Friday, February 16, 2007

Speaking After Dinner-Sample Speech1, "Breaking The Ice"

Breaking the Ice
(Speaking After Dinner, Advanced Speech Project #5 in The Entertaining Speaker Manual, Feb.16,2007, ON Semiconductor)

(To be read the Toastmaster of the Day to set the tone of a simulated event.)

It’s a special day as the local Toastmasters club has invited new guests. The guests are new to Toastmasters and would like to observe a Toastmasters meeting.

The interested guests were treated over dinner. The speaker reflects on how it feels like to be a newcomer and how it is to be delivering the Icebreaker speech and the first few speeches in the Basic Toastmasters manual.


Today marks the 1st meeting with the club for the year. Today, I see very many new faces and some old faces. Well, not as in “old, OLD” (gesture on face) faces but… let’s call them FAMILIAR faces rather than old faces.


Like a many of you here, I once was a new face in the world of Toastmasters. For me, it took a looooooong (wide arms) while before I EVEN gave my Icebreaker speech.. (pause, thinking)

I remember the first time I was invited to join a Toastmasters meeting. Gosh, I was hesitant. I’m a technical person in Information Technology. And so I asked “why”? Toastmasters? Giving speeches?

Why would (hand chest) I want to do that? Me? … a technical person in IT. Where the heck in IT am I supposed to give speeches? Where? In my cubicle, while facing the computer? My thinking at that time was… Hey, I’m a Technical guy! That’s all what I did – technical stuff!I, (nodding proudly) was Mr. Technical Guy.

My Domain

My domain is Information Technology, so let’s talk about IT (prompting hands below). System design? Alright! System development? Cool! Coding! Programming! Sure! But speeches? (wave hand in dismay) Come on! So… for a looong (hand parting) time, THAT was (hands on temple) my mindset. (eyebrows up)

Some of you are smiling and nodding, so maybe you could relate with what I’m saying.

Then one day, purely out of curiosity I decided for a look-see and came in to attend a Toastmasters meeting at the company where I work – just to observe. I said to myself, well, who knows, maybe some time in the distant (far gesture) future, I may find use for giving speeches.

Like maybe, when I retire, I’ll dabble in some community service, become a pastor of some sort, or maybe a preacher or a lecturer of some kind. So, finally, I said, ok, ok, why not. So I joined.

And several weeks later, I delivered my Ice Breaker speech. It went fine and I… surprised myself. The speech was not as difficult as I thought it would be! Of course it wasn’t without preparation.

But then I suppose that WAS key – preparation. Well, they are called PREPARED speeches, right?

Speech Projects

And then I went on to the next speech projects in the basic manual. I became more and more excited! In the succeeding speech projects I had the chance to practice the tools of public speaking: organizing your thoughts, putting your ideas on paper, rehearsing the speech, eye contact, gestures, body movement and vocal variety.

Suddenly giving speeches became a little bit easier. Now, think about that for a while. (long pause) The more you do something the EASIER it becomes. Does that make sense? The more you do something, the easier it becomes.

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

Who among you here drives a car or a jeepney or a truck or a tricycle or an ambulance? Okay, practically everybody.

The first time you actually tried driving, it was difficult, wasn’t it? You step on the clutch, change shift, step on the gas, release clutch, brake, change shift and doing them all in correct order.

It is so difficult.

But after a few weeks of practice, it becomes easy, doesn’t it? It has become SO easy that we don’t even think about it NOW when we drive!

Many things in life that are worth learning practically operate the same way – practice, practice, practice. Hands-on practice. Now, Edwin, let me ask you this: Did you learn to drive by simply reading about it in a manual? (book gesture) Of course not!

If you were just starting to drive and tell me you will learn it by reading in a manual, I won’t ride in your car. A manual may give you the abstract concepts (fingers out), but the actual learning? It was on the road! (point out infront)


It’s the same thing with Toastmasters Prepared Speeches. You have to start somewhere and that’s the Ice Breaker speech. It’s a milestone for any Toastmaster.

Then move on to the next project: “Organize Your Speech” and the next project: “Get to the Point and the next, and the next. And on your 6th speech and beyond, you’ll realize how easier it becomes. Does it get become as easy where you actually don’t think about it anymore?

Maybe not. But you’ll realize by that time that the preparations you did for ALL (wave hand past) the speech projects were all worth it (thumbs up). Toastmaster of the Day.

Sample Speeches in The Entertaining Speaker

Sample Speeches in the Old Program

Sample Speeches in Pathways