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October 10, 2007 [ More archived home pages here ]

My First Twin Oaks Toastmasters Speech

The above image is Harvest Moon

Today's song is Autumn Leaves by Johnny Mercer, released in 1947.

I joined Twin Oaks Toastmasters in early 2003. It was the beginning of a journey. Today I decided to publish my first speech. I have a couple more speeches to present in the near future that I prepared, but never gave.

The first speech is known as the Ice Breaker, named because it provides the speaker to tell the club about themselves. It's a speech that should be the easiest to give. I didn't join Toastmasters to learn how to give speeches or speak in front of groups. I had been giving technical presentations since the early 1980's and comfortable on those matters. I joined to become a better listener. Along the way, I improved my speaking skills in other subjects than technical topics and became a better leader too.

I gave the following 4 - 6 minute outlined speech on April 9, 2003 without notes, directly in front of the audience:

Ice Breaker

My name is Don Larson. For the next several minutes, I'm your embedded storyteller. Born in Chicago, IL, I now live in San Marcos with my wife Sherry:
  • We moved to San Diego in 1996 while our daughter was still in college
  • Empty-nesting has its rewards
  • Later this month we celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary
  • I'm a loyal Californian, although I still use my turn signal to change lanes

My working career is extensive and varied:

  • A few of those jobs include: telephone installer, machinist, data processing manager, partner in a software firm, and project manager
  • Each position helped make me who I am today
  • Nowadays I enjoy team leading, mentoring, and teaching

I tell stories using, words, gestures, and occasionally digital art:

  • I own a popular website. In the one year's time this particular one has been online, I displayed 280 web pages of material over 100,000 times
  • The site is woven with threads of art, photography, technical information, and life experiences
  • My artistic talent helps me express life:
    • I accidentally discovered a talent for artistic expression about six years ago
    • I use various computer software applications to generate art when I sense the urge
    • By its very nature, art coveys mixed messages in a format only understood by the observer:

  • Some Art Lessons:
    • I found I could encapsulate the feelings I had at the moment of inspiration:
      • I can easily return to those moments when I look at my art
    • Another is how many people enjoy my digital creations and use them on their own computer screens:
      • My Desktop images page is the most popular content page I have:
        • Over 6,500 page views
    • Often people write me to tell me they were touched in certain ways or it helped them reach closure on some deep personal issue:
      • I developed several deep and trusted online friendships with people I never met

  • Artist Evolution:
    • Through my artwork, connections with other people, and the accompanying passage of time, I couldn't help but evolve as a human being
    • I learned to be a much more open individual and share my soul and personal secrets
    • I discovered so many people go through a self-examination process:
      • We can learn from one another that uncomfortable emotions and feelings are a natural part of our lives
      • We are all unique individuals, yet we are more in common on the emotional level that we may realize and perhaps we are more comfortable knowing we are not alone in our feelings

I shared this with you today because you are now part of my journey:

  • We intersected on the "Road Of Life"
  • Some portions of it we now travel together
  • I am person at peace with myself:
    • I know where I've come from
    • Where I am now
    • Where I'm going
    • And one more thing...
      • I'm a rebel without a pause

I received the Best Speaker Ribbon for that day. In my time with the club, less than ten people have achieved that ribbon on their very first speech. For every speech I gave that followed, I strived to use what I had learned from others in the club.

After each speech, when at home, I review my speech using the following criteria:

  1. What did I practice to say and do before the speech?
  2. What did I say and do during the speech?
  3. How do I feel about the differences between items one and two?

I find that process helps me on my continuous improvement path. Soon I will complete the last two speeches towards my AC Silver award. When those are completed I will have given over thirty prepared speeches in under five years time. Each one was evaluated by someone in both written and verbal modes. I have received over 200 written comments from those in the audiences. I couldn't help but learn from all that feedback.


Recently the total accumulated page views for my digital art images passed the 1/2 million mark!


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