The EBS 60 Second Interview – Ian Hawkins
Ian Hawkins is a writer, comedian and coach with clients including headline comedians, Olympic athletes and political figures.
He lives on a narrowboat in London – which means that he has lived in every underground zone in the capital. He took the Bronze Awards at the UK and Ireland Finals of the International Speech Contest.
What brought you to EBS?
Al Cowie – almost literally. We had done a gig together and he was giving me a lift back to the station, and said I should join. I’m glad he did!
Was it everything you expected?
I had no expectations whatsoever – I just do as I’m told. Actually, I’m hard wired to say ‘yes’ rather than ‘no’ and it was great to find a group of people that had a similar mindset.
How long have you been a Member?
Is it three years now? Time flies… I know I was an aspiring member for ages because it’s such a popular club and the only way in is when someone else leaves.
Did you have any expectations before you came?
I was hoping that it would be a good use of my morning. I think I am one of the very few comedians in the world who is a morning person. Honestly – I just took a leap of faith one morning and found it has really repaid me.
What surprised you most about EBS?
The supportive atmosphere goes on well beyond lip service. Everyone is genuinely wanting you to do well. When Taz and I were competing together in the Humorous Speaking Contest this year, I found myself really wanting him to win. It’s not that I’m not competitive, it’s just that I could tell his was a really important speech that was saying a lot more than mine was.
What has been your greatest learning as a Toastmaster?
If you ask for help, you will get it.
What is special about EBS?
Everyone in the club is aware of how important it is that it’s run in a slick professional way. I’ve been to other clubs that are fun, supportive and the like, but they feel like they are for hobbyists. EBS is all about creating a professional experience from the second a first time guest walks through the door.
What do you like best about coming to our Club?
I love learning from the other members and guests. To people who are nervous of speaking for the first time, I say that It’s often from the first-timers that I learn the most. Everyone has their own approach to speaking, and EBS genuinely nurtures that journey.
What do your friends and family say about you since you joined?
I’ve become an EBS bore! Getting the Bronze Award was a huge boost to me professionally as well as signalling very clearly that after a long time of not going on stage to speak (because I thought I wasn’t very good) it is actually one of my talents.
How has becoming a member of EBS affected you/ your life?
It’s given me the confidence to try a lot of other things on stage. Stand up is all about rushing towards the laugh. EBS has allowed me to be thoughtful, informative, tell emotional stories and maybe even move an audience to tears.
What was your biggest fear before you came?
Progress would be slow, and I’d bore the audience.
Is that still your biggest fear?
Progress has been very quick. I still worry about boring my audience, but I think that’s healthy.
How does public speaking impact your life?
It’s my job!
Is there anything else you would rather be doing on a Thursday morning?
Not now! Though I did once sit on a catamaran off the coast of Key West, and if we could have our meetings there, I’d be behind that.