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This acronym will help you give the perfect toast

Lauren Migaki

Lauren Migaki

Clare Schneider, photographed for NPR, 17 January 2019, in Washington DC.

Clare Marie Schneider

Illustration of a woman facing away from the viewer, facing an unseen audience in a darkened room, raising a champagne flute in a celebratory toast. She is surrounded by sparkly and shimmery speech bubbles.

It's the wild card of every big event — the toast.

It could be the drunk groomsman at a wedding or the rambling colleague at the retirement party or, perhaps, it's the friend who brings up politics or religion when they've been explicitly asked not to.

For stand-up comedian Atsuko Okatsuka , it was her father-in-law at her wedding. "And then he suddenly goes, I see there's a big Asian contingency here." The moment he brought up race, everyone went quiet.

"It's like a kid when they're playing I Spy, you know?" she says. "That's what he did. 'I spy Asians'."

"Then he tried to save himself. He went, 'and I love the Asians!'"

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This story comes from Life Kit , NPR's podcast to help make life better — covering everything from exercise to raising kids to making friends. For more, sign up for the newsletter and follow @NPRLifeKit on Twitter .

It's a memorable toast – but maybe not in the way Okatsuka had hoped.

If you've been asked, or volunteered yourself, to give a toast, we've got some handy tips to make sure people remember your speech with fondness – not horror.

Start with T-O-A-S-T, a helpful acronym from author and award-winning speaker Ramona J. Smith , plus a couple of helpful additions:

T — Tell a story

There's a simple formula to a good toast: Introduce yourself, tell a story, connect that story to the event and wrap it up (time to hit the dance floor!) The biggest challenge is choosing the right story for the occasion and audience.

Every family has stories to tell. Here's how to document yours

Every family has stories to tell. Here's how to document yours

Journalist Clare Roth , who has been to 36 weddings, says recording memories on voice memos was particularly helpful. For the occasion, she landed on this sweet and short story:

"There's an anecdote in my mother's diary from when I was three months old, where she heard my sister shout, 'I can't carry you anymore, baby!' And she came out and she was holding me by my skull and I had twigs and leaves in my hair because apparently she had dropped me a few times already. ... It's just so demonstrative of how she will charge ahead, but she wants you to be right there with her. ... And that's why she's going to be such an amazing wife."

Roth says this anecdote worked for the occasion, because it was not only "demonstrative of the relationship that my sister and I had but also related to how she would be as a partner."

Once you share an intimate but relatable anecdote, you can close with a lighthearted joke or offer your best wishes.

O — Optimism is key

How to tell a captivating story — from a wedding toast to a job interview

How to tell a captivating story — from a wedding toast to a job interview

"Don't give a sad story and leave everyone crying, especially if it's at a beautiful wedding or at a baby shower or somewhere where the mood is already festive," says Smith.

Smith is the 2018 winner of the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking. The opening of her award-winning speech was bleak — it highlighted her personal and professional failures. But with humor and optimism, she continued discussing how those experiences have failed to knock her down – by the end of her speech, the audience was singing along with her to Elton John's I'm Still Standing.

Smith compares her craft of speech writing to spicy chicken wings – "Just dip [the audience] in the hot sauce for a little bit and then we gonna cool off with the ranch."

A — Authenticity and vulnerability are better than humor

Dan Perlman is a stand-up comedian, but when it comes to making toasts, " the more successful toasts I've given have been ones where I was vulnerable," he says.

When he spoke at his childhood friend's wedding this summer, he shared an anecdote about them playing basketball and growing up together. Perlman did manage to find an opportunity for some subtle teasing — but remember, it's a toast, not a roast!

S — Speeches require practice

Try reading your speech aloud before you give it live. Even consider sharing it with a trusted friend or family member to look it over.

If you have stage fright, standup comedian Okatsuka has a tip for that: tell yourself that you aren't nervous but rather, too excited. " So instead of shaking from the nerves or feeling a pit in your stomach from the nerves, it turns into butterflies from excitement," she says.

Want to listen better? Turn down your thoughts and tune in to others

Want To Listen Better? Turn Down Your Thoughts And Tune In To Others

While you're delivering your speech, find an audience wingperson. "Focus on people in the audience who are paying attention and are giving good energy," says Perlman.

You could even ask a friend ahead of time to be this person for you!

And if you get thrown off track while speaking, don't forget: "You're allowed to stop and think. You're allowed to pause and breathe," says Ana Silva.

Silva, who teaches and performs improv, also points out that there are certain elements you cannot control when giving a toast. Just as stand-up comedy has hecklers, wedding toasts have drunk audiences.

"If it's something that is disrespectful in a rude way, I think shutting it down immediately is fantastic," she says. "If it's someone who's just really excited and wants to be part of it. I think a light touch is fine. ... 'I'm so glad cousin Susie is in on this. Let me keep going, Susie.'"

Silva also says that if you're in the audience, you have a role to play as well. " It's all about supporting the people around you." Remember to be generous with your attention, laughter, and applause.

T — Timing. Shorter is better

"I've never been annoyed that a toast is too short," says Perlman, who recommends keeping it between 90 seconds to two minutes.

Wedding enthusiast Roth suggests a range of two to three minutes. "No one is going to get angry about being able to drink their champagne sooner, " she says.

Point is, we all have short attention spans. When you practice reading your speech aloud, make sure that you time yourself.

Never drink before a toast

You don't have to drink to celebrate the holiday season

You don't have to drink to celebrate the holiday season

If you're trying to take a break from drinking, try these 6 strategies

6 Ways To Take A Break From Drinking

If there is one guaranteed way to ensure that you do not bomb this toast, it's this piece of wisdom from Smith: "Never drink alcohol before you give a speech," she says. "You don't want to slur. You don't want to come off as sloppy."

Drinking can also make you prone to rambling on too long, or throwing in an inappropriate, unnecessary joke, so it's best to avoid it altogether.

Don't wait for the perfect occasion

Toasts are a way to tell people you love them. And Roth says, we don't do that enough. "More toasts please!" she says. "It is wonderful to say the quiet part out loud, when the quiet part is... the love you have for your friends and family. Let's bring toasts back in fashion."

The podcast portion of this story was produced by Clare Marie Schneider. We'd love to hear from you. Leave us a voicemail at 202-216-9823, or email us at [email protected].

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Here’s to Toasting!

Keeping the ancient art of toasting alive..

By Missy Sheehan

¡Salud! Prost! Ganbei! There are many ways to say “cheers” around the world.

While nearly every culture has its own customs for toasting to good health, happiness, prosperity or luck, the spirit behind them is often similar. “Overall, the point of a toast is to recognize, celebrate and share the moment with others, passing along good wishes,” says Harold Osmundson, DTM, district director for District 6 Toastmasters, which serves parts of Minnesota and Ontario. “It’s an opportunity to add extra meaning and significance to an event.”

Toasting can be appropriate for just about any occasion, including holidays, anniversaries, weddings, reunions and partings. But sadly, it isn’t as common as it used to be. “There was a time, not that long ago, when one could not go to a luncheon—let alone a banquet or wedding—without hearing a series of carefully proposed and executed toasts,” writes Paul Dickson in Toasts: Over 1,500 of the Best Toasts, Sentiments, Blessings and Graces .

The custom of raising glasses dates back to antiquity, and possibly even further. “The ancient Hebrews, Persians and Egyptians were toasters, as were the Saxons, Huns and other tribes,” Dickson writes. Drinking to another’s health was so important in ancient Rome, he notes, that the Senate required a toast to Augustus, the first Roman emperor, at every meal.

Early in the 20th century, though, “the custom of thoughtful and creative toasting began to erode,” Dickson writes. He points to British author John Pudney, who wrote in 1963 of the “decline in the eloquence and variety of the toast in the English language.” Pudney bemoaned the fact that people seem to be “embarrassed by the formality of toasting.”

Nowadays, many of us may only hear toasts given at formal events, and often they are “of the quick, down-the-hatch variety in which the custom has been reduced to a mumbled word (Cheers! Prosit!) or phrase (Happy days! Down the hatch!) uttered from habit rather than any real sentiment,” Dickson writes.

He says toasting is a custom “we are foolish to let slip away,” and many Toastmasters agree with him. Through the toasts they give during holidays and on special occasions, as well as at club meetings, they’re keeping the art of toasting alive.

Speaking from the Heart

Osmundson says the most memorable toast he’s ever given was at his own wedding. “It wasn’t conventional, but I toasted to my wife. During the reception, my wife surprised me by saying, ‘You’ll need to give a speech now.’ At that time, I wasn’t a Toastmaster, so the thought of speaking in front of a large crowd terrified me. But I gathered my thoughts for a moment and did what I needed to do: I spoke from the heart.”

Despite feeling nervous and unprepared, Osmundson says his toast was well received. “I’m sure I made all the mistakes that new speakers make, but I spoke from my heart, and the audience knew it. That was enough,” he says.

Since joining Toastmasters in 2011, Osmundson has improved his speaking skills and led toasts at a variety of occasions, including New Year’s Eve. New Year’s toasts tend to be short and to the point, yet heartfelt, he says. “Appropriately, they’re usually very optimistic about the future and the promise the new year brings,” he says. “I simply say ‘Here’s to the new year. May it be your best year ever.’ There’s nothing complicated about that, and even I can remember it.”

Raising Glasses Around the World

While wedding receptions and New Year’s Eve parties are where you’ll most often hear toasts in the United States, Osmundson says toasting isn’t limited to formal events. Around the world, people toast at all kinds of events. Donclarte Dontsi, president of the Moderator Club in Montreal, has given toasts at birthdays, job celebrations and promotions. In Canada, celebrations for births and even informal gatherings also call for raised glasses.

“Each time we are out for a drink to celebrate an end of season at work or with my Toastmasters team, we always toast,” Dontsi says.

Dontsi, who is from Cameroon in Central Africa, says toasting is more common in Canada than in her native country. In Cameroon, “it’s only at more special events (weddings, funerals, etc.),” she says.

That tends to be true in Ireland as well, according to Past International President Ted Corcoran, DTM, despite the large number of Irish toasts found online. “Everybody talks about Irish toasts, but we don’t do that much of it that I can see,” says Corcoran, a longtime member of clubs in Dublin, Ireland. “We are very minimal with our approach to toasting. It’s not something we put a lot of emphasis on unless it’s a very special occasion. We might say ‘Happy Christmas’ or ‘Happy birthday’ but just a few words, and that’s all.”

At banquets, Corcoran says, the Irish toast to their president. “It’s very simple: You lift your glass and say, ‘To the president of Ireland.’ At weddings, we toast the bride and groom, of course, and wish them a long and happy life. Very simple.”

Mastering the Toast

As with other types of speaking, practice makes perfect when it comes to toasting. The Special Occasion Speeches manual can help members master the art. The manual also offers guidance on speaking in praise of someone, conducting a roast, and presenting and accepting an award.

Osmundson encourages clubs to schedule toasting activities throughout the year to help members build skills. Toasting is a fun way to add variety to club meetings and events, he says. In 2010, Toastmasters in District 6 held an event to set a world record (through RecordSetter.com) for the most toasts given at a Toastmasters event in five minutes. According to Lisa Jenks, ACS, ALB, the district’s public relations officer at the time, 78 members gave toasts. “Everybody raved about it,” she says. “I’m still getting comments from people years later about how much fun that was.”

Osmundson also says members should take advantage of any opportunities to toast outside of club events and formal occasions. “When you meet friends or family for a meal or happy hour, why not initiate a toast and add to the moment?” he says. “It can be as simple as saying, ‘It’s great to be here with you. To this moment—cheers.’ Be that person at the table who makes the meeting more special.

“Since we’re Toastmasters, it’s pretty much expected of us!”

Tips for Toasting at Special Occasions

Keep it short and sweet. “Two minutes maximum is great, except for very special occasions like weddings and funerals,” says Donclarte Dontsi, president of the Moderator Toastmasters club in Montreal.

Remember, it’s not about you. Your toast should focus on someone or something else.

Use powerful adjectives to describe the person you’re toasting.

Be careful with humor. “Humor is a double-edged sword,” says Harold Osmundson, DTM. “It can work for you if you can pull it off naturally. But if you try too hard to be funny, it steals attention from the toast and the subject of the toast.”

Practice. Hone your delivery by practicing your toast a few times.

Write down your first toast. “When you stand up that first time and the audience is looking at you, you may very well forget what you have to say,” says Past International President Ted Corcoran, DTM. “It’s important, for the first time, to have what you are going to say written down, even if it’s very simple.”

Tell the audience when it’s time to raise their glasses. “Raise your glass, ask the audience to raise their glasses, express feelings toward the subject and finally say ‘Cheers!,’” Osmundson says.

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Welcome to Speechcraft!

For coordinators and participants, this extraordinary digital experience awaits…

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Can you imagine a world without communication?

Since 1924, Toastmasters has become synonymous with excellence in public speaking; the Speechcraft digital experience is an important part of that journey.

As the Speechcraft name implies, it was created to help people turn their speaking skills into a craft—to help them advance their professional and personal communication through a condensed version of the Toastmasters member experience. In a four-, six-, or eight-week program, participants, who are called Speechcrafters, have the opportunity to boost their confidence as they improve their communication, public speaking, and leadership skills, all within the safe environment of a Toastmasters club. After completing the course, they may be inspired to continue their Toastmasters journey by visiting or joining a club.

For quick synopses on Speechcraft content, access the Speechcraft Content Overview  now!

Join a distinguished group of volunteers who contribute to the enrichment of others and their clubs by becoming a Speechcraft coordinator. You will be given all the tools and materials you need to lead five individuals in a four-, six-, or eight-week program (your choice) all within the environment of your Toastmasters club. Your Speechcrafters’ success will become your success. And you may inspire them to further their Toastmasters journey as a member of your club or another.

Once you have purchased the Digital Bundle , access the Coordinator Quick Start Guide  here!

To help guide your Speechcrafters, access the Participant Quick Start Guide  here.

Watch a webinar for guidance and tips on how to get started.

Do you have to answer questions in an upcoming job interview? Give an important presentation? Make a toast at your sister’s wedding? You can get through these (and so many more speaking scenarios) with average success—or you can shine through extraordinary achievement. The Speechcraft digital experience will help you rise above to be the best communicator you can be.

Speechcrafters are often motivated by upcoming events such as:

A Job Interview

Get the skills to smoothly answer spontaneous questions and present a polished image.

An Important Presentation

Deliver an important presentation with clear vision and memorable takeaways.

A Wedding Toast

Speechcraft can help you lose the jitters, look at your loved ones, and speak from the heart.

Armani Talks

How to give the Perfect Toastmasters Icebreaker Speech

  • Armani Talks
  • June 19, 2019
  • public-speaking

What is the Toastmasters Icebreaker Speech?

The Toastmasters icebreaker speech is the first speech that you will give in your Toastmasters journey. This speech allows the audience to get an idea of who you are as a person.

The honest truth is that this is often the most dreaded speech of all.

It’s because the icebreaker speech is your first planned speech in front of an audience! And at this point, you are a public speaking noob who has no clue where to go, how to design a speech & more importantly, how to battle with the pre-speech nerves.

But fear not!

ArmaniTalks is here to help guide you through this daunting process & help you engineer the perfect Toastmasters Icebreaker Speech! I used to be the Vice president of my Toastmasters club & was the mentor to many new Toastmasters members.

What does that mean for you ?

I had the opportunity to see tons of icebreakers speech play out. My experience has led me to see what you should do and what you should NOT do as well.

Let us begin.

The Nervous New Toastmaster’s Member

When I first joined Toastmasters , I was unsure of what to expect. The main reason your boy was joining was to build up his confidence & discover his voice.

After officially becoming a member, I realized that there was no time to be a spectator. Now was the time to contribute and give speeches!

Well luckily, a week before I was scheduled to give my Icebreaker speech, I was going to witness someone give theirs. Hopefully was going to give some ideas on how I should design my speech.

The speaker who was going to give her icebreaker speech was Isabel.

She was around her mid-30s, Cuban & someone with a heavy accent.

The second Isabel entered the meeting that day, she seemed TERRIFIED. She was telling a bunch of the senior club members how she didn’t know if she had it in her to deliver a speech. I could literally see her shaking as she was talking to the other club members.

How the hell was she going to give a speech in front of 30 people if she couldn’t even properly talk to one person??

At that point, I could empathize with her 100%! Conquering speech anxiety is a different kind of beast. Doing table topics (2-minute impromptu speeches) seemed like a pain in the ass. Couldn’t imagine what preparing for a 6-minute speech felt like.

Isabel better put on her bravery cap and get ready!

It was just like any other meeting

The doors were closed at 7 pm sharp .

The club President began with the opening announcements, asked everyone to turn off their phones, then announced we all stood up for the Pledge of Allegiance.

Once that was up, the President handed the baton to the Toastmaster for the meeting.

Toastmasters Icebreaker Speech

The Toastmaster did their usual spiel. They went off by introducing themselves & everyone else involved in the meeting. Positions like the Grammarian, Table Topics Master, Timer, Evaluators and um….Speakers.

Guess who was the first speaker assigned?

She seemed like she saw a ghost when her name was announced as the first speaker.

But there was no other option at this point.

Do or die, let’s get it!!

The Mighty Toastmasters Icebreaker Speech?

The Toastmaster finished with all the formalities & now transitioned into the speaker’s portion. He began to read off the introduction for Isabel’s speech as the suspense slowly began to build up.

After the intro, he looks Isabel’s way & calls her up on the stage.

Isabel took one last quick breather before showtime. I was sitting right next to her that day & wished her the best of luck. She forced an awkward ass smile and mustered up thanks.

Everyone in the audience waited to see how Isabel’s first-ever speech would go.

Isabel stood in the middle of the floor nervously looking at the audience.

The audience looked back at her, with a warm smile & a patient demeanor.

Isabel was trying to say something but was holding back. She began fidgeting and her face was starting to get red.

Come on Isabel, you can do it. Come on! Show these people what you are all about, I thought.

After ~30 seconds of silence had passed by, Isabel gathered her cool and began..

What did the Quiet one say??

Isabel’s icebreaker speech began off in Cuba where she was raised.

She started off the speech talking about her early childhood and the kind of personality she had as a child.

She continued describing her settings & details from her past.

toastmaster speech in cuba

Honest truth? It was nothing too special.

Seemed like the generic, ‘back in my days’ story.

Not sure what it was, but EVERY line seemed so damn predictable.

And you know what they say…the more predictable, the more boring.

I decided this speech was going to be like this for the most part & slowly went into daydreaming mode.

Until something changed!!

Out of nowhere, she went on from talking about her perfect childhood to talking about how a sudden tragedy disrupted the whole thing.

Apparently, her father who had been this goody too shy his entire life was actually a lowkey Gangbanger.

He had been lying to his family for all of Isabel’s life & now the jig way up. Why?

Because her father had stolen money from some powerful goons & it had put a massive target on his back.

Being a sudden target led her father getting some arrangements made to get Isabel the fuck out of Cuba to move into the US.

This boring tale had turned into a compelling one out of the blue moon.

As Isabel progressed in her speech, she began to get more into it. Her enthusiasm began to seep out of her with every word she uttered. This led to the audience members sitting on the edge of their seat trying to figure out what was next in this tale.

Isabel went from being a nervous wreck who couldn’t utter a word to CAPTIVATING everyone in the room that night.

Well done Isabel. Well done! True inspiration.

how to make a toast speech toastmasters

No Clue How to Create your Speech?

This free checklist will walk you from a-z in completing your speech. get your ideas from mind to reality and deliver with confidence, so how can you level up your toastmasters icebreaker speech.

If Isabel’s story indicates anything to you, it should be that nervousness is not a roadblock , it is simply a speed bump.

A good speech is always possible with a few tweaks.

So how do you get this amazing speech in the first place?

You appeal to human nature & go in with a few frameworks to follow. I want to discuss the core principles in what will make you from a boring speaker into a memorable one.

If you can tackle the items from my checklist, maybe you will be taking home the ‘Best Speaker’s’ ribbon for the night.

Public Speaking Mindset

The biggest mistake beginners make is that they think everything has to be perfect.

Absolutely not!

The more you focus on being perfect, the more you bring speech anxiety upon yourself.

To be quite honest, the audience does not give a fuck about perfection.

Perfection makes you seem like a robot. Displaying your flaws make you seem human. We will come back to the flaws part shortly.

With that being said, the first thing I want you incorporate into your mind is:

Focus more on providing value rather than being perfect.

And how do you provide value in the Icebreaker speech?

By shedding light on who YOU are.

Content for your Speech

The predominant focus of the Toastmasters Icebreaker Speech is to give the audience an idea of who you are as a person.

The audience should leave learning something new about you. The best way to communicate your message is thru a story . Don’t be boring & just list out facts about yourself the whole time homie.

The beauty of the story format ? You can take any angle that you would like to!

Isabel went from taking the route of a sweet little angel from Cuba to shocking the audience by shedding light into being the daughter of a gang banger.

Bottom line is that you want your speech to be UNIQUE to your life experiences & unpredictable. Showcase your flaws.

The audience does not want to hear facts & safe topics. They want to FEEL some sort of way. And the best way to make them feel is by being completely by talking about a very unique moment in your life.

Toastmaster Icebreaker Speech Ideas:

1.        Isolated incident – You can talk about one major event from your life that sticks out.

It could be the first time that you moved to a new country, getting accepted into a coveted a

program, dealing with the early death of a loved one etc.

2.        Span – You can talk about the different stages of your life that led you to be who you are today.

For my icebreaker speech, I talk about how 4 haircuts from my past that have molded the present-day Armani.

Check out 20-year-old Armani!

3.        Unique interest or fact – Are you a black belt, a sensational eCommerce champ, can solve the Rubik’s cube?

Well if so, now is the time to let the audience know about your journey!

4.       Prop or Unique item – If there is an item that means a lot to you, then talk about that! For one Icebreaker, there was a kid who bought a sweater that his mom gave him before she passed away from cancer. He gave a compelling story about how the sweater means a lot to him & how he wears it before any high-pressure scenario.

Bottom line, you have the freedom to get creative.

The stage is yours, so utilize it.

Speech Structure

Now that you have the purpose of your speech, let’s talk about a few ways to structure the speech to speech.

You can structure it a multitude of ways, but make sure you focus on a few points.

1.       Engaging opener – This could be a question, a shocking statistic, a quote that relates to your speech, a joke etc. Getting the audience’s attention from the get-go skyrockets the engagement.

2.       Supporting points – Do not be excessively detailed. Only bring up the points that help you progress your purpose forward. K.I.S.S. Keep it Simple Stupid, your audience will thank you.

3.       Conflict – This is what the audience is here for! The conflict allows you to hook the audience. Once you introduce the conflict, DELAY the resolution. That’s how you create a story tension!

4.       Summarizing the main points in the closer – Summarizing the main points, in the end, is like tying the knot on the balloon. The perfect way to end your icebreaker speech.

How to Practice your speech

Practicing your speech allows you to feel much more comfortable on speech day.

For the first-ever speech, you are allowed to use note cards if needed.

So if you plan on using them, write down only the HIGH-level points. Too many details will confuse you. (If you feel comfortable without the cards, then ditch em!)

Once you have your speech purpose identified, structure ready, cards prepped, it is time to practice.

Best way to practice your speeches is by recording your practice sessions!

recording practice sessions for icebreaker speech

This is a highly practical tip that most people will sleep on. How do I know? Because I used to sleep on it. Completely refused to record my practice sessions because it made me feel self-conscious and required work.

But I guarantee that you do not want to overlook this step. Recording yourself allows you to see yourself in 3rd person. Seeing yourself from that perspective allows you to feel much more confident come speech day & SKYROCKET your progress!

Focus Areas:

  • Make sure your speech is within the set time period.

2. Watch out for filler words (um, uh, like so, you know). Insert pauses for fillers.

3. Keep open body language . Open palms, expressive page, torso out, back straight etc.

Get all your practicing done early so you can chill 1-2 days before your speech. This allows your subconscious mind to have a more relaxed perception of the upcoming speech.

Icebreaker Speech Day

Everyone has a different routine before their Toastmaster’s speech days. But here is mind:

1. Get a good night sleep the night before. This allows you to feel clear-headed and calm.

2. Meditate before your speech & get your head cleared up.

3. Drink a lot of water & eat some fruit if you feel hungry.

Avoid coffee or greasy foods. Your speech anxiety will suffer

4. And last but not least, dress up.

Dressing up helps a ton because you feel more confident. Clean-cut clothes that have you feeling fresh does wonder for your psyche.

Plus, your audience has a favorable view towards you when they see that you have taken the time to dress up. Even if you fumble during the speech, they tend to be more forgiving.

how to make a toast speech toastmasters

Conquering the dreaded Toastmaster’s Icebreaker Speech

The beauty of finishing this first speech is that you realize something very important….

Public speaking was never as bad as the images that your ego provided to you.

The audience members are more understanding than you can imagine. They want you to win.

Make sure you record this speech. It is the first step in your journey to overcome speech anxiety. You are doing what a lot of people were not courageous enough to do.

Give yourself a round of applause after you get off stage & treat yourself to a mini celebration for showing bravery.

This is the beginning of greatness from your end.

Always keep your eyes forward & you will see improvement, no doubt!

Now go kill it!!!

For more practical communication insights, subscribe to my  free daily newsletter.

– ArmaniTalks 🎙️🔥

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Toastmasters Ice Breaker Speech: How to Ace Your First Speech


Have no fear even if giving a speech at a Toastmasters meeting feels like torture to you. Presenting an Ice Breaker speech is a great way for you to make a great first impression and show the other members your personality and humor. To help you prepare for this big event, this blog post will cover the key elements of an Ice Breaker speech, tips on how to craft an effective introduction, and some fun ways to make the audience laugh. So let’s get started, shall we?

Why You Should Give a Toastmasters Ice Breaker Speech

Giving a Toastmasters Ice Breaker Speech is a great way to make a memorable first impression. Not only does it allow you to showcase your communication and public speaking skills , but it also gives you the opportunity to connect with the audience in an intentional manner. A Toastmasters Ice Breaker Speech enables you to share stories and personal experiences that tie in to the purpose of the event and set yourself apart from the crowd. Some may argue that volunteering to give an Ice Breaker Speech carries too much risk as one could easily make a mistake or stumble on their words. While this is certainly a valid concern, it is important to remember that it is natural to be nervous when speaking in front of a large audience. Additionally, any well-crafted speech will have been prepared beforehand and rehearsed multiple times; this greatly reduces the chance of making mistakes or blanking out during the actual presentation. Making mistakes while giving an Ice Breaker Speech can still occur and should be considered part of the learning process; after all, no one is perfect. Taking on the challenge of public speaking is also an excellent way to build confidence as well as demonstrate one’s ability to think quickly and improvise on their feet – these valuable life lessons will serve presenters for years to come. Therefore, it can be concluded that delivering an effective Toastmasters Ice Breaker Speech carries many benefits and should be embraced rather than feared. In order ensure that your speech resonates with the audience, proper preparation and rehearsal are essential – let us now turn our attention to discussing precisely how best to craft your Toastmasters Ice Breaker Speech in the following section.

Writing Your Toastmasters Ice Breaker Speech

Writing a Toastmasters Ice Breaker speech can be an intimidating process, especially if it is your first one. However, the key to a successful ice breaker is to craft an engaging story that captures the audience’s attention. While some may argue it’s easy to open with a joke and quickly get down to business , others assert it’s important to let the audience in on who you are and why you have something unique or interesting to share. Which approach works best? Regardless of the approach, here are four tips for writing an effective Toastmasters Ice Breaker speech: 1. Identify your goal for the speech . Is your goal to introduce yourself or get across a particular point? Pinpointing your purpose can help bring focus and clarity as your write. 2. Find ways to make yourself relatable. People always respond positively to stories that resonate with them personally, so find connections between your story and the story of others. 3. Avoid monotony and rehearsed speeches. Don’t rely solely on bullet points when constructing your speech; this often results in extended periods of silence while speaking which can bore listeners and make you appear unprepared. 4. Speak authentically and passionately, but remember to practice too! Your Ice Breaker should sound natural, not robotic — but practicing will ensure you don’t stumble over words or forget what comes next! It’s important to remember that there is no one right way to craft a successful Toastmasters Ice Breaker speech and no two speakers will deliver them exactly the same way — this gives you freedom as a speaker to be creative and authentic in how you present yourself! After all, the audience should leave knowing who you are and feeling like they’ve just had a conversation with an interesting new person. With these tips in mind, now it’s time to consider which interesting facts from your life will make this possible — such as hobbies, family history, or past experiences — which we discuss in the next section about being selective about interesting facts for your Toastmasters Ice Breaker Speech.

Be Selective About Interesting Facts

As you prepare for your Toastmasters Ice Breaker Speech, it’s important to be selective about the interesting facts you choose to share. On one hand, emphasizing unique and interesting facts about yourself can help make a good first impression. On the other hand, some audience members may feel uncomfortable if too many personal details are shared. It’s best to strike a balance between these two approaches by sharing fun, relevant stories that help to demonstrate your personality and make a connection with your audience while not revealing too much information. When selecting interesting facts to talk about in your speech, ensure that they’re memorable and convey something meaningful. Avoid generic or uninteresting topics or oversharing – instead focus on selecting facts that show off your personality and help the audience remember you. It’s also important to keep any stories or details you include appropriate for all audiences. Finally, consider using props to enhance your stories – visual aids such as pictures or objects can draw attention to key points and help keep the audience engaged. By being selective about the interesting facts you choose to share in your Toastmasters Ice Breaker Speech, you’ll be able to make a great first impression and engage your audience. Up next is how to find the right story to share – let’s get started!

Ideas for an Interesting Introduction Speech

An interesting introduction speech is key to making a great first impression. It sets the tone for the remainder of the presentation, so it is important to give the speech proper thought and planning. While there are numerous approaches that can be taken when crafting an introduction speech, two of the most popular strategies revolve around either positivity or self-deprecation. Positive introductions focus on accentuating the speaker’s best qualities and highlighting his or her strengths. This approach is especially successful for very personal speaking engagements , where emphasis is placed not only on the content being delivered, but also on the individual delivering it. As an example, a positive introduction should include elements such as: introducing yourself by name, a brief summary of your background and experience in the subject matter, a reason why you are qualified to speak on this particular topic, and why you are passionate about it. Alternatively, self-deprecating intros involve poking fun at one’s own shortcomings in order to build rapport with the audience and build credibility by demonstrating self-awareness. This type of intro usually begins with an uncomfortable truth about oneself for comedic effect — like noting one’s tendencies to procrastinate, or lack of experience in certain areas — followed by an assertion that this has led them to become more well informed on their chosen topic. The type of introduction speech chosen ought to be based on one’s own comfort level and could even take into account cultural context if giving a speech overseas. Ultimately, whichever route is taken should be about generating an authentic connection with the audience – something that will spark their interest in what comes next. Having established how important it is to make a great first impression, it is equally imperative that we consider how to further impress through creative storytelling while delivering our icebreaker speeches. The following section will explore how utilizing personal stories in your speech can result in a captivating introduction that audiences cannot help but be drawn into.

Find the Right Story to Share

When you’re delivering your Toastmasters Ice Breaker speech, one of the key elements is finding the right story to share. After all, stories are the most powerful way to connect with people and make a great first impression. The challenge, though, is to choose a story that best conveys who you are and what you want to communicate about yourself and your message. There are two schools of thought when it comes to deciding on a story: being genuine or taking a more strategic approach. On the one hand, being genuine means you’ll be sharing something meaningful but also raw and vulnerable. You might choose a story from your past mistakes so you can demonstrate how you’ve grown from them. On the other hand, being strategic allows you to craft a specific narrative that other people might connect with better. You might be able to think about how your story also relates to your audience or use humor for entertainment value. It can be difficult to decide which path is best for you since both have their merits. Ultimately, it’s best to find something that strikes a balance between the two—something authentic yet still crafted in a way that makes sense and resonates with the audience. The next step in delivering an effective Toastmasters Ice Breaker speech is making sure that everyone in the room knows what message you’re trying to communicate and how they can relate. In the following section, we’ll discuss strategies for delivering your Toastmasters Ice Breaker speech so that everyone is engaged and inspired by your message.

Delivering Your Toastmasters Ice Breaker Speech

Delivering Your Toastmasters Ice Breaker Speech is the most important and difficult step to getting your message across properly. When giving an Ice Breaker speech, there are several important points to keep in mind: be confident, maintain eye contact, and express yourself through body language . The first point to consider is confidence. Your audience will immediately be able to tell if you are nervous and not sure of yourself, so it is important that you exude poise and self-assurance while speaking. Take a few deep breaths before you begin and remember why you are here – to make a good first impression and share your goals or story with the listeners. The more confident you are as you deliver your speech, the more successful it will be. Maintaining eye contact is equally crucial for connecting with your audience. Speaker Will Schwalbe suggests making eye contact with every single person in the room, even if some are far away. By doing this, your audience will feel included and fully engaged in what you have to say. Even when looking away briefly to pause for effect or make gestures , avoid letting your eyes wander all over the room; focus them on one individual at a time instead. Finally, use your body language to express yourself clearly and effectively throughout your speech. Keep your body straight, tall and relaxed – fidgeting makes others unsure of the speaker’s level of confidence. Move confidently across the stage or podium area as needed, making appropriate hand movements to emphasize keywords throughout your speech. Utilizing movement can help convey enthusiasm for the topics being discussed – something that even experienced speakers struggle with sometimes! By following these tips while delivering your Toastmaster Ice Breaker Speech, you can be sure that you are making a positive first impression on those around you. Now that we have covered how to deliver an engaging speech, let’s move onto examining ways to overcome anxiety for an effective speech delivery:

Ways to Overcome Anxiety For Your Ice Breaker Speech

Public speaking is one of the most commonly cited fears and can be especially daunting during the first speech of a Toastmasters meeting. Taking steps to handle the anxiety of an Ice Breaker speech can make a huge difference in how effectively you start off with your new peers. It’s important to remember that everyone is anticipating this speech and eager to learn more about you; they are not there to judge or criticize what you say. Channeling your attention towards creating an environment filled with warmth may help alleviate some of the nervous feelings that go along with presenting. Before starting, take some time to consciously release any negative thoughts and inhale and exhale deeply to promote a sense of calm. Another technique for managing stage fright is to practice ahead of time – often! Visualizing yourself being successful in completing the Ice Breaker can increase your confidence level as well as provide you with an opportunity to refine your content before taking the stage. Consider also reviewing some key ideas or points throughout the day leading up to your presentation as well as imagining yourself talking in front of an audience while walking in the hallways beforehand. The importance of being prepared should not be overlooked either; having significant knowledge and notes about the topic will greatly reduce anxiety by decreasing uncertainty. Additionally, if necessary, it could be useful for those who are really nervous about public speaking to double check their materials at the venue itself via printed copies or having their smartphone handy that contains information related to their topic. Finally, there’s no shame in using props or memorable stories as tools when making a speech. Incorporating a prop into one’sIce Breaker speech gives listeners something from which to form stronger connections so they better understand your message. Adding appropriate humour and personal anecdotes whilst keeping it succinct and on point will help distract from any potential nervousness felt by both you and other attendees alike. By following these strategies, individuals can take strides towards overcoming fear whilst giving a great Ice Breaker Speech that will ensure an outstanding first impression with their future Toastmasters peers. Next, we will consider how individuals can work on further improving their impressions with pearls of advice related to delivering such public addresses like a skillful pro.

Tips For Making a Good Impression

Making a good first impression is not just crucial in personal interactions, but also during business meetings or other professional environments. To ensure that you make a lasting impression when giving a Toastmasters Ice Breaker speech, there are several important tips you should consider beforehand. The first tip is to be aware of your nonverbal communication. This can include eye contact, body language and facial expressions , among other factors. Avoid crossing your arms or slumping your shoulders, as these appear less confident and can make the audience feel uncomfortable. Instead, aim for an open posture with firm handshakes, long glances and gentle nods to emphasize the points you are making. Second, remember to dress for success. It’s important to be presentable with a neat and polished look appropriate for the occasion. Picking an outfit appropriate for the group you are addressing will demonstrate that you took the time to prepare and shows respect for the audience. Additionally, make sure to practice proper etiquette when greeting members of the audience before beginning your speech; doing so will help convey a polite and respectful presence. Third, use humor in moderation to engage your listeners. While injecting some humor into a speech can bring levity and break down barriers between the speaker and audience, it is necessary to make sure it never comes off too off-topic or insensitive. Delivering jokes with caution allows one to maintain control over their message while engaging the audience in laughter – which positively affects how listeners perceive the speaker later on throughout their speech. Finally, it is important to remain composed and confident throughout the entire duration of the speech. Avoid repeated filler words such as “um” or “uh” in order to maintain clarity while speaking; take pauses instead if needed between sections of your speech. A good measure of confidence is having well-rehearsed material and practicing ahead of time in order to smooth out any kinks you may have overlooked during preparation – ultimately leading to more fluidity during delivery of content. With these tips in mind, you should now be more equipped than ever to effectively deliver an impactful Toastmasters Icebreaker Speech aimed at making a strong personal connection with the those around you while creating a memorable introduction that sets precedence for further engagement within this organization or event!

Conclusion and Overall Toastmasters Icebreaker Speech Advice

A Toastmasters icebreaker speech is an important tool for introducing yourself to a group of people. It can make the difference between an average introduction, and having an impact in the room. To make a great first impression, it is essential to remember a few key points about creating and delivering your icebreaker speech. First, it’s important to research effective topics so that you present something original and memorable. Choose one topic that will give you plenty of material to talk about, but also help you keep your story concise and relevant. The message of your speech should be clear from the beginning and remain consistent throughout. Finally, avoid sounding mechanical– practice beforehand so that you can feel confident in presenting lively anecdotes with confidence and enthusiasm. Overall, taking the time to create a special toastmasters icebreaker speech can be a rewarding challenge. It is an excellent opportunity to showcase your skills as a public speaker. With these tips in mind, you can make sure that everyone in the audience will take away something meaningful from your presentation– ultimately making it well worth the effort.

Common Questions and Their Answers

What strategies should i use to make my speech engaging.

In order to make your Toastmasters Ice Breaker speech engaging, there are several strategies you can use. Firstly, focus on the audience by making eye contact with each member and speak in a conversational style . This will create a comfortable atmosphere for those listening. Secondly, ensure your speech has an upbeat tone and be sure to smile! People are more likely to be engaged if you appear positive and enthusiastic. Thirdly, use storytelling to add interest and color to your speech. Depending on the subject of your ice breaker, weaving in relevant anecdotes or humorous personal stories can help liven up the presentation and keep listeners engaged. Lastly, ask leading questions throughout your speech that prompt the audience to think more deeply about the topic. A few skilled questions can go a long way in increasing engagement levels!

What type of content should I include in a toastmaster icebreaker speech?

When creating a toastmaster icebreaker speech, it is important to focus on providing personal stories, interesting anecdotes, and your own unique perspective. It is important to use a combination of humor, wit, and content that is specifically tailored to the audience. Additionally, it is important to focus on content that captures the attention of the audience and conveys your personality in a positive way. Some recommended topics for an icebreaker speech include introducing yourself and background information about where you are from, describing your current interests or hobbies, talking about recent experiences or travels you have taken, and discussing personal goals you have set for yourself in the near future. While keeping these topics in mind, make sure to add creative touches to make your toastmaster icebreaker speech engaging and memorable.

How do I structure a toastmaster icebreaker speech?

A successful toastmaster icebreaker speech should have three distinct parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. In the introduction you should provide an overview of yourself and your topic. This is a great time to share some fun facts and humor that will capture the audience’s interest. Also, use this section to give the audience an idea of what they can expect from your presentation. The body of the speech should outline the main points that you want to communicate in more detail. Here you will talk about why you chose your topic, what research you did, and any personal lessons or experiences related to it. Finally, in the conclusion you should wrap up all of your points. Offer up some takeaways for the audience to consider, as well as reiterating your main message. It’s also important here to thank your listeners for their attention and restate any key points that may have been missed during the presentation. When structuring a toastmaster icebreaker speech , it’s important to keep things engaging and fresh so that the audience stays interested throughout. The key is to be confident in your delivery while also being funny and informative in equal measure.

What tips can I use to overcome any nerves I might have while delivering the speech?

In order to overcome any nerves while delivering a Toastmasters Ice Breaker speech, there are several tips that you can use. First, it is important to remember that everyone else in the room is probably just as nervous as you are. This can help ease your fears, knowing that you aren’t alone in any potential anxiousness. Second, take a few deep breaths before you begin speaking. Breathing deeply helps to slow down your heart rate and steady your body as well as clear your mind. Third, try practicing your speech with someone else beforehand. Having someone listen allows you to get more comfortable with talking out loud and become more confident in what you say. If possible find someone who can provide constructive feedback; this will help you adjust the content of your speech and give you an extra sense of security when doing the real thing. Lastly, realize that this is supposed to be fun! Realize that the minute nervousness or fear dissipates once you begin speaking; the more confident and assertive you act on the stage, the better off you will be!

What topics are best suited for Toastmasters ice breaker speeches?

When it comes to topics for Toastmasters ice breaker speeches, the most important factor is to choose something engaging and relatable. That way you can increase your chances of making a great first impression. Here are some examples of topics that work well: • Share an interesting or funny story from your life • Discuss a recent accomplishment • Introduce yourself and why you joined Toastmasters • Describe an interesting hobby or talent you have • Talk about a lesson you learned recently • Share how you overcame an obstacle in your life • Explain how you plan to contribute to the club No matter what topic you choose, make sure it paints a positive picture of who you are and keeps the audience engaged . Keeping these points in mind will help ensure that your Toastmasters ice breaker speech is a success!

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Belgium toasts its beer riches with new visitor centre

Belgian Beer World opens in Brussels

[1/5] An inside view of the Belgian Beer World, the world's largest interactive experience center about beer, that opened in the renovated stock exchange building "La Bourse/De Beurs", in Brussels, Belgium September 7, 2023. REUTERS/Yves Herman Acquire Licensing Rights

BRUSSELS, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Belgium is promoting its centuries of beer-making and 430 breweries with a new visitor centre in Brussels that recounts the history of Belgian production and aims to show what is unique about the country's beer and beer culture.

Belgian Beer World will open on Saturday in the neoclassical former Brussels Stock Exchange, renovated at a cost of 90 million euros ($96.25 million).

Visitors will learn about "Belgitude" - Belgian identity - and what distinguishes Belgian beer from others - such as the four different fermentation methods and the culture of each beer having its own branded glass.

"In Belgium there's more to it than the liquid in the glass," said Krishan Maudgal, director of the Belgian Brewers association.

Belgium produces some 1,600 beers and its beer culture secured a place on the UNESCO global list of traditions worthy of preservation in 2016.

The new centre shows production in the Middle Ages, when beer was a safe alternative to contaminated water and hops were introduced as a preservative, and up to the modern day. The tour ends with a beer, suggested by a virtual barman, in the building's rooftop terrace bar.

Brussels already has a beer museum, but it is unassuming, with old brewing equipment and some insight into beer-making.

"It's very typical of Belgium. We are too modest. We are someone who says 'maybe it's not necessary'," said Brussels city Mayor Philippe Close, adding Dublin and Amsterdam were active in promoting their beer cultures.

He said the centre expected to welcome 300,000 visitors in its first year, with adult tickets costing 17 euros.

($1 = 0.9351 euros)

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop Editing by Frances Kerry

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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  1. How to Give a Memorable Toast

    How to Give a Memorable Toast In this video, Ramona Smith, the 2018 World Champion of Public Speaking, prepares you to give a memorable toast that your friends and family will talk about for years to come. Cheers! Other Videos

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    Toastmaster Wayne Lebowitz, a retired jeweler from Somerville, Massachusetts, always knew he wanted to be an actor. Although he ultimately found his career in the family business, he brings theatrical sensibilities to public speaking. Writing a speech is like writing a script, he says. Start with an attention-grabbing device.

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    1 Tell a story By far the most effective way to open a speech is with a compelling story. "I was a student returning from a study abroad course in Cairo. Shortly after takeoff, five men carrying guns leapt up from their seats and began shouting at the passengers. Our plane was being hijacked." Are you engaged? Do you want to know more? I did.

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    1. Make your introduction relevant to the rest of the speech. The introduction is an opportunity to tickle curiosity and generate excitement. It creates anticipation about what listeners expect they will learn. The audience is listening for the connection between the opening and the rest of the message.

  6. Toastmasters International -Successful Speeches

    / Public Speaking Tips / Successful Speeches Successful Speeches Whether you're talking to a small group of people or speaking to a large audience, you want to be sure your speech is memorable and enjoyable. Follow these five easy tips to help ensure your speech delivers: Be prepared.

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    A strong conclusion brings your speech to a close, tying all the content together and leaving an impact on your audience. PREPARE YOUR PRESENTATION Consider your past experiences as a speaker and an audience member when you write your speech. Most of your speeches for Toastmasters will be 5 to 7 minutes in length.

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    No joke. It was awkward. And although our friends have assuredly already forgotten (or at least forgiven) that moment, I obviously haven't. It didn't elevate the room or brighten people's hearts, which is exactly what a toast is supposed to do. Rather, my toast was sort of an off note in the "music" of an otherwise wonderful evening.

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    Going Formal. Many occasions, of course, call for a formal toast: a wedding, a significant birthday or an official dinner, to name a few. "The very first thing I think of when I think of a toast is that the best man's toast at a wedding is usually either a highly anticipated or highly dreaded moment," says Katina Boetger-Hunter, ACS, ALB, member of the Beaver Club in Beaver Falls ...

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    The waiters will wink at you, the bartender will give you an extra cherry, and the guest of honor (whomever you toasted) will gush and cry and thank you profusely for making them look good. Bottom Line: Giving a great toast is a gift. Your amazing toast is a gift to the person you love.

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    The Toastmasters icebreaker speech is the first speech that you will give in your Toastmasters journey. This speech allows the audience to get an idea of who you are as a person. The honest truth is that this is often the most dreaded speech of all. But why? ‍ It's because the icebreaker speech is your first planned speech in front of an audience!

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    Which approach works best? Regardless of the approach, here are four tips for writing an effective Toastmasters Ice Breaker speech: 1. Identify your goal for the speech. Is your goal to introduce yourself or get across a particular point? Pinpointing your purpose can help bring focus and clarity as your write. 2.


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  24. Belgium toasts its beer riches with new visitor centre

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