Tuesday, 11 August 2015


In the previous blog, we discussed the tips and ideas about the stepping stone of improving the communication skills. In this blog we will discuss my ICE BREAKER speech.


While writing the speech, I was confounded with what level of information I should be delivering in the stipulated 5 minutes. To make it easier, I decided to take the chronological approach. Listed all the activities in three headings

·         Childhood - Starting from early ages to the educational years
·         Work – Mainly where we gain the practical experience of life and the hard realities
·         Family – When we start taking up responsibilities.

Travelling has been my passion. Describing me without travelling is incomplete, so made travelling as my pivot or the connecting element between the three phases of the story. While practicing I figured out that around 700 words touches the 6 minute mark. This will vary from person to person, figure out what is yours. Also as you start using more body movement into the speech it decreases.

Inorder to keep it within the stipulated words, I shortlisted one most important travelling story from the three above mentioned phases and weaved them together for the speech.

choose Title with care

The title of your speech deserves more thought. What’s in a name? Plenty, if it is the title of a speech. If speakers took more care in crafting their speech titles, they would deliver better talks.

First, a good title creates anticipation. For example, let’s say these three speeches were on the club meeting agenda: “My Career,” “The Taxman Story” and “The Tax That Will Be the Death of Me.” All the three can be of the same subject matter. Which title is exciting and piques your interest? You’re more likely to be curious about the third one, despite its subject matter. You would be thinking what kind of tax is it? How does it kill? The third title suggests there will be drama. It is an active statement, and it revs up the listener for what’s to come. A clever title tells what’s ahead and better prepares the audience for the talk.

The title is your audience’s first exposure to your speech. It will be used when you are introduced. It is the headline for your speech and provides a big opportunity to influence your audience. Finding a good speech title is hard. It requires the same creative effort as any other element of your speech.

Title of my Ice Breaker Speech was “ADDICTION”. It was an attempt to dramatize my love and passion for travelling.

I’ll give you an approximation of my speech in text form. The word I wanted to emphasis in the speech is marked in Bold.

My ice breaker SPEECH

I am addicted to “Travel”.

Mr. Toastmaster, I believe the addiction was passed on to me by my family. My father’s job included lot of travel. This allowed me to visit new places, make new friends. The urge to visit new places and see different culture remained with me even after growing up.

So after graduating from “Mining College” and a brief period of struggle, I was offered two jobs:- one with a handsome salary but stationed in a mine, other as a consulting engineer, not a high salary, but including potential for lot of travel. Went for the second one.

The job took me “places”. I have the pleasure of visiting all the continents, except “Antarctica”.  And after the experience at Siberia, believe me; I am happy to give that a miss.

The experience was great & interesting but not always comfortable. Being in an opencast mine in the outskirts of Muscat at +40C or out in Kazakhstan, in the snow at -25C with wind almost piercing your face; is not that comfortable experience, but thrilling. I hope facing those extreme temperatures made me more “seasoned”.

I still remember the day in Kazakhstan, when I walked to up to a river in mid-January, expecting ice chunks floating on the water. To my utter disbelief there was a “car” speeding on the river, the same river where I was fishing few months back.
While I stood there bewildered, the local translator wasn’t able to understand what was so amazing about it.

Generally, we do the field reconnaissance at day light. But in Oman, I was told that we start at 11 pm. I just could say “WHAT”, that time is for sleeping?  The local contact smiled and said you will understand by the time we will finish.  By the time we finished the approximately 23km walk on the rocky desert, it was 7am and the temperature was around 30C. I was thanking, that we did it in the night.

There have been quite a few interesting experiences - The beauty of London from the top of “London Eye” or the experience of seeing an active volcano in Indonesia.

One of such experience is quite close to my heart. On a trip, in Kalimantan, Indonesia, I had the opportunity to visit an exploration camp in the heart of a dense jungle. The first human settlement was 80km away. The camp had all the modern facilities including sat phones, internet, Wi-Fi, etc. But everything went down around 10:00 pm when the generator was switched off.  In the night after the shutdown, I used to watch the stunning calm, silent, moonlit, silver forest.  The occasional ROAR coming from the jungle sent shivers down the spine. But somehow it enhanced the natural beauty.

It was like a moment when irony and coincidence brings a truth to you out of nowhere; when you realize the world is not as you were living it.  As if the dimensional plane you are standing in suddenly shifts, just a bit, leaving you disoriented and the world around you is forever changed.

But with the age and situation, one’s priority changes. The world completely changed on the early morning of April 22nd 2011, the moment I took my son in the arms. The experience was something special, life changed.
So, in the months of Oct, Nov, Dec of 2011 when I had to travel to Morocco, Germany and South Africa respectively, I started missing home and hated the travel. The very travel I loved more. I decided this is the time to move on. So after 8 years of the consultancy job, I started looking for a position that can help me to stay closer to my family, see my son grow up.

But addiction never dies. I was in fact looking for a job where I would be able to take my family to new places, meet different culture.

Being a mining engineer, the first choice was Australia. And luckily around Feb 2012 an Australian Mining Company was looking for mining engineer with international exposure. Things clicked and April 2012 I landed in Australia to start a new life and new work. And definitely explore it.

Mr ToastMaster

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