Speaking As A Leader | Email #2 The Ice Breaker Speech

Speak as a Leader: 10 weeks email-driven course

This is email #2.  The “Ice-Breaker” – Connecting with People

The “How I got here” Ice-breaker: 

An ice-breaker is a simple introduction of who you are.  It will be used at networking dinners, or at a point in a larger speech where you share your own story to build credibility for the speech.  There are 5 standard formats; this week we will focus on the “how I got here” approach.

Today’s Task

How I got here:  Describe 3 decision moments that led you to be “here”, where “here” might be the place you live, the job you have, or why you are practicing speaking at this moment.

Take a few moments and reflect on the 3 critical decisions.  Pick 3 and get started.  Don’t think too much.  The aim here is to get a first version done.  Then you can press delete.  And maybe try again…

Start your webcam.  Briefly explain the 3 critical decisions into your camera.  Then you can press delete.  And maybe try again…

Remember that this speech is merely a way for you to introduce yourself. Pick three important things you’d like your audience to learn about you and make those your speech. If you speak on something that you’re passionate about, you won’t run out of words. So, talk about an exciting adventure from your past, your hopes, your dreams and maybe your favorite hobby. What defines you? Talk about it.

OPTIONAL TASK:

How to improve this speech?  Here is a pdf with an exercise called the Lifeline Exercise

This will help you reflect over the key events of your life and how they have shaped the person that you are today.  It will provide wonderful reflection that can help you improve your “how I got here” ice breaker speech, and also understand more about yourself.

Resources:

13 comments

  1. Islombek Abdullaev · · Reply

    The second step is made along a long journey. I spoke spontaneously on the web cam. So far I have understood a valuable lesson from my experience: one should be a generator while speaking, and in the meantime to stay actively focused and vigilant towars the produced thoughts, words expressing them as well as facial expression and voice, of course. Thank you enormously, Mr. Conor.

  2. Van Anh · · Reply

    Hi Conor! Could you please give me more information about this task? Is this task, as well as this course, for a member of Toastmasters or for anyone who wants to improve their speaking?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Van Ahn – it is part of an email course that you can begin here: http://ethos.conorneill.com/improve-your-speaking/

      Hope you sign up 😉

  3. Filro · · Reply

    Hi Connor,

    I found this exercise very helpful though I am having difficulty organizing my thoughts during my first few tries. I knew that constant practice will really make the difference and will make me spontaneous when expressing. Its really a challenge and with the idea that i got from this site, it will make me better. Thank you very much!.

  4. Dear Conor,

    I have tried 5times icebreaker. I am still not satisfied on my icebreaker.
    What kings should I focus for my next video PLz suggest me.

    Thank you Very much.
    BG.

  5. Dear Conor,

    I must confess, I found this task extremely difficult at first. I have been an active member of toastmasters for about 10 months now and I gave my ice breaker about a month after joined officially. Even with my success at toastmasters, I just realised how awful my ice breaker actually sounded. I actually recorded more than 5 awfull videos of my self before I could finally say I had the perfect icebreaker.

    Now I have come up with an icebreaker which is less than 3 minutes and yet tells a story about myself, explaining what I am doing now, why I am doing it, the reason for joining toastmasters and finally the reason I am taking part in the course. With this icebreaker, I am confident that my audience will also have follow up questions which can build into meaningful discussions.

    I actually think it is better to kind of summarise your ice breaker and make it short, so your listener can always ask questions that could lead to discussions instead of telling someone about your self for almost 8 minutes without getting any question from your listener.

    I will be sure to reccommend this to other people as well.

    Warm regards,

    Winston

    1. Fantastic reflections Winston – and yes, if you can leave the listener with some questions that they really want to ask you… you have really connected 😉

  6. Dear Conor,

    I must confess, I found this task extremely difficult at first. I have been an active member of toastmasters for about 10 months now and I gave my ice breaker about a month after joined officially. Even with my success at toastmasters, I just realised how awful my ice breaker actually sounded. I actually recorded more than 5 awfull videos of my self before I could finally say I had the perfect icebreaker.
    Now I have come up with an icebreaker which is less than 3 minutes and yet tells a story about myself, explaining what I am doing now, why I am doing it, the reason for joining toastmasters and finally the reason I am taking part in the course. With this icebreaker, I am confident that my audience will also have follow up questions which can build into meaningful discussions.

    I actually think it is better to kind of summarise your ice breaker and make it short, so your listener can always ask questions that could lead to discussions instead of telling someone about your self for almost 8 minutes without getting any question from your listener.

    I will be sure to reccommend this to other people as well.

    Warm regards,

    Winston

    1. Thank you Winston.

      There was an old story of a family that lived in poverty, always struggling to get enough food to keep the hungry mouths fed. Years later, when the father had passed on and their house abandoned a surveyor discovered that the pictures on their walls and in stacks in their attic – were original Rembrandts; worth millions.

      We are all like this family in our speaking – the little moments that we forget as we lived them and they seem “normal” to us – are actually the “Rembrandts” of our speeches. Only others can let us know how valuable they are.

  7. Joanne Conrad · · Reply

    I was committed to presenting a speech today. All of your advise paid off three fold! Although I was not impressed with myself on video, I was quite comfortable speaking today. After 2 years with Toastmasters, it took me 1/2 hour with your lessons to improve my public speaking skills. Needless to say, I have left Toastmasters!

    1. Joanne – it is great that video was so helpful to you. I think we can get a big initial improvement with self-videos (are these called selfie vids?) Toastmasters is a great place to find mentors who have already gone through the process and can accelerate our improvement.

  8. Anna Maria sempreviva · · Reply

    Very challenging to see oneself in a video, I did not have the courage until now

    1. Thanks Anna Maria – you are right. It can be painful at first – I think we pay much more attention to our own slight defects than we ever would to another person’s… we are so much more aware of what we intend to do, say and the difference between expected and delivered. The path to becoming better is through this early highly-conscious-of-myself stage… keep on going 😉

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