Tuesday, October 22, 2013

CC Manual - Tips for coming up with Ice Breaker Speech Content

Recently, we conducted a Youth Leadership Program. Many of the participants called me up to find out how they should craft the script for their Ice Breaker speech. I jotted down a few items which can be part of an Ice Breaker speech. I thought I would share it in my blog - so that, it can benefit the new members who join Toastmasters. The objective of the Ice Breaker speech (i.e., Competent Communicator Project #1) is to get to know the speaker better. The duration of the speech is about 4 - 6 minutes. You can choose to include one or more of the items given below in your speech:
  1. Where were you born?
  2. What is so special about the city in which you are born? 
  3. What is your name? What is the significance of your name?
  4. Who are in your family?
  5. What are some memorable incidents from your childhood days? Why? 
  6. Which school did you go to?
  7. What is the most memorable incident from your school days? Why?
  8. Who is your favorite teacher? Why?
  9. Which college did you go to?
  10. Who is your favorite professor or lecturer? Why?
  11. What is the most memorable incident from your college days? Why?
  12. Who are your friends? What do you and your friends enjoy doing?
  13. Are there any events (sports, competitions or exams) in which you participated?
  14. Are you employed? If so, how did you find your first job?
  15. What is the company where you are currently working?
  16. What is that you like about your current company & current job?
  17. Are you married? How did you meet your spouse? Has married life changed you in any way?
  18. Do you have kids? What do they do? 
  19. How do you spend time with your family? 
  20. What is your hobby? How do you spend your spare time?
  21. What is your future goal / dream?
The questions given above can help you in crafting your first speech in Toastmasters. When you finish crafting your speech, you can send it to your mentor for a quick review. You can look at my sample Ice Breaker speeches in the following location:

Wishing you all the best with your Competent Communicator journey.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Wanted to improve your public speaking skills?! Toastmasters is the way to go.

This is an article that I wrote for publishing in MMA (Madras Management Association) newsletter during April 2012.

Would you like to be a leader in your community? Perhaps, your ambition is to be promoted in your work, to feel comfortable while speaking at social gatherings or to improve your interpersonal communication skills. Have you thought about how you can reach these goals? 

Like most young people, I was not sure how I was going to reach my goals. Despite having completed several courses on communication and public speaking, including a Masters Degree in Management, I was aware that I did not have the communication and leadership skills needed to lead my team effectively, and I wanted to learn these skills.

One day a friend told me about the Toastmasters Program. He enthusiastically explained and emphasized the communication and leadership aspects of the program. He spoke of the “learn by doing” workshop approach and how he had the opportunity to practice leadership skills by taking leadership roles in his club. This was exactly what I had been looking for.

My friend’s advice, and his enthusiasm for the communication and leadership aspects of the program, appealed to me. Within two years of joining Toastmasters, my previous dread of speaking at the roll-out of new programs and at training sessions had vanished and such occasions became enjoyable and enriching experiences. I saw the change in my private life too: I was now willing to lead discussions in my office and do presentations in front of my customer, without being nervous. My dream to break free from my terror of speaking in public had come true.

Like me, your dream of being a leader in your community, feeling comfortable before an audience, taking a leadership role with confidence or improving your communication and leadership skills can be realized. As a first step towards achieving your goals and realizing your dreams, I urge you to consider visiting and hopefully joining your local Toastmasters Club.

Is there any evidence that the Toastmasters Program really works? If proof were needed, let me advise you that many of the top companies in the world, as well as leading professional bodies, have in-house Toastmasters Clubs to support the personal and professional development of their employees or members. For most of us, however, it is the Community Toastmasters Club that helps us to develop those skills and competencies that we so greatly admire in other people. We have 32 different toastmasters clubs all over Tamilnadu. To find a club near you, you should go to www.toastmasters.org. We would love to have you join us.

Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches communication and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. The organization currently has more than 260,000 members in approximately 12,500 clubs in 113 countries. Since its founding in October 1924, by Ralph C. Smedley, the organization has helped more than 4 million men and women lead and communicate with poise and confidence. Today, organizations around the world recognize the value of incorporating Toastmasters training to help employees improve their communication and leadership skills.

For more information, and to find a club near your place go to http://www.toastmasters.org