Letter from the Editor
William Cotter, VP Eduction
2016 has been another great year for Dublin 18. There were plenty of notable achievements the most significant of which was the awarding of Distinguished Toastmaster to three of our members, Colm Roe, Brendan Haughton and Karen O’Donnell. Both Karen and Colm were awarded President’s Distinguished Awards for excelling in their roles as Divisio
n Director and Area Director respectively. Karen topped a very successful year by winning Toastmaster of the Year for District 71, a district that includes 4,500 members in clubs across Ireland and the UK.
These awards are a reflection of the depth of experience that exists in our club. They are also a reflection of the culture of our club and the dedication of its members. For me, the culture of a club such as Dublin 18 is hugely important. It is the glue that binds us together. The core values of our culture have got to be about respect and trust. In this trusting and safe environment, we feel valued & protected and learn the skills of public speaking.
The reason why I joined was that I wanted to learn how to be a better speaker. To achieve this, I needed an environment that I felt comfortable in; an environment that allowed me to grow in confidence and learn how to be a better communicator. Dublin 18 has proven to be an excellent club to build one’s confidence. By working my way through the ten stages of my Competent Communicator manual I learned how to be a better public speaker.
The achievements of our more experienced members act as a motivator to spur us all on as we look on in awe at what they have achieved and what they contribute to our club and Toastmasters.
INTERVIEW WITH OUR CLUB PRESIDENT: GARETH COGHLAN
By William Killeen
What does being Club President mean to you?
Obviously, it’s a tremendous honour!
I have a great sense of pride in the club, watching each of the members taking on new roles and developing with every
Gareth Coughlan, President D18 Toastmasters
speech they give, both in confidence and skills. Sitting at the top table in every meeting allows me a unique view of the interactions between an audience and our speakers. Great public speakers engage their audience, and it is fascinating to watch our members work towards this goal.
When I joined Dublin South, shortly before the club split that led to the inception of Dublin 18 TM, I didn’t really have any plans to join the committee. I became a member of toastmasters with the singular goal of developing my public speaking skills. However, an opportunity arose before the first meeting of Dublin 18 to step in as Sargent at Arms. Our first President, Colm Roe, called me up to see if I’d step in. At the time I’d only just completed my Icebreaker and a couple of meeting roles, but as Colm pointed out, it would give me ‘speaking rights’ at every meeting. While I felt a certain amount of pressure opening every meeting, it’s great for building up confidence and a comfort level in front of an audience. Our club is still relatively new, we’re only into our third year, and so much has been achieved in that short time.
How is the club different now compared to when you joined?
As I said before, I originally joined the pre-split Dublin South, which had almost 60 members, out of which about 40 were active. So it was difficult to get on the agenda. For example it was about 3 months before I could get in the diary to do my Icebreaker! After the split, our first 6 months were characterised by the ease of getting on the agenda for every meeting. Being the SAA, it often meant double and the odd time, triple jobbing! We saw very few visitors over those first few months. So it was largely the same 15 or 16 committed members at each meeting. It was a great time for powering through both the CC and CL manuals!
What is the secret to continued success in attracting new members?
I don’t think there is a secret to attracting members. You first need to let people know you are there, and explain what you do. Then when they come to a meeting, they need to be impressed by what they see. But also prospective new members need to feel comfortable enough so that they can fit in, and try to emulate what established members do.
From the start, we were very lucky to have our website created by past member, Juan Cullen, who understood how to get our site high up on the Google search results for Toastmasters. It was so successful, that I have received phone calls and emails over the past year from numerous people, all around the country and not just Dublin, inquiring about Toastmasters! That gets people in the door, but once they’re in, it’s the atmosphere generated by the members, the fun we have in learning, the encouragement we show to each other. That all helps make guests want to come back and ultimately, join our club.
Typically, what type of members are you attracting recently?
Fortunately, we have a good cross section of the wider society in Dublin represented in the membership. Much of that is down to luck. We don’t have quotas to influence who joins and who doesn’t. Karen and I had been worried about the gender balance, a year or so ago, where the club was quite male-oriented in the membership. However in the last year more women have joined us than men, so we’ve a better balance today. Is it really important? I think for an improving speaker, it’s vital! The more diverse your audience is in the club, the more varied the feedback you’ll receive. So if you have to make a speech outside the club, you’ll be better prepared to adapt to the type of audience you will face.
What development goals do you have for the club in 2016/2017?
The bar has been set high, in the first two years with regard to the Distinguished Club Program. In fact we have achieved President’s Distinguished both years. (Toastmasters International sets 10 targets and 9 need to be achieved to receive the President’s Distinguished award). So far we are over half way there. We need to get 4 members of the committee trained in January/February, 3 more members to get their CC award before the end of June, and 1 to get an Advanced Communicator award.
I’m confident that we will do it again this year. In order to preserve club culture, it’s important that we don’t sacrifice meeting quality, to rush members through their manuals.
What is the mix of advanced speakers compared to more recent joiners in the club?
At the meeting moment, we have about 1/3 of the members at or working on Advanced manuals, 1/3 of the members with 4-9 speeches done and 1/3 in the early stages of their CC manual.
Is this mix of speakers important in creating a club culture?
Yes, for new members it’s great to be surrounded by people who have “been there and done that”. They get a feel for what they should be aiming for, and to see what is possible. Having multiple advanced speakers in the club makes it easier to role model someone who reflects your own style.
However, it’s not a one-way street! Experienced members get to work on their leadership skills, set an example. By sharing their own experiences, they get to reflect on the basic building blocks of public speaking, which are always needed no matter how advanced a speaker is. Also it’s great to get fresh perspectives and talents coming into the club, we all get to learn from each other.
The mentoring program helps to strengthen this.
Any other goals for 2016/2017?
For me personally, I want to get stuck into the advanced speeches and at least get the ACB award.
However, for the club, I just want to keep it a fun and enjoyable place for us all to learn and succeed!
INTERVIEW WITH OUR PAST PRESIDENT: KAREN O’DONNELL
By William Cotter
Interview with Dublin 18’s Past President, Karen O’Donnell on her achievement on winning the award for Toastmaster of the Year 2016 – District 71.
Congratulations Karen on winning this award. How big a deal is this?
Karen O’Donnell, Immediate Past President
This award is presented each year to one Toastmaster who has excelled and gone above and beyond the ‘call of duty’. It is presented by the District Director. Its recognition of the extra effort that one puts in to help a colleague, a club, an area or district.
You have won this award out of over 4,500 fellow Toastmasters, what an outstanding accomplishment. What does it take to win this award?
It requires commitment and time and the willingness to fully immerse yourself in Toastmasters. It also requires putting in that extra effort to make your club, division, area or district stand out that bit more. For example, I brought over the Toastmasters International World Champion, Mohammed Qahtani, to Dublin for our Division M Conference. I also organised the Google Gathering earlier this year which tied in with the visit of Toastmasters International President, Mohammed Murad to Dublin. This event raised the profile of Toastmasters in the corporate world resulting in four new clubs setting up.
This a significant achievement on a personal and club level. What does it mean to you?
I love helping people. I work full time as a life coach and I’m constantly helping people overcome personal and life challenges. During the course of my work I meet with people who discuss their fears and challenges which frequently relate to emotional and relationship issues. I work with them to overcome and conquer their fears and anxiety.
Toastmasters is very similar in that most people have some form of anxiety or fear related to public speaking which tends to be more deeply rooted in emotional issues such as confidence, self-esteem and respect.
How do you balance work, life and Toastmasters?
Being self-employed I throw myself into everything I do and my involvement in Toastmasters is no different to my work and my family. Some weeks I can put in over 30 to 40 hours into Toastmasters because I have to do what is required at club and district level. This time is all voluntary and I love every minute of it. I’m fully immersed and absorbed by Toastmasters and get it all back in a huge amount of satisfaction in seeing fellow Toastmasters blossom into confidence public speakers.
Why do you do what you do?
I joined Toastmasters over 3 years ago because I wanted to overcome my own fears of speaking to groups and large audiences. I also wanted to broaden my circle of friends and learn more from other people in terms of their own challenges and how they overcame them.
I get a huge sense of satisfaction from my involvement with Toastmasters. I enjoy seeing myself grow with each speech I make and role I complete. Most importantly though, I love seeing the light bulb going on in people. People who slowly emerge from their own personal challenges and become more confident human beings, all as a result of Toastmasters and our colleagues.
Who inspires you most?
I love reading and listing to the leading life coaching authors. The two that stand out most for me are Zig Ziglar and Wayne Dyer.
What advice would you give to fellow Toastmasters?
Prepare, prepare, prepare until you come so comfortable standing up in front of an audience. Throw yourself into Toastmasters and speak as often as you can. Keep the gaps between speeches to a minimum. Get out of your comfort zone, always perform a role at each meeting and build positive experiences into your internal chatter. Build a positive collage of speaking experiences to help build your confidence. Enjoy the journey!!
Finally, one book that was most influential?
It has to be Zig Ziglar’s ‘See you at the Top’.
SPEECHES, LESSONS FROM THE FRONT LINE
By Declan Garvey
Nobody said it was going to be easy. Ten Speeches (yes that’s block capitals and feel free to underline as well!) can be some
So you’ve “broken through the Ice”, tagged on another speech and you’re struggling. What can you do? How can you get ideas? Can anyone help please? Well the answers are “plenty”, “endless sources” and “yes” respectively! Please read on:
- “Every Step Counts”: To state the obvious, keep attending meetings, they’re an invaluable source for ideas. And that’s a baby step. Take it a little further and volunteer for roles, they are all valuable in themselves, and confidence does build.
- ” A Glass Half Full” ….is of course a euphemism for being positive. So “stay in the zone”, keep going, visualise getting there (last bit may be OTT but you get the message!)
- “Are we alone?” Put simply: No! Our Club and indeed every Club is packed full of people who are willing to help, provide guidance, offer encouragement etc. Just ask!
- “Life after the CC Pin” you’ve made it! Well done but there is life after 10 CC, but take a bow for now.
LESSONS LEARNED: MY CC JOURNEY SO FAR
By Naomi Sloane
eginning your journey of Toastmaster’s journey can seem a daunting one.
I remember thinking after a few speeches down, that it would be a monumental task to get to Speech Number 10. Whilst I
Naomi Sloane, Sargent At Arms
don’t consider myself an expert just quite yet, here are some valuable lessons and practical tips I have picked up along the way…
Choice of topics. Some of the best advice I received when beginning Toastmasters was to stick with a topic I was really comfortable with for the first 3 speeches – how I wished I had done this! Instead of sticking with something I knew, I picked a rather difficult topic – Ireland during 1916 – certainly an interesting topic, however I knew very little about it and I ended up spending most of my time researching facts. Not the best use of time!
“Know thyself”. I used to think that l could get up and give a good speech without much practice beforehand. I quickly learnt that the preparation I put in beforehand paid off. I do think there are some well-polished speakers who can give wonderful speeches without a lot of preparation, however, I don’t feel that I have enough experience public speaking to be able to do this. I guess it is about knowing yourself – whatever it is you need to do to ensure you present a speech that you are happy with.
Practice. Practice. Practice. While you can put a lot of work into your speeches to ensure you progress, you will also develop naturally and confidently along the way. This leads me onto my next point…
Airtime. Some advice I got at the beginning of my Toastmasters journey was to “increase my airtime”. This meant to increase my speaking time, any way I could during meetings – through Table Topics, speeches, or evaluations. This was great advice – the more I spoke during meetings, the less nervous I began to feel.
Progress. It can be easy to feel disappointed and think after a few speeches down that you have not progressed as much as you may have hoped by that point. To quote A.A. Milne – “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think”. Keep going – you will have progressed much more than you think or realise!
Unique. Trust yourself that you are the expert in giving your speech. No-one else has had precisely the same experience in life. No-one else has the same angle or view on a topic and no-one else has the same sense of humour as you do. Nobody else could give your speech.
Rushing. Running a few minutes behind and getting stuck in traffic is just the worst thing before giving a speech. The anxiety it creates adds to any anxiety you may already feel before giving your speech. Try to leave yourself a few minutes extra for your journey, just in case.
Have fun. While sometimes it can be difficult to pick a topic for your speech, or to focus on preparing your speech, at the end of the day, Toastmasters is and should be great fun! Enjoy the journey!
TOASTMASTERS – THE SCIENCE
By Will Whitford
Almost all of us who have joined Toastmasters have mentally committed to making a change, to acquiring a new skill or to tackling a fear that has prevented us from embarking on a path of personal growth and development.
Will Whitford, VP Membership
However, some of us are stuck in ruminating without a clear commitment to take action. Are you someone who has joined toastmasters with an eagerness to make a change, to achieve a personal or business goal? You have read all the literature which explains how Toastmasters helps build confidence and self-esteem and that learning by doing in a supportive environment is a culture and approach that appeals to you. Now you have joined Toastmaster’s you find that, like so many others, you find it difficult to progress through the manuals, to make speeches and to take on roles. You enjoy attending meetings but your ambivalence to change leaves you stuck.
Human behaviour is difficult to change. The desire to change our behaviour and an actual change are two different things. To succeed we need to be persistent. The purpose of this article is to explore some of the psychology behind why Toastmasters is so effective in bringing about change and to encourage all member not to let ambivalence stop them.
Psychodynamics is a field of psychology that explores the sub-conscious reasons why we behave in certain ways. Whether we like it or not our sub-conscious is ever present and influences all of our interactions. We may become terrified when asked to perform in public because we have learnt as very young children to fear the judgement of others. Our automatic subconscious reaction to this fear is to fight, flight or freeze. We are unable to think of anything to say and our internal critic kicks in to reinforce the fear that we started with. A vicious circle has begun.
Toastmasters tackles this fear by providing a safe environment. By letting us know that it is OK to be nervous. By providing positive feedback that we are better than our internal critic would have us believe.
Cognitive Behavioural science looks at our thoughts and beliefs that prevent us taking a desired action. For example, if we were bitten by a dog as children we might form a belief that all dogs bite with the consequence that we are filled with fear at the sight of a dog. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy disputes those belief giving us room to evaluate them and formulate a plan of how to make the desired changed. In the case of fear of dogs extreme forms of Cognitive behavioural therapy will place the phobic person in close proximity to dogs allowing them build confidence that not all dogs are to be feared.
Toastmasters is a milder form of CBT. It allows us do the thing that we fear in a safe environment thus disputing the belief we have developed that speaking in public is something to be afraid of. We quickly realise that our fears are unfounded, that we have more skill then we believed and form new beliefs about ourselves and our abilities
Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a useful evidenced-based approach which can be employed by all of us to build sufficient motivation to take action. MI was developed in clinical environments by counsellors working with drug and alcohol clients. They found that change processes inside counselling mirrored natural change processes outside of the counselling room. A key predictive factor whether people would change was the way they spoke about change during their sessions with the counsellor. Clients who made statements that signalled a high level of motivation and a strong commitment to change were more likely to make a change, than those demonstrating resistance to making a change. Alongside this was a recognition by counsellors that the language used by the counsellor could direct attention to specific aspects of behaviour through skilled reflections and summary and encourage the client to focus on talking about these aspects of their behaviour (Miller & Rollnick 2002). In addition, counsellors observed that changes in the words and language used by the client were a strong predictor of a future change in behaviour. However, getting this change in language through confrontation was less effective than using open questions, active-listening, reflection and summaries
In the context of Toastmaster’s, it can be applied to ourselves if we ask ourselves questions like
What do I hope to Achieve?
On a scale of 1-10 how much do I want to achieve it? We have joined toastmasters so are likely to rate this above 6 or 7. So why not lower? This question encourages us to argue in favour of the change?
So given the answers to these questions What’s stopping me?
If we keep our goals in mind, understand why we fear what we do and that our beliefs might be holding us back we can begin to make intelligent choices. However, we are changing the habits of a lifetime, redefining neural pathways that have been laid down over many years. Success is not always immediate, it requires persistence. It requires repetition and sometimes it requires courage. We are all capable of fulfilling our own potential and that’s all we can realistically demand of ourselves. To do this we must take consistent repeated action. If we stop before new habits are established the old ones will soon re-immerge. So Keep trying, keep progressing and most of all keep enjoying it.
EVERY MEMBER COUNTS
By Grainne O’Malley
Every member counts in D18 Toastmasters.
It’s funny isn’t it. Every club night at D18 we entertain each other, blow away our public speaking fears and learn a little more about leadership. And every night, what we do individually counts for the club.
Grainne O’Malley, VP Public Relations
So when we look at the many awards D18 has brought home over the past 12 months (and there are a lot!), we have our members to thank for reaching their personal targets. But this year the achievements have been pretty spectacular.
For new members, it’s baffling and bewildering: CC, CL, DTM, Distinguished President’s Award, Toastmaster of the Year. But the baffling terms mean a good deal! It’s all part of the colossal Toastmaster ladder. Each baffling term is another step up, another step closer to becoming a superb Toastmaster and a superb Toastmaster club.
And so to 2016: how did D18 Toastmasters perform? Very impressively! Most significant of all was the hat trick for the club. The ultimate goal of any Toastmaster is to earn the title Distinguished Toastmaster and three members earned it in 2016 – Colm Roe, Brendan Haughton and Karen O’Donnell. It can take anything from two years to twenty-five years to get there and Karen achieved hers within an astounding three years! Not content with that, Karen and Colm took on the challenging roles of Division Director and Area Director respectively and both excelled so much at the job that they were awarded Presidents Distinguished Awards. And to top it all, Karen was selected Toastmaster of the Year for District 71, a district that includes 4,500 members in clubs across Ireland and the UK.
Our members were very active outside the club. Karen, Colm Roe and William Killeen were involved in a D18 Toastmasters ‘Teach-in’ for medical students at UCD. Karen taught school students public speaking as part of the Youth Leadership Programme and she also ran Speechcraft sessions with inmates of the women’s prison at the Dochas Centre in Dublin, to improve their confidence and speaking skills. Brendan Haughton continues to be one of the unsung heroes of Toastmasters, working as the club’s mentor but also very active in district Toastmasters and he won a special commendation for his work in the Youth Leadership Programme at the district conference.
Barely two years in existence, the club were delighted to welcome 20 new members and we now have a thriving membership. At club level, our members reached valuable targets and we achieved 5 Competent Communicator, 2 Competent Leader, 1 Advanced Communicator and 3 Advanced Leader awards. William Killeen came first in the Area Tall Tales Contest and in the Area Humorous Speech contest we took home 2nd and 3rd prizes. We also won 3rd prize in both the Area International Contest and the Area Evaluation Contest. All that hard individual work counted and as a result we achieved the highest club goal at the end of June: The Presidents Distinguished Club. We are well on our way to achieving this again in the 2016/17 Toastmasters year.
Every member in D18 Toastmasters counts. So thank you everyone!
Upcoming Competitions & Events 2017
Club Tall Tales Club Contest
Our club Tale Tales competition takes place on the 24th Jan 2017. This is a fun event where members have the opportunity to tell the most extravagant tales in a competitive club environment.
Winners at Club level go forward to the Area 54 Tall Tales Contests which will be held on 30th May 2017 in the Clayton Hotel, Leopardstown Road hosted by Dublin South Toastmasters.
Club International Evaluation Contest
Our club International Evaluation competition takes place on the 14th March 2017. This is an evaluation contest where members evaluate a test speech in a competitive environment and is an excellent opportunity to hone your evaluation and speaking skills.
Area 54 International Evaluation Contest
The Area 54 International Speech and Evaluation Contests will be held in our club, Dublin 18 on 11th April 2017. Winners from each club in Area 54 will go forward to compete in the Area Evaluation contest.
Dublin 18 Club Committee 2016/2017
President Gareth Coughlan CC ALB
Vice President of Education William Cotter CC
Vice President of Membership Will Whitford CC CL
Vice President of Public Relations Grainne O’Malley ACB CL
Secretary Declan Garvey
Treasurer William Killeen ACB ALB
Sergeant at Arms Naomi Sloane
Immediate Past President Karen O’Donnell DTM
Dublin 18 Toastmasters, Clayton Hotel, Leopardstown.
Meetings @ 8p.m. 2nd & 4th Tuesday of the month
Please see our website: www.dublinspeakers.ie