August 16, 2013 by Speakers' Spotlight
Spotlight On: Television’s Ben Mulroney
Ben Mulroney interviews the biggest stars and reports live from red carpets around the world. As the friendly face of Canada’s number one entertainment show, eTalk, and a contributor to Good Morning America, Mulroney always brings the best to what he does as a speaker, emcee, event moderator, and interviewer, drawing on his wit, curiosity, and wisdom to delight his audiences. We shine our spotlight on him today:
What inspired you to want to be a speaker?
I don’t think you can be a speaker until you have something worthy to say. Having grown up in a political family, I have sat through more than my share of speeches. The good ones entertain, educate, and elucidate. The bad ones put you to sleep. I feel that with my personal history, my professional journey, and my charitable endeavours, I have patched together a story that is certainly entertaining, mildly educational, and questionably elucidating.
Any advice for aspiring speakers?
Speaking with notes shouldn’t feel like a cold disengaged university lecture and speaking off-the-cuff should still be very structured. Also, telling a joke now and then is fine and good, but remember: stand-up comedy is hard and should best be left to the professionals.
What do you like to leave audiences with?
Feeling like they got to know who I am and what I believe in.
How do you prepare before a talk? Any special rituals? A good luck talisman?
I first learn who I am talking to. I then tailor my talk in terms of what I feel could be interesting to that group. After that, it’s about writing and rewriting until I am satisfied that what I am about to say is exactly what I want to say.
Do you have an especially memorable event you can tell us about? Any funny or embarrassing situations you found yourself in as a speaker?
These two questions need to be answered together. I was speaking in front of a crowd made up primarily of people in their early twenties, when I got heckled by someone in the back of the room (I believe “Mulroney, you suck” was his general point). I stopped my speech and spoke directly to the young man and said, “In my experience, people who scream my name with such enthusiasm either want to be me or want to sleep with me. Which one are you, sir?” Cue the applause.
Is there a charitable cause that you feel passionate about? Why?
There are a few: I work with WaterCan to raise awareness of the global water crisis and for that I raised over $50,000 dollars and climbed Mt Kilimanjaro. I also work closely with the hospitals of Toronto (Sick Kids and Mt. Sinai) and I am on the board of the Shoebox Project, a charity started by my wife, sister, and sisters-in-law that lets Canadians prepare gift boxes for women in shelters.
If you had to choose a new career, what would it be?
I think I could work in PR or communications. My background and interests seem to fit that world quite well.
Desert island album?
Tupac Shakur – Greatest Hits
Beatles – Greatest Hits
Best subject in school?
Western History – WW1 to the present.
Last book you read?
American Emperor by David O. Stewart
Last film you saw?
The Fifth Estate (the Julian Assange story)
Jennifer Aniston, but if my wife is reading this, then: I don’t know what you mean.