enters, is asked the same question, and the cycle repeats. If you can’t think of an answer… try your best! The topics are usually very generic and made in a way so that anyone can answer them. The best thing is though, you are free to take the topic wherever you want. It could be a serious opinion, pose a challenge to the audience, make them laugh, make them cry. The topic is your oyster!

Here’s a few words on the Table Topics contest, by Michael Kenny, ACG ALB, who has won the club contest multiple times and represented Dublin South at Division level in 2019.

Table topics present a specific challenge, especially at contest level because of the lack of detailed preparation.

At division level a there may be 100 people present. When your name is called walk smartly to the lectern. This will give you time to compose a response. Go with the first thought that pops into your mind and run with this idea. If you are asked for an opinion, it does not have to be your honest or genuine opinion, you can play devil’s advocate and swear that black is white! Introduce humour or sarcasm if appropriate. For more serious topics, a tone of gravitas may be called for. Relax, look confident and you will feel confident, and above all, enjoy, whatever the result.

Michael Kenny, ACG, ALB

 

Evaluation Contest

For the Evaluation contest, the contest team will aim to find a speaker that the evaluation contestants have not heard before. Additionally, they are not allowed to contact the speaker beforehand. The speaker delivers their speech 5-7 minutes, then all contestants leave the room. Contestants make notes for 5 minutes before they are told to stop, and their notes are taken away. The first evaluator then re-enters the room, with or without their notes and give an evaluation for 2-3 minutes. After that, the second evaluator comes in and the process repeats.

I asked Stuart Parkinson, ACB, ALB about his experiences, widely regarded as one of the best evaluators in DSTM, who reached the Division Finals in 2021.

For preparation, I reminded myself to use the basics of a good evaluation, I saw this, I heard this, and I felt this. In a sandwich approach (good x2, improve x2, what you did best in an intro, body, summary and conclusion. Remember to deliver and evaluation on he content and the way the speech was delivered. Be specific and don’t just summarise what the speaker just said. Competing at the Division Level was a privilege as I was representing the club and it was a great feeling to see and hear very competent evaluators. Evaluating is the core and heart of Toastmasters, as everyone relies on feedback to help them improve. So go for it, you will be pleasantly surprised that being an evaluator is a fulfilling experience.

Stuart Parkinson, ACB, ALB

 

International Speech Contest

The grandest of all contests, so much so that anyone wishing to compete must have completed at least Level 2 in their chosen Toastmasters path to participate. The brief however is simple, 5-7 minutes on any topic. Sounds simple, however the key to success with this speech is connecting with your audience no matter what the topic.

I asked Colette Ainscough, our 2020/21 Toastmaster of the Year to give an account, as she represented DSTM at the Division level in 2021.

I love when I get an idea for a speech especially when the words flow onto the page.  Entering competitions is exciting, challenging and rewarding. I would treat the International Speech Contest or any competition as a learning curve! I have had limited success at ISC level and know exactly where I failed.  My top tip Chris for Toastmasters who wish to compete in the ISC is to incorporate the judging criteria whilst speech writing. If this practice is carried out in the first instance it means that as a speaker you are combining your ideas around the benchmarks of content, delivery and language.

Colette Ainscough, CC, CL IP2

 

Tall Tales Contest

Although Tall Tales is no longer competed above club level, it is still a thoroughly enjoyable event, and is often the most fun night of the year. The speech is short, 3-5 minutes, but that’s where the normalities end… here you let you imagination go wild. The definition of a tall tale is a speech whose subject is ‘highly exaggerated, improbable nature with a specific theme or plot’.

We asked Susan McDaid, our most recent contest winner, who won our Tall Tales contest in 2021 after competing in her first Toastmasters contest.

I did some research and watched some winning speeches. I was actually excited when I realised, I could be as creative as I wished and just tell an exaggerated story. As I practiced, I started to add to the story by exaggerating aspects of it, enhancing the characters and adding some humour. I was absolutely thrilled to win first place, it was totally unexpected due to other wonderful entertaining Tall Tales that night. My tips, just go for it, do your research, practice and have fun!

Susan McDaid

 

Editors Note: Chris Werner (DTM)

The majority of what I have learned from Toastmasters has been from contests. You will make mistakes, you will sometimes doubt yourself, but no-one ever achieves anything by staying in their comfort level, so just go for it. You will notice a significant change in your confidence and your speaking ability by doing so. It is always a tremendous learning experience, even as an audience member, as you have the opportunity to hear so many different viewpoints and approaches to the same thing. Give it a go, because you never know, you might just win it!

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Susan McDaid: 2021 Tall Tales Contest Winner http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/susan-mcdaid-2021-tall-tales-contest-winner/ Fri, 08 Oct 2021 13:40:39 +0000 http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com/?p=873 Susan McDaid wins DSTM Tall Tales Club Contest Susan joined Dublin South Toastmasters shortly after the pandemic set in, and since then she has been one of the fantastic new members to give everything a go. For the annual DSTM Tall Tales Contest on September 21st she did just that. Her speech, entitled Birth Certificate
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Susan McDaid wins DSTM Tall Tales Club Contest

Susan joined Dublin South Toastmasters shortly after the pandemic set in, and since then she has been one of the fantastic new members to give everything a go. For the annual DSTM Tall Tales Contest on September 21st she did just that. Her speech, entitled Birth Certificate fit the bill of the tall tale, blowing the judges and the audience away.

The tall tale is a story with unbelievable elements, related as if it were true and factual. Under pressure from six amazing speeches before her, Susan pulled a rabbit out of the hat, and after chasing it around the house after her speech to put it back, she won her first ever Toastmasters contest.

Winning a club contest is special enough, and especially when the competition was fierce, including two past winners of the contest in recent years. On top of that, considering this was her first contest is a very special and memorable moment.

We caught up with Susan after her fantastic achievement:

As this was my first time to participate in a contest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I did some research on tall tales contests and watched some winning speeches online, I was actually excited as I realised I could be as creative as I wished and just tell an exaggerated story.

I played around with a few ideas in my head, but decide to start with a true story. As I practiced my speech around the house, which is always to my children’s delight, I started to add to the story by exaggerating aspects of it, enhancing the characters and adding some humour.

I was absolutely thrilled to win first place! It was totally unexpected due to the other wonderful entertaining speeches on the night.”

From the point of view on the listener, it was everything that a Tall Tale could ask for. Huge congratulations to Susan!

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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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