Archives for Daniel

Guest Division A

Guest Division A

Division A – Phillip O’Brien ACG ALB

Division A, along the beautiful Wild Atlantic Way on County Cork includes Areas 3, 11, 23 and 49.

The Division has 21 clubs from as far east as Garryvoe to the west in Bantry. We started the year with 20 clubs and McAfee Toastmasters chartered in October 2018.

I was approached to take over as Division Director from Maura Meaney back in October 2018 and having served as Area 11 Director the year before I was familiar with Division Council workings and accepted. I would like to acknowledge Maura’s assistance to me in the transition and since then as she is someone I could bounce a few ideas off.

I’ve been a Toastmaster for five years now and my service as Division Director has allowed me work within the Division towards wider goals and just at the time of writing Division A has become a President’s Distinguished Division.

The Division held two successful Club Officer Training days in August and in February which were very well attended by officers from most clubs in the Division and these days covered a wide variety of subject matter.

The Division held two Contests – Humorous Speech and Table Topics in November and the International Speech and Evaluation Contest on April. Our four winners – Laura Mehigan, Humourous Speech (Cork Douglas TM); Murt Ó Súillabháin, Table Topics (Bishopston TM); Paschal O’Leary, International Speech (Guardian TM) and Margaret O’Flynn, Evaluation (Talking Heads TM) – all competed in Norwich at the District 71 Conference and the Division, their clubs and themselves proud.

Division A Table Topics L-R Murt O Súilleabháin (Bishopstown) 1st; Division Director Phillip O’Brien; John Keating (Republic of Work) 2nd and Eric Downey (Cork East) 3rd

Division A Humorous Speech: L-R Laura Mehigan (Cork Douglas) 1st; Division Director Phillip O’Brien; Holly Blake (Carrigaline) 2nd and Paula Kelleher(Guardian) 3rd. 

Division A Evaluation L-R Deirdre O’Mahony (Carrigaline) 2nd; Division Director Phillip O’Brien; Margaret O’Flynn (Talking Heads) 1st and Neil O’Brien (Blarney) 3rd.

Division A International Speech L-R Holly Blake (Carrigaline) 2nd; Division Director Phillip O’Brien; Paschal O’Leary (Guardian) 1st and Eric Downey (Cork East) 3rd. 

#Norwich19 Division A contestants

Laura Mehigan, Cork Douglas, Humorous Speech

Paschal O’Leary, Guardian, International Speech

Murt O Súilleabháin, Bishopstown, Table Topics

Margaret O’Flynn, Talking Heads, Evaluation 

I am very pleased that we have had six new DTMs in Division A – Moira O’Brien (Lee Valley Speakers), John Colbert (Talking Heads) Joey O’Leary (Kinsale & District), Damien Lynch (Cork Douglas), Sean McCarthy (Cork Douglas) and Pat Duggan (Guardian) – congratulations to them all.

We had three notable club anniversaries in the Division – Bishopstown and Kinsale & District both celebrated ten years and Bandon Toastmasters celebrated thirty years.

One of our clubs, Kinsale & District, had a coach appointed and last week, for the first time in nine years that club has become Distinguished and Select Distinguished in its tenth anniversary year. Kinsale went from requiring a club coach to President’s Distinguished Club this year also

In all clubs I have visited I have been extended a warm and cordial welcome and I look forward to visiting again.

Bandon 30th celebrations L-R: Club President Colette O’Donovan; Immediate Past President Imelda Westcott; Area 11 Director Alun Rees; Division A Director Phillip O’Brien and District 71 Club Growth Director Gerard Mannix.

Bandon Toastmasters celebrated 30 years. Left of plaque is President Colette O’Donovan and right of plaque is immediate past President Imelda Westcott.

Kinsale 10th Anniversary L-R: Kinsale President Willie Grainger; Joey O’Leary receiving her DTM plaque and Club Coach/Division Director Phillip O’Brien. .

Finally, I want to thank the members of the Division Council – Mari Manning (A3), Alun Rees (A11), Charlie Corrigan (A23), Darren Burnett (A49) and Beryl Cronin (Asst A3) for working so hard for their Areas and the Division.

Outgoing Division Council 2018/2019 L-R: Charlie Corrigan, Area 23; Mari Manning, Area 3; Division Director, Phillip O’Brien; Alun Rees, Area 11 and Darren Burnett, Area 49.

Division A is President’s Distinguished for 2018/2019.

Division Council 2019/2020 L-R: David Ryan (Bandon) Area 11; Aidan Coakley (Cork Douglas) Area 23; Division Director, Phillip O’Brien; Paul O’Mahony (Blarney) Area 3 and Darren Burnett (Powdermills) Area 49.

Area 3 – Mari Manning

Area 3 – Division A encompasses six Toastmasters clubs; Cork East TM, Midleton TM, Talking Heads TM, Garryvoe, Blarney TM, Guardian TM and McAfee TM (Corporate).

Pathways: As an Area, we have embraced Pathways as the mechanisms have become clearer and EVPs/ mentors in the clubs have been encouraging members to ‘have a go’. It has proved to be a useful tool in recruiting new members too.

Contests: We have also had some considerable success in the recent contests with Margaret O’Flynn, Talking Heads Toastmasters, winning the Area 3 & Division A, Evaluation contests and taking second place in the finals at the Norwich Conference. Paschal O’Leary, President of Guardian TM won the Area 3 International Speech contest and ably represented his club in the finals at the Norwich Conference. Well done to both.

We would also like to highlight the winners of our Area 3 Final Evaluations contest, 2019, Niall O’Brien, Blarney, TM, 1st place and Eric Downey, President of Cork East Toastmasters, 2nd place.

Club visits are taking place now with excellent achievements by Toastmasters in each club. Sharon O’Neill (Blarney TM) has achieved a L2 in Pathways with several members in her club now motivated to reach that level. Dr. Shirley Gallagher (Cork East TM and our new club Pathways Co-Ordinator) has achieved L1 Pathways and is currently sailing through L2 which she hopes to complete shortly. Several members of Cork East are currently on track to achieve L1 Pathways, shortly under her guidance.

Congratulations to our newest Area 3 DTM, Pat Duggan from Guardian Toastmasters, a great achievement by a very experienced Toastmaster. Pat has been a great inspiration to many new Toastmasters over the years and we wish him all the best as he steps back from Toastmasters – for now!

As outgoing Area Director of Area 3, I would like to express my thanks to my assistant for the past year, Beryl Cronin, CC. CL. ALB, whose knowledge and support were invaluable. I’ve met some wonderful people along the way, who were always willing to step up and help when called upon, in the true spirit of Toastmasters.

I would like to welcome the incoming Area Director, Paul O’Mahony and wish him the best of luck in the coming year.

Area 11

By Alun Rees

Area 11 consists of 5 clubs, with Bantry in the west, Lee Valley in the north and Kinsale, Bandon and West Cork spread along the beautiful Wild Atlantic Way. The area enclosed is 673 square miles or 430,731 acres. This area is mostly rural, sparsely populated with an economy largely dependent on farming and tourism.

It has been a privilege to serve the Area over the past 12 months, to see consolidation in the growth of most clubs and to experience and reflect on the diverse characteristics, and characters, of each club.

One thing that I have learned is that Toastmasters come in all shapes, sizes, abilities, attitudes, motivations and mind-sets. The one thing that they all share is a desire to tell their stories, to find a way of expressing what is inside them and to experience the joy of effective communication with others.

The delight of listening to the 20 or more past presidents of Bandon Toastmasters sharing their experiences at the club’s 30th anniversary was very special. Equally exciting was that unique moment shared with a single individual who has made their icebreaker speech after years believing they could never speak up.

I have been impressed by the officers who work hard to ensure club meetings happen, who give up their spare time so that others can enjoy these moments of magic, of fellowship, of creativity and pleasure for all that Toastmasters can bring.

If you are in any doubt about taking on a role at a meeting, on your club’s executive or within Area, Division or District embrace the opportunity. You will be rewarded, and the time spent repaid several times over through the experiences you enjoy in the company of others and that you have helped to create.

Thank you everyone in Area 11.

Area 23

By Charlie Corrigan

Carrigaline Toastmasters Club

Carrigaline Toastmasters continues to go from strength to strength with membership further increasing this year.

Holly Blake represented the club and area 23 in the Division A Speech Contest. (see photo)

In December 2018 the club was successful in having an article on the benefits of Toastmasters published on “THECORK.IE, Cork’s very own online publication. This has increased the numbers of guests visiting the club.

See link:

Former President Colm Nestor was a guest at Cork Yarnspinners recently where he enthralled the audience. (see photo)

Carrigaline Toastmasters scored a double recently with Deirdre O’Mahony and Holly Blake representing Area 23 in the Division A Speech and Evaluation Contests. They performed very well and were placed runners up in each contest. Well done Deirdre and Holly. (see photo)

Cork Toastmasters Club

Cork Toastmasters has had a very successful year with membership growing strongly. During the year the club moved its base from the Ambassador Hotel to the Kingsley Hotel. This has proved a very successful step with excellent facilities at the hotel and its location making it very accessible.

Cork Toastmasters was Cork city’s first Toastmasters Club and is celebrating its 51st year in existence. The photo shows Martin Kerrigan as the 51st President of the club with the outgoing President Joan Fuller. (see photo)

Cork Douglas Toastmasters Club

Two DTMs in one go.

Cork Douglas Toastmasters are pleased to announce, that two of our members have achieved the highest of the many accreditations from Toastmasters International that of Distinguished Toastmaster or DTM. For any club to have a Distinguished Toastmaster or DTM as a member is a bonus but, to have two at the same time is somewhat unique, in that roughly one per-cent of Toastmasters worldwide get to achieve it.

The awards were presented (L-R) by Toastmaster Aidan Coakley (Club President) to Damien Lynch DTM and, by Toastmaster Charlie Corrigan (Area 23 Director) to Toastmaster Sean McCarthy DTM (see photo)

The success of Cork Douglas Toastmasters is showing in its recent achievements and, yes we do have a long way to go: –

  • Two DTM recipient’s in recent times.
  • Growth in membership.
  • An average of four Guests or visitors per meeting. (68 to date)

2019 saw our first member Laura Mehigan representing our Division (Division A) in the Humourous Speech Contest at the District 71 Conference in Norwich recently.

The photo shows Laura receiving her well-deserved first place award at our Club Humourous Speech. (see photo)

Crusaders Toastmasters Club

Crusaders Toastmasters Club has made the move from the SMA Community Hall in Wilton to the Kingsley Hotel, Carrigrohane Road. The move has gone smoothly, and the club is attracting more guests in its new setting.

Republic of Work Toastmasters

Republic of Work Toastmasters Club is unique in Cork in that it has weekly meetings on Monday evenings at 6.30pm in the Republic of Work building on the South Mall. The club is just over a year old and has a very young membership profile This has to augur well for the club’s future. The photos show members enjoying themselves at a recent meeting. (see photos)

Area 49

Darren Burnett

Area 49 consists of three corporate clubs (Apple, DellEMC and VMware) along with two community clubs (Powdermills and Bishopstown).   This gives a pleasant variety in skills and focus.  Having corporate clubs with an emphasis on technology has aided with the adoption of Pathways.  Although only being a relatively new member to Toastmasters, Alexandra Brandt (VMware) delivered multiple presentations on her experience with Pathways.  This included tips and tricks that she had picked up on her journey.  She conveyed this to her own club in VMware, and to the other clubs in the Area.  The delivery was facilitated by some club visits and through club officer training.  Technology is being effectively utilised by DellEMC who host their meetings across three sites using teleconference facilities.   This has proven very valuable and was also utilised in recent club officer training to make possible corporate club attendance during work hours   Our corporate and community clubs are looking at how they can collaborate more as we head into a new Toastmaster year.  This will potentially include for the first time in Area 49, a corporate club hosting an area competition.  In competitions, our excellent Murt Ó Súilleabháin represented Bishopstown Toastmasters in the Norwich District 71 Conference for Table Topics where the feedback from those that saw him was excellent.  Area 49 also saw some anniversaries.  VMware Toastmasters reached their 100th club meeting which received a lot of recognition.  While Bishopstown Toastmasters marked their 10th year milestone (since chartering in 2009) with a visit from the Lord Mayor of Cork.

Bishopstown members celebrate Speechcraft Graduates!

By Krystal Long.

On Saturday 13th April 2019, members of Bishopstown Toastmasters in Division A celebrate the success of their Speechcraft participants as they successfully completed 8 weeks of communication and leadership training.

The Journey began on Saturday 26th January with four members of Bishopstown Toastmasters club, led by Krystal Long (Coordinator) with the assistance of Carol O’ Donovan, Anita Howard and Murt Ó Súilleabháin. An amazing journey with eight fantastic participants who were dedicated to enhancing and developing their public speaking, communication, presentation and leadership skills to name but a few.

Each participant brought something different, wonderful, fun, educational, inspiring, to the heart felt personal stories of overcoming challenges and adversity. To also one participant travelling up and down to Cork in the south each week from Co. Galway in the west of Ireland.

All participants received the opportunity to experience the Toastmasters Club Experience. Each session was delivered the same as you would expect to see in a Toastmasters meeting. All roles were fulfilled and mastered by our participants such as: Timekeeper, Table Topics Masters, Ah counter, Grammarian and especially the all-important role of evaluators.

Some participants of the very successful Speechcraft program. Front Row L-R Coordinator Krystal Long (Cork TM), Division Director Phillip O’Brien and Team Member Anita Howard (Bishopstown)

Pictures by Philip O’ Byrne 2019 ©

Not only that but also they had the opportunity to give and master skills of organising and delivering a great speech, overcoming nervousness, thinking fast and mastering the art of impromptu speaking with Table Topics, speaking with conviction and becoming an effective listener, advancing their social skills, use of voice for maximum impact and improving work and life prospects and also they learned about the art of giving effective evaluations.

All these important elements of public speaking, and the structures of the Toastmaster’s club experience were delivered to a very high standard and the toastmaster members themselves and the participants have all enjoyed being a part of the experience.

On the final session, graduation day all participants shared what the programme meant for them in their lives and how much they have enjoyed the experience. It was a great moment for all to reflect on the journey, sharing great memories and as a reminder to us Toastmasters how much we too have benefited from our own individual journeys. Toastmasters and speechcraft changes lives, by empowering people to become their best selves! Also, a special thanks to our Division A Director Phillip O’ Brien who attended the celebration and shared some moments of his own wonderful experiences of Toastmasters with an invitation to the participants to join our Toastmaster community.

In the words of Toastmasters founder:

Dr Ralph C. Smedley “Let us share the benefits we have gained for ourselves with others!”

I would like to invite my fellow Toastmaster members and clubs to embark on this truly wonderful experience. It is a great way to further develop your skills outside and inside a Toastmaster’s club. Take the opportunity to share with others all you have gained and benefitted from Toastmasters and let’s pay it forward!!


Guest Division J (Central Dublin)

Guest Division J (Central Dublin)

My Leadership Journey

Colm Mc Glade ACG, Division J Director

This September I will be 25 years in Toastmasters. To celebrate, I hope to achieve my DTM award. To achieve this, I was required to take on a leadership role. This was new to me. The reason I joined Toastmasters was to improve my public speaking skills. I was President of Rathfarnham Toastmasters 20 years ago. However, since then, I avoided all leadership roles……until last July when I stepped into the role of Division J Director.

It has been a steep learning curve for me. To become a good leader, I would need good leaders. I chose Peter Kieran, DTM, as my Assistant Division Director. Peter has been Division C Director on two occasions and an Area Director on three occasions. He knows the ropes. I am very grateful for his advice and guidance during the year. I am also very appreciative of my three area directors: Area 2 Director Gareth Coghlan, Area 7 Director Mairead Murphy and Area 57 Director PJ Claffey, for their commitment, enthusiasm and hard work throughout the year.

Division J is a new Division in Dublin city centre, with 3 areas. We started the Toastmaster year with 12 clubs. However, 2 clubs have fallen by the wayside – Saudi and Digital Hub in Area 57, but we have also gained 2 new corporate clubs, Irish Life in Area 57 and Takeda in Area 7 (both chartered). There is a possibility of 2 more corporate clubs joining the Division soon, although probably not before 30th June. They are AIG and IDA.

The make-up of Division J is now as follows

  • Area 2: Dublin, Eblana, Society, Accentuators
  • Area 7: Cogito, Vox Populi, Uncensored, Takeda
  • Area 57: I.E.Templebar, PWC, IFSC, Irish Life

As my year as Division J Director comes to an end, I can now look back with pride at our achievements. The year’s highlights include:

COT1: This was held in Wynn’s Hotel on Saturday 14th July. There was a good turn out from all the clubs. Topics covered included Moments of Truth with Area 57 Director PJ Claffey, GDPR with Brenda Lannon, Administration Manager District Leadership Team and Pathways with our District Director Patricia O’ Reilly. Mop up training was held in the Hilton Garden Inn on Wednesday 22nd August. The feedback from COT1 indicated that members wanted more guidance on Pathways.

COT2: This was held in Chartered Accountants House on Pearse street on Friday 8th February. This included more training on Pathways with Patricia O’ Reilly and a session on attracting and retaining new members with former Division M Director Dermot Carey. Mop up training was held on 20th February.

DOT1+2: I attended District Officer training last June and again in January. This was a great experience and very informative, a coming together of all the Division and Area Directors in Ireland (and some from the U.K), along with members of the District Leadership Team.

Speech Contests: Having to organise speech contests was a new experience for me. I have been involved in many speech contests in the past as a contestant, but I had never organised one. I would prepare my speech, turn up on the day and participate. I didn’t really understand what was involved to run a successful contest. I selected this as my HPL project. The members of my guidance committee included my assistant Division Director, Peter Kieran, Area 2 Director Gareth Coghlan and the then President of IE Templebar Toastmasters Ritchie Prenderville. We worked together as a team to organise the contests to ensure they were a success.

The Humorous Speech and Table Topics contests were held in Wynns hotel on Sunday 11th November. There was a good turnout. Dermot Carey from the Uncensored club won the Humorous Speech contest and Elaine Gallagher from the Dublin club won the Table Topics.

Wynn’s hotel put up their prices after Christmas, so we had to search for another suitable venue for the spring contests. On Sunday 14th April, we held our International Speech and Evaluation contests in the Hilton Garden Inn in the IFSC. Phillip Khan Panni from Society Toastmasters won the International Speech contest while Elaine Gallagher was a winner again in the Evaluation contest.

Division J was the big winner at the District 71 conference in Norwich in May, as both Dermot and Phillip won their respective speech contests. Phillip will now go on to represent both Division J and District 71 in the European Regional Final, via a recording of his speech. If he is successful, he will then progress to the World Semi Final in the U.S. in August. This, of course, is not Phillip’s first time to win the District 71 International Speech Final. He has won it on 3 previous occasions and, in 1994, he came 2nd in the World Final. What an achievement! On behalf of all the members in Division J, I would like to wish Phillip continued success.

New Corporate Clubs

As mentioned above, two new corporate clubs chartered this year in Division J – Irish Life (see enclosed article) in the autumn and, more recently, Takeda. Both myself and Area 7 Director Mairead Murphy are sponsors for Takeda. The club was very fast in getting off the ground. The initial demonstration meeting was held on 8th March and the club chartered in May with 32 signed up members.

A demonstration meeting was also held for AIG last December and it is hoped that they might charter soon. The IDA has also expressed an interest in setting up a corporate club and we hope to organise a demonstration meeting for them quite soon.

While I am happy that my year as Division J Director is coming to an end, I’m also delighted that I took on the role. It gave me a whole new perspective on Toastmasters. I learned many leadership skills along the way, including the necessity to be organised, to have a vision and to set goals; the importance of teamwork and the need to delegate; the importance of listening skills, to be able to listen to others views and take advice. Above all, I gained a lot of satisfaction from my role. I believe Division J will continue to grow and prosper and I wish the incoming Division Director every success and happiness in the role.

Irish Life

Ronan Kearney, President Irish Life

The idea of Irish Life Toastmasters first came about towards the end of summer 2018. As a member of Dublin South Toastmasters, I had often seen how club members joined for professional reasons and were often encouraged and even sponsored by their employers to do so. Working for a relatively large organisation myself (Irish Life has approx. 2,500 employees based in its Dublin City Centre HQ) I could see the potential for a new corporate club. Initial marketing involved a poster campaign and word of mouth within the company. It wasn’t long before several interested and enthusiastic people came forward eager to be involved. A few us visited the Google Phonics club in Barrow Street (big thanks to Steven Scully for his hospitality) to get an idea of how a corporate club might work. Inspired by what we saw at Google we returned to Irish Life armed with plenty of good ideas. Soon after this we arranged a launch in Irish Life, open to all staff, and saw a great turnout of over 50 people. Again, we were assisted with the launch by Steven and some colleagues from Google which helped tremendously.

Following the launch interest continued to grow and we realised that chartering a new club was viable. Having secured a regular meeting location (‘The Hive’ meeting room in Irish Life HQ – see attached photos)  we scheduled our first meeting for October 2018 and saw an attendance of 35 people. In November we were honoured to welcome Toastmasters International CEO Dan Rex to our club as part of his visit to Ireland, and promptly included him in a lively and entertaining Table Topics session! We currently have 40 registered members and expect this to continue growing due to our regular participation in awareness-raising initiatives within Irish Life and positive feedback passed on via word of mouth.

A lot of work was involved to get the club up and running but we’re now really seeing the rewards with lots of highly entertaining meetings in The Hive and fantastic progression for our members.

Twenty-three years of membership

Peter J. Claffey, ATG, Area 57 Director

When it comes to Toastmasters, you could call me a lifer. I have been a member of TI since 1996, without parole. I joined Rathfarnham Toastmasters back then and in more recent times I am also a member of Powertalk Toastmasters.

At that very first meeting, I was taken by the confidence of the speakers who spoke that night in Rathfarnham, particularly those who gave the prepared speeches but also those who spoke on a topic they were just given. Yes, I wanted to be like those speakers and resolved there and then to work hard to be so. I even spoke for a mere 30 seconds, my lips trembling on a Topic and I felt very foolish doing so. I sounded a bit strange speaking. Do I sound like that? I was very self-conscious of my voice and it was a very strange feeling. On that first night I resolved to say something at every meeting thereafter, just to get over these strange feelings, hopefully build my confidence and be as good as the other members.

After a few meetings I joined up and got the CC Manual in the post a few weeks later. Ten speeches, which I planned to do in 2 years. I took to speech preparation and practice with great gusto. I lit up when I got a good evaluation from my Evaluator. I read the evaluation slips again and again, just to absorb the good feedback again. This feedback gave me greater confidence to move onto the next Toastmasters levels. In June 1998 I got my CC Award. This was followed by the CL in 2000, the ATM Bronze in 2002, the ATM Silver in 2006 and finally ATM Gold in 2009. While speech preparation, practice and speaking were my first love in Toastmasters, I did get great enjoyment and confidence by doing Sergeant at Arms, Vice President Education and President at Rathfarnham.

Speech contests too were a great favourite of mine including the Humorous and Tall Tale Contests, as well as the International Speech and Evaluation ones. Such was the standard in Rathfarnham I only won a few. Getting to an Area or a Division final was a major achievement. Whether it was giving speeches or entering contests my confidence has continued to develop and my speaking repertoire has expanded to include humorous, inspirational and motivational styles. Give me a stage now and I can speak on anything you want. This is what Toastmasters has done for me. If you continue to embrace public speaking through the Pathways programme you will become the speaker you want to be.

In 2018 I was asked to take on the Area 57 Director Role. I took it on with some trepidation as it was not one, I had done before. But now as I come to the end of my year, I am delighted I have done it. It gives me more confidence and experience on the Toastmasters Leadership track. I really enjoy going to the Clubs in Area 57 which are around Dublin City centre near where I work which are IE Temblebar, Irish Life, PWC and IFSC. I am also working with AIG Toastmasters Club who will hopefully charter shortly. Because these Clubs are mostly corporate ones, they often approach their meetings in a different way than I was used to in Rathfarnham. Nevertheless, they also have the Toastmasters friendly and light-hearted approach to public speaking and members learn by doing. I would now recommend you take on the Advanced Leadership track. It is another way to develop your confidence and it has helped me greatly in my professional career to date. Without Toastmasters I would never have taken on many roles and responsibilities at work. So, keep on speaking, get involved on your Club committee or take that leadership track. Your Area and Divisional teams need you. Happy Toast mastering and be the leader you wish to be.

My journey to the District 71 title

By Phillip Khan-Panni

The 2019 District 71 Conference at Norwich was an amazing event, with no less than 12 speaking contests. But my focus was on just one – the International Speech Contest, first the semi then the final. As you probably already know, I won the title against a talented field. It was my fourth victory at this level, and it followed an 18 -year gap since the last time. Let me tell you the story of my journey and what I have gained from it.

It all began in 1992, when a fellow-Round Tabler invited me to join him in setting up a new Toastmasters club in Bromley. It was the first I’d heard of Toastmasters, but the chance to make speeches appealed to me. At the time I was still traumatized by the recent tragic death of my first wife, and my memory was shot to pieces. For my Ice Breaker (all about myself, of course) I had to use notes! But when a fellow founder member, Giles Robinson, delivered his previous International speech, I decided to follow in his footsteps.

Twelve months after joining, I completed my CTM and reached the District 71 final for the first time. It was in Dublin’s Killiney Castle and my speech, “Where the honour lies”, was in support of the underdog. The loudest applause I got was when I applauded the Irish football team that Jack Charlton had taken to the World Cup Finals. With that victory under my belt, I was off to Toronto for the Inter-District contest against the best of the non-American world.

I was clearly under-prepared and came third. Australia’s Jock Elliott (World Champion in 2010) told me I’d started in the wrong key (too high), with nowhere to go when I got excited in the speech.

Two years later I won the District 71 title again, this time in Galway. Throwing Fortune Cookies into the audience, I established a great connection with them. Next stop was San Diego, and the Inter-District contest. At the last minute I inserted a Margaret Thatcher joke that got a big laugh, breaking my concentration. I blanked for four l-o-n-g seconds! Fortunately, I recovered and got the nod from the judges. I was in the World Championship Final!

People told me I was close to winning but had to settle for second place. I talk about that in my current championship speech. In the years that followed I built up a training business called Speaking & Presentation Skills and co-founded the Professional Speaking Association (PSA). It was only in 2001 that I was able again to win the District 71 title, travelling to Anaheim for the World Championship. But in the semi (i.e. Inter District) my microphone became dislodged, and I came third. I then took a break from Toastmastering.

Towards the end of 2016 I re-joined TM, having come to live in Ireland. After visiting perhaps, a dozen clubs I settled on Society in Dublin’s Pearse Street. What an amazingly supportive and friendly bunch they turned out be! My speech on being Forever Second found favour at Club, Area and Division levels, and brought me to the coveted District 71 title in Norwich for a record fourth time.

And what have I gained along the way? Top of my list is my wife. Evelyn and I met at a TM Conference in Crawley. I have had the chance to pit my speaking skills against a variety of talented speakers, developed a training business and become a professional speaker on the process of verbal communication. It enabled me to become a published author of 13 books and to find a set of like-minded people, both in Britain and in Ireland, some of whom I call my friends. Yes, it has been a worthwhile journey. I recommend it to you.

A Club That Broke All the Rules

By Elaine Gallagher, President of Dublin Toastmasters

Have you ever discovered a family secret, something that you would have never guessed? I discovered Toastmasters in 2012 and joined Dublin Toastmasters, the oldest Toastmasters club outside North America. Never for a single minute did I consider that Toastmasters had a family secret that would intrigue me, and that Dublin Toastmasters was determined to make an impression.

What is the intriguing Toastmasters family secret?: A constitution outlawing lady members. Members were to be composed “of male members at least 21 years of age.” Dublin Toastmasters was a club determined to right this wrong largely because the club’s first President Paddy Cunningham was ‘a woman’s man’, a man of vision, a man of foresight.

The Dublin club chartered, over 60 years ago, on 12th April 1958. The founding members included women, not a controversy by today’s standards but following the chartering of the club, this became a point of contention.

In a letter dated December 1965 form the Toastmasters International Territorial Council of the British Isles to the Secretary of the Interclub Committee stating:

“We are quite aware of the origin of lady members in Ireland in 1958. P.D. Cunningham Esq., seeking a method of keeping together a group of people (male and female – also former students of his own) turned to Toastmasters International for the answer and in so doing – inadvertently, or otherwise, included some of the fair sex.”

Women in a Toastmasters club was out of bounds contrary to the Toastmasters constitution at that time and “could not be permitted”. The alternative proposed to the existing “lady members’ was to join a separate “Toastmistress Club”. The powers that be stated “As to the fairer sex, God bless them…” Even if women were to be bestowed with heavenly blessings, these could not include membership of Toastmasters International. Bravely, this idea was flat out ignored and requests for permission to allow a visit from a Toastmistress was also flatly ignored on a few occasions. If Toastmasters International would not allow female membership, Dublin Toastmasters would pave the way for the new world and facilitate membership of both men and women. Registration with Toastmasters International would be by way of surname and initials. Until Toastmasters International changes its rules, Dublin Toastmasters at least had plausible deniability and the good people in California would have to deal with the consequences.

Sixty years later, Dublin Toastmasters is dealing with the consequences. Sixty years later Dublin Toastmasters has a serving President who is a woman. Sixty years later, the membership of Dublin includes some of the most inspirational women and men I know; women and men who serve side by side on the Committee; women and men who compete and succeed in Toastmaster International District Finals; women and men who encourage other women and men to serve with integrity respect and excellence.

It’s been an honour to serve as President of Toastmasters during its 60th year. I have nothing but gratitude to Dublin Toastmasters for sharing the Toastmaster experience with both women and men. This has allowed me to enhance my career, deepen my friendships and to meet my husband, also a Toastmaster, and a Past President of Dublin Toastmasters. I often wonder did Paddy Cunningham, the man who broke all the rules realise the power of his perseverance…

My road to winning the #Norwich19 District Humorous Speech

By Dermot Carey, Uncensored Speakers Club and Dublin Toastmasters Club.

I arrived back from lunch one afternoon in 2003. There was an email waiting for me. It read “A meeting of all staff will take place in the board room at 2.30pm. Everyone must attend”. That day became a turning point in my life. I found out that day that I was losing my job.

I wasn’t too upset as there were plenty of jobs out there, then my friends told me about a new trend requiring job applicants to make presentations to interview panels as part of the recruitment process. The idea of making a presentation to an audience filled me with terror. I had previously left a job when they decided to promote me and give me my own list of clients. I was the type of person who was quite happy to sit at my desk in the corner, just me and my spreadsheets.

Then a friend suggested that I try Toastmasters. I checked out the details of my local Toastmasters club and went along as a guest to their meeting. I was particularly Inspired by one member who told how they had overcome a speech impediment and now loved to speak in public. I decided to join the club while at the same time thinking to myself that perhaps in 6 months I might venture to stand up and speak. I found rather quickly with the help, support and encouragement of the club members that delivering a speech in public wasn’t so terrifying after all. I began to enjoy the experience of getting up and speaking in public.

In 2007 I entered my 1st humorous speech contest and I got to Division Final. I had never heard of a division final up to then because no one from the club had progressed that far during my time at the club. The division final was like a whole new world to me, but I realised that I needed to up my game if I was going to win. In the intervening years I had made several attempts to get in the District Final and taken time out to be a district officer, to help organise 2 district conferences and to help start Uncensored Speakers Club. In 2017 I came 2nd at the district humorous final in Sheffield and in 2019 I finally achieved my goal of winning the district humorous speech final in Norwich.

What have I learned by being in Toastmasters? I have learned that speaking in public is not such a huge insurmountable obstacle, that with time and practice it can be quite enjoyable. I have learned all the other things that are so important in our professional lives such as organising a speech, managing time and meetings, all the things we take for granted in Toastmasters. I also learned that feedback is important and when you take on board what others are telling you then you can really progress.

The most important thing that I have learned about humour is that you need to keep to a simple topic that you have experience of and that when you exaggerate a simple situation it can have comic effect. Whoever thought that being an “accountancy super-hero” would make people laugh? Well neither did I. I also found out how supportive your fellow contestants are at a contest.

I would encourage every member to take a chance and enter a contest. If you are not a member of Toastmasters, well just take a chance, I did, and it has had a profound and positive change in my life, giving me the confidence to try many new things outside of Toastmasters and it has led to a new career.

Go on have a go.

June ’19 District Quiz

June 2019: Prize Quiz

Guest edited by Elizabeth Jordan DTM, Hertfordshire Speakers


  • Email completed crossword to by Friday 26th July 2019
  • All correct answers will be entered in a prize draw. Winners and Answers will be published in the July/August Edition

Win Mini Notebook and Pen Set

Item 6850K

Answers to May/ June Newsletter Quiz

This was the most popular quiz so far of 2018-19. Well done quiz setter Alex Knibbs. The Winner is Julie Kenny of Ipswich Electrifiers in Division G

  • Rationale I’ll amend for rhetorical device (12) ALLITERATION
  • Pear moth squashed for figure of speech (8) METAPHOR
  • ‘Nice to see you, to see you, nice’ is an example of this type of rhetorical instrument (8) CHIASMUS
  • ML King’s “I have a dream … ” speech made great use of this technique (8) ANAPHORA
  • ‘I’ve told you a million times not to exaggerate’ is an example of this rhetorical instrument (9) HYPERBOLE
  • Cuckoo, woof woof and screech are examples of ONOMATOPOEIA
  • ‘He was as graceful as a fridge falling down a flight of stairs’, is an example of … (6) SIMILE
  • Kate and Sidney … not steak and kidney!, is an example of a … SPOONERISM
  • Education, education, education (8) TRICOLON
  • An understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by negating its opposite is the definition of this rhetorical instrument (8) LITOTES

FINAL solution:

The letters in green will spell out ‘SANTA ANA’

Rationale I’ll amend for rhetorical device (12)


Pear moth squashed for figure of speech (8) E T P O R
‘Nice to see you, to see you, nice’ is an example of this type of rhetorical instrument (8) C I S U S
ML King’s “I have a dream … “speech made great use of this technique (8) A A O R
‘I’ve told you a million times not to exaggerate’ is an example of this rhetorical instrument (9) H E R L
Cuckoo, woof woof and screech are examples of (12) O M T P A
‘He was as graceful as a fridge falling down a flight of stairs’, is an example of … (6) I I L
Kate and Sidney … not steak and kidney!, is an example of a … (10) S O O R M
Education, education, education (8) T I O O N
An understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by negating its opposite is the definition of this rhetorical instrument e.g. ‘I was not a little upset’ (8) L T O S

Sam Warner #ChantalCookePR

Opening Doors – Top Ten Tips to Delegate Effectively.

Why have a dog and bark yourself?  You might have heard of this expression – and it’s certainly true.  The trick is to find the balance between delegating effectively and becoming Teflon-coated and not doing any of the work yourself.

#ChantalCookePR Sam Warner
Sam Warner DTM, Shropshire Speakers

Sam Warner is a Communication Specialist and works with global leaders across multiple industries to help Autistic people into work and at work to achieve recognition, respect and understanding.

Chantal Cooke (#ChantalCookePR) of Panpathic Communications is a Public Relations agent retained by Districts 71 and 91 to help us obtain national press coverage. See here to read the article writing brief and you might win tickets to the next district conference.

4th October 2019

NEconnected: Readership: 266k

August 2019

Dealer Support, September 2019 edition has the interview with Sam on pages 18-19.

You can see the digital edition here:

Readership: 12k

14th August 2019

ByteStart Readership:  100k per month – small businesses and startups.

25th July 2019

Executive Secretary is put together in the aim of enabling career secretaries to develop both knowledge and skills. It aims to bring together a global network of senior and aspiring administrative professionals to discuss and share best practice.

The editor said regarding sharing the link:

This article first appeared in Executive Secretary Magazine, a global training publication and must read for any administrative professional. You can get a 30% discount on an individual subscription when you subscribe through me. Email and tell them I sent you.

Please include @lucybrazier in your tweets.

Readership: 15k+

18th July 2019

“10 Tips to delegating effectively.”

Al Global Media aims to offer the very latest insights, interviews and profiles of Chief Executive Officers from across the corporate landscape.

Readership: 60k pm

15th July 2019

Your article “Eight tips to improve your delegating” has been published by Supply Management

Supply Management is the official media outlet of the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS). It is the home of all the latest news, information, analysis, jobs and thought leadership for procurement & supply chain professionals.

Readership: 87k pm

12th July 2019

Share Radio is a national business radio station with 35k listeners.

27 June 2019

Entrepreneur & Investor is aimed at super HNW [High Net Worth]s and Ultras, plus successful entrepreneurs living the life of their dreams on their own terms, and also those who may just be embarking on their entrepreneurial journey, but still aim high and have a strong desire for the finer things in life. 
Readership online; 40k per month

LID Radio focuses on current trends and features conversations with some of the brightest minds, top experts and influencers in the area of business, entrepreneurship, smart thinking and personal development.
Readership: 26k

17 June 2019

Indezine Readership 10k

14 June 2019

Tips to help you delegate well and empower your team

Dealer Support: Readership 12k

May 2019: Prize Quiz

Guest edited by Alex Knibbs, Division G Director


  • Email completed crossword to by Friday 28th June 2019
  • All correct answers will be entered in a prize draw. Winners and Answers will be published in the Late June Edition

Win Mini Notebook and Pen Set

Item 6850K

As Toastmasters we hear quite a lot about rhetorical devices (did you know you can even obtain a Master’s degree in Rhetoric?)

The quiz below focusses on a range of rhetorical devices. The first two clues are straightforward cryptic clues; for the rest I provide actual examples of each rhetorical device.

Rationale I’ll amend for rhetorical device (12)







Pear moth squashed for figure of speech (8)






‘Nice to see you, to see you, nice’ is an example of this type of rhetorical instrument (8)






ML King’s “I have a dream … “speech made great use of this technique (8)





‘I’ve told you a million times not to exaggerate’ is an example of this rhetorical instrument (9)





Cuckoo, woof woof and screech are examples of (12)






‘He was as graceful as a fridge falling down a flight of stairs’, is an example of … (6)




Kate and Sidney … not steak and kidney!, is an example of a … (10)






Education, education, education (8)






An understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by negating its opposite is the definition of this rhetorical instrument e.g. ‘I was not a little upset’ (8)





Solve each clue and then rearrange all the letters in the green shaded squares to reveal the name of the US city where the very first Toastmasters meeting was held in 1924

Answers to April Newsletter Quiz

With the distraction of the District conference the quiz setter Elizabeth Jordan beat the District with no completely correct submissions.

1.    Engaging ……. is the name of new Pathways path that was introduced in February 2019? Answer: Humour (6)

2.    The month in 2018 in which Pathways was rolled out in Region 11, including D71. Answer: March (5)

3.    The number of semi-finals that will be held at the D71 Norwich conference? Answer: Eight (5)

4.    The D-Day ……. are the special Guest Act appearing at the Norwich Conference? Answer: Darlings (8)

5.    Lark Doley has declared this Toastmaster Year, The Year of the …… Answer: Wow (3)

6.    The 2018–2019 International Speech Contest is the first to include ……….. quarterfinals. Answer = Region (6)

7.    One job of the Base Camp Manager is to ……… level completion. Answer: Verify (6)

8.    One of the four Toastmasters Core Values. Answer: Excellence (10)

9.    The number of paths now available in Pathways. Answer: Eleven (11)


Special Section: Membership building case studies

By Daniel Sandars DTM, Public Relations Manager

It is obvious when you think about it! Across the District we have a diverse range of clubs appealing to different catchments and these each require and have evolved different Public Relations strategies. I’ve decided to seek some best practice examples to help provide ideas that others could take inspiration from. This is not a complete typology of model PR strategies, far from it.

  • The big city club: Manchester has a population of c.510,000 and Manchester Orators came to my attention because they had already added 34 new members by mid-February. I was impressed by their website with online joining facilities.
  • The county or county town club: Prominent open or guest nights and an earlier open night case study by John Cox brought clubs like East Midlands Speakers to my attention. There are c. 250,000 people living within their 30-mile radius catchment. A similar number live near Northampton Speakers club where I have personal experience
  • The rural town club. Speak Easy Mallow, Ireland came to my attention with the most robust press coverage. Mallow has around 12,000 people. I’ve also been able to get Naas Toastmasters in Ireland to tell me about what they do, and they have c.22,000 living in their area.
  • The campus club: Another club I have experience with is Cranfield Speakers, which is a campus-based community club and the fresher’s fair open night is the heart of their PR strategy.

A pattern, if it exists, across the top three categories goes from most new members finding the club for themselves via good web presence to the club going out finding the new blood with boots on the ground community PR.

Big City

Manchester Orators

By Jim Gregory DTM

After I had presented a session at the division contest in Leeds, Daniel Sandars asked if I would write an overview of Manchester Orators to share with readers of the magazine, and here it is…

Manchester Orators chartered in 2003. It was set up by me and 2 others. Only one of us had ever heard of Toastmasters and the ‘expert’ who had visited clubs in the US was a German guy called Thomas Bungard. From the very earliest days the club embraced diversity. The club always had a welcoming, casual but committed atmosphere.

Being based in Manchester meant that we attracted many students and people from all over the globe that were temporarily working in the city. We never ‘targeted ‘ any demographic or area but the club was targeted by all the people of all ages and backgrounds that wanted to develop their personal skills.

Today we do very little active promotion of the club. We are currently running a SpeechCraft course that will produce new members. In addition to personal recommendations and friends bringing guests, we do get visitors joining via Meetup and from their search of the Internet. For that reason, we have always had a website that is aimed at answering questions but telling them that the best way to experience and judge the value of Toastmasters is to visit the club.

When the club reached over 40 members we decided to have extra meetings each month. We now have 4 meetings per month. Two are open meetings and two are members only meetings. Attendance at the open meeting is usually between 40 and 50 people with 12-15 being visitors. The members only meetings have around 25 attendees and because we need less explanation we manage more Table Topics and 4 speeches.

All guests are welcomed at the door and available members then usually chat with them and give them the agenda. We never try to rush or push membership on them. Guests can visit an open meeting as often as they like without joining, but of course we do remind them that to get the full benefit of Pathways and all the club benefits, they need to join.

Signing members up at meetings used to be an issue. Factors such as the pro-rata effect (Which can delay some people signing up) and the need to read often bad handwriting caused delays and errors. Since we switched to an online sign up, using the services of Go-Cardless to set up Direct Debits (DD), we have had a very smooth sign-up process. The DD also means that we do not have to chase everyone at renewal time and club ‘cash-flow’ is always healthy. We usually manage to get the Beat-the-clock and Talk-up Toastmasters etc. awards.

With the old road to DTM we used to just use educational speeches and individual mentoring to ‘onboard’ members. The new Pathways has had an unexpected effect of some members becoming confused and reluctant to embrace the online system. We have had special training sessions and have produced videos to share with new members to get them started. Recently, we have set up a series of automatic emails using MailChimp. The auto generated emails are set to be sent out as a drip feed over an initial period. These introduce the new member to the club procedures in small digestible chunks. They introduce them to the use of EasySpeak and Pathways.

The club has always also had a strong social aspect for members to get together outside of meetings. There is the regular cinema club, and there have been fun runs, theatre visits, comedy club visits, restaurant visits, show visits, TEDx visits and hikes and even rock climbing to ‘enjoy’.

One area that the club has always had to work on is that of long-term retention of members. This is because of the nature of our base. Since the club has a high proportion of transient and student members there is always going to be a ‘churn’. Fortunately, we have always had a strong core of regular capable members to work on the committee and help. Some of our members leave to join other clubs and even start new clubs if they move to an area or country that does not have one. Some have remained members of our related online group Advanced Orators.

Another beneficial aspect of having a relatively high membership and a strong bank balance has been the club’s ability to sponsor and help set up new clubs. In addition to Advanced Orators, Manchester Orators sponsored and helped to set up Warrington Toastmasters, Didsbury Speakers and Salford Speakers. The club is now set to spin off another club and members are currently launching Manchester Communicators which will meet in rooms kindly donated by Manchester Metropolitan University.

Manchester Orators could be described as a successful club and with the continued support and dedication of key committee and general members it is certainly set to continue developing its members and new clubs. We all appreciate what Toastmasters adds to our lives and the joy of sharing the Toasties ethos.

If anyone reading this should want to ask any questions then I will be happy to respond via …Cheers.

County/ County town

Personal experience from chartering and running Northampton Speakers club (c. 215,000 population) taught me the power of a good Website and Meetup in coming to the attention of people we did not know already. Local Radio helped as well. Of the four of us that started Northampton only one of us had personal contacts, the rest of us came from away. Yet we had a steady stream of guests.

Word of mouth helps as well with guests coming in from training and networking groups. In the early days two of our members were socially active in Meetup and that helped make our meetup group popular and procure guests.

We are now adding open nights to our strategy and the most recent brought in 10 guests, four returning guests and two lapsed members. This year we have seen a better return from using paid for Facebook advertising than we did last year of trying to leaflet the train station, library, and café’s

East Midlands Speakers’ Club

Ian Joynes, Vice President of Education

1. What is your target market and what are the demographics of your target members?,

We have no target market. We cover a large area in the East Midlands with members travelling 30 miles to get to the club. We get a few members from Rolls Royce which is the biggest employer in Derby.

2. How is the club promoted? What works best?,

We promote via Club Website, Facebook, Meetup and recently Eventbrite. We ask members to try and tell people about the Guest Night.

3. How are guest welcomed?,

We have a special Agenda for Guest Nights which is a mini meeting format and we explain roles etc. We also have a Questions and Answers panel.

4. How are guests converted to members / how do they join (online, on paper)?,

Most guests join online. A few pay on the night.

5. Do you make use of the TI membership drives (Smedley Award, Talk Up Toastmasters, Beat the Clock) or the Individual Membership Sponsor program?

We don’t use TI membership drives. Turnover of members is high and it’s a struggle to get members to do roles and officer roles.

6. Are there limits to the number of times a member can visit as a guest?,

No limits I am aware of. 1 or 2 guests come a couple of times and then don’t join.

7. How does your club orient new members and get them involved?

We are not very good at orienteering new members as explained above. It depends on the Club Officers. VPE books the Ice Breaker speeches in. It’s hard to get a balance with new members between them volunteering for a role and pushing them to do one.

8. What does your club do to ensure longer term member retention?

Nothing, currently. We have nothing for retention. We are good at getting members but they seem to leave after a couple of speeches.

Rural town

Pat Sexton, the Vice President of Public Relations of Speak Easy Mallow (c. 12,000 population) has been rather too busy contesting at the District Conference of late. However, I’ve been really impressed with the Public Relations at that club. Every month, without fail, Pat has obtained coverage in two to three local newspapers gaining very many column-inches of coverage. In addition to this the club vigorously promotes and judges a schools speaking contest and takes part in the town literary festival. This community PR is backed up with an effective blog site and Facebook.

Literary Speaking Literary Speaking John B Keane’s The Letter is hilariously delivered by Sean Corcoran.

Pat’s mission has been to keep the club in the public eye at the heart of the community.

Naas Toastmasters

Stephen Mulvaney, Vice President of Public Relations

[What is very noticeable in contrast to the bigger city examples is the well-defined poster drop off run requiring boots on the ground to deliver them as well as local radio and press]

Social Media Tools

  • Website:
  • Facebook page
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • WhatsApp group (two groups; existing members and guests who have attended a meeting)
  • Hootsuite (can use to post to Facebook, LinkedIn & twitter at the same time)
  • Meetup (currently not used by Naas Toastmasters as there is ~€8 monthly charge to setup a group)
  • Agree PR budget with committee approval. Example expenditure includes flier printing costs and promoting Facebook posts

Start of year:

  • Prepare for first open night in September
  • Setup recurring Facebook event on Facebook and setup all meeting dates for coming year to end of your term on 30 June.
  • Setup dates in the calendar on the website calendar
  • Ensure visitors to website – see the next meeting date on website on the landing page. So, they know the club is active. I usually update the webpage once a month, for the next 2 meeting dates.
  • Prepare an open night flier and share it on social media. Print 20 copies and put up around Naas town (1 hour); Garda station, Supervalu, Kildare Co.Co. (side door often open), Tesco Extra, Library, Swans, GAA club, Tea Convent Rooms, Town House Hotel, your workplace.

Repeat for open night in January

Regularly post social media to keep potential guests and members up to date

Try make posts either educational or have a news factor (who won the gavel etc.). Best posts have pictures of members at the meeting, Christmas party etc. Gets more clicks.

Use Facebook and pay to promote posts (usually €2 is enough at a time). Do this ahead of big events only (open night (Sep & Jan), ahead of contest, unusual meetings etc.)

Do radio interview on Kildare FM

Write article in local newspapers (Kildare Now, Leinster Leader, Kildare Post)

Attend committee meetings and give update on PR activity

Respond to queries from potential guests received via social media. Link in with VPM where appropriate.

Ensure website ALWAYS shows next 2 meeting dates very clearly on first page (time & date). Webpage is designed to get potential guests to contact VP Membership & Eileen takes over from there in converting them to members. Front page of website is basic but is up to date and covers

  • Next meeting dates (time & place)
  • Reasons to attend
  • Benefits
  • Membership Costs
  • How to Join

Campus Club

There are two articles here. The first is a reprint that describes the Fresher fair and open night (District 71 Newsletter December 2016 p6-7) and the second is the emerging PR strategy that underpins it all

Cranfield Speakers Club: Fresher’s and demo night success!

By Vicky Lester, Mar Batista, Sara Fane, and Daniel Sandars

October for Cranfield Speakers club is without doubt the busiest month for both our PR activities and guest attendance at meetings.

It may be unique to our club but being located on the campus of Cranfield University gives us a peak interest period that starts in October when new students arrive on campus to start their studies.

The University is a research-intensive postgraduate university located just outside of Milton Keynes in Bedfordshire. The majority of the students are studying yearlong Master’s degrees, but there is a significant population of doctoral students studying for around three years.

The Cranfield Speakers club (District 71, Area H 44) membership base is drawn from community members, staff, and students. It benefits from being highly multinational and multicultural, but regularly expands to nearly 30-40 members or shrinks to 10-14 core members with the comings and goings of students.

There are fresher’s fair events that take place early October where students can find out about what’s going on in the area and sign up for things they are interested in. It is key for Cranfield Speakers club to be seen at these events. The earlier students can find out about us and how Toastmasters can help them with both their communication and leadership skills, the better, they can make sure it’s in their schedule from the start!

A focus we must peak their interest is highlighting how the club can help them prepare for presentations, practising to deliver their message to their tutors and peers confidently.

Along with promoting our club at the fairs, we advertise that we are having an open demo meeting in October that they can come along to and find out more about the club and exactly what happens at a meeting.

On average we receive 200 names/e-mail addresses signing up as being interested, this helps us also e-mail them all prior to our demo meeting as a reminder of when it’s taking place and where.

Our committee members work brilliantly at the fresher’s fairs talking to students, and then also networking at the club meetings ensuring we’re speaking to as many students as possible and answering their questions.

We are also very lucky to have faculty on campus that mention our club when doing their own lectures on communication skills as they know the benefits it can bring to their students.

Both last year and this year we had approximately 100 students at our open demo meeting, and of course we welcome guests to come to any meeting, therefore some of the following meetings usually have high numbers too where some were unable to make the main demo evening. For these meetings we ensure we book a lecture room that can cater for more people!

At the open demo night, we focus on a shorter program with an example of an experienced speaker and a beginner as well as fun accessible table topics, well explained roles, and a strong well led evaluation team. We also allow ourselves more time for networking with our guests all helped along with an exciting range cakes and refreshments.

The relatively few core members of the club are helped by half a dozen or more visiting Toastmasters from Area G44 along with a few former members. On behalf of the Cranfield Speakers club I would like to thank those wonderful Travelling Toasties.

When the students have completed their studies, they leave to go back home and hopefully continue their Toastmasters journey at another club near to them. We hope we are helping raise the profile of Toastmasters internationally with the diverse member base we have each year!

A key benefit we find with having a high turnover of members is that you regularly have a different audience to talk to, never getting too ‘comfortable’ with the same faces looking at you.

One of our aims as a committee is to try and increase our percentage of members to be from local businesses, this will help reduce the risk of having too few members to keep the club running particularly during the Summer when students leave…and then having more of us to network at the demo meeting, it’s an absolutely fantastic night, but we all need plenty of rest after it!!

If you’re in the area we’d love to welcome any passing by Toastmaster to visit us!

We meet every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month, 6pm, L&D room, building 33, Cranfield University campus, Beds.




At Cranfield Speakers PR is everybody’s responsibility

By Anita Devi, VP of PR #TeamCranfield and is developing a growing team of individuals to support succession planning and club growth.

Whilst the Toastmasters calendar runs from July to June for Cranfield Speakers (#TeamCranfield hereafter), situated on a university campus, they need to think about the academic year cycle. In this article Anita Devi, walks us through their recruitment drive and on-going Public Relations (PR) activities.

#TeamCranfield consists of members who are in employment and locally established, as well as visiting students at the university. We strongly believe PR is a team effort and involves four key stages:

  1. Event Information

We all lead busy lives, so informing members and prospective members about upcoming events is a vital part of the on-going cycle of PR. It builds momentum and excitement. We communicate this through five different social media channels using a combination of designed graphics, suitable text and our #TeamCranfield hashtag. The platforms are used interdependently too. For example, a link to Meetup is placed on other platforms. We avoid using a branded template, as each message we want to be specific to the event to demonstrate creativity and diversity. Toastmasters set the themes and are given creative licence to suggest any suitable graphics. On some occasions, the PR Team take on board the theme, but create their own graphic, suitable for the audience. Our messages are designed to invoke curiosity, awe and wonder. Many involve a ‘call to action’ to get involved or respond to a question. The consistent branding element of our campaigns is our use of colours and #TeamCranfield.

For our Open Demo night each year (held in October), we also produce an A5 flyer that is distributed at Freshers’ Fairs and other university events. Club members volunteer to stand at stalls and talk to new students. We host a main open night, which usually attracts over 100 students … food being the main attraction! The format of the meeting models a usual club meeting with an X-Factor edge. The club meeting following open night is also demo night, so students still thinking about joining can come again.

  1. The invite

All #TeamCranfield members know they have a responsibility to invite people to the club, throughout the year. So, in addition to sharing our social media posts, many share their stories on their timelines. This has led to people within their network asking questions and sometimes joining #TeamCranfield as well as clubs in other parts of the country.

  1. The experience

To start the recent storyboard for our #WowFactor Film, we asked members and guests how they would describe #TeamCranfield These are the words that came forward:

  • Welcoming
  • Friendly
  • Multicultural / Diverse
  • Intergenerational
  • Encouraging
  • Supportive
  • Motivational
  • Enthusiastic
  • Safe to share vulnerability
  • Hospitality

All these words describe the culture of our club, that is a collaborative responsibility to embed and sustain. Giving feedback is a regular part of the club and often used for social media messages. Guests at our everyday meetings, all receive a welcome ribbon and are invited to briefly share how they found the meeting.

  1. Follow-up

Follow-up, after a meeting is critical. At #TeamCranfield this operates on three levels:

  1. From a PR perspective, we share photos, videos and animations on our social media outlets, usually within 24 hours. This is particularly useful for keeping connected with #TeamCranfield Alumni. Members are tagged in and so they too share and celebrate club successes regularly.
  2. Our Vice President of Membership follows-up with guests, encouraging them to either join or come again.
  3. Finally, new members are allocated Mentors, who support them through their first three speeches.

At #TeamCranfield, we are very proud of our members, club ethos and team approach. So, what’s next? We are currently exploring the use of video recording of speeches. We’ve invested in some equipment and are now experimenting in how we can use this effectively. Watch this space for updates.

Richard Branson is often quoted as saying, “A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.” For #TeamCranfield this is SO true because we believe PR is everybody’s responsibility.

Cranfield Speakers Club have recently produced a #WowFactor Video

Guest Division B (South West Ireland)

By Barry Lyons, Division B Director

Hello fellow toastmasters. You are very welcome to Division B guest contribution to this Month’s D71 magazine. I had the great honour of attending the D71 Conference in Norwich which took place recently. What a wonderful occasion it was and congratulations to all involved in running a super conference. Well done to the local Norwich club and the district leadership team in producing a wonderful event. Our division B contestants Jane Sheehan and Pat Sexton did their families, clubs, areas and division proud. They surely gave their personal best performances on stage and I am very proud of them as our Division B representatives. I had the privilege of interviewing the candidates during the candidate showcase and I also had the honour of being contest chair for the Humorous speech final. The power of the toastmasters’ programme helped me to perform this role and I am living proof that anything is possible once you put your mind to it.

Division B straddles most of the province of Munster in the South West of Ireland comprising counties Kerry, Cork (North of the river Blackwater), Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary. Noted for its tradition in Irish folk music, and with many ancient castles and monasteries in the province, Munster is a tourist’s paradise destination. Of course, rugby has also put the province on the map and hopefully this will continue.

The Division is divided into 4 areas:

  • Area 13 – Shannon, Raheen, Kilrush and Ennis. Area Director Donnacha Smyth.
  • Area 17 – Fermoy, Failte, Speak Easy. Area Director Helsa Giles.
  • Area 24 – Limerick, Nenagh, Thomond, Killaloe, Roscrea. Area Director Rose Walsh.
  • Area 36 – Tralee, Killarney, West Limerick, Listowel, Dell, Fexco. Area Director Derry Butler.

Listowel has just chartered this year and I spent a wonderful evening in their company last Friday night the 3rd of May as they celebrated this great achievement. Home of the late great playwriter JB Keane Listowel should thrive as a Toastmasters club due to the natural talent that I witnessed on Friday. More on this below from the clubs VPPR Tom Dillon.

All clubs are trying their best to keep toastmasters alive in their area and it can be difficult at times to keep the momentum going especially if you lose some members. There is a lot of transition nowadays in the work scene and this can be felt when it comes to membership retention. The decline in rural population is also posing difficulties as is the new Pathways programme. Clubs might struggle to reach goal targets for the next year or so while the transition takes place. Tom O Keeffe President of the Limerick club has put a lot of work into promoting Pathways. We also held area information nights between clubs with members bringing along their laptops and going through the process live. This was very helpful to members.

However, there are ways to enhance recruitment of members and word of mouth is probably one of the best ways to do so. Another great way to spread the word is the youth leadership programme. See below the article from the Nenagh club in relation to this. Nenagh is one of the top clubs in the Division now and I’m sure they are getting a spin off from all their hard work.

At this stage of the season I would ask all clubs to take stock of where their club is at right now and consider the following: Is your club in good standing, are you fulfilling the toastmaster promise and mission, are you doing everything possible to promote the benefits of toastmasters and opening your club’s doors to the possibility of recruiting new members. Are you looking to put a strong executive in place and shake things up a little so that each member gets a chance to grow and develop?

Is there an element of – all is fine, we have adequate members, we have a cosy set up, we don’t want to change the present situation.

New members bring energy to a club and it is important that we all do our best to reach out to the huge potential of possible members that reside in and around our clubs.

Two very successful Divisional Contests were held over the year and a very high standard was witnessed by all who attended. Toastmasters is playing a huge part in developing our members in their public speaking, presenting, creativity and excellent leadership skills development. It was great to have Brenda Lannon and Daniel Sandars along as District representatives at our contest Finals.

Listowel Toastmasters raise a toast to their new club

By Tom Dillon, VPPR

Listowel Toastmasters held a charter dinner on Friday May 3rd to celebrate its establishment as a new Toastmasters club.

The charter dinner was attended by over 30 people including members of Listowel Toastmasters and friends from other clubs in Killarney, Tralee, West Limerick and Shannon.

Renowned for writers and poets such as John B. Keane and Brendan Kennelly, the creativity which has earned Listowel its distinction as the literary capital of Ireland helped make the night one to remember.

Members gave poetry readings specially composed for the occasion while there were also songs, jokes, funny poems and magic tricks.

President of Listowel Toastmasters John O’Connor paid tribute to the committee, club members and members of the neighbouring clubs who helped bring about the foundation of the new club which was officially chartered in March 2019.

Encouraging words for the future were given by Patricia O’Reilly, District 71 Director, who addressed the gathering along with Larry Lyons, Division B Director; Derry Butler, Area 36 Director and Gerard Mannix, Club Growth Director.

Listowel Toastmasters meets on the second and fourth Thursday of each month with a number of open nights held each year in the iconic John B. Keane’s bar.

Youth Leadership Program

by John Spillane Nenagh Toastmasters Club

Nenagh toastmasters have been delivering a youth leadership program for almost 30 years. The program was started by members who recognised the benefits of the Toastmasters communication and leadership program for transition year (TY) students.

This year a team of 7 toastmasters delivered the course to 130 students across 6 classes in two schools. Two toastmasters typically take one double class per week in place of the students regular English class. The first class is an introduction to the various toastmaster roles, combined with a talk on the benefits of being able to communicate effectively. All subsequent classes are conducted by the students as per a normal Toastmasters meeting with the Toastmasters limiting their input to short speech evaluations and guidance. We give a certificate at the end to each student. The success of the course is obvious by the time its finished as each student will have delivered two or more short 2-3-minute speeches and answered several topics. Others will have had leadership roles such as Toastmaster or Topics-master.

Our experience over the years means that we have streamlined the course to be easy to deliver while making it a rewarding experience for both the toastmaster and the students.

The A Team that deliver the Youth Programme in Nenagh

Heading to Norwich

Representing Division B at the Norwich Conference are Jane Sheehan, Killarney Toastmasters in The International Speech Contest and Pat Sexton, Speakeasy Toastmasters in the Table Topics and Evaluation Contests. Pictured with Sean Corcoran, President Speakeasy Toastmasters.

Going’s on at Speak Easy Mallow

Literary Speaking

Speakeasy Toastmasters annual Theme Night was an absolute treat for bookworms and members alike. Club members presented wonderful interpretative readings from famous Irish writers and former Club members who had stories published.

From Left – Liam Flynn, MC, Bobby Buckley, Sean Corcoran, Noel O’Connor, Michael Cronin, Pat Sexton, event curator. Seated – Anne Buckley, Loretto Barry, Bridie O’Connell and Deirdre Linehan.


I wish to thank all who helped me throughout the year and to the Area Directors for their input in keeping the wheel turning. To the clubs for their continuous leadership and commitment to the toastmaster mission. To my assistant Tom O Keeffe for his support throughout the year and to the District team for all their time and effort.


History #13 The 1990’s

History #13 The 1990’s

By Ted Corcoran DTM, Past International President

In the three years following the setting up of the district in 1972, all the elected district officers came from England. This was followed by four years of Irish leaders, followed by four more of English. It should be noted that there were no divisions at this time and area governors were appointed. There were just two areas each in Ireland and England. From 1983/84 onwards, the senior team alternated annually, between Ireland and England. This management structure, although understandable from a cost, communication and travel point of view, meant a complete absence of senior leaders for that year in the alternate country. It also meant that the new DG every year had not been involved at a senior level the previous year. Add in the various challenges listed earlier and any success was a miracle. This was never likely to lead to exponential growth and success at international level. However, this problem was well recognised by district leaders and, in 1987/88, DG Harry Knox (DLS Waterford) proposed, and the District Council approved, a split District Executive to take effect from July 1st, 1991.

Then, decisions by TI presented an opportunity to introduce such an arrangement. The Board decided that all districts, from July 1991, would include a Public Relations Officer on their District Executive teams and, in the case of D71, approved a split executive between Ireland and England. At the 1990 Autumn District Council meeting the following three proposals were passed, almost unanimously.

  1. “That with effect from the District administrative year 1991/92, the position of Public Relations Officer be subject to election, by the District 71 District Council and, subject to satisfactory performance, be in line for progression through higher Executive offices.”
  2. “That the structure of the split District Executive be divided equally between England and Ireland in such a way as the District Governor and Lieutenant Governor Marketing be elected from the alternate country to the Educational/Training Lieutenant governor and Public Relations Officer, and that this will take effect from the District year 1991/92 as previously approved by the District 71 District Council in Spring 1987/88.”
  3. Where, for any reason, an elected District Officer is unable to continue his/her term of office, his/her replacement shall be a qualified member, selected from the same country as the officer retiring, and be subject to the ratification of the District 71 District Council.”

Member Spotlight: Tanya Barad

Member Spotlight

Name: Tanya Barad DTM

Date Joined Toastmasters: Mar 2013

Home Club – Heart of England (also a member of Walsall Speakers and New Street Speakers)

Journey Highlights:

  • Been Secretary, VPPR, VPE, President and Area Director (Area 39 inc new 42, Division E)
  • Organised multiple training days including the one for Elizabeth Nostedt, Regional Advisor, in Jan 2019
  • Pathways Ambassador
  • Easyspeak Guru for D71
  • Realignment Committee Chair in 2017-2018
  • Got my DTM July 2018
  • Finished 1st path in Pathway (Presentation Mastery)
  • Received District 71 Toastmaster of the Year for 2017-2018
  • Founding member of Walsall Speaker and New Street Speakers
  • Club Sponsor for Godiva Speakers and Walsall Speakers, Club Mentor for Deutsche Bank Birmingham and New Street Speakers
  • Got to Division E contest level in Evaluation 2019

Why did I join Toastmasters?

I had an unusual start to Toastmasters. I was 21, in my first post-education job and working mostly on conference calls with people in other countries. My manager received a lot of complaints that certain cultures struggled to understand me – I literally got introduced as “the girl you can’t understand”! So, my manager strongly encouraged me to go to Toastmasters and that is how I found my home club, Heart of England Speakers.

Over the months I focused on my communication skills and colleagues started to understand me better. I gained my confidence, invited my mom along as a hobby for her and we both got drawn into the Toastmasters world. As I progressed with my career as a Project Manager, I found myself requiring leadership skills, so I started to focus on these and joined the committee as VPPR and then VPE. I absolutely fell in love with the VPE role! I progressed on to President and Area Director but always find myself coming back to VPE.

How has Toastmasters helped you?

The obvious answers I would say are being a better speaker and leader. But Elizabeth Nostedt explains that we should describe the benefits of Toastmasters with your story of how it has helped you. I started Toastmasters as an immature, young adult who didn’t really know much about the real world. Whilst I have grown up as a person in general, Toastmasters has been the real cause of how I became what I like to think of as a fully functioning adult. I can speak better, so I can say what I really want to say whether at work, with large crowds or with radio interview opportunities. I have a real understanding of leadership which has enabled me to have a career, allowed me to practise skills like organising events and take on managerial roles which I will soon need to use at work! I have confidence, meaning I now want to do more with my life, make my mark on the world and make an impact. But mostly, Toastmasters has given me opportunity. There are very few places in life where you can try something out of your comfort zone AND receive support whilst you do it. If it weren’t for Toastmasters, I would never have organised my first club officer training, which has led me to organising a training day which opened into charity events. I would never have spoken in public, which has led to presentations at work, being a guest speaker at events and then radio interviews. Without Toastmasters, I would probably still be a shy, quiet girl who was nervous making a phone call at work, not organising international events, speaking to hundreds of people and doing what I love in life.

What are you most proud of about your club?

I am a member of multiple clubs and it is the same answer for all 3: the members. There is something amazing about watching a member do something for the first time or do finally something they said they would never be able to do. When you see a member suddenly overcome a hurdle and give a good speech or especially Table Topic, that’s when I smile and am proud of my clubs for being able to help the member achieve this.

Bonus questions:

Highlight of the week: Receive Toastmaster of the Year at the Norwich Conference

Best advice you’ve ever been given: Think of all the great people in the world. They started where we are now. If they can do it, why can’t we?

Hobby: Fundraising and raising awareness of Endometriosis UK

#Norwich19 Contest and Election

#Norwich19 Conference Contests

Huge congratulations to our winners and all those who participated and helped! We did it! We held 12 contests over three days.

Eight of those contests were the semi-finals held on the Friday with some contestants being in two or more contests. One of those, Pat Sexton, described Friday as the most exciting and inspiring day he had ever witnessed at a conference. The semi finals were organised into paired contests each placing three into the finals. The 12 Division winners were allocated randomly across the paired contests. The finals of the Table Topics and International Speech Contests were held on the Saturday whilst the finals of the Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contests were held on the Sunday.

For 2019-20 District 71 will continue to run all four of these contests to a District final. On a Saturday at the District Council business meeting various alternatives of cutting back to three or two District contests, to ease financial and practical burdens, were discussed in a passionate debate, but no change won 117 out of 153 ballots cast with one spoilt ballot.

International Speech Contest

  1. Phillip Khan Panni
  2. Gerry Dunn
  3. Thomas Micklewhite

Table Topics Contest

  1. Vinette Hoffman-Jackson
  2. Pat Sexton
  3. Jon Carvel

Evaluation Contest

  • Simon Day
  • Vinette Hoffman-Jackson
  • Eileen Fleming

Humorous Speech Contest

  • Dermot Carey
  • Kate Trafford
  • William Feek

Images by James Warnes Photography

#Norwich19 Conference District Officer Elections

Images by James Warnes Photography

District Leadership Team 2019-2020

Left to Right:

  • Finance Manager Martin Foran (reappointed),
  • Administration Manager Jane Craggs (appointed),
  • District Director John Cox (elected),
  • Public Relations Manager Brenda Lannon (elected),
  • Club Growth Director Daniel Sandars (elected),
  • Program Quality Director Gerard Mannix (elected),
  • and stepping down Immediate Past District Director Patricia O’Reilly

Division Directors

Division A: Phillip O’Brien (elected)

Division B: Tom O’Keefe (elected)

Division C: Eileen O’Neill (elected)

Division D: Anthony Phelan (acclaimed)

Division E: Danny Banks (elected)

Division F: Rob Partridge (elected)

Division G: Natalie King (subsequently appointed)

Division H: John Kendall (elected)

Division J: (To be appointed)

Division M: Adrian Harney (elected)

Division N: Tina Norbury (elected)

Division S: Moira Beaton (elected)