Writing the Icebreaker: Part two

In Part one, you learned the first steps to creating an Icebreaker speech; the first speech you will give in your Toastmasters club.

For this lesson, we’ll take our example message and work on our opening remarks. You may wonder how we can craft these without determining our three main points, right?

Good call. Let’s draft out those three points first. In part four (after developing the closing in part three) we will deal with developing those three points further. But for now we can use a farily easy technique to draft out these points.

For the example message, lets look at a basic chronological Icebreaker speech.
First Point: Where I grew up
Second Point: Where I work
Third Point: My family and hobbies

For the opening, we want to:
1. Avoid pointless pleasantries
2. Make our promise
3. Provide a road-map

What are pointless pleasantries? Things like “glad to be here”, “nice weather”, “Mr. toastmaster”, or anything that doesn’t add to the value of your conversation with the audience. Better to open with a powerful question, a story or a relevant quote.

What about the promise? “In the next five minutes you are going to learn a bit more about me and what brought me to this Toastmasters club”

And the road-map? This is just a way to let them know what those three main points are.

“Dr. Stephen Covey says the seventh habit of highly effective people is to ‘Sharpen the Saw.’ In the next 5 minutes you are going to hear a bit about my life, and what brought me here to sharpen my saw with you. First, you’ll learn about where I was raised, then what I do for XYZ company here in Wichita. Finally you’ll hear about what I like to do with my off-work time and why I’ve added Toastmasters to my life.”

Then you’ll finish the opening with a transition to first main point:

“Of course, being a Toastmaster isn’t what I thought I would be doing when I grew up. In fact, would you believe in high school I wanted to be an Architect? Here’s what really happened…”

That is a simple opeing for the Icebreaker speech. Next would be that first point about growing up. We’ll discuss that more later in the week, along with the other main points.

Tomorrow, we’ll work on the closing statement. This is where you want your best story or other material. You may look to tie it to the opening, such as “I may not have become an Architect, but now I …”

The rest of the closing tomorrow…

<Editors note: Here is an excellent (and recent) related blog entry from Craig Valentine. http://www.craigvalentine.com/open-your-speech-and-open-their-minds/>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *