Report by: Katharine Hamlett, Clinical Research Fellow Registrar ENT
The Women in ENT Surgery (WENTS) team held their mentoring launch and collaborated with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) to run a ‘hold your space’ public speaking workshop on the evening of Thursday 6 February 2020, located at The Wesley Hotel, Euston. The venue was ideally located within just a couple of minutes’ walk from London Euston Station. The event was available to everyone, not just female trainees, and was well attended by a range of people in differing stages of training, including a number of consultants. The event was kindly sponsored by the Women in Surgery (WINs) sector of the Royal College of Surgeons and DP Medical Systems.
The evening was divided into a 90-minute RADA workshop and finished with a 30-minute WENTS mentoring scheme launch. The evening commenced with refreshments and networking, providing a fantastic opportunity to speak with other like-minded trainees and consultants from different regions. The RADA workshop was led by Sheelagh McNamara. Sheelagh is an internationally recognised voice, speech and presentation skills coach, who has previously worked with politicians, CEOs, judges and Oscar nominees. Sheelagh had everyone up on their feet from the start, beginning with an ice-breaking exercise. She explained about the impact of how your body language can hugely influence people’s opinion of you, even within a split second of meeting. She gave helpful advice on how to use your body language during a presentation to the best effect, and to help project your voice. We did pronunciation exercises and practised power poses. The workshop was both engaging and extremely fun and very well received by all involved.
Rujuta Bance introducing the WENTS mentoring scheme.
During the mentoring launch by the WENTS committee, we learnt about the new mentoring scheme that is being set up, to match up female ENT trainees with a female consultant to help support them through an 18-24 month period of training. The many benefits of mentoring have been well recognised, and supporting female trainees is an important step to help continue to improve gender equality in surgical training. We had the opportunity to give feedback to the WENTS team about what as trainees we would like to see from the mentoring scheme. The evening closed with further opportunity for networking.
Overall the evening was well organised and extremely useful. Public speaking skills are often overlooked within medical school training. We are usually expected to develop these skills by osmosis, whilst receiving very little guidance on these worthwhile skills. The RADA workshop provided a valuable opportunity to practise these skills with an experienced coach, something widely appreciated by those who attended.
Delegates enjoying the WENTS event in London.