Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The joy of listening to Ice Breaker speeches

The first Toastmasters speech project in the Competent Communication basic manual is a 4 to 6 minute long Ice Breaker. Its goal is for the new member to introduce himself or herself to the club. Listening to these speeches is a real treat, because you never know what will be in them.

Recently one from a music teacher opened with a trombone solo. Another member described how she went from growing up on a farm in Pennsylvania to working as an entomologist for the Forest Service.

In his unofficial guide to this speech Andrew Dlugan points out that:

“If you get up, say something, and sit down, you have succeeded in this project.”

However, thinking about writing this speech typically brings up some very big questions. In Babylon V, a science fiction TV series, one very ancient character named Lorien stated them as follows:

1. Who are you?

2. What do you want?

3. Why are you here?

4. Do you have anything worth living for?

5. Where are you going?

6. Who do you serve, and who do you trust?

It takes a lot of thought and editing to produce a clear answer for even one of these questions in only 5 minutes!

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