Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Toastmasters Ice Breaker


I started meeting with Toastmasters guys in May 2010, and since then I must admit that I have spent a really good time with them. For those who ignore what Toastmasters is, I'll just write what Google search result say, that is: "Non-profit organization developing public speaking and leadership skills through practice and feedback in local clubs since 1924." For more informations you might simply go to www.toastmasters.org.


Briefly, the first objective is to deliver ten speeches in order to obtain the "Competent Communicator" title. I am still far away from that, but I am now preparing my next speech.
The first speech is the Ice Breaker, and is the most simple one. Actually there is no need to provide the speech a complex structure or pay attention to lots of details while preparing the presentation. The objective is telling the audience who you are, what do you like and possibily why you are there doing what you do.

I'll add my Ice Breaker here, in case you are curious and looking for inspiration. I remember I read it almost completely. You know, it was my first time delivering a speech to an audience, and in english.


Chapter I, Me

My mother got pregnant around 20th March, 1976. I guess my grandfather must have been expectant about my sex, he was looking forward to have a boy to educate and to teach his own values and ideas. I don’t know if my parents were as expectant as my grandfather, being my mother pregnancy unexpected. Anyway, love sometimes wins, and I won a free ticket to life (well, not really free, that’s pretty like a mortgage repayment, but at first you don’t realize it), that was on the 22nd of January 1977. The third of three children, the only boy, the one they were not waiting for.

Later on it was not so difficult for me to catch the whole attention of people, being an hyperactive fellow forced my parents to spend great part of their time in controlling my movements.
I loved cartoons, specially Japanese ones (Who does not remember Mazinger, Goldrake, or Captain Harlock) and before going to the nursery, I loved to switch on TV and spend hours in front of the tv set. Then, my father built a small wooden box with a padlock to lock the plug of the TV. In a couple of days I learnt to open the padlock with a metal clip. I could not understand why I was not allowed to spend hours watching cartoons, actually, there was nothing more for me to do, provided my mother was always busy either cooking or cleaning. And the elder sisters?? I wasn´t really interesting for my elder sisters.
Another usual episode I remember was climbing on chairs and pieces of furniture to discover hidden chocolate pots. Really easy.
Nowadays I understand why youngsters are quite anarchists.
Then, by the age of four I started reading Micky Mouse comics. I could not stand Micky Mouse, actually my favourite character was Donald Duck. By far more sympathetic and human character than Micky, the perfect mouse. Boring.
By the age of six years old I had learned by memory around four hundreds comics, each story, each dialog. I did not realize my talent, my father discovered it when joking with my uncle: “he knows stories by memory!”. Actually I started repeating a random story from a random comic chosen by my father throughout my collection. Was I a lonely intellectual child?

Little child, little child, little child want you dance with me?
I am so sad and lonely baby take a chance with me.

I don’t have any particular memory of me sitting on a school chair. That was a quite period of my life. I think I nearly fell in love with all the good looking girls in my class. Pretty normal.
Then, jumping to my fifteen years, everything started moving really fast. That’s when I had my first electric guitar. I played in a rock band and that was really fun, playing in parties, festivals and events. We were the most famous rock band in the village.
Everything was so nice till I was nineteen, when two main milestones marked the path. A summer vacation with my friends before entering university in Barcelona, and the choice to start engineering. After some time, thinking back of that summer, I can summon it up with three words: fun, Catalan (somehow similar to my village dialect) and girls. I would say:

Well, she was just seventeen,
and you know what I mean,
and the way she looked was way beyond compare.
So how could I dance with another,
ooh, When I saw her standing there.



Chapter II, The others

University was something much different, first time living alone, far away from my parents’ worries and control. There I completely forgot music and dedicated to subjects new to me. No time for guitar, no space for old hobbies.
I must admit that being curious is a very positive attitude, although choosing engineering is not the solution I would recommend. Actually when I started tasting the explanations to all natural phenomenons, I discovered there were mysteries much bigger. Human people and their behaviours. Studying at a big university is so interesting from a social point of view, getting in touch with different cultures is challenging.
Being part of a community is an astonishing experience: I realized that people are very different. Actually, nice, gentle, simple, complicated, clean, dirty, awful, liar, egoist and poliedric. As my studies progressed year by year, the happening that radically changed my life took place. A great friend of mine, pushed me to go on Erasmus. He demonstrated that it was the right thing to do and that was the right moment. I had always thought that being abroad with an Erasmus grant would be a loss of time.
I will never forget that moment I decided to trust a person against my feelings and sensation, that was a real revolution. One might say..

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away.
Now it looks as though they're here to stay.
Oh, I believe in yesterday.



Chapter III, Altogether

And at last my short travel has arrived to these days. My love for Spain never faded out, and after getting my degree I started to organize things to go back to Spain. I did it, and now I am living one of strongest and most vivid experience I ever lived. Loving a woman and working with great colleagues.

I think I stopped playing music and singing in a band, but music is playing in me.