Newry Speakers Club had our annual Open Night last Night and we had a great showing with five guests turning up to find out more about the club. Seamus as Sergeant-at Arms ensured that the room was nice laid out for Toastmaster Members and Guests. After knocking our Club Gavel to get order, he opened the meeting with the customary safety, toilet and mobile phone address, 'in the event of an emergency...if you need to use the toilet you can find them here....please keep mobiles switched off or on silent...'
What is Toastmasters and Who are Newry Speakers?
Chris and Tony as President and Toastmaster respectively for the night explained to our guests a little information on Toastmasters International , its purpose and how it is connected with Newry Speakers Club. They mentioned the benefits of improved Communication and Leadership Skills, and explained that people work at their own pace via the use of manuals. They were told how by taking on some of the smaller roles at first and then working their way up to speech evaluations and even larger roles, that they would gradually build up their confidence speaking in public. They also explained the benefits of speaking in an environment of non-professionals without the stuffiness, but with the friendships and camaraderie that comes through knowing that everyone is always learning. They also explained some of the more social elements of the club including outings.
Tony devised an introductory round robin , with everyone in the audience saying a single word to make a story. Everyone had great fun trying this out and as Tony explained after we had completed the exercise two times,
"Tonight everyone has said at least one word."
Everyone can say they began the journey which is often the hardest part, and that was a start towards their journey of improving their confidence and public speaking abilities.
Edel Nolan was our timekeeper for tonight and she did a great job in explaining her role of timing tonight's' speeches, evaluations and table topics. She reiterated the importance of timing when it comes to preparing speeches and for keeping your audiences' attention. Edel made a point to advise any guests if they wished to speak not to worry about the time too much as they are only starting and the main objective for them is to try and use any opportunity to speak.
Our Poet Master this evening was Marian Delduca. Marian gave us a fantastic poem by Lord Byron which was very well delivered, with great composure and elocution.
She Walks in Beauty
BY LORD BYRON (GEORGE GORDON)
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
"Town with a Mini Climate" - Mary Sands
Mary delivered a fantastically informative speech about the town of Castlederg in Co. Tyrone and its Mini Weather patterns. She explained to us how she was fascinated by the weather and in particular extremes of weather. Mary loves finding and collecting headings about strange weather patterns and one place she has a particularly fond memory of was Castlederg or Derg as it is often known to by the locals of the area. She built us a lovely picture of the local scenery explaining how Derg lies close to Co. Donegal and lies ensconced within some drumlins. She told us about some of local history of the ruined castle, and the town's ancient tombs, as well as a little about the local festivals including the orchard festival which gets a lot of visitors from Co. Armagh. Mary explained through the use of Newspaper cuttings and images how Derg, had a history of some of the weirdest weather in the country, with both the highest and lowest of temperature. We saw pictures of snow fall and heatwaves. She mentioned how the town's mini weather patterns were a result of its location between some drumlins. This made it like a flask, when it became warm the drumlins kept the heat in with little leaving and the same with the cold.
"What's What?" - Oliver Quinn
Oliver Quinn delivered a really humorous speech about a naive couple and the special gift they've got each other on their wedding day, their 'What What'. Oliver did a great job of using vocal variety, body language and gestures to show the puzzlement and bewilderment of the couple's response to their friends friendly jibes about getting their what's what on their wedding night from their partner. His acting out of their wedding Night questioning and search for their What's What in the room was fantastically funny and Oliver did a fantastic job finishing with a very witty punchline.
Andrea was our Topicsmaster for tonight and she did a great job in explaining the purpose of Topicsmaster and the importance of impromptu speaking. she posed some fantastic questions to the audience.
After the Topics we had a short break, with some tea and biscuits. As club members we got to speak to our guests and find out a little more about themselves, their interests and their reasons for coming along on the night.
Robert Tiffney gave a short evaluation on Mary's speech saying that her speech Topic was interesting as always, but that as he had never been to Castlederg he found it difficult to visualise. He offered Mary some advice on potentially using the projector instead of the Newspapers as a Means of explaining her points as at times it interrupted the flow of her speech and put up more of a barrier to the audience. He said that overall though he enjoyed her speech, he learned something new and was really looking forward to her next speech.
Chris McCabe evaluated Oliver's speech. He said that Oliver did a great job with his use of vocal variety and gestures in painting an image of the scene. He made comment that Oliver did a great job with his punch line and ensured that despite the topic it didn't come off as crass. He said that as this was Oliver's second time giving this speech to Newry Speakers Club, he would have liked Oliver to use more Visual aids, although he did say that Oliver used the chair in his presentation to great effect.
Q's & A's
Our guests were given a chance to ask us any questions they felt had not already previously been answered. Tony and Chris did a great job of answering all the questions put to them. Tony made preparations for organising the next meeting, getting roles filled and even getting some of our guests to take on some roles.