On the 2nd of July, The Juice Academy held its first live industry debate with Discuss Manchester and the topic was “Print media will be dead in 10 years: Discuss”. I was against the motion, along with Nathan Youd of Tangerine PR. Arguing for the motion was Sam Hutchinson, of Smoking Gun PR, and Jake Wharton, from Oldham Council.
On the run up to the debate I had mentoring from Paul Gallagher, from The Manchester Evening News, and Dave Goddard, of Tangerine PR. Paul explained the value of trust and brand awareness in print media and Dave suggested that print media, in particular magazines, can be very specific, and can really target a niche audience. These examples really helped to shape my argument and became my main talking points.
Two days before the debate we all met with Michael Taylor, founder of Discuss Manchester, he gave us tips on how to structure the debate as well giving us tips on confidence. He told us one by one what angle we might take and that we should use our personality to our advantage. He gave me a great piece of advice, saying that I should take a personal angle as the audience will connect with me on that level. I took away this advice and created my argument!
On the night of the argument, the nerves really set in! I was last to put my argument across and it didn’t help my nerves hearing the opposing team’s argument. By the time it was my turn to speak I felt like everything had already been said. However, when I stood up at the podium and spoke my first line, the nerves faded (only slightly) and I managed to get my point across.
The debate ended with questions from the audience. It gave us all a chance to really express our opinions and make our points heard. It also allowed us to come back at the opposing team’s argument. I think that this was the strongest point for me, it allowed me to think on the spot and my true feelings could come across. Then it was time to vote...
In the end the audience chose to move against the motion with a 27-4 defeat. If you ask me the best side won!
Despite the nerves, I am very proud of myself for doing this. As someone who has never spoken in public before, to standing up in front of 30 people, I consider this a huge success.
I would also like to take this opportunity to personally thank Paul Gallagher, David Goddard, Michael Taylor and everyone at The Juice Academy who helped me with my debate.