At a recent Carpe Diem Toastmasters club meeting, I had the honor of hearing Joyce Quinn’s “Ice Breaker” speech entitled “My Career”. It was interesting to learn about her youth and the decisions she made and the experiences she had that led her to a career as a Speech Pathologist.
Joyce is an active member of our club. She is always willing to perform various and multiple meeting roles. She is also very agreeable to fill these roles even “on the fly” right at the start of a meeting when last minute help is needed. I recall that, from her earliest days with the club, she would even volunteer to be a Table Topics speaker. However, it took Joyce a few months after joining to schedule her first speech, despite encouragement from club members.
I was curious about her hesitancy and asked for some insight about what led her to Toastmasters and about the preparation efforts for and the presentation of her first speech, in the hope that she could enlighten others who have also newly joined a club and could be feeling some hesitancy about speaking.
When considering joining Toastmasters, Joyce believed that the noncompetitive and encouraging environment would help her to improve her overall communication and presentation skills and help her to become more outgoing. She felt that becoming more proficient in these skills would give her more confidence professionally. When asked about her hesitancy to schedule the “Ice Breaker” speech, Joyce mentioned that she first wanted to become acclimated to the club members and the club environment. Basically, she wanted to build up her courage.
Joyce outlined for me the preparation process she used for her speech. She gave lots of thought to what she wanted to say and what people would want to hear. She read her Competent Communicator manual, looked on the web for sample speeches, and even met with her mentor; who happens to be me. When her thoughts were sorted about her intent, she wrote out her speech and practiced it a couple of times in the days beforehand.
I asked Joyce about the appropriateness of the evaluation she received. She felt that her evaluator’s feedback was positive, constructive and that the specific insightful points mentioned were helpful. She believes that the overall experience, preparation through presentation and evaluation, was positive and is looking forward to her next speech.
Joyce offered these recommendations to others who are thinking of presenting their “Ice Breaker” speech:
- Think about your club’s warm reception and friendly environment to overcome any apprehension that you might have.
- Keep your momentum going… as soon as you start making speeches always be planning your next one.
- Don’t let your fears stop you!!!
What great advice for all of us!