A grandfather’s piece of advice about perspective on life has inspired an award winning speech by a Pitt Meadows man who is competing for a spot in the world finals for Toastmasters.
Stefano Cossalter won the district finals on May 23 with his speech called A Frame Makes the Picture.
Now a video of his speech is before a panel of judges who will be deciding who makes it into the semi-finals.
The heart of the speech is about Cossalter’s relationship with his father, and how his grandfather’s advice changed the course of his life by teaching him to change the way he looks at things.
“That if you change your frames – what I mean is the way you look at things – you can change your mind. And if you can change your mind then you can change your life,” explained Cossalter.
Cossalter has been writing the seven-minute speech for about two years. Each speech he writes is constantly rewritten.
“You write it, then you put it away, then you write it again, then you put it away,” he said.
“I’d say it’s taken me about a year to really hone down,” he added about A Frame Makes the Picture.
This is the second year in a row in which Cossalter has won the district finals.
What was interesting about the competition this year was how it was impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Usually Cossalter would be on a stage in front of a couple of hundred people and he would have to move across the stage to engage the audience.
This year he had to recite his speech stationary, in front of a camera on Zoom, an app that allows for video conferencing.
“Usually you can feed off the audience’s energy. You can feed off their laughter and their emotions that you are evoking from them. But in front of Zoom it’s a completely different experience,” he noted.
Until Toastmasters Cossalter never felt he had anything to talk about.
But his mentor taught him he did.
His mentor told him that if you’ve lived your life, you’ve had pain and it’s the pain points that other people can relate to.
And, if you bring it across in a personal story with a message, then people can really relate to it and it really moves people.
“So, I just look for those pain points and those turning points in my life and kind of moulded the speech around those,” he said.
Cossalter will find out sometime in June if he will be going on to the semi-final and finals that will be taking place at the end of the summer.
They were supposed to be held in Paris, France, this year. But due to COVID-19 will be held online.
Cossalter sees this year as a second chance to make it to the finals.
“I’m really excited to do it,” he said.