Toastmasters Icebreaker Speech

I officially joined Toastmasters about three weeks ago. For those of you who don?t know, Toastmasters is an organization/support group that teaches public speaking and leadership skills. There are club locations everywhere, so if that is something that sparks your interest, I am sure you can join one near you. Check out https://www.toastmasters.org/ for more information.

Public speaking is something I have always avoided growing up, but over time I have realize the importance of being able to communicate and engage a crowd of people. I?m happy to report I have taken the first step in becoming a competent communicator, which is the first goal in toastmasters. Today, I delivered my first speech, which is the icebreaker speech.

While introducing myself, I wanted to attempt to incorporate humor, engage the audience, and deliver content that is hopefully relatable and motivational. I felt I had to open up and share some of my personal struggle to achieve that, which made me feel really vulnerable. I was hesitant about sharing such things, but in the end, I am glad I did as this process really help me reflect on myself in a different way. Even though I wasn?t sure how people would perceive me or the talk, I decided it was best to just put myself out there. I not only won best speech of the night but had a lot of feedback from people who said they really enjoyed my talk and could connect with me on the topic.

I believe this experience will only lead to better speeches and end with me becoming a better speaker. ? I?m archiving this speech for future reads mostly for myself. This will remind me in moments of self-doubt that as I challenge myself, it will get easier over time and will only put me in a position to take on bigger challenges. I can get over any struggle and I should remember how much I have grown since I started. I also want to remind myself how lucky I am to have the opportunities that I do in life, and I need to make sure I?m deserving of them. I?m sharing it here for any readers who may also need a pick me up. Without further adieu, here is my speech:

Good Evening Fellow Toastmasters & Guests,

Today I will be giving my icebreaker speech, which is a chance for me to introduce myself. For those who don?t know, my name is Linda, and like all of you, I am a person made up from my past experiences and I am here today because I am hopeful that this particular experience will make me a better person tomorrow.

I wanted to start by sharing a childhood story that showcased a pivotal event describing a time that illustrates the kind of person I was growing up. Most people experience their character defining moment when they go through some sort of major rejection or failure after putting in a lot of effort for something they really wanted. Well, as I mentioned, that is how I WANTED to start this speech, but as the legendary singer/songwriter Mick Jagger once said, ?You can?t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need.?

So after brainstorming and going through all the memories and moments of my life, I was stumped. I couldn?t think of anything that really stood out, nothing that really tested me or got an interesting reaction out of me.

?Why can?t I think of anything particularly special to share? I definitely made many mistakes that I learned from in my lifetime, ?.so what is it??

After asking myself this, that is when I realize, what my biggest disappointment was and is to this day. The truth is, I never really passionately pursued anything wholeheartedly before. I never really cared to rise above the group, challenged the status quo, or worked hard to get exceptionally good at any one thing. I always was the kind of person that did what was as expected and enough to get by. I never really cared for more than that, until not too long ago.

Growing up with an immigrant mother from a developing country, I was reminded all the time about how privilege I was to be able to go school. How life will be so easy for me, in comparison to hers, if I just pass my classes, so I can finish high school; ? and if I finished high school, I could get into college; and if finished college I could get a job? and then BAM! That?s it, the rest of my life is figured out. I don?t how much of that I actually believed, but I somehow must have interpreted that message too literally. For most of my life, I was just waiting for that moment, one day in the far future, after completing all these ?prerequisites?, to start seriously living and enjoying life. I thought that I would be automatically good at my job, magically have a ton of meaningful relationships, and just be happy. Well, if you haven?t figured it out, that?s not exactly how life goes, or at least it?s not how it went for me.

Fast-forward to today, after getting the college degree and landing my first job in the field that I wanted, I?m now faced with a lot of other challenges in both my professional and personal life. To keep things short, I?ll list all of my shortcomings because? why not?

I noticed I sometimes lack social skills when trying to build relationships with different types of people, since it wasn?t something I cared much for growing up

I never really did things for pure joy and currently have a hard time of enjoying and living in the ?present? time.

Given my current role and the fact that I work in a competitive and fast moving industry, doing ?just enough? is simply not enough for so many reasons and?

?. who am I kidding, there?s no way I can list all of my shortcoming within the given time period?. so, let?s just say I?m not the person I want to be but this leads me into why I am here.

??Remember, the pain of rejection is nothing compared to the pain of regret.? Said by the great Matthew Hussey, who is a dating coach I follow on Youtube. Even though in this quote he is referring to the pursuit of your love interest, I feel it also applies to life in general.

What this quote means to me is that even though I?m a bit of a late bloomer in realizing what I lacked focus on and that I ignored some of the more important building blocks of developing into the well-balanced person that I want to be.?it?s never too late to work on it.

I want to have better communication skills; I want to take on more initiatives; I want to have more my self-discipline; I want to overcome challenges and see myself grow from them; I want to make sure I?m persistent and focused.

I want to do more than just enough, and I never want to settle for less than the best I can be. I just want to be proud of the life I?m living, giving it my best shot and enjoying every second of all the ups and downs from here on out.

Given all the things that I want, I decided that I?m going to be a well-known expert in my field, giving talks at conferences around the world and helping businesses and people find solutions to their problems. Even if I don?t ever reach that point, I?d never forgive myself if I didn?t try. So, I decided I want to shoot high, and as long as I know I?m giving it my all and am constantly growing, that would make me pretty happy. So with that, I will end with a quote by writer Avina Celeste.

?There is no set moment in your life that will define you. Every moment is a chance to change your life for better or worse.?

Thanks for reading. Let me know if you have any feedback.

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