New Members

New Members

Congratulations on joining NVTM!

In addition to the manuals you received, we have tried to provide you with a fair amount of information to make your membership in our club a rewarding and fun experience.

Here you can find tips in the following categories:

  • General Tips
  • Table Topics
  • Your First Speech (Ice Breaker)

General Tips

  • Review the Duty Roles Page BEFORE you have a duty. You may want to print that page out and bring it with you in case you are assigned a duty at a club meeting to cover an unexpected absence.
  • Remember that as a duty master, you will have to explain your role.  This is your first opportunity to practice speaking.  Take the time to make sure you understand what you should say when you explain your role.
  • Determine how often you want to speak (as well as perform other duties) and contact the VP of Education. They are responsible for scheduling you in your various tasks.
  • If you want to speak and are not yet on the schedule (or not scheduled to speak) get a copy of the schedule (from the VP of Education). Each week, contact the TM for that week’s meeting and tell them that you would be happy to speak (or perform another duty) if they need someone.
  • Be prepared for Table Topics as you will most likely be called on in your first or second meeting as a new member.

Table Topics

  • From the day your membership is completed, it is very likely that you will be called. In fact, it is likely that you will speak responding to a Table Topics This is one of your best tools in Toastmasters. Is there a possibility that, at some point in your life, you will be at a meeting and will be asked to say something about what you do, with little to no time to prepare? How well will you do? Table topics helps you prepare for those moments when you only have 1-2 minutes to speak, yet you need to come across in a positive manner.
  • Table Topics – Tips for answering questions
    • If you are asked a question during table topics and don’t know the answer, don’t say that. Simply change the subject without admitting anything and tell us what you do know. So if the question is: “Please describe why you feel that a Barbie Doll is better than a GiGi doll” and you don’t even know a “GiGi doll” from a rock, you might answer using one of the following approaches (note the …. means you fill in from there):
      • “Well, I find that dolls seem to serve a unique need with young girls. But there are lots of other things that can meet this same need. And yet, people tend to give girls dolls and boys guns. I think that……”
      • “Well, I never had either type of doll growing up (hey, as a boy, I wanted the GI Joe Super Bazooka!) But with two small boys of my own, I have found that it does help to know a little about toys and how they compare. Why just the other day, I was in the toy store and ……”
      • “Well, I never had a “GiGi Doll” but I did have a Barbie. One time, I remember playing with her and …….
    • Note in the previous examples that, while you mentioned the key items of the question, you were able to turn the question into a topic that you might find more interesting (and about which you may have some ideas.) If you do this, try to bring the initial question back in at the end. So the first sample answer above, you might conclude with something like “As a guy, I still don’t understand why girls like dolls, but now that I am a father, I am sure that my daughter can spend hours telling me the difference between GiGi and Barbie.”
    • One great way to practice this on your own can be found at the folllowing link: – This is a site that gives you a topic type question and a timeing light so you can practice entirely on your own (thanks Emilia!)

Your first speech (your Ice Breaker)

  • Your first speech (also known as your Ice Breaker) will be from the manual that should arrive shortly after you joined the club. It is sent from the Toastmasters Headquarters. Alternatively, you may receive a manual from the club. If you do, please return the manual you receive in the mail to the club.
  • Request a mentor (see the Mentors Page). They should be happy to help you with tips and ideas.
  • Try to have an opening and close that fit together and are well memorized. For example, you might start with something like:
    “I am not what I appear to be”
    and then end with :
    “I so, now that you all know me better, you might also agree that I am not what
    I appear to be”
    See how the opening statement (and maybe the title) match the closing statement. Your mentor might be able to help you with this.
  • Remember, we are your friends. Relax and just tell us about yourself.
  • The purpose of this speech is for you to tell us about you. Since you have been you all your life, you know more about you than anyone else. This may sound silly, but, if you think about it, it makes sense for you to start with a topic that you know well.
  • While the manual will explain much of what you need to know, try to include:
    • Where you were born
    • A little about your parents and siblings
    • Your life growning up
    • Where you went to college
    • What type of work do you do
    • Your present status (job, family, kids, etc.)
    • Hobbies (current and past)
  • If you think about some of these things, you will probably find it difficult to keep your speech within the 4-6 mintute timeframe.
  • If you feel you need notes, remember that you know the details. So only include key words in an outline format. So you might have:
    • Born
    • Parents worked at
    • I went to school
    • I graduated and
    • I met my husband (wife) at
    • etc.
  • Don’t have more in your notes than you need. If you look at the list above, you know what else is needed, all you might need is a reminder of what order you may want to tell us these things.
  • If you do use notes, make sure you have the key points printed in a large enough font that you can read them easily from a distance. Then put the notes on the lecturn and just refer to them when you need them.

Feel free to contact the webmaster with any other tips that you think would be good to have here.