A Very Special Evening: A Night to Remember!

MSC Meeting – Monday 31 November 2016

With Guest Blogger – Doreen

A Very Special Evening: A Night to Remember!


If you debated coming to toastmasters on Monday the 30th of October and choose not to, you missed out is all I can say. It was an extraordinary evening like no other MSC meeting I have ever attended. Being the 3rd Monday of the month, Chris Boden had arranged for Paul Carroll a seasoned and passionate debater from 104 London Debaters to give us a workshop on the skills of debating. Volunteers had been called upon in advance to create two teams for the night. The topic was chosen ‘This house would allow performance enhancing drugs in sports’.

 No one knew which side they would be representing, the room was filled with anticipation.

 Paul Carroll opened the evening by introducing us to the absolute essentials for debating.

1. A definition for the topic being debated.

2. Reasoning or logic

3 The clash 

The purpose of debating is to discover the truth.

 Paul alerted us to watch out for the ‘slippery slope’ arguments and the ‘fallacy argumentsand the ‘straw man’ all of which would leave their arguments to have little or no weight at all.

For some practice and full audience participation, Paul divided us up into small groups. Each group were given a different topic to practice a debate before presenting the summary of the debate to the audience.

After the break with our bellies full and our throats lubricated, Mary chaired the debate keeping order and ensuring the flow. Those arguing for ‘This house would allow performance enhancing drugs and sports’: Tony, Michael and Vidhya those debating against the motion were Mohammed, Sandra and Chrys Fisher.

Michael opened the debate confidently and passionately stating his points that athletes are given the choice to take drugs or not. Secondly, banning drugs would drive them to go underground. Finally modern competitive world athletes will do whatever is needed to win.

Mohammed responded with equal passion. The debate was in full flow.  Before the final speakers summarised their team’s case, the debate was handed over to the floor. Further opinions were aired by Rajeev, Paul Aherne, Chris, and my good self, raising the emotional temperature even higher in the room. Vidhya and Chrys then summarised their positions before Paul Carroll feedback on the performance of the clubs first debate.  

Paul was impressed with the quality of debating of both team and concluded that while the motion failed to be passed, those arguing for the motion had managed to persuade more of the audience to change their minds. This was seen as a win, win in its own right.

It was truly a night to remember and the debate continued as we walked through the doors at the end of the night either heading home or to the pub. What was agreed by all was, a good night was had by all and much was learnt about debating.

A special big thank you to Chris Boden for arranging this very special evening and to Paul Carroll for coming all the way out from London to share his time and knowledge.

Hope to see you on the 14th November when we resume our normal format of interesting and inspiring speeches, informative evaluations and surprise Table Topics.

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