New group specialising in public speaking set up to help locals

Foyle Speakers (affiliated to Toastmasters International) held an open night at the City hotel. Included are (left to right) Diahann Whitham, Breidge McGarvey organiser, Dearbhla Kelly, guest speaker, Patricia McDyer, guest speaker, Grainne Gillen, Michael Bolster, Cliff Whitham, president of Foyle Speakers and Michael Flannigan, secretary. 301015CG
Foyle Speakers (affiliated to Toastmasters International) held an open night at the City hotel. Included are (left to right) Diahann Whitham, Breidge McGarvey organiser, Dearbhla Kelly, guest speaker, Patricia McDyer, guest speaker, Grainne Gillen, Michael Bolster, Cliff Whitham, president of Foyle Speakers and Michael Flannigan, secretary. 301015CG

A new organisation has been set-up to help people living in Derry engage in the art of public speaking.

The Foyle Speakers was set up less than a year ago but only over the last few months has the group started to make its mark.

The group currently boasts around 20 members but as Foyle Speakers Secretary, Michael Flanagan explained, they would like to see that number increase.

“Our numbers are now increasing by about one or two a week. It only costs a few quid to join and these costs are to cover the costs of the speech manuals and other stuff.

“It’s non profit making, of course. We meet every second Wednesday night at 7.30 p.m. in the City Hotel. All guests are welcome. You even get a free cup of tea, coffee and biscuits. Come along and sample what we do. It’s free. You only need to pay a fee if you decide to become a member and then it’s only a few quid,” said Michael.

In recent months, Foyle Speakers achieved chartered status which means that the group can compete against other clubs in the art of public speaking.

“We have recently entered local competitions in Derry, Omagh and Sligo. We are actually winning competitions and moving onto the next heat,” he added.

Foyle Speakers came about as a direct result of a similar group operating in Letterkenny.

“The people who were involved in the Letterkenny club called ‘Toastmasters,’ thought that it would be of benefit to the people of Derry to have a local club.

“Also, Derry is obviously bigger than Letterkenny, so it made sense to have one in Derry to cater for this area as well as Inishowen,” added Michael.

Michael owns a professional accounting practice called ‘Taxbusters’ and first came across a club specialising in the art of public speaking whilst working for PWC in Dublin.

“I joined in February in 2015. I was going to join the Cookstown club, but I was delighted when I found out that there was one in Derry.

“When I was working in Price Waterhouse Coopers, the large accountancy firm in Dublin, I noticed that some of the partners were members of the club (in Dublin), these same partners were very adept at running meetings. So, I thought that if Toastmasters was good enough for them, it was good enough for me. I am a chartered accountant and I have found it beneficial to when I am either chairing meetings or being part of a meeting. I am more confident at getting my point across effectively. I need to be a good speaker, in order to run my business properly,” he said.

For more information on Foyle Speakers visit their Facebook page - www.facebook.com/FoyleSpeakers