I’m sure most, if not all, of you know what debating consists of but just for the sake of the post I’ll tell you. Generally, debating simply means “arguing” about a specific topic. Ofcourse, I don’t mean the aggressive arguing, I mean a logical argument based on facts and opinions.
Personally, I believe debating is one of the most important activities one can take part in as it gives you the chance to voice your opinion, gain confidence, improve speech clarity, learn to defend a point with evidence rather than emotion and much more! I could go on and on but you get the general idea.
I part-took in various internal and external debates throughout my university years.
I won the Annual Internal Debating Competition 2011/2012 at University for the motion ‘This house does not believe in God’. That was only my first year at university but it goes to show how much your skills can develop with just a year’s worth of practice!
In my second year I won a debate against the Philosophy Department for the motion ‘This house would always employ a Lawyer before a Philosopher.’ As you can imagine, this was a very interesting debate as we were to put our opinion across without “degrading” the other side. Students from both departments came to support their respective teams so we had a pretty big audience.
I was also a member of the winning team to go up against the CPS for the motion ‘This house believes that prison simply isn’t working.’ This was the debate I was most nervous for, as our opponents weren’t students and had a lot more experience within the legal field than we did. However, we still managed to take the win!
I would always get nervous right before the debate started and go over my notes so I could have some structure in my head but as soon as I would get up on stage all that nervousness would disappear and I would just be so serene. That’s the part I loved the most, just being so comfortable in doing what I was doing.
For any of you who tend to get anxious about speaking in front of a large crowd of people, I would say start small. When I started with the debating society there would only be around ten people at the first few sessions. I know even ten can be a bit too much but you have to start somewhere! The only reason I can now debate in front of a hundred or so people is because I developed my confidence through activities such as debating. But, you have to be consistent and believe that you can progress.