The EBS 60 Second Interview – Michelle Cheung
Michelle is a recent PhD graduate. She says she owes much of her sanity during her PhD years to the love, support and encouragement she found from the wonderful Early Bird Speakers family. Michelle founded a Toastmasters club at Imperial College, she has taken on various EBS Leadership positions and been an Area Governor, Michelle will happily confirm that you can’t have too much of Toastmasters in your life.
Currently, Michelle is seeking permanent employment after many, many years of studying, but feels that Early Bird Speakers has given her the courage, leadership skills, ambition to succeed. No matter where Michelle ends up, Early Bird Speakers will definitely remain a constant in her life.
What brought you to EBS?
A good friend and an impulsive feeling to finally face my fear of public speaking.
Was it everything you expected?
I had no preconceptions as I wasn’t really given too many details.
How long have you been a Member?
Did you have any expectations before you came?
I had no idea what to expect, beyond hearing a few prepared speeches.
Were your expectations fulfilled?
I definitely heard some speeches and was amazed and inspired by the feedback that followed.
What surprised you most about EBS?
Many things! The meeting format (table topics and evaluations), the variety, warmth, friendliness of members and most of all, how addictive the meeting are especially given that they take place so early in the morning!
What has been your greatest learning as a Toastmaster?I thought that I would come away being a better speaker with a greater insight into how to break down and analyse what makes a strong and powerful speech. Whilst I have achieved this, I would say my greatest learning is how to be a better leader, to lead with gravitas and grace. The learning never stops.
What is special about EBS?
The Members. And breakfast after the meeting. I love breakfast with everyone.
What do you like best about coming to our Club?
The family feeling between all the members and guests. It’s a safe and comfortable place where we all meet to be better speakers and better people. I feel that the club has given me the space and the push to grow as a person. It’s an almost intangible thing that is difficult to define; our club definitely has the “X factor”.
What do your friends and family say about you since you joined?
That I’m a more confident person.
How has becoming a member of EBS affected you/ your life?
I’m definitely far more confident with public speaking and far more ambitious and imaginative with my goals.
What was your biggest fear before you came?
Speaking / socialising / networking in unfamiliar settings. And heights. I hate heights.
Is that still your biggest fear?
Yes. But I feel I have made progress and there are now slightly fewer occasions where I would feel uncomfortable.
How does public speaking impact your life?
I am more willing to try new things that would have terrified me before. I recently tried rock climbing, which took me a long way off the ground. I’m still trying to work up the courage to go back!
Is there anything else you would rather be doing on a Thursday morning?