Toastmasters - Collected Wisdom

These are summaries of the collected wisdom of contributors to a Toastamsters newsgroup which operated between 1995 and 2008 and ToastmastersPrime, a Google group which commenced in 2008. This is not an official Toastmasters site, but is an edited collection of posts from the newsgroup and the Google group. These groups provide an unofficial means of communicating for an enthusiastic group of Toastmasters from throughout the world.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Ice breaker ideas

In July 2004 there was one of the many threads where group members sought and offered ideas for ice breaker speeches. The focus here was members repeating their CTM, but it will also have value for new members.

Re: Icebreaker ideas

Joy recalled:
My first Icebreaker was called "Petrified Ham", and explained that I joined Toastmasters because of a split personality - part introvert, part ham. I gave examples in my life where one or the other personality won out. One of my Icebreakers was given at a meeting with a theme of History, so I talked about being a child during World War II. In my last one, I talked about the cars in my life.

talked about personal experiences as a member or leader of various teams.

I've done my life in Toastmasters. I had been in Toastmasters for about 15 years. I talked about my different goals, why I set the goals and how Toastmasters helped me reach them.
I took the approach "you are what you do". I talked about the different activities I participated in and why they were important to me.

For one Ice Breaker, I talked about being laid off, and how my family and I handled that.
I talked about the trials of raising a teenage daughter. (Much more of a challenge than raising a teenage boy, but maybe that was because he saw all of the trouble she generated for herself.)
Several of them were your garden variety Ice Breaker that picked different parts of my life to talk about.

I need to do another Ice Breaker, maybe I can do something with my cars or computers. I was just young enough to miss Vietnam and the protests. I can remember the 60's, so I wasn't part of them. But, maybe I can find one or more historic events to related to an Ice Breaker.
What about your life though songs, movies or books of the period? Why would each song, movie or book represent that part of your life.

John suggested:
How about tying your previous ice breakers together - brief snippets of each of the previous themes and then present yourself as a composite human being. We all are, but often others only see us in one role - a worker or a speaker or a parent or an activist - whatever. Perhaps the brief snippets in the ice breaker could lead into assignment two - being passionate about complex beings.

For a title, how about Song of Joy, and then take up Rick's suggestion of music which has meant something to you. Most of us have songs that we associate with certain feelings. Would you be willing to share yours.

What about a segment of your life - childhood, compared to a child today, your work, your travels, your retirement. The difference between your life and your recollections of your mother's life.

I guess these are straying a bit from the precise format of the Ice breaker - but are they? If you tell about what life was like for you after the children left home compared to what it was like for your mother after you and the family left home then you are introducing an unknown you to the audience.

A Chronicle of Cycles: An allegorical icebreaker, telling my story through my search for the Secret Society of Sorcerers who had magic so powerful that even the very stones would give forth speech in their presence. The story was cyclic.

The Other Rod Taylors: A series of cameos of my different personae - Rod Taylor the Toastmaster, Rod Taylor the professional, the father, the friend, the adventurer, etc. This one was timed precisely so that the red light came on as I reached 'the lover', so that would have to wait for another time.

Lights, Camera, Action!: Treating my life story as a movie. The scenes shifting from episode to episode.

My first icebreaker was on three basic principles of mine:
1) "Quiet and boring": I like having a peaceful environment.
2) "Data is data.": I like to learn.
3) "I love cats.": illustrated by my second speech ("Oooh, Kitties! Why You Might Like to Have a Cat or Two").

My second ("How I Got Here") was on how I came to be living where I was living.

My third was entitled "Excitement: It's Overrated If You Ask Me". I spoke about not being a drama queen. "Quiet and boring" got centre stage.

I should do something about the Sinister Brotherhood of Lefthanders whose motto is "Right is wrong, and left is right, ah, correct."

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