The EBS 60 Second Interview – Ben Taylor
Ben Taylor was President of Early Bird Speakers during the club year 2012-13. Prior to that he was Sergeant at Arms and Secretary. He set up and runs Taylor Tait Recruitment, a search and selection company, which specialises in the recruitment of intellectual property professionals. Until recently he was an honorary steward at Westminster Abbey, and was lucky enough to be on duty during the Royal Wedding. In his spare time he likes reading, keeping fit, and discovering new music.
What brought you to EBS?
I was terrified of public speaking and wanted to do something about it, particularly as I was getting asked to do presentations at work. It seemed that the only solution was to “face the fear and do it anyway”. I stumbled on EBS during a Google search for public speaking clubs and liked the fact that they met in the morning – a rare thing 6 years ago!
Was it everything you expected?
Yes – and more. I love the professionalism, the camaraderie, and the fun that we all have both during a meeting and afterwards at breakfast.
How long have you been a Member?
Just under six years.
Did you have any expectations before you came?
None whatsoever, except that I was probably going to be scared witless, countless times.
Were your expectations fulfilled?
Yes – raw terror was a large part of it, particularly early on. But what I learned was that the terror didn’t have the capacity to destroy me – it was just extremely unpleasant. And as time went on I slowly learned to use the unpleasant emotions to energise my own performance. Being too relaxed isn’t usually a good thing as you can come across as slightly listless.
What surprised you most about EBS?
How much I love it. It’s an important part of my life and even on those rare mornings when I feel like I really can’t be bothered to schlep all the way over to Covent Garden at some ungodly hour in the cold and dark, I’m always, without fail, glad that I did.
What has been your greatest learning as a Toastmaster?
That fear can’t kill you! And that public speaking, when it goes well, is actually really good fun.
What is special about EBS?
The people. Both because they are so supportive and also so talented – we really do have a lot of fantastic speakers at the club.
What do you like best about coming to our Club?
The friendship, the fun, and the learning.
What do your friends and family say about you since you joined?
I think they’re just glad I’ve found something I enjoy. And my EBS TV performances have been a source of some amusement….
How has becoming a member of EBS affected you/ your life?
Increased confidence and perhaps a willingness to try things that I would never have done 6 years ago (like setting up my own business!)
What was your biggest fear before you came?
Public speaking and making a fool of myself in public.
Is that still your biggest fear?
It’s a lot better but I don’t know that it ever really goes – you just learn to deal with it in better ways.
How does public speaking impact your life?
Not hugely. But my next big public speaking thing is giving the best man speech to about 150 people next April. Aargh! (it’ll be fine, Ben).
Is there anything else you would rather be doing on a Thursday morning?