Saturday, 8 September 2012

My Ice-Breaker Speech Video at Toastmasters Stanmore/Harrow

I'm finally getting around to posting the video of my first Toastmasters speech, 'The Ice-Breaker'!

Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organisation that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations.The Ice-Breaker speech, as it is called, is the first proper speech that every 'would be' Toastmaster gives at any Toastmasters group in the world. It is known as The Ice-Breaker as its' purpose is to get you started at public speaking by literally 'breaking the ice' by talking about yourself.

What you decide to say about yourself is entirely up to you, you decide on the content and give your speech your own personalised title. For the title of my Ice-Breaker speech, (which you don't hear because it was announced before the video started), I chose "It's not about the Destination, it's about the Journey" because it's basically about how I came to be a salesperson and how I came to have poker as a hobby - and how both of those things started off in interesting and non-related ways! I delivered it at our meeting just before Christmas, 2011.

This was an unplanned video clip which was taken by my friend on her iPhone so I want to apologise for the quality in advance! But despite the quality I thought it would be quite nice to be able to share an audiovisual record of my first 'Ice Breaker' speech with any 'would be' Toastmasters out there and/or those wanting to know what goes on in a Toastmasters Group.

My Toastmasters group is in Stanmore, (near Harrow), West London and we usually hold our meetings once or twice a month at a church hall (which is what you can see in the background of the clip). It's a really friendly and supportive group with plenty of speaking slots so if you're looking for a group in London then please feel free to contact me and I'll put you in touch with the organisers.

NB: For those who might be a bit mystified as to what the word 'Ubquitous' is doing in the frame all the time when you see the video, the reason for that is that for fun, we have a competition at each meeting whereby you get extra points for incorparating that meetings' chosen word into your speech, (a task which I failed at miserably on this occasion)! So here's the video.

The following is an excerpt from the Toastmasters Manual for The Ice-Breaker Speech which is intended to be a guide as to how to prepare:

"Executive Summary: For your first speech project, you will introduce yourself to your fellow club members and give them some information about your background, interests and ambitions.

Practice giving your speech to friends or family members, and strive to make eye contact with some of your audience. You may use notes during your speech if you wish. Read the entire project before preparing your talk.


1. To begin speaking before an audience.
2. To discover speaking skills you already have and skills that need some attention.

Time: Four to six minutes"

In another post in this blog I talk more about the Toastmasters manual and other supporting documentation they give you to assist you get the most out of the 'Toastmasters experience'.

So how did I do? Well I didn't rehearse properly which was a mistake and as a consequence I was worried about going over my alloted time (a big no-no!) so I went a bit too quickly; but the group liked my speech and I came 3rd out of the evening's speeches which isn't too shabby for my first one.

My experience so far with Toastmasters has been a positive one; initially the idea was to get a bit more proficient at public speaking and get rid of the proverbial butterflies but there have been some unexpected bonuses too, most notably the social side of things with my group holding competitions, Summer BBQ's etc.

I'm finding it challenging which is a good thing and there are some areas that I know I really need to improve upon such as the Table Topics which are short unprepared speeches which you have to give literally on the spur of the moment; I've found it's one thing to deliver a prepared speech but quite another to deliver one that you've had no time at all to think about!

It's also quite formal in many ways, for example with the way you're supposed to start and end speeches with "Mr Toastmaster, ladies and gentleman, welcome guests" which culturally feels a bit strange to me but I hope I can adapt and water down the formality without anyone noticing or being offended because that just isn't me!

Please feel free to leave a comment below if you'd like to or if you want to send me a private message you can do so via Facebook.