Engaging Humour 1.1 – Icebreaker

Have you ever immediately regretted your decision

Hello Mr President, Madam Toastmaster, and fellow Toastmasters. Thank you so much for welcoming me into your meeting this afternoon, I very much appreciate it. 

My name is Emily and I am a member of the Dublin 18 Toastmasters Club, in Ireland, and this is my second Icebreaker speech. My feelings today are far different to how they were on the night I delivered my first Icebreaker.

My time in Toastmasters has taught me so much, thanks to both Pathways, the online training programme set out, and more importantly from the people I have had the joy to meet and the speeches I have had the pleasure to listen to. 

I love learning new things, and through Toastmasters I have been exposed to information I would not have sought out myself. For example, one of our Club members explained to us the evolution of different ways of cleaning shipping diesel fuel, and another explained acquired brain injuries to us and yet another regaled us with tales of his childhood sporting rivalries with his neighbours.

As Andrea Martin said “It’s really important to me to keep growing and keep finding new things.”

I first heard about Toastmasters when I was in school and the idea of joining always appealed to me, as a member of the school debating society, it seemed like a good fit. Time moved on and it just never happened, that was, until one rainy Tuesday evening after a Guitar class in March 2019, I went to the Clayton Hotel, in Sandyford, where we normally have our meetings. 

Michelle Obama said “Just try new things. Don’t be afraid, step out of your comfort zone and soar.”

I walked into the meeting, was greeted by a wave of kindness and smiles, sat down in what would become my usual seat, and became absorbed by what I saw and heard. I liked the people and it occurred to me that I should have done a long time ago. 

I had no intention in talking that night, well, that was until the Table Topics Master asked the question ‘Where else would you like to live and why?’. I stood up, instantly questioning my actions and told the gathered members that I would choose to live in an international airport hub, due to the prospect of different daily adventures you could have, travelling to the various countries that airports serve. 

They seemed to like my little speech and awarded me the ribbon for best Table Topics speech for that evening. This was a wonderful surprise and I was ridiculously pleased to receive it. That was it, I was in! 

I know it feels like a different world now, but, before the virus that shall not be named ran amok in the world, when you won a ribbon, you would stand up and shake another humans hand! I know, imagine! When I sat down again, I couldn’t believe my luck. That ribbon now lives with its ribbon colleagues on my notice board. The buzz I felt that evening was something else. 

Oscar Wilde was right when he said, “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes”

As for the first night I made a prepared speech, I remember it very well, I had written and tried to learn my speech off by heart, which I know you are not meant to do, but, I just wanted to make sure that my brain did not go blank, nor did I want to read the entire speech to the Club. The speech was filled with colours indicating different actions and changes in tone, it had quotes in italics and looked very pretty. Whether it was any good though was another question.

Having walked into the meeting that evening, I took my usual seat on the right hand, front row, aisle seat and placed my notes and props beside me. I was speaking first and as the meeting started my heart started to beat faster (pat heart, breath exercises), my stomach did somersaults and I started to seriously rethink what I was doing. The Toastmaster gave me a wonderful introduction, and when she stopped, I stood up, considered running away, and walked to the front of the room, placed my notes and props on the podium, and turned to face the group.

Standing in front of everyone, looking around the room at the other members, seeing all of those friendly, smiling, encouraging faces looking back at me. 

Time stopped. 

I took a deep breath (breath deeply). 

Exhaled. (Exhale)

Stepped forward and started to speak…

Thank you Mr President, Madam Toastmaster, and fellow Toastmasters for giving me your time this afternoon.

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