Tips For New Members

Congratulations on joining Startup Speakers!

In addition to the manuals you received, we have tried to provide you with some additional information to make your membership in our club a rewarding and fun experience.

Here you can find tips in the following categories:

  • General Tips
  • Table Topics
  • Your First Speech (Ice Breaker)

General Tips

  • It's a good idea to review the Duty Roles page before you have a duty.
  • As a duty master, you'll have to explain your role at the start of the meeting. Think of it as a short speaking opportunity, a chance to make a mini presentation. Take advantage of it.
  • Determine how often you want to speak (as well as perform other duties) and contact the VP of Education. They are responsible for scheduling members for the various roles.
  • If you want to speak and are not yet on the schedule, get a copy of the schedule (from the VP of Education). Each week, contact the TM for that week's meeting and tell them that you would be happy to speak (or perform another duty) if they need someone.
  • Be prepared for Table Topics as you're likely to be called on in your first or second meeting as a new member.

Table Topics

  • It's likely that you'll be called on for Table Topics from the your first day as a new member. This is one of your best tools in Toastmasters: It helps prepare you for those moments when you need to speak unexpectedly or extemporaneously, e.g., What do you do? Where are you from? What do you think of this, or that? Table topics helps you prepare for those moments when need to speak only briefly, yet still need to come across in a positive manner.
  • Table Topics -
    • What if you're asked a Table Topics question, but don't know the answer, or simply don't wish to answer it directly? Bluff! Deflect. It's perfectly OK to change the subject without acknowledging you're doing so - or if you prefer, do it in an intentionally obvious way and have fun with it. So if the question is: 'Please describe why you feel that a Barbie Doll is better than a GiGi doll' and you don't even know a 'GiGi doll' from a rock, you might answer using one of the following approaches (note the …. means you fill in from there):
      • 'Well, I find that dolls seem to serve a unique need with young girls. But there are lots of other things that can meet this same need. And yet, people tend to give girls dolls and boys guns. I think that……'
      • 'Well, I never had either type of doll growing up (hey, as a boy, I wanted the GI Joe Super Bazooka!) But with two small boys of my own, I have found that it does help to know a little about toys and how they compare. Why just the other day, I was in the toy store and ……'
      • 'Well, I never had a 'GiGi Doll' but I did have a Barbie. One time, I remember playing with her and …….
  • Note in the previous examples that, while you mentioned the key items of the question, you were able to turn the question into a topic that you might find more interesting (and about which you may have some ideas.) If you do this, try to bring the initial question back in at the end. So the first sample answer above, you might conclude with something like 'As a guy, I still don't understand why girls like dolls, but now that I am a father, I am sure that my daughter can spend hours telling me the difference between GiGi and Barbie.'
  • One great way to practice this on your own can be found at the folllowing link: - This is a site that gives you a topic type question and a timeing light so you can practice entirely on your own (thanks Emilia!)

Your first speech (your Ice Breaker)

  • Your first speech, known as the Ice Breaker, will be from the manual you received from Toastmasters HQ shortly after joining.
  • Request a mentor (see the Mentors Page). They should be happy to help you with tips and ideas.
  • Try to have an opening and close that work together and are well memorized. For example, you might start with something like:
    'I am not what I appear to be'
    and then end with :
    'I so, now that you all know me better, you might also agree that I am not what
    I appear to be'
    Notice how the opening statement (perhaps the title, too) matches the closing statement. Your mentor might be able to help you with this.
  • Remember, the other members are friendly and will want to support you - most will have gone through their own Ice Breaker and survived. You will too! Just relax and tell us a little about yourself.
  • The purpose of this speech is for you to tell us about you. Since you have been you all your life, you know more about you than anyone else. This may sound silly, but, if you think about it, it makes sense for you to start with a topic that you know well.
  • While the manual will explain much of what you need to know, try to include:
    • Where you were born
    • A little about your parents and siblings
    • Your life growing up
    • Where you went to college
    • What type of work do you do
    • Your present status (job, family, kids, etc.)
    • Hobbies (current and past)
  • If you think about some of these things, you'll probably find it difficult to keep your speech within the 4-6 mintute timeframe.
  • If you feel you need notes, remember that you know the details. So only include key words in an outline format. So you might have:
    • Born
    • Parents worked at
    • I went to school
    • I graduated and
    • I met my husband (wife) at
    • etc.
  • Don't include more in your notes than necessary to keep yourself on track. . The list above is nothing but cues to remind you to talk about things you already know well. This will make for a more spontaneous and personable presentation.
  • If you do use notes, make sure you have the key points printed in a large enough font that you can read them easily from a distance. Then put the notes on the lecturn and just refer to them when you need them.

Feel free to contact the club's Vice President of Education with any other tips that you think would be good to have here.