CC Speech #1 – the Icebreaker

In an effort to provide both our new and current members with more resources for preparing speeches, there is an initiative to post speeches from the club members. To kick-start this, I have decided to post some of my old speeches. Today I am starting with the icebreaker I had almost a year ago. For those who would like to read more on what the icebreaker is about, the CC manual entry is publicly available on Toastmasters.org webpage.

Throughout the speech there are comments, which are highlighted in special boxes.
The prepared speech

Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.

Voltaire

I really love this quote, because it says so much about us. We can understand it in many ways. In this speech I am supposed to briefly introduce myself. I would like to bring up few of my favorite cards, so to say. I will speak about three occasions where some cards played or still play a rather important role in my life. And don´t worry, it won´t really be that serious.

I had decided to open up with a quote. That in itself was a good idea, but I read the quote instead of remembering it. If you want to open or close the speech with a quote, learn it by heart.

Everyone among us here holds some cards in his or her hand. Everyone has few cards he or she really likes and loves to play, so to speak. For example here, among us, Bogdan likes to play musical instruments and make friends that way. Tereza ……… Tomas ………. I would like to tell you about few of my cards.

Here I prepared references to other speakers from either the same meeting or the last one. The dots were meant to differ based on the speakers before me. It worked great and gave me a chance to throw in few quite nice jokes.

One of my most favorite cards is, well, playing cards. I just love playing card games. There are many I sometimes play, such as the well-known poker, but the one I really love is called “mariáš”. It is a specific czech game, one could even say it is national czech card game. If someone here feels like playing, just ask. I am always ready of a game.

cards

Then I have this particular card. [Take out ISIC] It used to be one of my favorite cards until recently. It is a symbol for my studies, an important part of my life that is mostly behind me now. Evenings spent by legal discussions and legal drinking with students from Faculty of Law, evenings spent by playing cards with people from Faculty of Informatics, actually also going to the school from time to time. Well, I liked that.

For the last part I had few props prepared. First were simple playing cards, second was ISIC (student's card) and last was the credit card.

Quite recently I swapped this card for this card. Simply put, I started working full-time. Thing is, I really enjoy it so far, but, well, I still realize the point of the job is so that this card [take out credit card] keeps working.

To sum it up, the one thing I would love to tell you is that wherever you are – at work, at school or playing cards at a card table, remember, it is not about the cards you were dealt, it is about how you play them. And most importantly, enjoy the cards and have fun. Thank you.

The speech ended here. Back then we didn't have the QA, so I just left the stage and eagerly awaited my evaluation.
How I felt about the speech

Altogether, I was pretty happy about the speech and the audience seemed to enjoy it, too. However, today I see so much I could have improved. Most of it, however, was related to delivery. Body language, eye contact, vocal variety, speed.

What would I recommend to the other brave people preparing for their icebreaker?

  • Do not make it complicated – it is supposed to be a short speech about yourself.
  • Read the manual before. It has many useful tips and gives you nice idea what to focus on.
  • Find a topic that suits you and is close to you. It helps you ennjoy the speech.
  • Prepare and rehearse a lot. More the preparation, better the speech!

Enjoy your icebreaker & have fun!

Josef Hertl, VP PR

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