I’m a recently joined member of Toastmasters, and I gave my Ice Breaker speech yesterday evening. For those who don’t know, this is the first in a series of 10 beginner-level speeches in the Competent Communicator manual.

My speech was titled “Finding My Voice” and my three main points were about “Thinking for myself,” “Trusting Myself,” and “Finding My Voice.” Thinking for myself means finding my own conclusion and not merely absorbing what those around me think. Trusting myself means not being intimidated by other’s disapproval of my conclusions. Of course, this doesn’t mean I can’t change my mind as I learn new things or think about a topic in a different way. The third “Finding my voice” is about speaking out what I need to say with boldness and without fear of disapproval.

It took me some time to figure out just exactly what I was going to say. I did mention that I help organize a group called Louisville Atheists and Freethinkers. An example of a time when I “lost my voice” was the story about how I had been afraid to tell the cashier about the Atheist group once for fear of how he would judge me. (Same story I told in “My New Darwin¬†Fish“.) I also mentioned where I work, and that I like to sing karaoke. My opening idea was that it is easier for me to get up and sing songs that someone else wrote then to get up in front of people and speak my own thoughts in my own words. That is risky.

It took some serious thinking for me to mention the Atheist Group, and that I help to organize it, in the speech. To my atheist friends: Do you think that was a good idea, and do you think you would consider outing yourself to a Toastmasters group in that way? I’m just curious.