Q: I'm scared of speaking to an audience - is this for me?
A: To some, speaking in public is a daunting prospect, especially if you have a shy disposition to begin with. Everyone at Cogers has spoken to an audience for the first time, so you will be amongst people who understand overcoming this fear. No-one has expectations of a fine oration from a first-timer or new speaker and even experienced speakers have their off days. Like everything else, the more often public speaking is tried, the more the trepidation dissipates.
Q: What will it do for me?
A: It will provide you with the opportunity to develop a skill in a genial social milieu. If you are in a profession where speaking to a group is part, i.e. teaching, law, presentation etc.., you will find Cogers immeasurably useful. It enhances confidence, is fun and entertaining. The contributions are often illuminating and the diversity of opinion, healthy. It's a good, inexpensive and different evening out.
Q: Is it political?
A: The subject matter covered at Cogers is the current affairs of the previous month, so politics has its part to play. However, all manner of news items are discussed - not just the obvious big stories of the day. Often Science and the Arts are covered. Also, there are different ways of responding to a political event. Philosophical and Psychological slants can be put forward as well. Some of the members may offer an argument that is party political - but the general atmosphere and purpose of the Cogers revolves around Freedom of Expression. Its ethos is therefore apolitical.
Q: Can I say what I want?
A: Within reason, yes. The Cogers encourages lively engaging debate but this is to be done without causing offence. Personal attacks are not allowed and swearing is kept to a minimum. If in doubt - check 'The Rules' before attending.
Q: Will I have to speak if I don't want to?
A: A lot of people coming to the meetings for the first time want to simply get a feel of what goes on without necessarily feeling obliged to make a contribution. If this is you, tell whoever is 'The Grand' for that evening. He or she will then not call you to speak. It is however best to make the leap from listening to speaking as soon as you feel you can. More often than not something is covered over the evening that will inspire you. When this happens - give it a go!!
Q: Who attends the meetings?
A: Generally, there are around 10 - 20 people at a meeting from diverse backgrounds and professions. Geniality and diversity harmonise wonderfully at the Cogers. Class/gender/ethnicity/religiosity does not matter - all are welcome.
Q: Isn't Public Speaking and Debating really elitist?
A: Sadly, both public speaking and debating have a reputation for being 'a bit snobby' or something that will only be experienced at public school or university. You don't have to be a politician, be public school educated or have a degree to have an opinion. Express it at Cogers.
Q: Can we have a Cogers in our organization?
A: Yes, certainly. The best way to go about this is to approach The Cogers Trust which exists, in part for development purposes - either the forming of new clubs or taking the Cogers method elsewhere.
Q: Can I start my own Cogers?
A: Advice similar to that given above. If you feel there is potential for a club in your area - the Trust will help. Please click on ‘Cogers Trust’ on this website. Although it would be a good idea to attend a few meetings in existing clubs to get to grips with the Cogers ethos and style first.