Anyone that joins Toastmasters begins their speaking journey with their very first speech called The Icebreaker.
Every prepared speech has a set of objectives and a time limit. It is important to prepare your speech with these objectives, and the time limit in mind.
What are the objectives of The Icebreaker? Let’s take a look.
There Are 3 Goals In The Icebreaker:
1. Introduce yourself.
Your icebreaker speech topic is you – something about your life, your job, your hobbies, your unique interests, your family, or any combination of these. You are an absolute authority on this topic, and everyone in the audience will learn something about you.
2. Begin to conquer the fear of speaking in front of a group.
It is nervewracking when speaking in front of a new group. If you feel this nervousness, remember that a Toastmaster audience is always supportive and understanding. Nobody is grading you, and nobody will mind if you stumble through 99 “Um”s and “Ah”s. If you get up, say something, and sit down, you have succeeded in this project.
3. Provide a “baseline” of your current strengths and weaknesses.
Some new members have no public speaking experience, while others have years of presentations behind them. No matter where you fit into this spectrum, your goal is to improve from your starting point. This first speech helps club members gauge your current strengths so that they can make specific recommendations to help you improve.
For The Icebreaker speech the time limit is 4 – 6 Min. Some new speakers will find it difficult to fill the minimum time limit, and yet others (like myself), find it incredibly difficult to stay under the maximum limit.
For a complete breakdown of this speech’s goals and objectives, you can check it out here: The Icebreaker Project 1
The title of my Icebreaker Speech is: “I Cleaned Out Your Truck, And Patched Up The Holes”. It’s my objective to come up with a title that hints at what the speech is about without giving it totally away. As you will hear (if you download the Free audio), I incorporated the title of the speech into the speech itself.
Additionally, part of giving the speech is to write an introduction that the Toastmaster will read as he/she introduces you to the lectern.
Eddie Lazzari Project 1 – The Icebreaker
“Our next speaker is going to share with us a profound experience he had – One that may connect your life to the tragic effects of war. He will speak from the Competent Communicator Speech Project # 1 “The Icebreaker”.
In the next four to six minutes, Eddie Lazzari will share with us a wartime story in a way we have never heard before. This life altering presentation is titled, ‘I Cleaned Out Your Truck, And Patched Up The Holes’ Please join me in welcoming Eddie and ‘I Cleaned Out Your Truck, And Patched Up The Holes’.”
Preparing For The Speech
An article I read by Quote Investigator spoke volumes about the time it takes to prepare for a speech.
This article talked about when a member of the Cabinet congratulated Woodrow Wilson on introducing the vogue of short speeches and asked him about the time it took him to prepare his speeches. He said:
“It depends. If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now.”
Prepared speeches of a limited time frame are far more difficult than speeches that are much longer. I started by just free writing what I wanted to say without any consideration of the time restrictions. It was more important at first to ensure I conveyed the message that I wanted in the
It was more important in the beginning to first to ensure I conveyed the message that I wanted in the speech. I will cut it down later to fit the time limit.
The Method I Use
It seems to work well for me. I found a notebook that represents one minute of spoken word per page based on my handwriting and pace of speech.
Below is the notebook I found works best for me. College Ruled Notebook 9.5″x6″. The second image is actual photos of the first two pages of my speech to give you an idea of the size and style of my writing. This will require some experimentation on your part.
For example, if I have a speech limit of between 4-6 minutes, I will write 5 pages of script. This will allow me to speed up or slow down throughout the speech and still remain within the time allotted.
Get Up And Give The Speech
Now all that remains is walking up in front of everyone and giving the speech. I’m not going to get into the whole fear of public speaking bit, but I will say that pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is the only way to improve regardless of whatever it is you want to do in life.
The speech is being timed and evaluated by a predetermined evaluator. Additionally, every member has the opportunity to fill out an evaluation sheet. This allows for maximum feedback hence the effectiveness of Toastmasters.
Most of my feedback was positive. As far as areas for improvement? The common theme across the board was that I gave the speech a bit too fast. There were areas where I could have paused for greater effect, and gone much slower.
These bits of feedback are incredibly helpful assuming you accept them and apply them to future speeches. Ignoring this feedback will do nothing for you in the end.
You Can Listen
Here comes the good part! I recorded the speech so you can check it out and provide your own feedback below in the comments section. Just subscribe below and I will email you the audio file of my speech.
Once you hit Subscribe head directly over to your email Inbox to confirm your subscription and download your Free PDF.
(It may take a few minutes before you see it in your inbox).