Breaking the ice

One of the great things about the Voice of Wales is the breadth and depth of our members and the variety of backgrounds from which they come.

What that means is that every speech given at the club is very different and while we are all there because we want to improve our speaking skills we also get to hear and learn about some fascinating subjects.

As part of Toastmasters International we learn by following one of several online educational programmes – each one tailored to develop our skills in different ways.

One thing they all have in common is that each programme starts with an ‘Icebreaker’ speech – designed to tell us something about the member concerned.

It’s a great introduction because the new member just has to tell us something about themselves – a subject they should know really well.

And as it’s the first time they have had to do a ‘prepared’ speech all the members stand up to give them enthusiastic applause and encouragement.

Law graduate, Daisy O’Hagan, plans to become a barrister and her icebreaker gave us an amusing trip through her time at university and her plans to travel and the area of law in which she plans to specialise.

Matt Dudbridge is in the early stages of the Leadership Development programme. His talk about dog training took us through the basic, intermediate and advanced stages of working with his dog Mabel.

Working with an ‘invisible’ dog he was able to demonstrate great skill with his stagecraft and use of body language.

John Christie is an advanced speaker with many years of experience. His talk had to demonstrate research on an unfamiliar topic.

Not only did he tell us about 3D printing but he showed his skill with using visual aids by bringing along some examples of objects he had made – including a Welsh dragon.

There was a funny and entertaining impromptu speaking session with members being asked to talk for up to two minutes on subjects as diverse as:

  • Justifying to his wife why he should spend Saturday afternoon with his friends at a rugby match.
  • Why telling the truth is better than telling a lie.
  • The benefits of alcohol abstinence.
  • Why it’s Ok to look at your mobile phone when talking to someone.

Speaking in front of a room full of strangers can be daunting for many people and it can  take a great deal of bravery to do it.

Which is why members were delighted when a first-time visitor did exactly that and volunteered to take one of the impromptu speaking slots.

Not only that by the end of the evening he had decided to join as a member.

 It’s free to come as a visitor and we would love to welcome you.

Our last meeting before Christmas is on December 12 at 7.00pm at The Sessions House in Usk.

By the end of the evening you might decide that you’d like to join us too.

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