Tips for the Ice Breaker
Next, try the talk on someone in your family, a friend, or your Toastmasters coach/mentor. Then present your talk, and ask for comments. You may get some helpful suggestions. Try this with several people if you can. If you have a tape recorder, record the talk and listen to it carefully, making any improvements that are necessary. Using a tape recorder is one of the best ways to improve your speaking ability.
Rather than thinking of this presentation as "making a speech," think of it as a talk before a group of friends, sharing information of interest. Donít anticipate being afraid of the audience. They have already been through the same feelings you are having. They want you to succeed, and theyíre eager to help you.
Appearance is important. Be well groomed and appropriately dressed for your presentation. When you look right, you feel good about yourself. You will then forget about your appearance and concentrate on presenting your talk. You will have increased confidence because you know you have made a good first impression on your audience.
While being introduced, take a few deep breaths and slowly exhale. This will help your voice sound resonant and natural. Begin by facing the Toastmaster and saying, "Mr. (or Madam) Toastmaster"; then face the audience and say, "Ladies and gentlemen. . .," or "Guests and fellow Toastmasters. . ," Pause for a second to let things settle down, then plunge in with your prepared opening sentences.
While speaking, make "eye contact" with various members of the audience, first looking directly at one person for a few seconds, then looking at another, so no one feels left out of your talk. As youíre doing this, glance periodically at the timer. If the red light comes on while youíre talking, move smoothly to your conclusion and finish quickly. Observe time limits whenever you speak.
Donít worry about what to do with your hands. Leave them at your sides if you wish. Youíll have opportunities to practice "body language" later.
One final word: Donít end by saying "Thank you." Itís the audience who should thank you for the information youíve shared. Instead, just close with your prepared ending and wait for the applause (or stand back from the lectern and nod at the Toastmaster of the meeting, saying, "Mr. [or Madam] Toastmaster").
To supplement your own evaluation, an experienced club member has been assigned to evaluate your efforts. (Check with the general evaluator before the meeting to make sure this has been done.) Before the meeting begins, hand this manual to your evaluator, so he or she may make notes on the evaluation page for this project. This will give you a permanent record of your progress; If there is something in particular you want the evaluator to watch for, be sure to inform him or her in advance.
Get all the information you can from the evaluation. Ask other members for additional comments after the meeting. All of these comments may not be useful to you, but you should consider them carefully. Remember that the evaluations are representations of how you came across to the audience. They are usually - but not alwaysó helpful to your self-development. Itís up to you to judge.
This document is a 3 point plan to make your first Prepared Speech as easy and relaxed as possible. For this to occur you should: Read this document while preparing for your speech.
This will provide guidance and ideas for a professional and entertaining speech as well as making it an enjoyable experience. Use this document in conjunction with your Toastmasters manual.
Try a simple structure for your talk. Usually, there are 3 parts:
1. Opening - start with an attention-grabbing opening line or lines
"Well here I am finally doing my ice breaker"
"I'm the quiet one who sits at the back and never volunteers for speeches"
2. Body - pick only 3 or 4 main points to discuss. You can talk about where you went to school, your upbringing, a passion, hobby or interest you have, your career, etc. But try to focus on one area, and try not to give too much detailed information.
The best ice-breakers are usually conversational. Instead of relying on notes, use a memorized opening, then talk candidly, for example, about career experiences. Wrap up with a clever line.
This can be a line or quote you've memorized or at least have a definite idea of. Try not to read from notes. Eye-contact and presence are more important.
4. Notes, Tips & Suggestions:
Nothing warms an audience more than pictures (even if they are in your wallet) of your family or pets, and describing what they mean to you.
This is your ice breaker speech, so the evaluator and audience are aware this is one of the first times you've stepped up in front of the club.
By completing your ice breaker speech you'll gain a brick in the wall of public speaking. The idea behind Toastmasters is to further your confidence in public speaking. So with this newfound insight and confidence, it'll be beneficial to you to volunteer to be Table Topics, Toastmaster or "Speaking Tip of The Day" for the next meeting, while there's momentum. It's like a lot of things in life it's not as difficult as you think!