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CSUSB Toastmasters: CalmandStrong

This week I finished my seventh speech for CSUSB Toastmasters entitled, “CalmandStrong.” I decided to show my PowerPoint Presentation that I’ve been working on for the last three years.

My speech was about my two-time experience with having cancer and how the inFAMOUS video game franchise and superhero Cole MacGrath helped me overcome my many insecurities when I became a hip amputee.

Before I started my speech, I handed out my business cards to everybody in the room. This was my first time showing my PowerPoint to a group of people. At Toastmasters, the prepared speeches have to be seven minutes or less.

Due to the time limit, I had to make some adjustments to my PowerPoint and had to remove some slides (in my opinion, it hindered my speech because I had to explain 14 years of my life within seven minutes).

I felt that the audience understood everything I was talking about, but I feel I could have done better. There was one slide that I purposely removed for time reasons, and after my speech. I realized that I should have never removed it because each slide tells an important story about my life.

For instance, the slide was about how chemotherapy affected me and broke me down spiritually, physically and emotionally. In the slide, I also talk about the side effects of chemotherapy, which were nausea, vomiting, hair loss and weight loss among others. On top of that I also had to do physical exams, imaging scans and blood tests.

Even though I had to remove some slides. I feel I did my best, but still had a nagging feeling that I could have performed better. When I created “CalmandStrong,” my goal was to affect people’s emotions while speaking about the adversities I had to overcome.

At the end of my prepared speech, my fellow Toastmasters gave constructive criticism about my speech. When I speak in front of an audience, I have problems with my body posture, which I have no control over because of my prosthetic leg (which should give me more credibility while I’m talking about my experience with having cancer and being a hip amputee).

I also have to work on my projecting my voice and be louder when I speak, and I have to find a way to correct this problem.

Another criticism I got was that my PowerPoint had too many words and not enough pictures from my experience with cancer and becoming a hip amputee. I knew before presenting my speech to the audience that I was going to get criticism about all the information I had within my PowerPoint.

I’m talking about 14 years of my life, which was full of pain, struggle, adversity and accomplishments. Every single word within my PowerPoint is important because it helps tell my story. I have the sentences within my PowerPoint for me just in case I may forget something, and it’s there for the audience if they would like to read along (check out my PowerPoint).

I also have to work on making the audience focus on me first, then the words within my PowerPoint second. I also realized that everybody is not going to like or gravitate towards my message the way I want them to because everybody is different.

On the other hand, the audience thought I did really well and claimed this was my best speech so far. One acquaintance of CSUSB Toastmasters was impressed that I was able to remember my whole 22 slide PowerPoint without looking at it during my speech. He said he never seen anything like that before, which made me feel like I accomplished something.

The next time I present my “CalmandStrong” Presentation to an audience. I don’t want to be restricted by any boundaries, and I want to be able to express myself the way that I’ve always envisioned.

I feel when I’m able to express myself the way I’ve always intended. People will see how powerful, creative and compassionate I am when I present my story to the world.

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