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Tips for the Ice Breaker

Toastmaster | Public Speaking | Impromptu Speech | Ice Breaking ( first) Speech

Previous       Page-02

( Ice Breaking speech continued.... )

Opening, Body and Conclusion


Like any good story, your talk needs a beginning and an ending. Try to create an interesting opening sentence that captures the audienceís attention. Get it clearly fixed in your mind, and use it even if a better idea occurs to you just before youí speak. Then devise a good way to conclude, and fix that in your mind. With a good start and a good finish, you can easily fill in the body of the speech.

In any speech, itís best to select a very few main points, three or four at the most, and expand on them by using examples, stories or anecdotes. If you merely state a fact and then continue, most of your audience will miss the point. You should make a point, say it again in different words, illustrate the point, and then state it once more in order to be clearly understood. This is a good skill to learn with your first talk.

What about notes? If you think you will need them, write a brief speech outline on 3x5 cards, which you can place on the lectern. Refer to them only when you need

them. Remember, youíre speakingónot reading. Many speakers begin by writing out an entire speech, then breaking it down into parts, with a key word for each part, and finally writing just the key words on one note card.

Preparing Yourself
Now the talk is ready, but are you ready to present it? You will certainly need to rehearse. Practice the talk until you are comfortable with it. You wonít need to memorize the talk, since you already know all about the subject. But you may want to memorize your opening and close. A memorized opening insures that this most important part of your talk will be stated correctly. Also, if you are nervous as you begin your speech (as are most speakers), you will gain confidence as you give your prepared openingóand your speech will be off to a successful start. A memorized close insures that your talk concludes with impact.

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.


Presenting Your Talk
Once youíve completed your speech preparation. . .relax. Peeling a bit nervous is common to every speaker, no matter how experienced. In fact, you can put this nervous energy to work for you by using it to add excitement to the delivery of your talk. No one is going to pay much attention to a little quavering in your voice, and it will soon disappear, anyway, as you become involved with what youíre saying. (More information for controlling nervousness appears on page 59.)

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").

Your Evaluation
After your talk, you will probably begin evaluating yourself even before you sit down. You may think that you left out some of the best parts. Everybody does that. Just congratulate yourself on having delivered your first speech, and write down the things you did well and the things you want to improve. Try to avoid your mistakes next time.

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.


  • Bring this manual to the meeting whenever you are scheduled to speak.
  • Review your talk with your coach/mentor.
  • Discuss any special points with your evaluator before giving the talk.
  • Give the evaluator your manual before you speak so he or she can make written comments on your performance.
  • Have the Vice President Education initial the Record of Assignments form on page 69 after you complete each project. This will give you credit toward your Competent Toastmaster (CTM) certificate.
  • Donít be discouraged if your evaluator "missed the point." Evaluators have varying degrees of experience in speaking, and evaluation is a "leam by doing" skill, just as speaking is.
  • If you have not already done so, read pages 4 to 7 in this manual. They are very important for your understanding of how to get the most out of the Toastmasters program.

 ( )


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.


  • To introduce you to speaking before an audience
  • To help you see what your strengths and weaknesses are regarding your presentations
  • To tell us something about yourself

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.

3.  Conclusion

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.

  • The audience can really feel for you if you mention the dream job for which you were turned down, or the distrastrous vacation with your best friend last summer.
  • Try to personalize parts as much as possible.  Talk about your job for example, why you enjoy it and the characters in the office.


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!


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