The EBS 60 Second Interview – David White
David is a freelance project manager specialising in organisational change and operational improvement. Originally hailing from Bristol he has been living in London since 2008 and is currently soaking up the sun on a tour of Australia, but has taken some time away from snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef to take part in this interview. David is the club’s current serving Vice President – Membership.
What brought you to EBS?
I worked very closely with an ex-member, Michael Mentessi, whose enthusiasm for the club piqued my interest. After I finished an MBA I was looking for something productive and fun to do with my spare time which would also give me the opportunity to meet new people – so I decided to try Toastmasters.
How long have you been a member?Since September 2014 after being an Aspiring Member from May the same year. I had a great time being an AM and felt like I was getting front row seats to a free show every week!
Did you have any expectations before you came?
Not so much expectations as an open minded curiosity – other than conversations with Michael I had never even heard of Toastmasters.
Were your expectations fulfilled?
I loved Early Bird Speakers from the off and signed up as an AM after my first meeting despite getting completely tongue-tied and making a hash in the Table Topics session (a trait I still have!!).
What surprised you most about EBS?
I never anticipated the community that exists in the club and the close friendships that I have formed. I was also surprised by the amount of organisation and effort that goes in from so many people to create the environment that allows us all to perform and enjoy every Thursday morning.
What has been your greatest learning as a Toastmaster?
Having to deliver presentations for many years as part of my work I thought I knew a lot about public speaking – but I was wrong! Preparing and delivering a speech is very different from giving business presentations to boards or groups of employees. There is a lot to learn about getting the content, structure and delivery of a speech right – let alone evaluations and that personal nemesis, Table Topics!
What is special about EBS?
It is an incredibly warm, friendly and supportive club – the positive energy before 7am every Thursday is palpable and completely addictive. Its definitely one of the highlights of my week.
What do you like best about coming to our club?
It’s a wonderful fusion of the people, the quality of the speeches and the palatial setting that Freemason’s Hall provides.
What do your friends and family say about you since you joined?
They think I’ve joined a cult – not helped by the style of the Toastmasters logo, magazine or those name badges (anyone else feel like Elder Price?!)
How has becoming a member of EBS affected you/your life?
I feel like I’ve found my tribe! It has also made me a much better communicator, especially in a work setting.
What was your biggest fear?
The fears have developed since I started coming, although I am enjoying the personal growth challenges that public speaking is giving me. That and the pronunciation of words I’ve never heard before!
Is there anything else you would rather be doing on a Thursday morning?
My current trip to Australia makes me realise it’s 6pm Down-under when our meetings start back in the UK. I am heading back to Sydney this Thursday evening and will be sitting drinking a schooner in 30 degrees sunshine overlooking the harbour before seeing a performance at the Opera House at the very moment Eugene is calling you all to attention ……