Ice breaker is the first speech you deliver when you begin your journey in Toastmasters. Think of it like introducing yourself to the club. In Toastmasters, it is suggested that a new member should deliver his or her Ice breaker within 4 weeks of joining. This makes it more likely that the new member would stay active on his or her path.
Writing an ice breaker can appear challenging since this is the first time you are drafting a speech. However, it’s the easiest project in any path. Here are some dos and don’ts.
RELATED – Add creativity to your ice breaker with an interesting introduction & conclusion. To see sample, click here.
1) Do share at least one embarrassing moment either from your childhood (if you are young) or any point in your life (if you are older.) This has two purposes – a) It introduces humor into your speech and b) It makes you appear more human and therefore relatable to other club members.
2) Do touch upon areas like education, hobbies and goal in life but not in too detail.
3) Do finish your speech in around 700 words. Ice breaker is a 4 to 6 minutes speech. Therefore using more words will either make your speech fast paced or disqualify you for violating time limits.
4) Do conclude with answering the question “Why did you join Toastmasters?” This is ideally the preferred ending to any ice breaker speech.
1) Don’t discuss any particular aspect too deeply. You will end up compromising on other aspects of your life.
2) Don’t speak too negative about yourself. It’s ok to say “I am a procrastinator – no wonder I kept postponing Toastmasters until recently”. But don’t start recounting every episode when you procrastinated and how much it cost you.
3) Don’t say general things that nobody can relate to. When you say “I have a family, I am an engineer and I love sports,” it makes your introduction vague. That’s the bio of 60% people. When you say “I am the youngest of three siblings, I did my mechanical engineer from ABC Institute in 2013 and I am a huge fan of tennis,” it makes you look like an actual distinct human being.
4) Don’t copy from other Ice breaker speeches on YouTube. New members have a tendency to browse the website for ice breaker speeches and draft their ice breakers by picking up ideas from these videos available online. It doesn’t help you and someone from audience may catch you even if your mentor doesn’t.
Here is a simple format that you may use to draft your ice breaker. Please note that Toastmasters provide a format to prepare your Ice breaker speech as well. You will find it within your Pathways resources. However, most members don’t find it very helpful in preparing their ice breaker speeches. The format below is just an alternative that you may choose with guidance from your mentor.