George V. Reilly

Table Topics

A Toast­mas­ters meeting has three parts: prepared speeches, table topics, and eval­u­a­tions of the prepared speeches.

Table Topics offer a chance for those present to wing it on some topic for one or two minutes. The Table Topics Master sets up the topics and the speaker has as most a few minutes to prepare.

Sometimes, when I'm running Table Topics, I present a topic for everyone at the beginning of the section. On a winter's day, I might ask people to tell us about some favorite food they associate with winter. Or I might ask them to tell us about where they're going for their summer vacation.

At other times, I continue.

Toastmasters Competition

I've been to a few Toast­mas­ters com­pe­ti­tions in the past. Tonight was the first time that I helped out at one, as one of the timers. It was the combined Area 35 and 36 com­pe­ti­tion.

A typical Toast­mas­ters com­pe­ti­tion has two parts, a speech com­pe­ti­tion and an evaluation com­pe­ti­tion. In the speech com­pe­ti­tion, the com­peti­tors give a prepared speech on a topic of their own choosing. Some speech com­pe­ti­tions are humorous; tonight's wasn't. In the evaluation com­pe­ti­tion, the invited speaker gives a speech heard by all the com­peti­tors. They are taken out of the room, then one at a time, they come back in and evaluate that speech.

The speech com­pe­ti­tion is always continue.

Freely Speaking Toastmasters' 20th Anniversary

I'm the Secretary/Webmaster of Freely Speaking Toast­mas­ters, a club whose membership is primarily LGBT, but is open to all. We were chartered in September 1988. I joined in 2004, after I left Microsoft and hence Microsoft Toast­mas­ters.

We're so proud of being 20 years old that we've celebrated twice! We had a brunch for the current membership back in September, and tonight we had a party for current, former, and would-be members.

Not a huge turnout, but a lot of fun. Many of us spoke about what had drawn us to FSTM and what set it apart from other clubs for us.

I've been a member (and officer) of three continue.

Mind Mapping Speech

I gave a speech at Freely Speaking Toast­mas­ters this evening, on Mind Mapping. You can see a shrunken version of the mind map for the speech above. Clicking on it will lead to the full-sized image.

I created the mind map with Freemind. Here's the speech mindmap as a Freemind document.

I thought the speech went quite well. It was speech #8, working with visual aids. I drew a partial version of my speech's mind map on a white board ahead of time, and drew a couple of mind maps on a flip chart during the speech. The second one was a two-minute brain­storm­ing session on increasing club membership.

I had continue.

Spolin Games

(Originally posted to Toast­mas­ters at EraBlog on Tue, 07 Oct 2003 06:53:32 GMT)

I gave the following speech to Toast­mas­ters on October 1st, 2003, as Speech #5, "Vocal Variety".


Spolin Games. That sounds like it could be a new set of titles for the Xbox.

Far from it.

The Spolin Games are a set of improv theater games invented by Viola Spolin in the nineteen-thirties, and refined by her for the next six decades. These games are used in im­pro­vi­sa­tion­al work, to help bring out creativity and spon­tane­ity. Viola's son, Paul Sills, founded the Second City improv theater company in Chicago back in the nineteen-fifties.

I was first introduced to the Spolin Games continue.

Bloomsday Speech

(Originally posted to Home at EraBlog on Mon, 07 Jul 2003 15:34:22 GMT)

I gave the following speech to Toast­mas­ters on June 25th, 2003, as Speech #4, "Show What You Mean". Clearly, I've reused some material from my earlier post about Bloomsday. I'm also finding that I take longer to deliver a speech to an audience than I do when rehearsing, so I cut some of the material on the day to fit the seven-minute limit.

I've uploaded some photos of the reading to one of my other websites.


"Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather..."

So begins James Joyce's Ulysses, one of the most famous, and continue.


(Originally posted to Toast­mas­ters at EraBlog on Fri, 16 May 2003 06:06:39 GMT)

I gave the following speech to Toast­mas­ters on January 29th, 2003, as Speech #2, "Sincerity".


Fellow Toast­mas­ters and Guests, last September, on the first an­niver­sary of 9/11, I made one of the biggest decisions of my life: I decided to apply for American cit­i­zen­ship, to become nat­u­ral­ized.

Like many of you, I am an immigrant. I have spent most of my adult life in this country. Fourteen years ago, I came to the US from Ireland to earn a Masters degree. I moved to Seattle in 1992, the same year that I became a permanent resident. I continue.

Sleep Apnea

(Originally posted to Toast­mas­ters at EraBlog on Thu, 24 Apr 2003 06:08:36 GMT)

I gave the following speech to Toast­mas­ters on March 5th, 2003, as Speech #3, "Organize Your Speech".


My wife is a cyborg.

That's not to say that she's the Terminator. Nor even that she's the six-million dollar woman, although I do value her greatly. She calls herself a cyborg because she sleeps with a breathing machine. At night, she wears a mask over her nose to force air into her lungs.

When I first met her, she complained of being tired all the time, of not getting a good night's sleep, of feeling stupid. When she drove continue.

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