It was a privilege to be invited to Reed’s school to support another lovely evening of their sixth form Toastmasters club. The evening was well attended, with 40 students, four staff, the headmaster and his wife, plus me! It was a very festive evening with everyone wearing a wide variety of Christmas jumpers, and the room decorated in a Christmas theme.

After a delicious dinner, I was charged by the Toastmaster, Eleanor Graves to give an education slot. The topic was gestures. I gave a brief demonstration of how not to do it (hopefully intentionally!), Before drawing up some key features of what people do well with gesturing. I made sure that I mentioned my faux pas of the chicken wings that Patrick often gives me feedback about!

The room then split into two and I stayed to watch one of the groups. There were four speakers, four evaluators, and four topics Speakers. What they did well were high quality topics with interesting and stimulating material – about Christmas, mental health, whether to go to university. To work on is their engagement – bit less use of notes and be more eye contact. The evaluators were very good at their analysis, and need to work on brevity in the recommendations. The topics speakers were very good at engaging the audience and being amusing. Their area to work on is more courage to come out from behind the lectern

The evening was very well managed by Eleanor. She was organised, professional, and offered encouraging comments to speakers. Overall this was a very enjoyable evening. They are halfway through their Toastmaster calendar and are clearly developing their skills. It will be great to see how far they have gone by the end of the year.

Charlie Warshawski