Your First Project: The Ice Breaker!

Pathways Ice Breaker

Introduction

You may have participated in an ice breaker activity at an event sometime in your life. These are activities that are designed to help people relax and get to know one another. Ice breaker activities that are well-designed and well-executed engage an audience and encourage them to invest in the success of the event.

This project marks the beginning of your Toastmasters journey. It is your opportunity to introduce yourself to the group and share something about yourself.

This project culminates in you giving a 4- to 6-minute speech, the first one that all Toastmasters present to their clubs.

As you work through this project, you will learn how to recognize skills you already have, build upon those skills to foster confidence, and identify areas for improvement.

You will learn to distinguish the basic elements of speech structure and utilize rehearsal techniques that balance preparation and spontaneity.

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to introduce yourself to the club and learn the basic structure of a public speech.

Overview: Write and deliver a speech about any topic to introduce yourself to your club. Your speech may be humorous, informational, or any other style that appeals to you.

Click here to attempt the interactive project guide.

  1. Here are the tasks you will need to complete for this project.
  2. Schedule your speech with our Vice-President Education
  3. Write your speech
  4. Rehearse your speech
  5. Meet up with your Mentor for guidance
  6. After you have completed all components of the assignment, log in to complete the second portion of your self-assessment on the “Assess Your Skills – After” screen.

Getting Started

What To Say

The Ice Breaker is your first opportunity to share something about yourself and your goals with other members of your club. You may want to include the following information in your speech to help club members get to know you:

  • The reason you joined Toastmasters (if a person or incident influenced you to join, share that story)
  • Your communication and leadership goals

You may also use this Ice Breaker Speech Outline worksheet to help you collect and develop your thoughts. A clear, thorough outline will assist you in crafting your speech and sharing your communication and leadership goals with the audience within the allotted time.

Organize Your Speech

Your Ice Breaker is a story about you. The four elements of a good story are:

  • Interesting topic
  • Opening
  • Body
  • Conclusion

Give your speech an opening, body, and conclusion to effectively communicate your overall purpose.

Begin by introducing yourself. In the body of your speech, share information you would like your fellow members to know about you. Conclude with a funny or interesting anecdote that relates to your desire to become a better speaker and leader.

Prepare and Present

Prepare and Present Ice BreakerWRITE IT OUT
Write your speech, memorize the opening and conclusion, and rehearse everything else until you feel comfortable. Ideally, this will give it a natural and spontaneous feel.

REMEMBER YOUR OUTLINE
Create notecards or an outline with a few bullet points from your speech on one page. This makes it easier to remember the main points of your speech, and you can refer to it when presenting to your club. The goal is to remember your outline and not read your speech word for word.

CONNECT WITH THE AUDIENCE
Effective speaking requires you to look up from a written speech and connect with your audience. Your presence and connection with the audience members increase the possibility that your message has impact.

REHEARSE WITH FRIENDS OR FAMILY
Rehearse your speech in front of friends or family to get feedback. Listen to constructive feedback and implement productive comments that could possibly work for you.

RECORD YOURSELF
Record yourself giving the speech and watch the footage. Do not be overly critical. Concentrate on constructive responses.

USE A MIRROR
Practice in front of a mirror. The feedback is immediate and you can make adjustments as you go.

PRACTICE SECTIONS
Divide your speech into sections. First, practice your opening. Then move on to the body of your speech, which will include the main points you want to cover. Finally, practice your conclusion. When you feel comfortable with each section, put them all together.

TIME YOURSELF
While you practice, remember that your Ice Breaker is 4- to 6-minutes in length. Time yourself. If you are running too close to the time limit, make sure all of your points are relevant and on-topic. If you are running short, re-examine the content and elaborate on topics that are under-represented.

RELAX, BREATHE, AND ENJOY
When you give your speech to your club, follow the steps in the Toastmasters Handbook for addressing the Toastmaster or other person introducing you and club members.

Check your pacing as you begin. If nervousness or fear begins to get the better of you, stop, breathe, and relax. Your fellow Toastmasters want you to succeed and begin your journey in a positive way.

OVERCOME ANXIETY
Fear and anxiety are typical for first-time speakers. If you’re feeling this way, review your goals and focus on your reasons for joining Toastmasters. Remind yourself that your club meeting is a safe, supportive environment established as a place to practice communication and leadership skills. In meetings, you are encouraged to try new things, learn from the evaluations you receive, and celebrate your successes.

After Your Speech

You’ll receive feedback from your evaluator before the club meeting is finished. The evaluator gives your verbal evaluation in front of the club, and provides you with written feedback in the agreed-upon way.

Listen to your evaluator, be courteous, and be open to feedback. Thank your evaluator and consider all feedback as you work toward your next project and speech.

Your Buona Vista Toastmasters Club mentor will also give you feedback and guide you on how to improve for your next project!

In our club, you may also receive written feedback from the other members. It is helpful to save these evaluations for future reference.

EVALUATING YOURSELF
When your speech is complete, take time to think about how well you did. Regardless of your feelings——relief, excitement, nervousness, or a combination of emotions——be proud. You took a chance and challenged yourself. It may be helpful to meet with your evaluator to discuss feedback or ask any questions that you have.

Evaluate

Get More In Depth!

Attempt the Interactive Project Guide on the Toastmasters International Website for more in-depth preparation.

Attempt the Interactive Project Guide on the Toastmasters International Website for more in-depth preparation.


Resources:

Here are some other resources to help:
Pathways Ice Breaker PDF Copy (if you cannot access the interactive guide)
Ice Breaker Preparation Checklist
Ice Breaker Speech Outline (A guide, but not compulsory)
Evaluation Form (How your Evaluator will evaluate you)