ToastMasters Ice Breaker

Background

Sometime ago, one of my coworkers had mentioned that he was part of Toastmasters. I shared with him that I had been interested in joining the group, but had not found a chapter to be a part of. After several discussions and previewing some of their meetings, I decided to join. One of the first speeches that you have to give is call the Ice Breaker. In short, it is the speech that you give that formally introduces yourself to the group so that people can have some background information about you.

Preparation

Using Provided Resources

Toastmasters has a system called Pathways. In the Pathways system, there are many of resources that are provided that prepare you for the various speeches that you need to do. For the ice breaker speech, a worksheet was available for how to structure your speech and spaces that you can write in whatever you choose.

This particular speech was structured in a manner that was similar to how my 10th Grade English teacher suggested that essays be written.

ToastMasters format was:

  • Opening
  • Body
    • Main Point 1
    • Main Point 2
    • Main Point 3
  • Closing

English teacher's essay format was:

  • Introduction
    • Thesis statement
  • Bing
  • Bang
  • Bongo
  • Conclusion

Pratically the exact same format that I had learned who knows how long ago and leveraged in college for those essays that I despised. This is one of those moments where you learned something long ago, but did not realize you would really need it in the future, except in college.

Fully Written Speech vs Outline

When I first started doing YouTube videos, I would write out a script for the video. I quickly realized that wrtiing a script was time consuming and did not allow you to adjust things on the fly. You had to have your entire speech fully thought out before giving it.

Toastmasters suggested writing a speech. After doing some research, I did find that some just create an outline for their speeches. Thus I took the outline approach for my first speech. When doing an outline, you are not writing every single word out. Instead, you are writing the main points that you want to make while doing your speech. It also allows you to adjust as need be by skipping over some of the points in case you run short on time.

Other Details

I titled my speech "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" after the novel. Reason being is that I had a coaching call with Ryan Cox earlier in the year. In our discussion, he mentioned that I had a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde way of things. That I am known for working with technology, but also known for being a handyman and do it yourselfer. Those are commonly two distinct categories, but I have an unique skillset that merges the both of them together. Following this title, I used those two different personalities and skillsets to be my first and second main points in my speech. From there, I connect the two main points by using my third main point as both of those roles require problem solving.

The Review

I was given a good review by my evaluator. The only negative item that was was pointed out, was that I was looking away from the camera during the speech when I did look up. Reasoning being is that my webcam is situated between my dual monitor set up. When looking up at the audience instead of keeping my head down on my paper, like it was instilled in me from high school speech class, since the audience was to my left, I looked to my left. YouTubers are a bit more forgiving when it comes to looking at the camera, so it did not phase me as much when I was doing it. Soon as it was mentioned though, I had a "d'oh" reaction to the comment.

Conclusion

I did better than I thought I would with my first speech. This first success means that I have greater success ahead of me in my future speeches and presentations.

Keywords: toastmasters, public speaking, presenting, how to give a speech, ice breaker speech

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