2020 event calendar
Debates and training workshops
All debates on Wednesdays from 6.30 PM
All workshops on Saturdays from 11.00 AM
(end of year competition)
Twice a month at the Tea House Theatre - FREE entry and open to all
How they work
Twice monthly free public debates where two teams go head to head to debate a topical issue dividing public opinion in front of a live audience. We then hold a public vote to see which side won and how many people changed their minds
This is how the members of the training programme test and refine the skills they learn in training workshops, receiving one to one support before debates and a feedback summary after the debate on how to continue their development.
How to take part
Members and guest trainers can both take part in debates as speakers but must defend whatever position they are assigned, even if it is the opposite of what they believe. They can also chair debates or take part in the Q&A as spectators.
Anyone can attend as an audience member and take part by putting questions and comments to the speakers during the Q&A, casting their vote to decide who wins, and sharing feedback after the debate on how they made up their minds.
Twice a month at the George - FREE for members (£50 for guests)
How they work
Twice monthly one-day training workshops, each of which focuses on one specific skill. There are seven workshops in total and we run each of them three times throughout the year, so if you miss one, you can always attend next time.
In the morning , we cover the theory behind the techniques being taught, then run group exercises to embed them. In the afternoon, we put them into practice in quickfire debates that help us get used to thinking and speaking quickly on our feet.
How to take part
Members attend for free and have first refusal on all workshops. We do open them up to guests too, who can attend for £50 admission fee, but only if we have spaces available or new spaces are created by late cancellations.
You don't need any experience - or even to have attended the first workshop in the series - to enjoy the benefits of training workshops. Everyone is actively encouraged to speak in the quickfire debates, but no one is forced if they are not ready.
2020 workshop schedule
All workshops take place at the George on the Strand from 11.00 AM to 4.30 PM
Structuring logical arguments and refuting logical fallacies
This workshop will be running on: 18th January, 9th May, 22nd August
Why is that important? Defending your priorities under pressure
This workshop will be running on: 8th February, 23rd May, 5th September
Organising your arguments and getting to the point
This workshop will be running on: 22nd February, 6th June, 19th September
Debate strategy: knowing what to expect and how to respond
This workshop will be running on: 7th March, 20th June, 10th October
Knowing your audience and what they need to hear from you
This workshop will be running on: 21st March, 4th July, 24th October
Handling Q&A: how to survive and thrive under scrutiny
This workshop will be running on: 4th April, 18th July, 7th November
Guest trainer workshop: learn from other debating experts
This workshop will be running on: 18th April, 8th August, 21st November
Saturday 5th December (venue tbc) - FREE entry and for members only
How it works
The club's annual competition where members put their skills to the ultimate test by speaking in three debates in one day with minimal preparation in front of a panel of expert judges.
Split into two different events, the first is a 1-day round-robin tournament in which teams debate three times with the top two qualifying for the second part: the Grand Final in front of a live audience - and the club's last public debate of the year.
How to take part
The round-robin tournament is exclusive to members, who can take part by speaking in, chairing or helping to judge debates. They are also welcome to attend as spectators.
The Grand Final is a public debate that is open to all. Audience members are encouraged, as in all of our public debates, to put their questions and comments to the speaker teams and ultimately decide the outcome in a public vote.
Weekday evenings in central London - FREE entry and for members only
The Ideas Exchange
Bringing together GDC members with RSA fellows for an evening of round-table discussions to inform the research of one of the country's most prominent think tanks. Facilitated by GDC members and hosted by the RSA Rawthmells Cafe.
Bringing together GDC members with the London Chamber of the JCI, a global network for young entrepreneurs and innovators, to simulate the trials and pressure of boardroom discussions - presided over by senior company directors.
FREE entry for members (plus ones welcome too)
A weekend of training and debates by the sea in late October and a chance to meet new people from other speech & debate clubs from across London.
A new take on the summer social as we bring members together for a fusion of stand-up comedy and impromptu debates on weird and wonderful topics.
We take over the Tea House Theatre for Xmas dinner - of which we clearly need better photos so we don't have to pilfer ones of this year's birthday dinner.
When you share your personal data on this website, you are consenting to being contacted by the Great Debaters Club for either: the specific purpose of finding out more about a specific event, product, or service on offer; or the general purpose of being added to a mailing list to receive updates on events, products, or services on offer.
WHO WE ARE The Great Debaters Club is a Limited Company that hosts the twice monthly public debate series, Debating London, and runs a training programme for paying club members and guests. We are registered with Companies House and the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). The club's company number is 08145920 and our ICO registration number is ZA383930. As the sole employee of the company, Tony Koutsoumbos serves as both company Director and Data Controller. PERSONAL DATA WE COLLECT All personal data collected by the Great Debaters Club is deliberately and voluntarily shared by the individuals to whom that data relates (data subjects) by asking to join the club's mailing list or becoming a member of the club. The only data held on individuals on the club's mailing list are their given names, email addresses, and a record of which emails sent by the club they have opened and read. The same data is held on individuals who have signed up for membership of the club, in addition to their home addresses, their membership tariffs, and a record of private communications exchanged between them and the club's Director, Tony Koutsoumbos. The club does not collect or store off-line the IP addresses of any individual that interacts with us, or details of the social media profiles and posts of individuals who join any of our groups or follow us on any platform. The club does not have access to members' bank details with the exception of those who choose to pay for their membership via a direct transfer to the club's bank account instead of using either of our approved payment processing websites: GoCardeless or PayPal. These details are accessible only through the club's secure on-line banking portal and are not stored anywhere else or shared with any third parties. The club also collects data on whether paid members are in full-time education or in receipt of state benefits, but only when given freely and required for the purpose of accessing discounts available exclusively to those members. These data are recorded on the club's membership database and are not shared with any third parties. During our public debates, we also take photos of speakers and audience members, which we use to publicise the activities of the club, and we make audio recordings of the debate, which we use to write feedback summaries for the speakers. HOW WE COLLECT PERSONAL DATA All personal data we collect is given freely and with full knowledge of the purpose for which it will be used, which is clearly stated. Specifically, we collect personal data in the following ways: - through individuals adding themselves to our mailing list via our two websites: www.greatdebaters.co.uk and www.debatinglondon.com - through individuals signing up to become paid members of the club, through one of our payment processing websites, or directly by confirming their intention to join by email and - when necessary - making payment via a on-line transfer direct to the club's bank account. - through individuals adding their names and email addresses to sign-up forms distributed at events, which are promptly destroyed as soon as their details are added to the club's mailing list. - names and email addresses are also collected when individuals post queries through our websites, email us directly, or sign up for specific events through Google Forms or Eventbrite. However, these details are not stored and are not added to our mailing list unless that individual specifically instructs us to do so. - photo and audio data are only collected during public debates (and very occasionally training workshops), which we announce in advance. Audio data from audience members is anonymised with only speakers named during recordings, consent for which is obtained when they join the club. Any participants who do not wish to be included in photographs are directed to the club's photographer to register their objection. HOW WE KEEP PERSONAL DATA SECURE Personal data held by the Great Debaters Club is stored on an encrypted password-protected database, which can only be accessed by the club's Director and Data Controller, Tony Koutsoumbos. We have reviewed the privacy policies of third party partners that hold personal data and sensitive personal data, such as bank details, of club members and individuals on our mailing list to ensure they are compliant with the GDPR, updating our agreements with them where necessary. In the event of a data breach, the club's Data Controller, Tony Koutsoumbos, will immediately notify the Information Commissioner's Officer (ICO) and any individuals affected by the breach, and keep both updated of the measures taken to remedy the breach. SHARING PERSONAL DATA We only ever share your personal data if required to do so for a legitimate purpose or to comply with a public duty. We do not share, under any circumstances, the personal data we hold on any individual for marketing purposes without their explicit consent. The circumstances under which we do share personal data include: - names of individuals or organisations, and the services or products purchased by them, issued with a receipt or invoice by the club, which we share with our accountancy firm for the purpose of processing the club's tax returns. - connecting fellow club members by email, so they can communicate with each other when planning to speak together in a debate. - sharing access to attendee names and email addresses when co-hosting an event with another organisation granted admin privileges on an event page hosted by an on-line platform, such as eventbrite or meetup. This is for the sole purpose of monitoring ticket sales and partner organisations are not permitted to email attendees directly, other than to provide them with information about the event they have signed up to attend. HOW YOU CAN ACCESS YOUR PERSONAL DATA All individuals whose personal data is held by the club are entitled to request the details of the data held and receive a timely response free of charge. You can do this by emailing the data controller at email@example.com or filling out a query form on one of the club's website. Queries should be addressed to Tony Koutsoumbos, but will be still processed and responded to in the same manner even if they are not. HOW YOU CAN UNSUBSCRIBE Individuals on the club mailing list can unsubscribe by hitting the unsubscribe button at the bottom of any emails they receive from the club, which are almost always sent via messaging platform, Mailchimp. Club members who are signed up to our training programme can unsubscribe by sending an email to club Director, Tony Koutsoumbos with the subject heading 'unsubscribe', which will be acknowledged by a confirmation email and result in your email address being removed from the members mailing list and the club's Google Group for members. Please note, if you do unsubscribe, you will be responsible for checking the details of upcoming training workshops and events, which you will be able to view on the club's website.