• Bespoke training courses

    Debating is a discipline that brings together a suite of communication skills with a wide range of applications. See below for details of the courses we offer and examples of programmes we have delivered for charities, businesses, and government organisations we have worked with before.

    Confident public speaking

    Representing an organisation at events and in public can be stressful if public speaking makes you nervous, made worse by stories we tell ourselves about what our audiences think. Learn how 'showing not telling' will help you see for yourself what audiences are really thinking when you're speaking.

    Strategic communication

    Learn how to tailor the content and style of presentations to your audiences. Craft messages that clearly communicate what you need your audiences to do or to care about, and deliver those messages using rhetorical strategies and devices that showcase your credibility, sincerity, and logic.

    Thought leadership events

    Create a rich and engaging atmosphere for testing new ideas by curating panel debates that focus the attention of panels and audiences alike on a specific proposition that must either be approved or rejected by the end of the event. You will be supported to organise a formal debate with training provided for speakers unfamiliar with the format.

    Writing persuasive arguments

    Persuasion isn't just about face to face negotiations or big presentations; much of it takes the form of written proposals, emails asking for time and attention, reports to stakeholders and press releases to the media. Learn the simple techniques that will help you write clear, concise and convincing copy.

    Presenting in teams

    Building and making the case for a complex project is rarely the work of one person - it takes a team effort. Learn how to speak as a group but with one voice by taking part in a mock debate where you must defend another team's side of the story that you have never heard by listening and improvising.

    Managing difficult conversations

    Learn to detect the presence of implicit bias through the way it is rationalised in a discussion and - vitally - how to minimise its impact on important decisions. This is designed as an aid for having difficult conversations with team members who react defensively to suggestions of bias to allow concerns to be addressed without fear of inciting conflict.

    Rate card

    (Get in touch using contact form below to discuss fixed prices for longer training programmes)

    £450 for half-day sessions

    (3-4 hour training workshops)

    £750 for full-day sessions

    (6-7 hour training workshops)

    Previous clients and projects

    Persuasive writing webinar for civil servants

    1-hour webinar on how to write persuasive policy advice at pace

    A webinar for 100 civil servants from multiple government departments on how to improve the way they write short policy submissions for the attention of ministers and senior civil servants, and defend their advice under pressure. Created by drawing on the expertise shared by the club's network of civil service leaders, the session walked the group through how to troubleshoot the most pressing issues raised by their target audiences.

    City Law School debate training programme

    Public debate training programme for trainee barristers

    A one-month training series for a group of trainee barristers, whose training typically focuses on how to influence judges, on how to debate in front of members of the public and non-expert audiences. Each two-hour workshop included a series of short exercises and quickfire debates where students learned to think and speak on their feet under pressure.

    Global Challenges Doctoral Training Programme

    International debate training programme for research scientists

    A one-day training workshop for 25 research scientists from across the world on how to use their expertise to influence policy-makers and lead public discussions of the biggest issues facing their home countries. Tied to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the workshop focused on related topics, ranging from gender equality to the impact of automation. This programme was extended to include a training series and a public debate, which will begin in the spring of 2020.

    LIDo Doctoral Training Programme

    Debate training programme for research scientists

    A series of workshops for the country's biggest doctoral training programme designed to equip them with the skills to become effective communicators, capable of influencing policy-makers, securing funding, and engaging the public in discussions about their research. This was followed by a public debate where a panel of students contested a debate on mandatory vaccination in front of 100 of their peers.

    Nutmeg - investment management company

    A 'lunch and learn' workshop in public speaking

    A one-hour lunch time workshop for about 30 back-office staff who are not normally client facing, mainly software engineers. The session focused on how to communicate clearly and concisely, convey expertise to non-expert stakeholders, and improve their confidence to speak in public.

    Portland Communications

    Away day workshop on thinking quickly under pressure

    An afternoon workshop for a team of foreign policy specialists who advise governments and leaders. As an away day activity, the workshop was designed to be recreational, but useful, with the team learning how to quickly generate talking points, analyse arguments from multiple different perspectives, and appeal to diverse audiences. They put this into practice by debating a range of light-hearted topics on the day, confident in the knowledge they could apply the same skill when advising their clients too. 

    Middle Temple Students Association

    Evening class on persuading live audiences

    A 2-hour workshop with a group of trainee barristers to complement their experience of debating in front of judges (mooting) with a masterclass in debating in front of juries. The workshop drew on insights into persuading members of the public from two years worth of data from the club's public debate series and offered a few simple tips on how barristers could adapt their debating style to maximise the impact of their arguments.

    Chevening Global Awards Programme

    On-line training programme and debate moderation

    A 2 week programme of 2-hour sessions delivered via Skype for 2 teams of international scholars. Funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the goal of the programme was to prepare the teams for a debate chaired by GDC Director, Tony Koutsoumbos, on a policy priority of the FCO to develop their leadership and decision-making skills. Chevening and the GDC will be working together for the third time in early 2019.

    Ecole de Guerre (French War College)

    Partnership programme of public debates and training workshops

    The Ecole de Guerre regularly feature at the club's annual competition as well as taking part in public debates against GDC teams in both Paris and London. Their debate programme is part of the French military's drive to build closer cultural ties with their US and UK counterparts and develop the English language skills of their officers. The GDC facilitates this by running one-day workshops on debating in front of British audiences.

    Calcutta Debating Circle

    Exchange programme between UK and Indian debate teams

    A debate tour of Kolkata in 2016 saw a team of GDC members take part in a series of public debates, the largest of which took place in front of an audience of 1500 people and was broadcast on Indian television, and also deliver training workshops for young debaters from a selection of the city's schools. This was followed by a visit to London by a delegation of debaters from Kolkata, which included a tour of Parliament and a meeting with Rishi Sunak MP to learn about debating in the House of Commons.

    Vizeum personal data debate

    Executive coaching and debate design for thought leadership event

    A 1-month project with advertising agency, Vizeum, on designing a debate on personal data for their annual thought leadership conference. This began with a consultation on debate format and wording of the motion before moving on to the recruitment and training of executive decision-makers from across Vizeum's client base, and moderation of the debate itself. The training programme included a half-day workshop followed by three coaching sessions for each team of speakers.

    Dentsu Aegis Network debate programme

    Adjudicated debates and training workshops for marketing strategists

    An experimental programme launched by Dentsu Aegis Network, a group of marketing and advertising agencies, to facilitate critical discussion of industry trends between the group's strategy teams. Adjudicated debates where speakers received personalised feedback were followed by a one-day training workshop to address the top priorities for development.

    Low Carbon - finance team

    One-day workshop on communicating expertise to non-expert audiences

    A one-day workshop for the finance team of a large renewable energy firm on how to synthesise vast amounts of technical detail into the information non-expert decision-makers, such as managers and CEOs, need to know when asking for advice on how to solve complex problems.

    Canadian Coastguard - engineering team

    One-day workshop on managing disagreement with decision-makers

    A one-day workshop for engineers from the Canadian Coastguard on how to manage disagreements with stakeholders and decision-makers when offering advice based on technical expertise. Divided into three sessions, the workshop focused on how to identify cultural biases in an argument and respond in a constructive manner, how to isolate the strongest points in favour and against a proposed course of action, and how to tailor advice rooted in technical expertise to non-expert audiences.

    NBC/Universal - finance team

    Half-day workshop on influencing senior decision-makers

    A half-day workshop for a large group (30 people) as part of an away-day for junior and mid-level finance officers. The workshop focused on how to prepare and present advice to senior-decision makers in several specific scenarios set out by the department's leadership themselves.

    Lambeth council adult learning

    8-week training programme in advanced communication skills

    A recurring 8-week training programme for adult learners in Lambeth to aid their personal development and employability. The three strands of the programme focused on how to manage disagreement at home, how to write prepare for job interviews and conduct themselves in the workplace, and how to detect and respond to hate speech in the community.

    University of Aberdeen research scientists

    Half-day workshop on the Scottish Independence debate

    A half day workshop with a group of research scientists and PhD students on how to hold a constructive debate on the question of Scottish Independence. Funded by a training grant from the Medical Research Council, the group learned how to defend their own mixed positions on the impact of Scottish independence on their research and respond to typical and prevalent objections.

  • How to book a training course

    Send us a quick message with an overview of what you need and CEO, Tony Koutsoumbos, will reply to you personally within 24 hours.

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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. 
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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 info@greatdebatersclub.co.uk 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.