If you can Dream it – You can Achieve it :)

Sample – ICE BREAKER Speech – TOASTMASTER

Posted on: June 19, 2010

Sample 1:

Mr./Madam Toastmaster, Ladies and Gentlemen,

“What is this life , if full of care, We have no time to stand and stare”. These lines from the poem “Leisure” by W.H. Davies struck me as an apt way to introduce myself. Because I AM A MAN OF LEISURE.

Why do I say so? If I were standing before you, 3 years ago, I would have introduced myself as an IT professional working for so-and-so company. If it were 2 years ago, I would have introduced myself as a full-time student at the Cyprus International Institute of Management. But since receiving my degree in the beginning of March, this year, I am at a loss as to what should I designate myself to be. Would it be a job aspirant, a Singles for Christ , a CIIM alumnus, a ToastMaster member or something else? Or would I introduce myself as a software developer, a part-time activity to fill the hours? And keep the trade skills honed?

I am sure that some, if not most of us here, would have faced the very same question at some point in their lives. And why not? All our lives have been filled with a certain identification, a certain structure. And that’s what we seek to create and reinforce in our lives, whatever we do, wherever we go. We seek structure.I could elaborate on the need to find structure in our lives but that is not the topic of this speech. I am.

I call myself a man of leisure but this term has some awkward connotations. A man of leisure is assumed to be relatively well-off and of independent means. But I am neither of the two. It also has some other associated negatives but I choose not to dwell on those. But I do have the time to stand and stare! Literally so!!! (Stare)

Returning to the subject matter, that is , me, Linus Julian Fernandes, I was born the second child of 3 , well over 30 years ago, in Bandra. I have 2 siblings, an elder sister and a younger brother. I have lived most of my life in Vakola, Santacruz where I schooled at St. Anthony’s High School. I had a very sheltered or even insular childhood. I was a very good student. My childhood was spent either playing cricket or other sports in the building compound or reading comics and novels. I was a voracious reader, a habit that I have retained to the present. My reading now though consists of mostly non-fiction.My college education was completed at 2 Catholic institutions , St. Andrew’s College and St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, I was a very good student in school but I sort of drifted through my college years. It was only in my final year that I buckled down because I realized the need to prepare myself for a career. I completed a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics with a first-class.

Post-graduation immediately followed with a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Mumbai. Lectures were on the sprawling Kalina campus. I started my first job with Mahindra British Telecom, now known as Tech Mahindra through campus placements. Work has provided me the opportunity to travel and work abroad, both in the UK and the US. In my capacity as a software consultant, I have worked for organizations such as British Telecom and IBM. It has also provided me the opportunity to meet interesting people wherever I go. For instance, one of the managers at IBM, Santa Monica was a bartender before she drifted into a career with IBM. How utterly fascinating!

Besides reading, my other hobby is writing poems. However, I do not consider myself a talented poet nor do I have the patience to sit down and pen lines. Most of my writing is very sporadic and occur when I am having the blues rather than in moments of elation or joy! I need the feeling to make my poems really expressive. At least, that is my belief!

The other activity in my life is regular exercise. This is something that I have tried and instill over the past 3 years. Since I was a teenager I have been interested in building a strong physique especially since I was rather a fragile child suffering many ailments and always sniffling with a runny nose. I now try and run 3 times a week , to build my stamina and keep myself fit. I also love most sports ; I am a decent badminton, tennis and table-tennis player. But most of all I love to run, FAST, AS FAST AS I CAN! A healthy mind in a healthy body!

I would like to end my speech with a little Spanish I learnt a few years ago, Buenos Dias, i.e. good day and Gracias i.e. Thank you.

Over to you, Toastmaster.

Sample 2:

Toastmaster of the day, Fellow toast masters and welcome guests,

My name is Bharath Reddy, I was born in a farmer’s family in 1982. My father is a BA in English and yet preferred to pursue agriculture. As a little kid I dreamt of becoming a farmer, a farmer who would use all the modern equipment and produce more than my father could.

Soon it was time for me to start going to school, and around the same time my dad started a plastics manufacturing factory. The idea of the factory was so fascinating that I wanted to grow up fast and make it a factory that made every thing that could be made with plastic.

When at school I was different from most of the kids. While all other kids played with their toys, I used to disassemble them and struggle long hours restoring them. My aim was to find out how the toys worked. My mom says I used to break toys right on the second day. Then on, I never lost the habit of dissecting every thing to make sure I knew how it worked. I still do. At school I was not the brightest of the kids but I was a quick learner. I was very talkative. Physics and Geography were my favorite subjects and as far as I can remember, cycling was the best part of going to school.

By the time I got out of school, cousins and elder brothers of friends, joined this new weird league of people called ‘software engineers’. Fathers were no longer our heroes; the ‘software engineers’ were, for obvious reasons. So here I was at this junior college that prepared us for engineering entrance. I was in the race but my longing to do something different landed me at the selections for the National Defense Academy. But it seemed they thought I’d better be a ‘software engineer’, I was sent back. By then I graduated from being a toy breaking lad to someone who took great interest in electronics, sound and music. I read and explored extensively about audio systems and technologies then.

I joined engineering, in ECE. When asked why I chose ECE, I told them I dreamt of becoming a chip designer. Little did I know what it meant. The new toy of that time was a PC. You can imagine how many times I would have pulled it apart and put it together till it gave up last year! Engineering was over in a tizzy. Then was the real challenge- finding a job. I worked for a few months as an assistant professor at an engineering college before joining TCS in 2005. Finally, I too became a ‘software engineer’!

I’m a much different person from what I was 4years ago. I talk less and think a lot! The better things are that I now have many more interests and hobbies than I ever had. I read, I blog quite a bit, I photograph, I love riding my bike and I still have my passion for music and sound intact. My ambitions kept changing all through. Now, I want to use my physical and mental faculties to I want to be a good human being. When I’m old, I would want to look back and feel I’ve not wasted my time but I’ve lead a meaningful life.

This was my Ice breaker speech. I wonder if I have broken the ice or taken too long till it melted.

The speech evaluator said that my talk was interesting and simple, but that I should have been more expressive rather than looking serious ( I was frozen actually). I used the notes as reference (allowed only in the Ice breaker speech!), I should not have. I did not move an inch from the podium. It would have been better if I moved about the stage while I talked. Bottom line is that I can speak well in public, if I better a few of my skills. This was a good start.

Please comment on my speech, be my evaluator, I would be honored.

Sample 3:

Here is my Icebreaker speech at the ToastMaster’s …….

Hello Guys… Good Afternoon everyone

A very famous American Fiction Writer has said —-

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Leave the Specialisation for insects.

I do not really mean any offence to Specialists but I am merely trying to defend the situation in which I find myself. At any point of time in my life, If I was left alone, I wanted to be a cricketer, a Singer, an actor, A film director, A Mayor, A Television Program Director, A political Leader, An accomplished motivational speaker, A cricket commentator etc. etc. etc… I can perhaps use up the whole speech to tell you guys what I actually wanted to become. The only 2 professions that I never wanted to do was Doctor and a Lawyer. Because coming from a vegetarian family I was scared to dissect frogs and human bodies. And not a lawyer because, the movies that I was exposed to in the 80s told me that most of the lawyers are frauds. I think there are few people in this world who know what they want to become when they grow older, they pursue that and then they
become that. Most of us are like me, who try hard at the opportunity that are given to them and if they succeed they try to specialise in that and become a bigger success at that profession or a particular subject. I was one such average joe, who really badly wanted to succeed in everything I do.

I was born to a highly conservative family with deep religious roots. I was exposed to a lot of religious deliberations and thoughts during my formative years. And I was really touched and influenced by the concept of “vairagya” which roughly translates as “Detachment”, “Renunciation”. This made me highly philosophical in my approach and attitude. I always thought of not hurting anybody and my ambitions in life did really plunge. In fact, I had sort of developed a dual personality of “Being highly driven and ambitious at times” and “highly depressed and saintly at times”. When I was doing my studies and I thought having a bike would be really cool, I spoke to my Dad about it. My dad was almost about to get it for me, because he understood that I hardly asked anything. You know I was into this Vyragya thing. Then my Mom intervened, she told my dad, why do you want to do this? His academics are really poor. I really was perplexed what has that got to do with my marks. My mom was so evil… I thought. Then I did some soul searching… and found the answer and was for the first time introduced to the concept of ROI. It was better late than never that I understand that concept of “Return on Investment”. You are an investment to this world by God. You better return something…i.e. the message was strong and clear “Perform or Perish”.

I grew up in the eighties when the Indian economy was not so bullish and the movies that I watched always showed a great divide between the rich and the poor. And, I was always able to connect with the poor than the rich. I was connected to a Protagonist who played an Auto driver or a Mechanic, rather than a Prince or a King. Hence when I wrote the Entrance Test and got myself a seat in Mechanical Engineer, I thought that my long dream of opening a garage would be fulfilled. It was sometime during my course that I lost interest in working in a garage and wanted to become a computer programmer. This was one ambition that I really focused. I really wanted to become a part of this industry. Because, I believed all the best talents were into this industry and being with the best talents will also make me a special talent. I used to work nearly 16 hrs a day to pursue this dream of mine. I took up additional courses to learn the programming and when I got my first job my happiness knew no bounds.

I got my first job as a software engineer in a small organisation and the vending machines were still not much in business during that time. And when the office boy held a cup of tea for me placed it on the tea coaster on my table, I was really not able to measure the pleasure that I got out of that one moment. I almost was crying that day thinking what a hell of a big shot I have become. I thought I am not going to work the entire day. My second biggest moment of that day, came when he System Administrator gave me a mail ID.
Oh… I thought I could never be happier. That was the moment when I really started working. The number of mails that I sent that one day still outnumbers the number of mails that I send in a week as a Project Manager now. Then the next really big moment… it is quite predictabe, My first salary…. that day I really thought all the tough times
of education is behind me. I thought I had done enough hard work to get myself a professional degree, have worked relentlessly to gain additional education for being in the most elite and progressive industry. And now, it is just a matter of going through the motions and lead a life of predictability. Have a few girl friends, watching a few movies, just relax and one day get married, have kids, build a house, see places and have fun….But the reality of life stuck very hard, very soon, when there was a global recession and the companies had anounced the plans of restructuring the organisation… that sounded like a alarm bell to me… I could have been easily there in the list of redundant…since I had just begun my career.

As it happens, subjects of this highly conservative environment are the most curious. I am proud of being able to cross the line and try out a few things in life, know to myself that is is a mistake and learn from that. I am proud of the fact that everytime I have a roadblock, I always try to search for the answers inside, and more often than not have got the answers. I always think if there were no body else in this world who could solve this problem what would I do? That has made me more of a self-made man than being guided and having a God Father. It is this curiosity and a highly inquiring mind which has got me this far. I have been very good at bringing the problems to surface, finding the creative solutions and questioning the obvious.

Finally at times, my thirst for the truth has left me deeply confused and I beleive that will never end. But I have managed to run that program in the background and focus on things at hand. People call me Guru, but on the contrary I have been a very passionate Student of life. I will continue to get more and more educated in life and try to return on the investment that the god has made. Thanks for listening to me………

Sample 4:

I am a smoker. I started smoking when I was 13. Back then cigarettes tasted bitter but the idea of breathing tobacco in and out of your lungs is electrifying. Those were the days of innocence where life is perfect and love is forever. Then it hit me. I was rushed to the hospital due to my smoking habit. I sweared on my hospital bed that I wouldn’t smoke again.

But promises are made to be broken. When I entered college, almost everyone smoked, so I did. At that time, tobacco tasted like paper – empty and unappealing. So were my first subjects – math, social studies and religion. It was so easy, I never studied nor reviewed. Instead, I indulged myself to travel parties and occasional drunkenness. Life was perfect and the taste was addicting. Soon, my vices led me to different brands of expensive cigarettes – DJ Mix, West, West Ice and my favorite, Gudang Garam.

As I squandered my allowance, I met my first love. She had intoxicating looks, engaging features and addicting properties. We often spend time traveling, drinking and whispering sweet nothings. We were soul-mates and it was as if our love would live forever. Cigarettes tasted like sugar and I was totally hooked. My cravings became worse and worse. I started failing subjects. I knew I had to withdraw. And so I did. I broke up with her. I stopped smoking.

But my withdrawal was short-lived. I missed her so much that I started to smoke again. I couldn’t help it. By then, I started smoking Gudang Garam in excess amounts. The taste was sweet but strong. The smell was distinct and ambiguous – a few friends like it, most of them don’t.

It was too addicting and I began to dig deeper into addiction. I went on a depressive state and at my lowest, I met my 2nd love. She was irresistible. Like me she had an insatiable appetite for romance and intimacy. I knew our relationship wouldn’t go for long. Some people don’t want us to be together plus she had a boyfriend. Yes, I knew it wasn’t right but it felt so good. I couldn’t resist. True enough, we broke up. My life went tumbling down and I ended up with nothing… nothing but a broken heart and a pair of damaged lungs.

Up to now, I still smoke. And when I do, I reminisce. I look at everything that has come and gone like the smoke that comes in and out of my lungs. I learned that all good things have to end but what’s important is that we breathe best out of it. We may love it as much as we hate it but nevertheless, we desire it as if it was everything. That’s life. At least now I know that what the label meant when it said: Cigarettes smoking is dangerous to your health.

Sample 5:

Mr. /Madam Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmasters & Honorable guests,

Good Afternoon,

This is my first speech, The Icebreaker. This is the speech where I will talk about myself. So let me introduce myself to all of you.

I am Chetandeep Singh. Is it true? Ok. I don’t know about it myself, but my parents gave me this name and everybody else calls me by this name. So I should say, my name is Chetandeep Singh. But since the objective of this speech is to introduce you to me and not to my name, let me try to introduce myself.

So, Who am I? Let us ponder over this question for sometime & try to find out, if we can.

In my present form, I began my journey on a tiny planet of a tiny solar system of a tiny galaxy of this incredibly huge Universe at some point of time which humans mark as October 1982 A.D. The significance of that seemingly insignificant moment of time is immense. I got a vehicle called “body” to survive in this world.

I grew up at a place called Jalandhar in Punjab. My parents were in a Government job. I am the younger of 2 sons. I did my schooling from Jalandhar. Did my B.Tech Comp Science from REC Jalandhar. Started my career with Aricent, moved on to Aperto Networks, & now at Cisco.

But why? Why I was born to parents to whom I was born? Why i was born in Jalandhar & not San Jose. Why did i study computer engineering and not economics even though I have a lot of interest in Finance & Economics? Why i am at Cisco & Why am i addressing you people today? And why only you & not even one more or one less. These are questions to which even I don’t have an answer. But more importantly, I want to introduce me to you.

I have enjoyed a privileged life. I didn’t have a Mercedes or a BMW when I was a kid. Nor do I have it today. But the very fact, that I can see, hear, smell, taste & speak make me feel privileged when I think of those who can’t. I don’t eat at the Leela’s or Taj’s or Oberio’s but the fact that I get to eat 3 meals a day make me feel satisfied when I think of those who sleep hungry. Why I am privileged & why many are underprivileged? These are questions to which even I don’t have an answer. But more importantly, I want to introduce me to you.

Two years ago, I bought a house in Bangalore but the mistress is yet to come. Buying a house left me in monetary debt for next 20 years. But there is a much bigger debt which I am trying to settle for past I don’t know how much time. That is the Karmic debt. Daily I do good things & bad things, creating & paying my Karmic Debt. When will God bestow his grace unto me & my Karmic Debt get over & when I will be free. These are questions to which even I don’t have an answer. But more importantly, I want to introduce me to you.

I have desires, goals & ambitions. I also want to be rich, travel abroad, have a successful career, a great family, and a big bungalow. But will these materialistic things give me inner satisfaction & happiness. I know the answer this time. But more importantly, I want to introduce me to you.

To introduce myself, I should know about myself. This is my limitation. The fact is that I am a work in progress & I am trying to discover myself. To give you a glimpse, I can say, I am a soul, who is on a journey on the path of evolution. I have changed many forms ranging from stones to plants to animals & now I am in a human form. I don’t know what the next one will be. But the future is full of hope. The wise men say, “Your reap what you sow”. I was never born & I will never die. I will only progress & discover myself in every form. And I am very hopeful. One day, I will be able to introduce myself.

- Mr./ Madam Toastmaster

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