We believe there are three key ingredients of civil disagreement that you only get by debating face to face: listening closely to what other people have to say, looking them in the eye when you tell them you disagree, and stepping into their shoes to understand why they think differently.
This is what we require all of our speakers to do at our Face to Face debates and though this has been made a lot more difficult by the pandemic, holding our debates on Zoom has allowed us to continue this tradition while moving all operations online until it is safe to stage live events again.
'Biden will make America decent again' - Wednesday 20 January - FREE entry
2021 debate calendar
All debates on Wednesdays from 6.30 - 8.30 PM
We are fortunate to have a number of highly skilled trainers in our community who specialise in a range of different skills from public speaking and confidence-building to problem solving and critical thinking. Members on our PAYG and 1-year plans can access the collection of webinars recorded as the club migrated its training programme online last year in the portal here and will also receive discounts on admission and priority access to limited places.
This year, we will focus on producing more training resources in the form of videos and guides and condense workshops into fewer but more comprehensive one-day events each quarter in which we will deliver multiple training sessions and practice debates. As with our public debate series, we will return to delivering these in person as soon as is safe and practicable.
2021 training calendar
All training days on Saturdays - exact times to be confirmed
Recordings of all past webinars can be viewed by GDC members here
An introduction to the 3Ps of debating
An introduction for newcomers and a refresher for existing members on the basics of debating. How debates work, what you are meant to do, and why doing it this way is important? You'll learn the 3Ps of debating and how to apply them to make cogent and persuasive arguments.
Simplifying complex arguments
Debates are won by those who define what they are ultimately about: think Boris Johnson making the 2019 election about his 'oven-ready' Brexit deal or Johnnie Cochran making the OJ Simpson trial about racism in the LAPD. In this webinar, acclaimed competitive debater and consent trainer, Heather Robinson, will show you how to identify the principles at the heart of complex debates and use them to build simple persuasive arguments.
Is there more to moderating a debate than just keeping things civil and punctual? How can an effective moderator help divided groups make decisions and prevent disagreements from getting personal or going off on unhelpful tangents? In this webinar, GDC Director, Tony Koutsoumbos will compare two different approaches to moderating group debates and explain when and how to use both.
Using notes without losing your audience
How do you engage your audience and use notes at the same time when giving a speech? This is a dilemma for all debaters who have to make notes in real time to respond to counter arguments and questions, while holding the attention of their audience. In this webinar, Sonja - an actor, facilitator, and presentation skills trainer - will guide you through the basics of sight-reading, the art of using notes without your audience being able to tell.
Adding style to substance: a guide to rhetoric
The best debaters are gifted communicators who can hold the attention of their audience to ensure their arguments are given the consideration they deserve. In this webinar, Tony Koutsoumbos, GDC Director, who has chaired over 250 public debates and delivered 500 hours of training, will show you how to do the same using the art of rhetoric.
Debating with confidence
Can you train yourself to be a confident debater? This is the question at the heart of our next webinar. The quality of your arguments in a debate may be paramount, but counts for little if a crisis in confidence robs you of your ability to present and defend them before you have even started speaking.
In this webinar, Ioanna - a biomedical scientist by training and now a policy manager for a major healthcare regulator, as well as one of the club's most experienced and talented debaters - will take you through what we can learn from the world of sports psychology about debating with confidence.
Challenging implicit biases
When biases go unchallenged they can lead to flawed decisions and horrific injustices, which is why we need a way of holding each other to account when they reveal themselves in the way we defend our beliefs and actions. In this webinar, Tony Koutsoumbos, GDC Director, who has chaired over 250 public debates and delivered 500 hours of training to businesses, charities, and individuals across 4 continents, will show you how to do this with his guide to logical fallacies.
This brand new webinar will introduce you to the iDEAs methodology and how to use it to write persuasive presentations, articles, and cover letters. This interactive session will draw on the experience of trainer and GDC Director, Tony Koutsoumbos, as a former recruitment consultant and communications professional. It will include practical tips for each style of writing, exercises for putting them into practice and time for questions.
In this webinar, by GDC Director and lead trainer, Tony Koutsoumbos, we explore the typical arguments people use to justify different types of trade-offs, based on what they care about most. You will learn to identify which arguments are your strongest based on who you are trying to persuade.
Defending ideas you don't believe in
Defending an idea you don't believe in yourself can be challenging if you've never had to do it before. There is the initial challenge of learning how to make unfamiliar arguments, but the bigger and more personal challenge is willing yourself to make them with the same conviction and sincerity with which you would defend your own beliefs. Yet you may very well be called on to do just that if you work in law, government, public relations or any job where you have to put other people's interests before your own and offer impartial advice that places equal weight on contrasting options.
In a presentation designed to persuade, there are only two reasons you will ever be asked a question: because someone in your audience didn't understand what you said or they didn't agree with it. Either way, winning their support (and the support of everyone listening) will depend a lot on how you answer their question. In this webinar, delivered by GDC Director and lead trainer, Tony Koutsoumbos, we look at what you can deduce about your audience from the questions they ask and how they ask them. We also go through tried and tested strategies for answering them.
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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.