The ability to speak is a shortcut to distinction. It puts a person in the limelight, raises one’s head and shoulders above the crowd. And the person who can speak acceptably is usually given credit for an ability out of all proportion to what he or she really possesses.” – Dale Carnegie in How to Win Friends and Influence People.
What is an Ice Breaker?
The first speech of the Toastmasters program is mainly about introducing yourself to like-minded people, often in the context of a club meeting. This provides a guage for your current abilities, and speaking with modest confidence. The concept of the ‘Ice Breaker’ is something that serves to relieve inhibitions or tension between people. Little wonder it’s the name given to the first Toastmasters speech project.
- To begin speaking before an audience.
- To discover speaking skills you already have and skills that need some attention.
Time: Four to six minutes
The Ice Breaker speech is all about you – your personal and professional life. Of course do not feel obliged to share everything about yourself. Focus on things about you that you feel comfortable sharing to the group.
Measure your current strengths and weaknesses. We, as individuals, are at different unique points in our communication skills journey. The Ice Breaker helps you to ascertain where you are at in the spectrum. Armed with such insight, you are then able to make progress and improve your speaking capability.
Conquering Stage Fright
Fear and nervousness are natural emotions that will not, and probably should not, go away. They are notoriously bad indicators of whether we should do a given task.
The best way to conquer stage fright is to KNOW what you’re talking about. Many veteran actors agree that the only cure for stage fright is action. Getting right out there before the audience is the cure for worry, dread, and fear.
It can be quite overwhelming when speaking in front of a new group. If you feel nervous and fidgety, remember that you are in the non-judgmental company of your fellow Toastmasters. All you need in order to successfully execute your Ice Breaker speech is: go up the stage, speak to the audience, and shake hands with the Toastmaster/host before returning to your seat. Job done.