Skip to content

Golden Years – Engaging Humour: Icebreaker


This is not exactly the first time our next speaker, Laura McHarrie has completed an icebreaker. The first one was the second ever meeting of Casterbridge Speakers in April 2008. She was tempted to dust off that speech and do it again until she realised that the subject whilst clever, no longer brought her joy. Icebreaker Speech no 2 was the first on the new Pathways programme, that one was also clever but – again, without joy! So we are going for third time lucky – with her speech entitled Golden Years please welcome Laura McHarrie.

I chose the Engaging Humour Pathway in September, just before I had my hand operated on, before the clocks changed, before the virus reared its ugly head again, and well before Christmas was cancelled. Whilst I have a sense of humour, I am not what I’d call a naturally funny person.  Still I’m always up for a challenge.  But boy it’s been tough, tough, tough, tough, tough coming up with something funny to say in this icebreaker.

Mr President, my fellow Toastmasters … Instead …  I have chosen to talk about three defining moments in my teens that really make me … the me I am.

My English teacher chose me to read the lead role of Portia in Shakespear’s A Merchant of Venice.  It was a huge surprise … nay shock, I had never considered I had the confidence, nor a voice for reading.  Maybe I had a certain maturity, clarity even, probably got that from my dad. I’ve been told I was a chip off the old block. But being the spitting image of your dad isn’t really what a 14 year old girly geek wants to hear. Nevertheless, I found I loved the theatre, drama and literature –  I wouldn’t call myself a Diva mind –  I can never remember my lines – any lines;  – errr where was I?  

Oh yes … I am now the Chair at AsOne theatre company.   It gives me a wonderful opportunity to take a glimpse at the life that goes on behind the scenes, and … in some way, tread the boards.

When I was 15, I had my second defining moment.  I went to see The Elephant Man … whilst my friends from school were swooning over Prince and Jacko – I found Bowie.  First through the theatre, he was the lead in said production, and then through his music.   

Over the years, I have collected all Bowie’s albums in one format or another – and quite often I’ll include a track on my Song Lyric Sunday blog.  I chose “Golden Years” this week …  whilst I may struggle to be funny, I do get irony.  Not sure how many of my myriad readers do – that’s myriad readers  – all two of them … my Mum and … my Sister! 

My third and final defining moment, was when I leant how to move to music.  It was in a nightclub called Bunters – yep really!  Bunters was where all us, Northern Soul vinyl junkies, met up. There was a posh night club in Guildford, called Cinderella’s but that was either … for disco posers or … for pulling.  It wasn’t for us – the really serious dancers.

Photo by Maurício Mascaro from Pexels

For many years, I lived with two husbands (not at the same time you understand) – they had four left feet between them, so I didn’t get out dancing very often.   Luckily, that joy returned when I met Boyfriend ten years ago and, together we discovered the magic of modern jive.  It’s been so tough missing out on our weekly jig last year, we can’t wait for the dancehalls to reopen.

Well, there you have it, my journey from a bit of a geek to mod rock chick now in her – Autumn years.  I really tried to fit apricity, (the word of the day) into my speech … and almost failed!  I have, however, managed to talk for 5 minutes without mentioning work, diabetes or cars this time, instead – just the arts that bring absolute joy into my life.


Speech 1 from the Engaging Humor manual – Icebreaker.
This foundational project is designed to introduce you to your club and the skills you need to begin your Toastmasters journey.
Purpose: The purpose of this project is to introduce yourself to the club and learn the basic structure of a public speech.

Overview: Write and deliver a speech about any topic to introduce yourself to the club. Your speech may be

humorous, informational, or any other style that appeals to you.
Speech timings: 4:00, 5:00, 6:00

1 Comment »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: