District 71 - UK & Ireland

Welcome to the official District 71 website. District 71 is a strong, proud district constituted in 1972. Currently, our District is made up of over 200 clubs and 4,500 members. It spans across Ireland, Scotland, Northern Wales, Northern England, Midlands, and East of England. Find out where our clubs are, about the big events that go on throughout the year, who makes up your district leadership team and the diary of events for the year.

  • Phillip Khan-Panni winner of D71 International Speech Contest 2018-19

    Phillip Khan-Panni winner of D71 International Speech Contest 2018-19

  • 2018-19 Winners - Dermot Carey Humorous Speech, Simon Day Evaluation, Vinette Hoffman-Jackson Topics with District Director Patricia O'Reilly

    2018-19 Winners - Dermot Carey Humorous Speech, Simon Day Evaluation, Vinette Hoffman-Jackson Topics with District Director Patricia O'Reilly

Latest News

Latest News

Find out the latest happenings in District 71
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Find out about all the important upcoming events
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Find a club

Find a club

Find a local club? Why not visit a club while on holidays?
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District Team

District Team

What does the D71 District Leadership team look like?
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Rebecca Pepper #ChantalCookePR

Rebecca Pepper #ChantalCookePR

How to use storytelling to ensure your message is remembered for a lifetime.

When I was six years old, I sat still, crossed-legged, looking up, wide-eyed, following every movement my granddad made, hooked to every change of intonation as he regaled my younger brother and I with a story about the most magnificent adventure. …

Your message is important. But without your audience’s buy-in, it’s going nowhere. Focus on how to create a story that will live in the hearts and minds of your audience, and your story – your message – will last a lifetime.

Rebecca Pepper #ChantalCookePR
Rebecca Pepper, Didsbury Speakers

Rebecca Pepper has presented to and trained tens of thousands of all ages across the UK and Europe. A member of Toastmasters International, she is passionate about the use of story to communicate powerful messages.

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.

26th November 2019

For women who mean business, Network She provides to a wide range of resources for business owners from experts in this country and beyond.

Readership: 18k

13th November 2019

Since being published on the Entrepreneur and Investor website Rebecca’s article has also be published in their glossy print magazine and its digital edition.  They are both distributed to their High Net Worth, Ultra HNW, investor and entrepreneur audience and the print editions are also made  available at selected City corporates, airline lounges, members’ clubs etc.

The combined readership for the magazines is 240+k

Entrepreneur & Investor Issue 14:

How Entrepreneurs can use Storytelling to Make a Message Stick

Pages 32–33

9th October 2019

Rebecca’s storytelling article has been published in: Business Brief – For the Channel Islands Business Community, pages 68 & 69


Readership: 15k

1st October 2019

Readership: 10k

30th September 2019

Website aimed at leaders in SMEs providing information and advice.

Readership: 84k pm

28th August 2019

LID publishes on all areas of business and lifestyle topics to provide valuable knowledge and key insights.

Readership: 26k

27th August 2019

Bytestart has a large audience of business owners and staff in small businesses and startups.

Readership: 100k pm

15th August 2019

Company Bug Readership: 70kpm .  The sites provides support and advice for small businesses.

14th August 2019

Title Media Readership: 5k

8th August 2019

Indezine Readership: 10k

2nd August 2019


Kent Business Radio Readership: 178K

So long, farewell…

So long farewell...

So long, farewell…

By Patricia O’Reilly, District Director 2018-19

In “The Sound of Music”, the Von Trapp family sang, “So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye. I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye”

It’s almost time for me to say “so long, farewell” as your District Director. I’ve served 5 years and 3 months on the District Leadership Team. It has been a huge commitment in terms of time and effort, but it has also been richly rewarding. A member of the DLT told me recently that “the amount of knowledge you have about how things are done is encyclopaedic and I for one would have had a much harder year if you hadn’t been there to advise me”. That DLT member was right. I do have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the district. But that knowledge has been learned from the District Directors I served under – Luanne Kent, Kevin Lee, Michael Collins and Red Skelton. For better or for worse they had a big influence on my development on the DLT.

Other members who influenced me are past District Governor, David Thompson, past Region Advisor Aletta Rochat, Past International Director Teresa Dukes and most especially Past International President, Ted Corcoran. I am grateful to each of them.

While it’s difficult to measure commitment and effort it’s important to recognise it. I would like to recognise the commitment and effort put in by the members of the DLT and the wider District Executive Committee in 2018-19.

  • John Cox, Program Quality Director was a great support to me and masterminded a very successful 8 semi-finals and 4 finals at the District Conference.
  • Gerard Mannix, Club Growth Director helped to add 14 new clubs to the District and was so committed to his role that he went in person to a corporate club and guided one of the members through the renewal process and followed up with Toastmasters International on a daily basis to get the club reinstated.
  • Daniel Sandars, PR Manager gave us informative, interesting and entertaining newsletters, ensured the district was visible on social media and resurrected the District YouTube channel.
  • Brenda Lannon, Administration Manager, whose attention to detail, willingness to learn and commitment to her role made my life easier and contributed to the smooth running of the District.
  • Martin Foran, Finance Manager was patient and dependable and understood the importance of accountability in his role. His strict adherence to accountability meant that he even had the temerity to challenge the District Director’s expense claims. I couldn’t have asked for a better finance manager.
  • Red Skelton, Immediate Past District Director was always available to take a call when I needed his advice.
  • The Division Directors all of whom are at least Distinguished – Phillip O’Brien, Larry Lyons, Barry Lane, Shaun Durkin, Andy Nichols, Pat Croke, Alex Knibbs, Steve Campion, Colm McGlade, John McFadzean and Avril Stringer.
  • The Area Directors – Mari Manning, Alun Rees, Charlie Corrigan, Darren Burnett, Donnacha Smyth, Helsa Giles, Rosario Walsh, Derry Butler, Michael Madigan, Marie McNamee, Chris McCabe, Laurence Kelly, Jim Keating, Loretto Kenny, Niamh Doherty, Ita Finnerty, Danny Banks, Jill Ming, Mish Barad, Ken MacKenzie, Thérèse Kinahan, Pat Coakley, Paul Gannon, Kevin McGill, Karen Bellerby, Ray Mitchell, Martin Harnor, Faye Ritchie, Wojciech Zujla, Martin Mansell, Binal Sawjani, Gareth Coghlan, Mairead Murphy, P.J. Claffey, Mary Burnham, Bobby Buckley, John Kelly, Lynn Gregory, Becky Pennington, Rumbi Chihoro, Shyamenda Purslow, Tina Norbury, Adrian Herbert, Helen Kelly, Phil Cooper and Neil Whitelaw.

Will I “heave a sigh” as I say goodbye? Of course, there will be a sigh of sadness that my year as District Director has ended. But it’s time to move on. I will step into the advisory role of Immediate Past District Director and will still be involved in various pursuits across the District. Outside of toastmasters I’m looking forward to spending more time with my 18 months old twin granddaughters and their 6 months old sister. I’m hoping my garden will be blooming beautifully by the end of the summer and in September I hope to go back to college.

Alfred Lord Tennyson said in Morte d’Arthur “the old order changeth, yielding place to new”. I wish the incoming team a very successful year and I look forward to working with them.

One of the current DLT members said to me recently “your year as District Director will play a big part in my activities in TM for years to come”. As I say, “so long, farewell”, I couldn’t ask for a better compliment.

Division and Area Director Training (DOT#1)

2019-2020 Division and Area Director Training (DOT#1)

Over the weekend 23-24th June District officers gathered for the first round of training. We currently have 210 active clubs arranged into 12 Division and 47 Areas. First to go were the Irish Divisions at the Carlton Airport Hotel on the Saturday followed by the Northern British Divisions at Manchester Hilton Airport Hotel on the Sunday

Divisions A, B, C, D, F, M, and J (blue in heart of Dublin)

Divisions E, G, H, N, and S from Northern Britain

Division and Area Director Training (DOT#1)A few take-outs

  • Remember the member -when members and guests flourish everything else follows
  • Excellence is build from the foundations up
  • Communicate clearly, concisely, and convivially
  • It is a hobby -keep it fun
  • Excellence is the next five minutes…the next conversation…the next email… or it is nothing at all (Tom Peters)

June ’19 New Clubs

June '19 New Clubs

Welcome New Clubs

Congratulations to all involved

JTI Ireland

JTI Ireland (14) is a corporate club that chartered in Dublin on the 4th of June 2019. It is the fifth new club to charter in the Dublin area and is aligned into Division M Area 26. The two sponsors who helped get it started are 2018-19 Area Directors Mary F. Burnham (Area 5) and Bobby Buckley (Area 18 )and the two Mentors to help establish the club over then next 6-12 months are 2018-19 District Director Patricia O’Reilly and Christopher Werner

Birmingham New Street Speakers

Birmingham New Street Speakers (13) is a community club that chartered on the 22nd of May 2019 and aligned into Division E Area 39. 2018-29 Division E Director Andy Nichols and 2018-29 Area 42 Director Mish Barad were the club Sponsors with Tanya Barad and 2019-20 Area 42 Director Sanatan Shelat coming in as the Mentors

June ’19 Public Relations

June '19 Public Relations

Public Relations

Daniel Sandars, DTM District 71 Public Relations Manager

This is my 11th and final District Newsletter. It has been an incredible year and a great pleasure. I wish my successor Brenda Lannon as much fun and good fortune as I enjoyed.

A cast of hundreds have helped deliver this year’s newsletter and I thank you all. I’d like to specifically thank my regular newsletter contributors Ted Corcoran, Elizabeth Jordan, Sudha Mani, John Kendall, Alex Knibbs, and the District Leadership Team. Special mention goes to all 12 of the Division Directors; Phillip, Larry, Barry, Shaun, Andy, Pat, Alex, Steve, Colm, Teresa, John and Avril and their teams who each brought in such informative news.

This year we aimed to deliver the District Newsletter in both email pdf hard copy and online as socially shareable articles. It is a bit more work, but it gives the articles written by hardworking members far more utility and durability.

One area where that durability may pay off well are the educational collections of best practice case studies that were introduced to ease the burdens of writing content on the Division teams. I really enjoyed collating these and we covered Pathways (twice), Club Coaching, Public Relations, Speechcraft, Youth Leadership Program, Community outreach, New Club Building, and Membership Building strategies.


Chantal Cooke is a PR agent retained by Districts 71 and 91 to promote an article a month to the national press. Last year the combined editorial value generated by this program was estimated at 0.55 million Euro (£0.5 million) with a combined readership of 40 million.

District 71 had a bumper year and put forward articles from nine members

September 2018 Sudha Mani
What to do when things go wrong with your presentation


October 2018 Richard Foster Fletcher
What to say to a staff member who’s done a terrible job


November 2018 Vinette Hoffman Jackson
Ten of the best, unusual and most effective props


December 2018 Karen O’Donnell 8 presentation pitfalls to avoid if you want to close more deals/make more sales


I’d like to thank all these splendid authors who have done such a magnificent job. Gordan Adam won the draw for a free #Norwich2019 conference ticket. Special grateful mention must go to Kit Cheng whose article How to build your confidence in public speaking proved a better fit in the District Newsletter.

February 2019 Gordan Adams How to create an attention-grabbing opening for your speech


May 2019 Jean Stewart How to add humour to your speech/presentation – even if you are not a comedian.


June 2019 Sam Warner Opening Doors – Top Ten Tips to Delegate Effectively.


Pending Rebecca Pepper How to use storytelling to ensure your message is remembered for a lifetime.

Pending Simon Day Empowering Others through Effective Feedback

#WowFactor Video

District 71 had one entry in this global initiative from Toastmasters International

Cranfield Speakers Club #WowFactor video. Based on the Moments of Truth club quality audit and part of International President Lark Dooley’s theme for 2019 at Toastmasters International #WeAreToastmasters


Cranfield’s Vice President of Public Relations Anita Devi accepts the District incentive Timing Lights

Timing Lights -Controls on the reverse

June ’19 Your Celebrations

June '19 Your celebrations

Your Celebrations

Charter Reception “Stand up. Speak up. Shut up” – the Mayor of Milton Keynes offers up to the Milton Keynes Confident Speakers group

By Lisa Robinson, VP Public Relations MK Confident Speakers

Milton Keynes – 25 June 2019 – On 21 June the Mayor of Milton Keynes, Councillor Sam Crooks, attended an event to mark the newest public speaking group in Milton Keynes achieving its official status. During the meeting the Mayor quoted J. W. Lowthe, former Speaker of the House of Commons, who once said “There are three golden rules for Parliamentary Speakers: Stand up. Speak up. Shut up.”

The Mayor joined Binal Sawjani, President of Milton Keynes Confident Speakers, plus other club members and guests, to take part in the special meeting. The meeting was then followed by a drinks reception to mark the club being awarded its official status on 31 January 2019.

As part of the meeting guests are invited to do impromptu speaking and Councillor Crooks offered guidance to the group about how important it is to make speeches succinct. Before quoting J. W. Lowthe Councillor Crooks said “Sometimes my speeches are written for me, but they will always have the length written on them and will always have ‘be short’ underlined to remind me of the importance of making sure the key message is heard. Being able to get your message understood is important and Milton Keynes Confident Speakers is a fantastic way of learning the craft of public speaking”.

Club President Binal Sawjani said “I am delighted that we have achieved Charter status so quickly for Milton Keynes Confident Speakers. In the modern world being able to speak confidently is increasingly important, and we have seen great demand to learn these skills since we established the club. At each meeting members evaluate speeches by other members and there’s also impromptu speaking. Whether you are looking to improve your presentations at work or preparing to speak at a wedding, these opportunities provide a fun and safe environment in which to hone your public speaking skills and increase confidence”.

Uniquely in Milton Keynes, Milton Keynes Confident Speakers meets on Friday lunchtime for 1 hour 15 minutes in central Milton Keynes, so it is easy to get to and to fit into a lunch period. Based in the NatWest Accelerator Building, the club is delighted that NatWest is supporting the project by allowing use of their presentation space for meetings.

Area 20 A Year to Remember

By Elizabeth Jordan, DTM

Members and guests from Toastmasters’ clubs in Area 20 (Division H; District 71) and beyond gathered at The Sun hotel (Hitchin, Hertfordshire) on Wednesday 26th June to celebrate the end of the Toastmaster year (2018-2019 with a Gala Dinner and Awards ceremony. The event was hosted by Toastmaster of the Evening, Bradley Peters and Table Topics entertainment was provided by Elizabeth Jordan, DTM.

Area Director, Wojtek Zulja, reflected on the many successes of 2018-2019 during his term of office: All three clubs – Herts Speakers, East Herts and North Herts – achieved Presidents Distinguished status; members reached out to the community in a variety of ways including leading Youth Leadership Programs, Open evenings and attendance at Community Fairs and membership is strong.

In a speech filled with humour, history and hope, After Dinner speaker, Bob Ferguson, DTM, founder of Hertfordshire Speakers and veteran Toastmaster praised Wojtek for reinvigorating the Area 20 Celebration Dinner and hoped it will become an annual event.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of awards to Area 20 club members in the following categories: Most Improved Club Member, Best Club Member and Best Club Officer.

The ‘Changing of The Guard’ ceremony saw the outgoing officers hand-over to the incoming officers, including Division H Director, Steve Campion, who handed over to John Kendall and Area 20 Director, Wojtek Zulja, who handed over to John Allsop, represented by Nina Morozova.

The Area 20 Gala Dinner was as fantastic way to end the Toastmaster year 2018-2019 and look forward to the New Year.

History #14 The 1990’s contd.

History #14 The 1990’s contd.

History #14 The 1990’s contd.

By Ted Corcoran DTM, Past International President

District Newsletter #14 (continued from edition #13) To recap 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.”

In the explanatory notes distributed with these motions, it is stated that about Proposal #1

“In consideration of the options, the 1990/91 District Executive believes a fourth elected District Executive position would facilitate the even distribution of elected officers between England and Ireland in executing its requirement to provide a “split” District Executive from 1st July 1991.”

About Proposal # 2, it is stated,

“In order to improve the quality of leadership, the 1987/88 District council approved a split District Executive to take effect from 1st July 1991. Until now a “gentleman’s agreement” has ensured that the elected District Officers were drawn from either England or Ireland on an annual basis. This ensured fairness for all members seeking the experience and leadership opportunities, in the face of weighted voting power whose bias is capable swinging drastically between the two countries (currently 66% Ireland 33% England). The 1990/91 District Executive are conscious of the need to retain this fairness of opportunities for all future members. The benefits of a “Split” Executive are evident: 1) Enhanced bonds between England and Ireland 2) Improved continuity between annual District Executives 3) Accelerated progress of members through leadership training at District level

Although the principle of the split executive membership was decided, the actual structure and distribution of officers was not. This is the question now addressed by this proposal to

  • Maintain fairness of opportunities
  • Improve continuity
  • Accelerate progress through the leadership ranks
  • Enhance the English/Irish bond.

The 1990/91 District Executive sought advice from WHQ, its Directors and from District 45 (NE USA/Canada) where such a system already exists. The system proposed has operated successfully for several years in D45 and in the Bahamas, the only other district with a similar situation.”

(This conference also passed the following motion, “That District 71 introduces Division Rounds of the International Speech Contest with effect from the District Administrative year 1990/91.”)

It was decided that in year 1 the District Governor (DG) and Lieutenant Governor Marketing (LGM) would be elected from country A and the Lieutenant Governor Education and Training (LGET) and Public Relations Officer (PRO) from country B. It was understood that these positions would alternate each year, so that in year 2, the DG and LGM would be from country B, while the LGET and PRO would come from country A. This arrangement has worked very satisfactorily since and has played an important part in our district’s success.

June ’91 Member Spotlight: Sudha Mani

June '19 Member Spotlight: Sudha Mani

Member Spotlight: Sudha Mani DTM

1. Why did you join Toastmasters?

In the year 2014-15, I was regularly going down south to practise my speech and had a speaker coach paying a few thousand. I wanted to improve my speech delivery for engagement and impact as I have been getting a few paid speaking gigs. Until this point, I didn’t know about Toastmasters International. One day a colleague of mine suggested why not find speaking clubs nearer home to practise my speeches instead of going down south.

Before this, another incident happened. I took part in a mobile app challenge to get investment in my app idea. On the day of presentation, technology failed me. Everyone’s presentations worked smoothly as a hot knife on butter. Mine would not work. We did everything we could. I did have some hand-outs, but it was not as effective as the presentation would have been. I was terrified, upset and lost without the presentation. I did complete my talk but lost my investment. That is when I realised that, I need to do something about speaking without notes or presentation if there arises a situation like this. So, I started working with a speaker coach to work on speech structure, delivery and storytelling. As many would agree with me, just learning something is useless unless you practise. That is why I joined Toastmasters as I wanted to practise my speeches in front of non-judging and helpful audience.

2. How has Toastmasters helped you?

However, after joining Toastmasters, I realised that I was a murderer as well. Because I was killing many with my presentation. I was killing my audience with terrible storytelling. I was robotic in my delivery.

So, I started joining a few other clubs to learn and practise the tools which I can use in my presentation and speeches. Today, I can speak to any kind of audience and make them understand what I am speaking about as I am a Technology Speaker.

  • Toastmasters have helped me deliver my speech with an impact.
  • Toastmasters have helped me in speaking with notes even if it is a 90-mins keynote. Toastmasters have enabled me to tell stories to get my message across effectively.
  • and many more…

3. What are you most proud of about your Toastmaster Club?

I have been a member of a few clubs during the year of 2017-18, I was a member of 9 brick & motor clubs and 3 online clubs. Now, I am a member of the Dunfermline Toastmasters Club. This club is not the closest to home, it is about 40 -50 mins drive. However, I love and am proud of this club because members are very active and every meeting, we have at least an average of 20 people in the meeting. You may think, “My club is the same”. Let me tell you a little bit about this club. This club chartered in 2018, they were President Distinguished in their first year. They don’t have dual members, 80% of the members are millennials, club officers have 95% attendance, they have a very active WhatsApp presence and many things which this club does is right. Above all, this club is not a CITY club to attract more walk-in visitors. This club is an urban club where VPPR must do some work to attract visitors. When you visit this club, you experience more laughter. You are invited.

Been pleasantly surprised by anything lately?

I was pleasantly surprised when I won, Area Director of the Year (2017-18) at the Norwich Conference. I was not that expecting at all. Thanks to all who made this possible. I am grateful and would like to mention following individuals who helped me in the process and in my opinion true embodiment of Toastmasters principles; Red Skelton, Daniel Sandars, Karen O’Donnell, Kevin Lee, Elizabeth Jordon, Julie Kertesz, Zaldy Co, Sam Forsberg, Lesley-Ann Hunter, Patricia Gray and many more.

How to build your confidence in public speaking

Confidence in Public Speaking

How to build your confidence in public speaking

By Kit Yee Cheng, Clyde Communicators, Toastmasters International

Glossophobia, the fear of public speaking, is often associated with the uncertainties that come from speaking in front of an audience; you’re uncertain if you’ll dry up, or forget your words, or trip as you walk on stage. You’re uncertain that the audience will listen and enjoy your speech, or that they’ll jeer at you and boo until you leave. You’re uncertain you can deliver what has been asked of you without breaking out in a sweat, vomiting or running out of the room. It is the uncertainties that create the fear – and therefore tackling the uncertainties is the key to breaking the fear and building your confidence as a public speaker.

Here are my thirteen tips to help you tackle the uncertainties and become a confident public speaker:

1.    Talk to strangers. Practice your communication skills with strangers. You will never see these people again so making mistakes does not decrease your confidence. When you can talk to strangers about anything, anytime and anywhere, you have mastered the art of impromptu speaking. Impromptu speaking is the key to all your communication.

2.    Laugh at yourself. Use self-deprecating humour. Seriousness attracts serious circumstances. Watch comedy movies or TV shows and laugh. This helps to lighten up your mood and brings more joy into your life. Happiness is one of the vital ingredients to building up your confidence.

3.    Gain experiences. The more experiences you gain, the tougher you become. This strengthens and builds up your confidence. Learn new skills, meet new people, do something new as often as possible. Set new goals, however small and work towards achieving them. Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone because nothing ever grows there.

4.    Exercise as often as you possible can. This is a timeless classic for tackling fears. Even a ten-minute walk can do wonders for your mood and lifts your energy. Exercise has been proven to release the feel-good chemical called endorphins throughout your body. This strengthens your self-esteem and reduces your anxiety.

5.    Practice yoga. The ancient art of yoga helps you to focus on the present moment which is essential to your mindfulness. You are anxious about public speaking because you are projecting yourself into the future. Yoga increases: body awareness, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, strain and inflammation, sharpens attention and concentration, plus yoga calms and centres the nervous system. Yoga improves your mental health and wellbeing.

6.    Practice meditation. Like yoga, meditation improves your mental health. It helps you to: better handle your negative emotions, helping you to feel relaxed and calm, find your inner peace and helps you to feel comfortable with silence and stillness.

7.    Practice gratitude. Write in your gratitude journal each day. This is a sound tool to use to shift your focus onto the happy and good things in your life. Gratitude helps you to release envy, jealousy, anger, resentment and mild depression. You will attract more of what you want into your life when you practice daily gratitude.

8.    Have fun each day. Connect with your inner child. Be childlike. Having fun is one of the key ingredients to your health and wellbeing. People who have fun compared to those who don’t, are more positive minded. Smile, laugh, crack a joke, be silly and have fun. Connecting with your inner child helps you to face your fears because your inner child is the fearless one. She will help you through the tough times when you are connected to her.

9.    Have one day, or half a day a week switched off from social media and the internet. No Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram or the news. Connect with nature. Go for a walk in the park. Listen to the birds chirp and sing. Talk to dog walkers. Talk to babies and toddlers. Face to face interactions with strangers in the park is a tremendous way to get the human connections that you are going to benefit from. You could just sit in the park and watch people.

10.    Travel to a new place as often as possible. Get on the bus or train and go explore around your area. You have feet for this specific reason. The uncertainties in life become much easier to handle when you travel to new places. Being in a new place helps you to: expand your horizons, set your soul on fire, heighten all your senses and become alive. Whilst you are at home, you are by default living in your auto pilot. Getting out of your auto pilot system gives you opportunities to see the world from a different perspective. The world has an abundance of beauty so go and see it for yourself.

11.    Embrace the uncertainties. Life is full of uncertainties because life is unpredictable. Let go of having to have control in every aspect of your life. Become more spontaneous. Welcome the uncertainties and see where they take you. Cut the cord to the need to have control of your life twenty-four, seven.

12.    Join your local Toastmasters club. Toastmasters has clubs all over the world. Our clubs offer a supportive, encouraging and fun environment for our members to develop and master their public speaking skills. Speak to the President or Vice President of Education of the club and ask them to assign you to a mentor. A mentor is there to offer their guidance, support and knowledge of what they have learned from their own journey. They have been to where you are traveling to.

13.    Read books on public speaking. Knowledge of public speaking is your friend. You will gain more confidence from the knowledge of the do’s and don’ts. I have found gems in reading books on public speaking and applying the knowledge to my speeches has increased my confidence in public speaking.

Guest Division A

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: https://www.thecork.ie/2018/12/03/cork-clubs-carrigaline-toastmasters-seeks-new-members/

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!!