Blogs and News - St George's School For Girls, Edinburgh

08 Sep 2017
Head Girls' Conference

Big Four 250wOn Saturday 26 August we attended the GSA Head Girls’ Conference at Mary Erskine’s School. The day involved meeting fellow student leadership teams from other girls’ schools and listening to a series of talks and workshops to prepare us for the year ahead.

The main speaker in the morning focused on our ‘inner gremlins’ – these are our insecurities, the voice in our head that tells us ‘we aren’t good enough’. She talked about how everyone is affected by this and how if we listen to it too much and focus too much on our insecurities, it stops us achieving our potential. She explained that we must find a healthy balance of positive intelligence, emotional intelligence and plain old intelligence if we want to perform to the best of our ability. All the girls at the conference will definitely be thinking more about how we can overcome our own specific insecurities and will no longer be held back by our gremlins!

The speaker also encouraged us to think about the scale of our world and the support system we have in school. All the girls at the conference felt the same as us and it was easy for us to feel as though we were alone in our roles or didn’t have support, however we were reminded that we were all there for a reason and there were always people we could turn to. She spoke about recognising the scale of our world and so for us this was the Upper 6 year group and, by extension, St George’s as a whole. Within this there are support systems for everyone, like the student body, the rest of the prefect team and the staff.

The morning speaker also told us that there are different types of leadership. There are leaders who lead people from ahead, which she described as the "waving the flag kind of leadership" where people simply follow the leader's instruction. There is also leading from the side, where the leader guides and supports you from your side. It is a more close and friendly kind of leadership. And last but not least, there is leading from behind, similar to leadership from the side, but it is even more supportive and the leader's help is heavily valued.

In the afternoon, we had a talk on public speaking by Diana Esland. Within the presentation many aspects of speaking in public were covered. We were told how to speak confidently and how to carry our bodies during speeches as well as the most important details of pronunciation and enunciation. Mrs Esland informed us that the most important point about public speaking is to maintain eye contact with the audience throughout. This, even if you make mistakes or are rushing, ensures an engaged response from the audience. Following on from the idea of rushing, Diana outlined the importance of clarity and a slow even pace. She also covered the necessity of calm, open body language that exudes confidence and ease, even if you are not feeling this. We were informed that an open stance will warm people to you and in Diana's words "will perhaps fool them that you have any clue what you are saying." During the second half of Diana's session, we were given the task of preparing a speech of thanks. We were put into groups and handed different characters whom we had to thank for speaking at our school. This was a very effective task as it gave us a taste of speaking to a room of people you don't know and each group was very successful in preparing and carrying out their speech.

We all found the day reassuring and really helpful in preparing us for the upcoming year and we will all take the advice we were given and use it throughout the year and in the future!

Morven, Daisy, Emma and Edith, U6

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