Before the start of each training session, each debater should decide on a particular area to focus on and pay it particular attention. For instance, a debater could choose to pay more attention to controlling hand gestures, giving better points of information or rebutting stronger. This provides a direction and challenge for the training session. This should not, of course, mean that the other aspects of training should be neglected or de-prioritized!
World Schools World Schools Debating Championships Rules and Guides http://www.schoolsdebate.com/guides.asp WSDC Rules (Emphasis on Annex 1) http://www.schoolsdebate.com/docs/rules.asp WSDC Notes for Adjudicators http://www.schoolsdebate.com/docs/notes.asp WSDC Definition Guidelines […]
Website Creator Samuel Myat San is a full-time professional debate and oratory coach. His coaching philosophy is to create skill sets and mindsets in […]
There is more to a debate speech than the mere delivery of arguments and rebuttals. No doubt these two elements will form the backbone of speech. However, the following elements are crucial in making a speech interesting, memorable and easy to follow for the judges. When the judges have an easy time following a debater’s speech, they will always be more inclined to give more points in return for making their jobs easier.
What is an argument? We know that arguments form the backbone of a debater’s stand on a particular motion. We also know that the arguments are directed to the judges with the intent of making them agree with a particular stance on the motion. Thus, arguments are communications directed at judges with the intent of influencing them. An argument is best opened with a label, which highlights what the argument is about. Next, the speakers would have to give an explanation, using logical links, as to why their position is correct. Next, they would have to use examples to prove that their explanation and links apply to real life.
The many debating formats around the world bring with them some very interesting aspects. For instance, Lincoln-Douglas Debate in the USA is contested by individual speakers instead of teams and features a lively cross-examination section. American Policy Debates feature debaters speaking at incredible speeds of up to 600 words per minute. British Parliamentary Debate is unusual in that it has 4 teams contesting a motion instead of just 2. American Parliamentary Debate largely allows for Proposition teams to run whatever case they want, including those where the Opposition teams are allowed to choose which side they would prefer! The common denominator for all of these formats, however, is that the Debaters would need to argue strongly, rebut effectively and speak persuasively in their speeches.
With the exception of a few debate formats such as Lincoln Douglas debating in the US, debating is a team event. This is especially true for the World Schools Debating format, with three speakers per team taking the floor.
Debate, without rebuttals, would be a series of speeches with no relation to each other. Like ships passing in the night, there will be no clash, no conflict and ultimately, no debate. Rebuttal, like argumentation, is one of the foundations of debate. What is rebuttal then? It is a speaker saying that an argument is not valid and showing why it is not valid. If argument is about building logic links in a case, then rebuttal is about the breaking of these links.
The set up provides the foundation for the debate. Consisting of the definitions, clarifications, parameter and the yardstick, the set up plays a critical role in establishing what the grounds for the debate are. Without a good set up, both sets of debaters and the judges could easily because confused over the course of the debate. Good proposition teams will ensure that their set up helps their case as much as possible (while being fair) and good opposition teams will have to check, expand and if necessary, challenge the definitions to get an edge. Failure to do the set up properly could lead to teams debating on their opponents’ terms, which is usually a recipe for defeat.
Style refers to the way debaters speak and deliver their speeches. To get higher style marks, speakers would need to make their communication effective and impactful. The following are a few tips which could be of use to speakers looking to improve the stylistic aspects of their speeches.
Speech and oratory competitions: A very useful way for debaters to improve their style is to attend speech and oratory competitions. These events will allow the debaters to focus purely on their vocal and visual presentation without the need to worry about argument and rebuttals. Some events, such as the National Forensic League’s Extemporaneous Speaking event, goes as far as to ask speakers to integrate argumentative skills into their speeches and even requires the speakers to go without written notes!