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My ice breaker


I gave my first speech at Toastmasters yesterday. Your first speech is called The Ice Breaker, which I titled It's all about moderation.

I gave my first speech at Toastmasters yesterday. Your first speech is called The Ice Breaker, which I titled It’s all about moderation.

I recently wrote about Toastmasters and how I had taken on my first major role in a meeting as the General Evaluator.

Yesterday I took on another major role: The Ice Breaker.

The Ice Breaker is the first prepared talk to “break the ice.” It’s supposed to be the easiest because it is about the person you know the best, yourself.

Funny thing is everything I talked about I am comfortable telling anyone one on one or in a small group. But standing in front of a crowd of people who are all looking at you and listening to you … well, that’s another story.

I hate the anxiety I feel right before and during public speaking. And I want to find ways to be more comfortable in those situations. That’s why I joined Toastmasters.

Public speaking is considered the greatest fear a person can have, even greater than the fear of death.

Challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone takes a lot of convincing. But I know it is important. Toastmasters is a great venue for this. The support is amazing. And I have to say I ended up with an awesome mentor. He is so enthusiastic and supportive and encourages me.

I am also trying to learn to focus my anxiety and fear into a more positive experience.

Fear and excitement have a nearly identical physiological response and chemical reaction in the body. According to Ann McMaster fear and excitement are the same emotion.

According to Catherine Hanrahan, who wrote Lost Girls and Love Hotels, “Fear and excitement are chemically the same. Sadness is a hair away from melancholy. Melancholy is almost pleasure, brushing against happiness. …”

Yesterday I faced my fear and gave my Ice Breaker. I was as prepared as possible. I wore something that I felt good in and, frankly, looked good in, which helped boost my confidence. The dress I wore is my favorite color and coincidentally matched my toe nail polish. Not intentional. But the matching dress and toes received a lot of compliments.

I was so nervous while up there. My legs were shaking and eventually I had cotton mouth. But I got through it and received two standing ovations. For your first speech you receive a standing ovation. The Toastmaster asked the audience to give me a second one as the event was a little bigger than normal and I was the only speaker (usually there are two).

And the best part, well, besides facing my fear, Go Fit Girl! got a major plug during my speech. Afterward I got a ton of praise. Someone (who was visiting from another Toastmasters) told me they would have never known it was my first time speaking at Toastmasters. I had so many questions about GFG!, too.

My next big role will be Toastmaster, which is essentially the emcee of the meeting.

4 Responses to “My ice breaker”

  1. Jessie Says:

    Yay you!! I joined the debate team in high school for the same reason – I was petrified of public speaking and wanted to get over it. Now I have to talk to large audiences very commonly and I barely break a sweat! Every time is easier than the one before – keep practicing!

  2. Ann Says:

    Thanks, Jessie. And glad to hear it gets better. I know the more I do it the more comfortable I will get.

  3. Nicole Says:

    Good for you! there was one of these groups near where I worked in downtown SF and I never did I’m wishing there was one that was convenient here. I have the same experiences you have with public speaking, and in the past, I’ve told myself I’m just not going to ever do it. Well, the reality is, either situations do come up where you need to convey information in public, and career-wise, you can’t get around the fact that this skill is needed to progress. I think public speaking is very tied into self-confidence, and to improve on one side of that equation leads to an improvement on the other side.

  4. Ann Says:

    Lucky for me there is a group at work. No excuse to not join.
    Later this year I am going to have to do a presentation on trademarks and I want to be more comfortable while doing it.
    Apparently I didn’t appear nervous. But many, my legs and hands were shaking and I just wanted it to be over.
    Weird thing is if there was music blasting I would be totally comfortable dancing, just as long as I don’t have to give a speech.