Sunday, August 10, 2008

My first toastmaster project - Ice Breaker

The last few hectic weeks have drained me literally dry. But now that it is over, it's time for me to focus on my own personal development.

I have joined a local toastmaster club about a month ago :) Yes and I really love my club which is really nurturing and I look forward to develop my speaking skills with the club. I have drafted my first toastmaster project, Ice Breaker. The project is supposed to be a 4 to 6 minutes speech to get myself to begin speaking before an audience and understand the areas that require particular emphasis in speaking as well as to introduce myself to my fellow club members. Here it is for sharing:

The Ice Breaker
Thank you Toastmaster of the Day.

Good afternoon Toastmaster of the Day, fellow toastmasters and friends, today I am very happy to be here to introduce myself to the club.

Does anyone here know what does this stand for? [Use both hands to form two circles and pause for response.] A pair of goggles? A pair of spectacles?

I used to be shortsighted and needed my glasses to see clearly. I had severe myopia – close to 1,000 degree. I was half-blinded without my glasses or contact lens. Not anymore. I went for lasik surgery about 4 years ago and now enjoy perfect vision without glasses. That was one of the best things that ever happened to me. The lasik surgery was a breeze. The only downside was the fear before the surgery something akin to public speaking. I was scared and had hundreds of butterflies fluttering in my stomach. What if the machine breakdown halfway in the operation, what if there was a power failure, what if there was complication and I could not see. In the end, I left my fate to the eye surgeon who did a fantastic job and things turned out really well. I went for the surgery in the morning. The operation lasted less than 15 minutes. Then I went back home for a good afternoon nap. When I woke up in the evening, I could SEE CLEARLY. There was no pain, no blood and little downtime. In fact, after the surgery, I was raving so much about the operation that my husband went for it soon after and we have never looked back.

Back to this symbol again. Besides glasses, this symbol also represents my education. This is the symbol for infinity – the lazy number 8 which is lying down. It is closely associated with Mathematics. And yes, that is my first degree. I graduated with 2nd class upper in Science majoring in Mathematics. So does my husband. We love Mathematics and so does my elder boy. I have two sons – aged 7 and 5. My elder boy has just started formal education – Primary One. And yes, like his parents, he always says Mathematics is a piece of cake.

I guess in a way, I have ignited his love for numbers with a story which I will also like to share with you. The story is about infinity.

When I first introduced the concept of infinity.

My son asked me, “Mummy, is infinity real?”

“Of course, it is my dear.” I replied. “I can even show it to you.”

And this was when my son told me that it resembled the number 8 lying down.

The title of the story was “Hotel Infinity in Planet Infinity.”

In Planet Infinity, there resided a Hotel called Hotel Infinity. The interesting thing about this hotel was that it had an infinitely many, many number of rooms which were all occupied. Room 1 was taken by the Guest Number 1, Room 2 was occupied by the Guest Number 2, Room 3 by the Number 3 and so on and so forth.

On one cold winter night, there was a knock on the door of Hotel Infinity.

Knock, knock, knock…. The owner, Mr Hilbert opened the door and he saw the number Zero standing outside – shivering…

“Oh please come in Mr Zero.” Kind old Mr Hilbert ushered the number Zero into his hotel.

“Thank you, Mr Hilbert.” Said Zero, “It was freezing cold outside, do, do, … you think you will be able to spare a room for me tonight.”

Mr Hilbert stopped and thought for a moment. All his hotel rooms were taken up but maybe, he could. Maybe because Hotel Infinity was a very special hotel with infinitely many rooms.

So how could he create just another room for Mr Zero? This was how. He first moved Guest Number 1 to Room 2. This freed up Room 1, Room 1 was now empty. But hey, what about the Guest Number 2. Well, he moved to him to Room 3. And Guest Number 3 moved to Room 4. And so on and so forth. Lo and behold, we now had an empty room – Room 1. And yes, Mr Zero did get to spend a warm and cosy night at Hotel Infinity.

And this is the magic of Infinity.

I have just shared with you three things about myself. 1. I have went for lasik surgery and that was one of the best things that ever happened to me; 2. my education – I have my first degree in Mathematics; and 3. my family – I am happily married to my husband who is also a Mathematics graduate and we have two boys – aged 7 and 5. Right now, we are all intrigued by Infinity.

Toastmaster of the Day.


Andrew - Six Minutes Public Speaking Blog said...


Congratulations on your decision to focus on your own personal development. Toastmasters is a wonderful organization which provides the scaffolding for you to develop your speaking and confidence.

Good luck on the delivery of your Icebreaker speech. I think it provides a nice glimpse of who you are.

Aileen said...

Thanks Andrew for your encouragement. I believe it will help me tremendously. In fact, by just attending two sessions as a visitor, I have improved my presentation skills quite substantially.

yetti said...

Hi Aileen,

Well Done! :)
See you at our toastmaster club.

Have a nice day,

Kowloon-Singapore Toastmasters Club