------------------------------------------------- Effective Speaking Skills ------------------------------------------------- the basics for The Ice-breaker The icebreaker! (Aurora Australis) No not that one... You’re first speech as a Toastmaster and, arguably, you’re most important. The icebreaker is the pretext for all speeches to follow and the one in which you’re good and bad speaking habits are identified. My talk tonight will include the Icebreakers; Purpose, structure and provide you with information on how to write and present your first speech as a toastmaster.
It is important to note that in the fourth and final night of speech craft you will all be giving your own icebreakers. So firstly what is the purpose of the icebreaker? Quite simply the icebreaker is designed to give new participants an introduction to public speaking; to give the speaker a feel for presenting a topic in front of a captive audience. The icebreaker is also used to discover speaking skills that you already have and identify which areas of your abilities need development.
The icebreakers structure is typical to that of most speeches having an introduction, body and conclusion. Now without revisiting the fifth grade let me summarize quickly the most important features of each component. The introduction is used to reveal the topic and maybe most importantly GRAB ATTENTION. Continuing with your speech from this point would be futile if the listener has no reason to actively follow your speech. Great attention grabbers are things such as asking rhetorical questions, making startling statements, using humor or narrative and arousing curiosity.
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While most toastmasters are just as good listeners as they are speakers it is a simple truth that, outside of these walls, unless you give someone a reason to listen to you; they won’t. The body of course is the crux of your talk and the reason you are standing in front of your peers. We will touch more on what the body of an icebreaker speech would normally include shortly. Finally the conclusion is used to summarize your speech and should always finish with impact.
This can be achieved by closing with a quotation or narrative. The second and most unique component to the Icebreakers structure is its timing. The Icebreaker is a four to six minute speech and as you will notice on the timekeepers lights; the green light appears at four minutes, the amber at five and the red at six. So how do I write and present my icebreaker speech? The best way to begin your speaking experience is to talk about a familiar subject – yourself.
It would be near impossible to condense your life into 5 minutes so you must narrow it by selecting some significant and interesting life events that will give your fellow toastmasters an introduction and brief insight into you as an individual. This might include your birthplace, education, family and/or future ambitions. You could speak of your recent travels to Asia and tell of some funny stories whilst there or you could simply give a brief chronological account of your life to this point highlighting the key parts.
Select your visual aids carefully should you choose to use them. Be wary not to provide too much or too little information so as to confuse the viewer and listener. For instance; if I was suddenly giving a lesson on the special theory of relativity it’s simply a gross impracticality to provide all the information in a single slide expecting the listener to understand. Instead provide your visual be it a slide presentation or object with as much simplicity and symbolism as possible so as to maximize meaning whilst minimizing clutter.
Remember. This is just a sample.
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