Ice Breakers contain all the elements you find in well-crafted speeches. Some of the best speeches I have ever experienced have been ice breakers. Some were never intended to be an ice breaker, but because the speaker used the following principles of good speech writing, the result was a speech that could be a club, contest, or even a World Champion speech winner. Use the following tips from Topic Selection to your Magic Moment as you tell your next story, and you, too, will realize the power of the ice-breaker.
Topic Selection: Choose a topic you are passionate about. Your presentation should not be all about you. And don’t be the hero. Your story should also have some universal appeal. It could be a single story or a three-story speech. Establish a connection with your audience through your personal stories and real-life events spun into a unique and powerful presentation. Use persuasion and the power of the spoken word effectively. Where possible, use dialogue and you will keep your audience engaged.
Establish Your Speech Purpose Early: Be clear. Are you speaking to inform, entertain, persuade motivate or all of the above. One should be your primary purpose. What do you want your audience to think, feel or do in that crucial minute of silence after hearing your speech. If you have your audience feeling like they are sitting on pins and needles, anxious to take some action, you have achieved your purpose.
Develop your Foundational Statement (FS) : Your foundational statement is a carefully worded sentence, question, or phrase on which your speech is built. The speaker should be able to fit that well-crafted statement on the back of a business card. That statement should be powerful, catchy, and memorable. It should also resonate through the speech from your introduction to the conclusion. Look at speeches and see if you can identify their FS.
Don’t Tell Them–Show Them-Take Them: Be descriptive. Use word pictures to convey your message. If a picture paints a thousand words, paint word pictures. Be concise, be clear, be engaging and be present. Remember, audiences may forget what they saw or what they heard. However, they will seldom forget how they made you feel.
Every Unanswered Question Becomes a Distraction: Answer every question you pose. Don’t leave your audience guessing or hanging. Also, if a conflict is introduced in your presentation, make sure it is resolved. Resolve your Who, What, When, Where, and Why.
Timing is everything (For Toastmasters 5- 7 Minute speeches): Write a 6 Minute Speech and Deliver it in 7. Find Your Speaking Rate – Men average 125 – Women 150 Average The number of words in your speech should be between 700 to 780 words. Use single syllable words.
Your Magic Moment: This is the signature moment in your speech. It should also be connected to the flow of your presentation. It should be the most memorable moments in your speech.
Prepare your next speech using these tips, and you will come to realize the power of the ice breaker.