My experience at the Kiwani’s ‘How To Debate Workshop’

Last Updated: Monday, 04 February 2013 Published: Sunday, 03 February 2013 Written by Joan Wood

On Friday 18th January 2013, I,  along with three other students from the Communications Club - Rohini James, Tabitha Baron and Gabrielle St. Hilaire, as well as Ms. Jeffrey , attended the Kiwani’s Club of Roseau  ‘How To Debate Workshop’ at the University of West Indies Open Campus. It began at 9:00 am and ended at around 12:45 pm.

I was graced and humoured by Mr. Felix Wilson’s lecture on everything pertaining to public speaking, most notably the “do’s and don’ts” which I would like to share with you all. Truthfully, many of us are weak in one aspect or another in public speaking, not to mention debating.


  • Talk down or talk up to the audience; in other words, flattery is transparent.
  • Memorize your speech. If it isn’t perfect, you will end up forgetting it and stumbling on your words.
  • Read your speech.
  • Be cold. Rehearsed words sound lifeless.
  • Write the speech on your cue cards word for word.


  • Talk with the audience.
  • Write a rough draft of speech, then reduce it to a 3” by 5” cards.
  • Be spontaneous, warm, earnest  and confident.
  • Rehearse your speech around 5-10 times standing upright. Practice your actions and posture.
  • Make eye contact.


Mr. Alick Lawrence also gave many pointers on debating skills. He too explained and highlighted the characteristics of a good speech. They allowed time for a Q’s and A’s, after which we ate delicious snacks provided by the club.

All in all, I was honoured to have had the opportunity to listen to Mr. Wilson, as well as Mr. Lawrence. I will forever remember their inspiring words. They more than emphasised that effective and successful speaking takes time, training and most importantly, practice.

Now that you are equipped with the basics, go out there and speak with confidence and don’t forget to practice your speech.

This year’s debate round one topic is “The benefits of geothermal energy outweigh the risks” and Convent High School will be competing against Wesley High School on January 30th. Convent High school opposing this moot, did emerge winners of this round. Strike One! Forward we go!!!!

Positions: CHS - Opposing; WHS - Proposing

Outcome: CHS win

Points: CHS 243 - WHS 226

You may read our argument here.  It is available on the creative writing section of this site.

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