The EBS 60 Second Interview – Sudeshna Choudhury
Sudeshna has been a loyal member of Early Bird Speakers for over four years with enthusiastic contributions towards its innovations, contests, workshops and overall development. She served as Club Treasurer two years ago, during which time she found out from Toastmasters International World Headquarters that Early Bird Speakers was regarded as one of the best Toastmaster clubs in the world! Sudeshna is now pioneering a project to take the useful innovative ideas of EBS to other Toastmaster clubs to improve their own clubs, with the extra bonus of creating more PR for EBS as an unofficial ambassador!
Sudeshna spent her childhood years in war torn but beautiful Uganda during the dictator Idi Amin’s regime and beyond. In spite of the violence and economic hardships, she still managed to enjoy happy family times with her siblings and went on wildlife safari adventures during school holidays with her artist father and writer mother. She moved to the UK with her family in 1985 and still looks after her elderly disabled mother. She works as a full-time Credit Control Manager, as well as managing a small property business. She is currently doing a mentorship in property, is a certified NLP Practitioner, studied Wealth Dynamics, Self Development, Horticulture and singing, the latter for 8 years. This love of singing has led to her performing for fundraising charity events. Sudeshna hopes to empower many lives by her love of storytelling and public speaking, and is currently writing a book to share her unique experiences in Uganda with others. She has also recently done a stand-up comedy course to enhance her speaking skills and entertain her beloved club!
What brought you to EBS?
My networking friend Antoinette introduced me to EBS suggesting it would help me practise public speaking in a fantastic organisation, i.e. Toastmasters International. I was also very curious and always willing to expand my horizons and experiences.
Was it everything you expected?
More than I expected actually! At that time EBS met in Brown’s Restaurant and I remember the friendliness of Lesley as Receptionist and how professional yet cosy the group was! The courtroom setting was impressive and the whole atmosphere was brilliant and I learnt so much from the structured way of doing speeches and evaluations. Table Topics was scary but fun! Breakfast downstairs was wonderful too and I really enjoyed meeting new people with so many varied interests!
How long have you been a Member?
I joined on 21/04/2010 so now I’ve been a member 4 years 3 months exactly!
Did you have any expectations before you came?
I hoped it would be a professional, friendly, and useful learning experience.
Were your expectations fulfilled?
All expectations were met and surpassed! I learnt quickly what a first class club this was in the midst of all the other London Toastmaster clubs and started to really appreciate what a good decision I made to join EBS was!
What surprised you most about EBS?
The really fantastic structured way of learning speaking and leadership skills from manuals and the amazing skills of the speakers. Also, I was really surprised how even stammerers made such vast improvements in speaking and just how well organised the meetings were. Furthermore, I hadn’t realised how much work was involved in keeping EBS so successful!
What has been your greatest learning as a Toastmaster?
Learning from personal speeches recorded on EBS TV on the EBS website, studying body language, and how to take on a leadership role as Club Treasurer.
What is special about EBS?
It is a very large morning club, more organised than most clubs, richer, and achieves higher levels in contests in Toastmasters! More variety of club members in one club than any other I know, containing a uniquely large numbers of stand up comedians, lawyers, and writers! Extremely large percentage of accomplished speakers! Best unique feature of EBS is it’s amazing innovations, innovations, innovations, including the unique EBS TV and website!
What do you like best about coming to our Club?
I enjoy the camaraderie of our members, the variety and humour, and quality of speeches. I learn something new every week, and always get very useful feedback and encouragement from evaluators and other members! I love the surprise of new innovations and meeting guests!
What do your friends and family say about you since you joined?
They find me more confident all round really as I have a great purpose and social network of good friends at the club. I am developing as a person and always busy – I realise how dedicated I am to EBS!
How has becoming a member of EBS affected you/ your life?
Being a member has made me more confident at work, public speaking, and impromptu speaking e.g. at social functions. I enjoy developing my storytelling and humour skills and take on more leadership roles than I thought I could do. It’s made me more time conscious as I learnt through the role of Toastmaster, and I learnt to summarise speeches better. I have enjoyed winning contests and stretching my personal development. I’ve made wonderful friends and helped the club with ideas for innovations, so I felt really good when they were implemented!
What was your biggest fear before you came?
Forgetting my words and not making the audience laugh, as well as not keeping to the timing of the speeches.
Is that still your biggest fear?
How does public speaking impact your life?
In every way; in my personal development at work, in business, in my relationships at home and with friends, in social events, in my confidence overall. I have the courage to try out new things; I enter contests and speak at other clubs. I have developed my workshop speaking skills, and all of this has made me happier!
Is there anything else you would rather be doing on a Thursday morning?
No! And what a great way to start off your day and good discipline waking up early! I just miss the networking at breakfast with fellow members because of my job!