The EBS 60 Second Interview – Eugene Grant
Eugene is a resident of Brixton. He started coming to Early Bird Speakers almost a year ago and is the current Sergeant-At-Arms. He works in communications as a Press Officer for a regulatory body (one familiar to many EBS members but he’s not saying which!).
What brought you to EBS?
Two things: firstly, I’ve long since struggled to project my voice and speak clearly and slowly; two, I strongly believe in seizing opportunities to get out of your comfort zone and doing things that scare you.
Was it everything you expected?
I genuinely had no idea what to expect.
How long have you been a Member?
About nine months…
What surprised you most about EBS?
The wonderfully diverse mix of people who attend: from foreign students to writers to stand up comedians to chief executives.
What has been your greatest learning as a Toastmaster?
To feel, embrace, and control the rush of adrenaline and cortisol you get from public speaking. Don’t pretend it’s not there; seize it and make it work for you.
What is special about EBS?
The attention to detail and enormous behind-the-scenes effort that goes into arranging every single meeting – making sure guests feel welcome, drawing up agendas, assigning roles fairly, uploading video content. The list goes on… The VPs do a sterling job, all in their own time.
What do you like best about coming to our Club?
There are some superb and inspiring speakers who I like listening to and learning from and some kind and interesting characters with whom I always enjoy talking.
What do your friends and family say about you since you joined?
They all think I’m a freemason now. No, seriously…
How has becoming a member of EBS affected you/ your life?
It’s made me more conscious of the way I talk, how I project my voice and enunciate, how I use my body language. I’ve met and learned from some fascinating people too and their advice and stories will stay with me for a long time.
What was your biggest fear before you came?
Drawing attention to myself by standing up in front of a group of strangers, failing to project my voice, mumbling, not doing justice to myself.
Is that still your biggest fear?
Of course! It’s a weakness that needs to be fixed. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here
How does public speaking impact your life?
As a press officer, I write speeches for a living; I don’t usually deliver them. But I am at times called up to speak at work or present in interviews. But for me Toastmasters is about how you speak generally – to your loved ones, your friends, your colleagues – and not just public speaking per se.
Is there anything else you would rather be doing on a Thursday morning?
Absolutely! Anyone who says no is lying (or single and sleeps on a bed of nails). But ultimately it’s like going to the gym: you always drag yourself there – silently kicking and screaming – but you’ll always feel marvellous afterwards and very glad you went.