My First Speech Competition

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We just had gotten finished presenting Pecha Kucha speeches in class, about what community we’re from, when my teacher announced there is a speech contest going on a week from that day. She mentioned the winner gets $100, and that really caught my attention. She sent out an email that afternoon saying to email the person hosting the contest, if I was interested, because there was only 20 spots available. I signed up before I even knew what I had done. I didn’t think I was bad at public speaking, I rarely got nervous, but Pecha Kucha isn’t really something easy. Pecha Kucha a 15 slide power point each timed at 20 seconds, making the speech 5 minutes long. After I entered the contest, I prepared a outline for my new speech, and kinda spit it out in 15 minutes. I sent it to her and her only comment was “add resources!” I put together my cute power point, and didn’t really practice until the day of the speech, and man I was not ready.

The contest was April 10 at 6pm. My attention-getter took up 35 seconds of my 5 minute speech, and I remembered it while I was stuck in traffic that morning on my way to school. I had a speech in my speech class that day, that was totally different, but I wasn’t worried at all for that one. As I said before, I rarely get nervous for speeches. After speech class, I got home and it was 3 pm. I did some other homework for an hour and then practiced my speech for a good 45-50 minutes. I had never been so nervous to present a speech before, but then again, I have never spoken in front of 200 people. As I was practicing, most of it was “FUCK!” because I kept messing up and I couldn’t really remember what I was going to say. I was so nervous. I left to the contest to go check-in and meet some of the other contestants.

I spoke with most of them, and they were mostly communications major, with the exception of someone wanting to be a lawyer and a guy that was just there for the money. This got me so nervous, especially because the girl I talked to the longest has taken all 4 speech classes at Lone Star and had a great topic. I was 8th, and there were 4 speeches (not including mine) that were so outstanding. The first one was about Kim K, and it was so well thought out with such an incredible presentation. The next speech was a eulogy about her childhood dying, because she was turning 20. It was humorous and she fluctuated her voice when needed, had hand gestures, made eye contact 95% of the time, and she overall communicated with the audience so well. The girl that I talked to the longest before the contest spoke about what it’s like being a non-Spanish speaking Mexican. She was the first person to not use the podium, she made sure to walk around the stage and talk to different sides of the room, had great references and points, and always made eye contact with the audience. I loved her speech because even though I’m not fully Mexican (I’m also Korean and white if you were wondering), I could understand where she was coming from. The last speech that intrigued me was about a girl who lost apart of herself when she moved from Mexico to Houston. I loved how she said that every time someone pronounced her name in the United States, it reminded her of how she’s not in her home town in Mexico, because of the misinterpretation of the R in her name. She did everything the last speaker did, and even more, because she made the audience understand her hurt by the way she talked and presented. After seeing these great speeches, I turned to the girl next to me and said, “So should I leave now orrrr…?”

It was my turn to present, and man, I was so nervous. I felt like I was going to be the only one looking at my notes occasionally, which I thought was bad. I went up there and did it, I messed up one part, but no one knew. This was the first time I had actually gotten my speech down and I was so impressed. I made the audience laugh some, and I saw so many smiles while I presented my speech, “Being a Pilot”. My 3 main points were the requirements to be a commercial pilot, the dedication it takes to be any kind of pilot, and why this is my ultimate career goal. I finished, and as my speech teacher was un-clipping the mic from my dress, she said, “I am so proud of you.” This meant a lot to me, because she is my favorite professor, and she knew how nervous I was.

A couple more people presented, and then my professor plus another speech professor did their own Pecha Kuchas. It was then time to announce the winners. The girl that felt like she lost a part of herself when she moved got 3rd place. I remember thinking, “Dang, I definitely didn’t place, but it’s O.K. because I’m going to my favorite restaurant after this.” The girl with the eulogy got 2nd, and then I turned to the girl next to me and said, “Kim K got 1st” she nodded vigorously at my statement. The professor handing out the speeches was talking about how much of a honor it is to get 1st, because he’s competed so much and has never gotten first. Then I started reaching for my laptop and notes under my chair, because after he said that, I was 110% sure I wasn’t going to get first. I was so off-guard when he said, “Annnnnnnnnd first place…” everyone drum rolled, “goes to KAYTLIN FRANCIS!” I totally thought my ears were deceiving me, I turned my head to look around and everyone was looking at ME! I was totally shocked. I knew when I got up there, I had the most confused face, and I even announced to my professor, “I’m so confused!”

This was something I will never forget, not only because I won, but because it was truly an amazing experience. I have looked into doing more contests, and even looked into changing my major to communications. Everything happens for a reason, and I definitely think this was one of those turning events in my life.


I wouldn’t have done it if Mason didn’t tell me that he believed I could do it. All week, he kept telling me I would get first, and boy, was he right. He told me to do it, critiqued me, and was more nervous than I was when I went up there. He sure was a proud boyfriend that night. Thank you so much, my love. 

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