Icebreakers for Speechcrafters

The Icebreaker is your first prepared speech in your Speechcraft Manual.

Here are some suggestions to help you prepare and deliver it.

When it is your turn to speak go out to the front and stand at the side ready to walk across and shake hands with the Toastmaster when s/he welcomes you.

General points

1 You only have 2-3 minutes - pick an interesting feature of your life, not your whole life story.

2 If you need to, use a palm card to job your memory.  Write a few notes on one palm card - just make a few dot points - don't write out your whole speech.

3 Practice giving your speech out aloud in front of a mirror or to your partner or friends and make sure it fits in the time. You will find from experience that it takes longer to give your speech at the club than practising at home, so definitely don't take longer than 2.45 at home.

Planning the start of your speech

4 Start your speech with one sentence explaining what you are going to talk about.

5 Don’t waste time explaining that this is your Icebreaker, why you decided to talk about this topic etc. Just start! And definitely don't start with an apology like “I’m not very good at this”, “I haven’t had time to prepare this.” Just start!

6 Try to start with a big statement. For example, “If there is one thing I love, it’s parties…” Then go on to tell a story about your life as a partygoer

or "I learned quite a lot about myself when I ..." Then go on to tell a story about some significant event in your life.

Preparing the middle part or body of your speech

7 Tell just one story from your own experience which reveals an important thing about you and is related to your opening sentence.

Concluding your speech

8 End with one or two sentences which reminds the listeners of your main point. A good way is repeat your opening sentence with an ending flavour. For example, “So that is why I love parties”, or "I messed that one up, but at least I learned what I can and can't handle."

9. Don’t say “Thank You” at the end. Stand still, pause, look around at the audience and when they start to applaud, turn to shake hands with the Toastmaster and then go back to your seat.

10. Check out a much more detailed discussion of this kind of speech at

Personal Experience Speeches

You may need more help than this page. If so, ring David Nicholas on 0401 011 212