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Ice Breaker

A.S.T. - District 50, Area 66, Club 9872


Toastmaster Speech Manual Number One


i.   To begin speaking before an audience  
ii.  To help you understand what areas require particular emphasis in your speaking development 
iii. To introduce yourself to your fellow club members  
iv. Time is four to six minutes  


            By now you’ve heard speeches by Club members and have probably participated in table topics. Here is your opportunity to give your first prepared talk and “break the ice.”   

The best way to begin your speaking experience is to talk about the subject closest to you – yourself. You will introduce yourself to your fellow Club members and give them some information about your background, interest, and ambitions. As you prepare and deliver your talk, your will become aware of  speaking skills you already have and areas that require some work. Your fellow members will help you understand these needs , as they see them. 

As you read this project, make notes in the margin, Read the entire project before preparing your  talk. 

Narrow the Subject 
The general subject of this talk is you, but that subject is too broad for a short four- to six-minute talk. You must narrow the subject by selecting three or four interesting aspects of your life that will give your fellow members insight and understanding  of you  as an individual. These might include your birthplace, education, or family. You could explain how you came to be  in your present occupation and tell the audience something about your ambitions. Should you prefer to avoid autobiography, you might talk about your business, your hobbies, or anything relating to you as an individual.  
Once you have the highlights of your talk in mind, weave them into a story, just as if you were telling it to friends around the dinner table. Share significant personal  experiences. The more personal you make your talk, the warmer will be the relationship between you and your audience.


Opening, Body, and Conclusion 
Like any good story, your talk needs a clear beginning and an ending. Create an interesting opening sentence that captures the audience’s attention. Memorize it,if necessary and use it even if a better idea occurs to you just before you speak. Then devise a good closing and memorize it, too. Giving your audience too much information will only overwhelm them. A memorized  beginning and ending enable you  to start and finish your talk with confidence and ease. In any speech, it’s best to select a few main points( three or four at the most) and emphasize them by using examples, stories, or anecdotes. If you merely state a fact and then continue, most of your audience will miss the point and then state  it once more in order to be clearly understood. This is a good skill to learn. If you think you will need notes, write a brief speech outline on 3 x 5 cards which you can place on the lectern. Refer to them only when you need them. Remember , you’re speaking, not reading. Many speakers begin by writing out an entire speech, then breaking it down into parts, with a day word for each part, and finally writing just the day words on one note card. 


Preparing Your  Talk 
Once you’ve completed your speech preparation.. relax. Nervousness is common to every speaker, no matter how experienced. In fact, you can put this nervous energy to work for you by using it to add excitement to your delivery, No one is going to notice a little quavering in your voice, and it will soon disappear anyway as you become involved with what you’re saying. 
While being introduced, take a deep breath and slowly exhale. This will help your voice sound rational and natural. Begin by facing the Toastmaster and saying. “Mr. or Madam) Toastmaster”, then face the audience and say, “ ladies and gentlemen...” or “Fellow Toastmasters and welcome guests...” Pause, then plunge in with your prepared opening sentences.  While speaking, make “eye contact” with various members of the audience first looking directly at one person for a few seconds then looking at another, so no one feels left out of your talk. As you’re doing this. Glance periodically at the timer. If the red light comes on while you’re talking, move smoothly to your conclusion and finish quickly. Observe time limits whenever you speak. Don’t worry about what to do with your hands. leave them at your sides if you wish. You’ll have opportunities to practice” body language” later. One final comment: Don't end by saying "Thank You". The audience should thank you for the information you've shared. Instead , just close with your prepared ending, nod at the Toastmaster of the meeting and say, " Mr./Madame Toastmaster - then enjoy the applause!


Your Evaluation 
After you finish, you will probably begin evaluating your self even before you sit down. You might think you left out some of the best parts. Everybody thinks that. Just congratulate yourself on having delivered your first speech, then write down the things you did well and the things you want to improve. Try to avoid making the same mistakes in your next speech. To supplement your own evaluation, an experienced Club member has been assigned to evaluate your efforts. Before the meeting begins, give this manual to your evaluator so that  he or she may make notes on the evaluation page for this project. This will give you a permanent record of your progress. If you want the evaluator to observe something in particular, be sure to inform the evaluator in advance. Ask other members for additional comments after the meeting. All of these comments may not be useful to you, but you should consider them carefully. Remember the evaluations are representational of how the audience perceived you and your talk. They are usually –but  not always- helpful to your self-development. 


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