Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Icebreaker Speech

The summer after graduating from college, I took an internship position with BlueCross BlueShield in Eagan, MN. It was with the Integrated Health Management, Learning and Development Team. Prior to starting my position, my mentor asked me what my goals were for the summer. I listed several things I was hoping to accomplish and things I thought I could bring to the team. One goal was improving my communication skills and group speaking abilities. My mentor, ironically, was very actively involved in Toastmasters. Toastmasters is a speech club (more or less) for professional adults. The goal of the club is for people to earn accreditations within the club by performing different roles during the meetings and giving speeches. If you'd like to learn more visit It's pretty interesting and fun! Anyways, when I started my internship, she said that I was going to become an honorary member for the summer and go to club meetings with her. The meetings were help within the BlueCross building and it was a great way to meet other employees too. I simply listened and watched during the first few meetings and was then told that I would be giving my 'Icebreaker Speech' the following week. This speech was to be at least two minutes long and an introduction of myself to the group. There were no other guidelines. It could be read off a sheet, improvised, told through song, dance....anything! It could be completely fictitious, as long as it symbolized you, or it could be the truth.  It could be as simple or complicated as I desired to make it. I wanted to share this on my blog, because it was the first time that I truly realized how much I enjoyed writing. Of course, like many people, I had been forced to write numerous papers throughout my educational career. This was the first time I had written without guidelines or without the fear of a bad grade. It was a turning point for me. I'd like to add a small disclaimer before I copy and paste my speech. I feel as though my writing has improved since then and I had a hard time not changing my grammar/spelling/ways I explained things as I read over this :) I wanted it to be the real speech though, so I remember it exactly how it was.


"Not too long ago I started the last class of my undergraduate college career. Similar to this room, I didn’t know many people that well, and was excited for that to change. The professor suggested we get to know one another by stating a few facts about ourselves. Her suggestions were our favorite vacation spot, favorite movie, and favorite color...things like that. I stood up when it was my turn, stated my interesting facts, listened to other people talk and left for the day.

As I walked out of the room, I reflected on what was said and how little I had actually shared with the group. Sure, they could tell you my favorite vacation spot is my cabin, favorite drink is Sprite and that my favorite color is green, but they couldn’t even begin to tell you why.
My cabin has and will always be my favorite place on earth. It was built in the 30’s by my great-grandparents and has been passed down in the family ever since. It’s where I laugh the most, where I feel the most comfortable with myself, closer to family members and God, but most importantly, where I always feel relaxed. It’s where I grew up playing kickball with my cousins, where my childhood pet spent his last few moments and was buried after he passed away, where us kids would religiously sneak over to jump on my neighbors floating trampoline in the middle of the night, where my sister and I would lay on our dock out in the sun for hours planning our dream weddings to prince charming and where I’ll hopefully bring my kids one day to grow up too. It’s where time didn’t matter and grape slushies were the drink of choice. It’s a very small house that has had a very large impact on my life.

My favorite drink is Sprite because I would spend countless summer afternoons sitting on the old orange shag carpet of my grandparent’s living room floor, chatting with them about everything from Price is Right to the latest movie they watched while they drank coffee and I drank my Sprite in a coffee mug. They wanted to include me and make me feel like an adult, without stunting my growth. I think it’s safe to say my basketball coaches were extremely happy with their concern. Sprite is what my mom gave me when I was sick to make me feel better and what I got every single time I was on an airplane ride to somewhere fun.

Finally, the color green. Not only is my cabin on Green Lake in Spicer Minnesota and the color of a can of Sprite green, but it’s the name of the magical city my favorite childhood movie took place, Emerald City. I think it symbolizes my passion for the outdoors, love for pistachio ice cream and the motherly instinct I’ve had since I was a little girl. It was the color of my first car, an old Ford Ranger, which I cleaned daily as it sat in the garage waiting for me to get my license. It’s the color of the baby clothes I’ve recently been buying for my mystery gender niece or nephew that’s due in a couple weeks and the color of the only prom dress I wore in high school. It was the color of my first organized basketball team in kindergarten, which turned into a 13 year passion and countless lifelong friends. It reminds me of the rural town of Elk River Minnesota that I grew up in and how people would drive their John Deere trackers in the homecoming parade. It reminds me of my love for salads, and ironic hatred for all salad dressings. It encompasses me and where I came from. It’s not just a color that I think looks good on clothes or in a painting, but it tells my story.
So, the next time you’re getting to know someone, whether that is in a classroom, work or social setting, make sure you give them enough time. You could learn a lot about someone who simply says they like their cabin, sprite and the color green."

By: Courtni Metcalfe
July 2012

In honor of my speech, Green, here is a picture of green St. Patrick's Day cupcakes my friend and I made last night for her work party! Adam and I are getting ready to leave for a cruise with his family on Friday. We fly to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and cruise to Cozumel, Mexico and Belize City, Belize! We can't wait for some sun and relaxation :)

(Luck) (Rainbow)


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