Speech 1: The Ice Breaker

Good Evening Fellow Toastmasters. Please listen carefully to the two words I am about to give you and remember these. These are important to the speech I am about to give. The first word is “Norman”, which is my given name. The second is “Talon”, my surname. (pause) 

And this speech is about me. 

I have a short name which makes it easy to remember and to enter into forms and ID like my driver’s license. Not like my wife, she has three words in her first name, Maria Paz Arlene. Or my eldest daughter, Mydee Belle Patrizia, or my youngest, Cyanea Kiana… she only had two words in her name. 

I’ve always wondered what was the meaning behind my name and why I was names so. An internet search reveals that Norman or Normans are people or person from Normandy, France, descendants of the Norse or Norseman who were raiders and pirates from Denmark, Iceland and Norway. 

If you search for talon, it is the claw of a bird of prey, like eagles or hawks. 
Actually, to find the real meaning of “Talon” in the context of my name, I needed to go back to the country I grew up and my families origin. I say Grew Up because while I was born in Pennsylvania, I grew up in the Philippines. And in Filipino, the word talon can take on a different meaning depending on how you say it. For example, talon means water falls, or pronounced differently, talon means jump. But in the local dialect from where my family came from, talon means farmer. So I am from a family of farmers. 

And as for my first name, I had to ask my Mom. And so I asked my mother “Why did you name me Norman?” I waited for an earth shattering revelation why, and she said she found Norman her obstetrician, to be very handsome. And that was all the reason she needed. It is a good thing I do not have a jealous father. 

Back in high school, while considering a career, I had seriously looked farming, to follow my ancestors, but ultimately decided against it. This was more work than I was willing to put in. Nor did I want to follow my parents into medicine. So I studied Engineering instead and now work for the Northrop Grumman, in Elkridge, Maryland. 

And ever since I as young, I had always had a problem speaking in public. In school, I could not bring myself to raise my hands in class even if I knew the answer during class discussions. 

In social gatherings, I kept quiet and just listen. Worse for me was during the times I wanted to engage in conversation but I always drew a blank and could not contribute or say a thing. 

I am sure most of you have heard the survey result that states most Americans would rather jump off a plane in a parachute than speak in public? Well, after reading about that I thought “Hell no. I wasn’t going to be one of them”. 

So I read books on speaking with anyone and joined seminars like Dale Carnegie’s public speaking. And as I watched my fellow seminarians improve a lot,  I felt like I barely did. I decided then that what I needed was an environment that would allow contiguous development and practice, not one that ended after a few days. 
And so here I am with toastmasters. And after many years of procrastinating, I am finally ready to take this seriously. 

To summarize, I have a name that is short and easy to remember, Norman Talon, 
My last name tells me I am from a family of farmers. Or maybe I am a pirate and raider from Denmark. 

I work with Northrop Grumman in Elkridge, Maryland. 
And joined toastmasters because I would rather not be jumping off planes.

The Evaluation

The “Ice Breaker” is the first prepared speech a new member delivers. It is the first of 10 needed to earn his or her “Competent Communicator” certificate. The bar is set low for this speech. Some evaluator takes the view you only need to “stay standing up” and not collapse. I passed this criterion well.

According to my evaluator, I delivered in a clear and smooth voice. And the speech is well organized in that it had a clear and well-defined opening, body and conclusion. I was comfortable on the podium, no stuttering and I was relaxed.

What more could I have asked for? Well, to remain relaxed, composed and stay upright during my following speeches.

© 2015 – 2019, Norman Talon. All rights reserved.

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