EBS 60 Second Interview – Katherine Eyres
Katherine Eyres is one of only a few Antipodeans who have left the grey skies of Perth, Western Australia, for the sunny climes of London. She moved over in 2008 and, after trialling various SW postcodes, has recently settled in West London. By day she is a city technology lawyer, by night she is a star baker and frustrated creative writer. She joined Early Bird Speakers in 2012 and is the queen of double entendres.
What brought you to EBS?
I finally bit the bullet. Public speaking had been a source of anxiety for me for such a long time, I decided it was time to pull my finger out and do something about it.
Was it everything you expected?
I came with relatively few expectations really. The level of professionalism of the club and the outstanding calibre of the speakers were what initially struck me. However, what I really wasn’t expecting was to become a part of such a warm and accepting (and slightly eccentric!) family.
How long have you been a Member?
Since 2012 – about 2 years.
Did you have any expectations before you came?
As I said above, I came with relatively few expectations and a pretty open mind. A friend had put me onto it and she is a really confident speaker and it seemed to have done great things for her, so I thought why not give it a go.
Were your expectations fulfilled?
And then some!
What surprised you most about EBS?
(Apart from realising that I can get up really early if I want to!) I have formed friendships with a whole host of different people from a diverse range backgrounds with whom I would otherwise probably never have crossed paths.
What has been your greatest learning as a Toastmaster?
It’s never as bad as you think it will be and worrying about having to speak will only make it worse.
What is special about EBS?
It’s got to be the people. I feel very privileged to be a part of such a wonderful group. There are some real characters too!
What do you like best about coming to our Club?
The excellent encouragement and support – it’s like receiving a group hug, a row of high fives and a round fist bumps from your own personal public speaking cheer squad.
What do your friends and family say about you since you joined?
My team at work say that they have really noticed a positive improvement in my skills and confidence in presenting. My sister in Australia is thinking about taking up Toastmasters over there since she’s heard me bang on about how much it’s done for me. And my friends always say how amazing they think it is that I am doing this, particularly so bloody early in the morning!
How has becoming a member of EBS affected you/ your life?
I think it has helped to boost my confidence when speaking in public, although I don’t think that it is a skill that will ever come naturally to me. I am also a lot more aware of other people’s presenting styles as the evaluation aspects have made me more analytical and alive to the tricks of the speaking trade. I also think that my ability to deliver constructive and measured feedback in both professional and personal contexts has improved.
What was your biggest fear before you came?
Forgetting what I am supposed to say and looking stupid in front of people who I’m trying to impress.
Is that still your biggest fear?
I have done most of my Toastmasters speeches without notes and they tend to be quite detail-heavy so I have been able to prove to myself that my memory is better than I think. As for looking stupid, it certainly helps to remember that most people you are speaking in front of will actually want you to do well (rather than make a massive nobber of yourself!)
How does public speaking impact your life?
At work quite often I have to present and run meetings with large groups of people. Winning people over and persuading them to do things for me or support my initiatives is also a significant part of my role. EBS has certainly been a big help in sharpening my skills in these areas.
Is there anything else you would rather be doing on a Thursday morning?