16 Apr

“PS: I Love You” or How I Broke the Ice

A post by our co-blogger and member of BASF Toastmasters Subhamoy Bhattacharya.   
Quite aptly the first speech for a new member in a Toastmasters Club is called “The Ice Breaker“. The competent communication manual mentions that in this “project” the speaker introduces him/herself to the audience and also gives them some information about his/her ambitions/interests and background. Below are some excerpts from the speech I delivered which might be helpful for some future Ice Breakers 🙂

Since I find it a bit awkward in general speaking about “myself” (maybe its a cultural aspect I am still to overcome), I decided to narrate a few anecdotes from my life and in the process outline my experiments with public speaking in the short 6 minute speech cryptically titled: P.S. I Love You

My first experience in public speaking came at the early age of a few days. A week after my birth I was “displayed” in front of my relatives and since I was too overwhelmed by all the attention, I didn’t manage to “say” anything. My audience returned disappointed. Lesson learnt: “Audience is everything, keep them engaged”.

My second experience came during my school days in Kolkata (India) when I for the first time faced a “real” audience for the inter-class debate competition. I was selected to represent my class and had 7 days to prepare a speech and deliver in front of a 50 member strong audience. Sounds like an easy job now, but would have been impossible had it not been for my first unofficial speech writer: Dad. He wrote, I learnt and delivered on D-Day the mugged up version. The audience cheered, I came second and learnt the second lesson: In a speech “Content is king”.

With experience and exposure, I very soon was a confident debater still mostly using learnt material to deliver speeches. This changed one fine day when in a fit of excitement during an external visit to another school I forgot my lines. I stumbled, fumbled and luckily could come up with something completely new but thankfully relevant to the theme faring not so bad in the end. I learnt pretty quickly my lesson this time: A good speech should have elements of “Improvisation”.

The next lesson I learnt came during my days in College when as part of the Dramatics team I used to stage plays and sometimes used improvisation in the dialogue delivery styles to make the audience laugh. With the limited independence I got in terms of improvisation during those days I realised interestingly that I derived energy from the laughter of the audience and an aspect I later successfully transferred to my speeches as well. Lesson learnt: “Humor” is to a speech what oxygen is to life.

My final learning experience so far was at the Inter-University debate competition when in a foreign location, devoid of supporters and in front of other seemingly favourite speeches I stuck to the basics, incorporated the above elements and still came out on top. Lesson learnt: “A good speech never fails”.

When people ask me, despite all these experiences so far why I joined Toastmasters, I put on the table two primary reasons:

  • A quote by my favourite public speaker: “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” (Steve Jobs, Stanford University Commencement address 2005).
  • The title of this speech itself: “Public Speaking: I Love You

picture:  Rolf Handke  / pixelio.de / Image-ID: 441778

15 Aug

Flyers and material now available

To provide you with some information about BASFToastmasters we’ve designed an invitation flyer for the first meetings and a flyer with some general information about Toastmasters and what you can expect at our club. Of course you can download them or get in contact with us and we will send you a couple of hard copies. And if you are curios about the first speech project of a Toastmaster you can have a look at the Ice Breaker.