Intro – from Mark Smith, Captain Team Sheffield
After buzzing from the recent debating training we had, I quickly accepted the invitation to be on the JCI Sheffield debating team. I must admit that until the day of the competition, I hadn’t really thought about what to expect, then on the way in the car my mind was racing with load of ‘ifs’ and ‘but’ questions and starting to worry I would forget the rules. I soon put all that out of my mind when Hannah, Fiona and I huddled together to put each other at ease. I had the added nerves that came with the responsibility of being the team captain but they soon went as the competition kicked off and the adrenaline started pumping as I took the floor to speak!
Hannah Woodcock, debating Team Sheffield member (and secret Kerry Katona fan?)
Shortly after writing my last blog entry for JCI, I was asked to join the team for the Yorkshire Regional Debating Competition. It took three car journeys to get there, but luckily we made it in time to order some Dutch courage from the bar. Adding to the pressure of the event, an audience was gradually gathering in the room as we took to our seats. As we were aware of the time limits due to first-hand experience from the training, our team was able to effectively collate ideas and assign key topics to each member during our brainstorming session. We were successful in our first debate, arguing, ‘In the future, women will be more successful than men’. Although we should have perhaps felt intimidated about our final round, still feeling triumphant from our earlier victory, JCI Sheffield managed to effectively argue against the second topic, ‘‘International’ is the most important part of JCI’s ethos’, and win the competition.
Similarly to the training session, our arguments occasionally veered into the surreal, and pushed our public speaking skills and ability to think on-the-spot. Before this event, I would never have guessed myself able to debate about Kerry Katona’s rise and fall as a supermarket branding icon. Our prize consisted of a mini bottle of wine, chocolate orange and certificate, along with an adrenaline buzz that didn’t fade until the following day (and lasted longer than my chocolate orange…).
I was extremely grateful to both be part of an amazing team, and to have such vocal support in the audience (many thanks to JCI Sheffield’s unofficial cheerleaders!). The next step is to compete at national level; I’m already sorting out my accommodation for the convention…
Fiona Silvester, debating Team Sheffield member (& chocolate orange scoffer)
Unfortunately I was unable to attend the debating training and as someone had dropped out at the last minute I got roped into competing. I was the first person to arrive from Sheffield and was almost hoping everyone else wouldn’t turn up and that I’d get to escape. (Un)fortunately the team appeared and put some of my nerves to rest. We were up first against JCI Leeds and I was pleased to hear we had 15 minutes to prepared as a team. Huge thanks must go to Hannah and Mark who quickly filled me in on the best way to proceed. We soon got into the swing of things and I hate to admit it but I really enjoyed myself. There were a few highlights for me. 1 – The support from fellow JCI Sheffield members was overwhelming – we were the noisiest in the room by a LONG way. 2 – seeing people in the audience laughing at your stories which gave an extra confidence boost. 3 – of course scoffing a chocolate orange on the way home. 4 – winning most outstanding debator – the certificate is now framed in my office!!
Fancy taking part in a debating competition at national level? The next opportunity will be at JCI UK National Convention November 2013 – book here or come along and cheer on Team Sheffield!
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Mark Smith