Is there anything more terrifying than giving your first speech at Toastmasters?
Then, just to make sure you’re adequately rattled, Toastmasters calls it “The Ice Breaker“.
I don’t know about you, but I find just the title scary. So let’s take some of the terror out of the Ice Breaker.
First the good news.
Your first manual speech at Toastmasters is only four to six minutes long and it’s all about you.
This brings us to the bad news.
Many many new speakers lose track of time and blow right through the red light at six minutes. At First Oakville we actually had to stop a new speaker who was approaching 10 minutes and was only up to their teen years. Reading the manual and looking at the requirements of the Ice Breaker would have been helpful.
So what’s recommended when it comes to the Ice Breaker? This is your opportunity to introduce yourself to your fellow club members. So your speech should say something about who you are, why you’re here, how’s the family and what interests you in general. That’s about four minutes if you rush it and six if you drag it out.
I’d also suggest not memorizing every word. After all this is a speech about you and your life so you should know the content. And keep that content simple and straight forward. (In a future post I’ll tell you what to do when you forget your speech. Happens to me a lot.)
Here’s a secret to better speech writing and delivery. Tell your audience what your speech is about and how it relates to them. Give the speech and then in your conclusion remind us what the speech was about again.
It goes something like this: Fellow Toastmasters, tonight I’m going to share with you my journey with the hope that you will related to my struggles and perhaps be able to offer me some encouraging words of support….here’s my story…and now that I’ve shared with you a few thoughts, I hope you will share some of yours with me. Mr. or Madame Toastmaster.
That’s it. It’s that simple.
Where most Ice Breakers go off the rails is they are overly complex and go way too long. The speech takes on a life of its own and there’s no way to end it gracefully.
So keep your speech short, sincere and simple and your fellow Toastmasters will be looking forward to your next speech.
Oh yes, somewhere during the speech remember to smile. It helps your audience relax.
Here’s a link to another blog with tips about the ice breaker.