My experience at tri-nations debating academy

My experience at tri-nations debating academy

January 31, 2020 5:43 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

By Mike Rothon

I had a great time learning to debate at the academy, having only had a crash course in debating at Belfast national convention. With that said, it must have been pretty good coaching given from experienced JCI debater Chris Adamson, as I ended up on the winning JCI South team.

JCI national convention debating champions JCI South.

However, the academy taught me that there was so much more to debating than I had initially experienced. If you are interested in taking part in debating or want to know more, here are my five take away points:

1. Debating can be fun. I managed, thanks to the trainers to have debating re-framed, as a light-hearted contest between friends not a fierce battle of defamation. Although I may change my mind if I come up against mean Irish ladies (you know who you are), it was especially funny hearing the different points of view that spanned the Tri-nations and further. 

2. Debating can bring people together. Although I would like to think that our views within our members aren’t oceans apart, I can see that factual debates allow people to express their opinions on either side of an issue to educate and inform. This will enable people on either side of a point to understand the other, bring people closer together and expand your worldview.

JCI Tri-nation debating academy delegates practising essential debate skills.

4. Debating gives you more tools to be able to speak off the cuff. You have very little time to prepare any notes in a debate and little or no time if you take a point mid interruption from the other team. Practising with these constraints enables you to think quicker and reduce the fear of being put on the spot. 

5. It is Ok to put down someone else’s view when debating. As a snowflake millennial, I don’t care for putting people’s beliefs or ideas down, but in debating this is actively encouraged, you can even gain extra points if you do it well. I think this useful to know that it isn’t about scoring points against the people you are just doing it for your team, nothing about your annoying neighbour who woke you up last night by mowing his lawn at 2 AM with his petrol lawnmower. 

6. Debating can help you keep your cool in stressful situations. Debating at first can be quite stressful, and you might even struggle to talk. I can promise you it gets better. I started from the bottom and took part in the public speaking academy which leads to challenging myself to speak at the national convention in Doncaster, which lead to entering my first debating competition last year and now attending debating academy. 

Debating is undoubtedly an excellent skill to have, one that can be developed using the techniques I learnt at the academy — aided by the supportive network that we have in the tri-nations community. I would encourage anyone that wants to improve their speaking and general confidence to take part in both the debating academy and public speaking academy. 


The Public Speaking Academy for JCI UK is being held on the 7th of March in Birmingham, costing only 89 pounds for the weekend ticket as a member. More information found here

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This post was written by Zoe Toseland

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