Our Five Pillars Our Educational Approach involves five pillars: Educational Program The Educational program consists of different activities and projects that have been written by professionals with the goal of helping you become an effective speaker, a brilliant debater, and a confident leader. They are structured in such a way that you start from very simple things, even if you have zero experience in these fields or are a complete introvert, and slowly but steadily lead you to more and more advanced projects. The best part is that you'll start seeing improvements almost right away. All the materials of the Educational Program are available online, totally free, for all Agora members. Local Clubs Agora Clubs the place where all the fun takes place. They are independent, but affiliated with Agora, and are created and run locally by volunteers. Clubs hold regular meetings every week, two weeks, or every month. Clubs provide a place where Agora members meet, learn, and practice using the educational program - a safe, fun, and supportive environment where you can experiment without fear and hone your skills until you're ready to "fly out of the nest". If there's no Agora club nearby, you can start one yourself. Anyone can start a club. The only things needed are time, energy, and at least 8 members. We provide a lot of support and training materials specifically for club founders, so just drop us a note if you're interested. Mentors Clubs provide members with a mentorship system that will help you and guide you with during your first steps in Agora. Worldwide Community Our diverse worldwide community is an invaluable asset. By all means, engage and participate with it. Attend other clubs, ask questions, ask for advice, and feedback. It's priceless to be able to meet people from so many different backgrounds and countries. Periodically we organize regional, national, and international conventions. These are events where you can attend different learning sessions, listen to proficient speakers and even compete in our speech and leadership contests. Online Systems Apart from the Wiki, we're deploying more and more systems designed to help you with all aspects of your experience with Agora. From real-time chat systems, forums, extended courseware materials, webinars, interviews, to more sophisticated systems that will help you run your club or even find networking opportunities. We have great plans for this Agora pillar, so stay tuned. Does this system work? Isn't a professional course better? Research has shown that even moderate proficiency in a skill (be that tennis, dancing, swimming, or public speaking) requires practice, usually well beyond the number of hours devoted to practice in professional courses. Consider this: Imagine you want to learn to cook great dishes. You have several options: Sign up for an intensive 1 or 2-week course with a famous chef, create some dishes one time, spend a lot of money, and hopefully after that you're already an expert. Join a cooking group. Every week, you'll be reading how to create a single dish from the online materials, and you will cook that dish for all members of your group. Everyone will taste it and give you their feedback. If you're satisfied, you can move to a different dish the following week. If not, you can repeat it. Each new dish you cook will be more and more complex. You do this "loop" week after week for several months, without spending any money. Additionally, in the cooking group, you'll practice different specific cooking skills. Alternatively, you can simply read a lot about cooking, watch a lot of videos, and trust that when the time comes to prepare something for your guests, you'll be ready. Which approach do you think will be best? Agora takes the second approach - you'll have access to our educational materials, crafted by professionals with the specific goal of taking you from the very basics of public speaking, leadership, and debating to more and more advanced concepts. But don't trust our word for it. Record yourself, join a club for some time, record yourself again, and you'll be amazed at how much you have progressed in such a short period of time. Of course, you'll only improve if you attend meetings regularly and take roles in them. If you just go to your Agora club once a month, or even less frequently - you're wasting your time. It would be like trying to become a piano player or a dancer by playing or dancing once a month.