Dublin South Toastmasters Information Site http://dublinsouthtoastmasters.com Speaking and leadership Thu, 18 Nov 2021 10:14:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.2 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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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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