Whether you’ve just joined the college debate team, you’re preparing for law school, you’re dreaming of a life in politics, or you want to be an expert in verbal sparring for the sheer sport of it, you’ll need to know how to debate eloquently to ensure success. After all, a debate is about getting a point of view across and swaying opinions in a structured and intellectual manner while building confidence. This Debate Checklist will help you debate effectively.
In order to communicate effectively, it’s imperative to know the facts. Do your homework. Read up on the topic. Highlight quotes from your research as an easy reference during this process. Study and understand both sides of the argument. Look at it from different angles. Collect evidence to support all views on the topic.
While it helps to see a point from all sides, you must pick one side to argue. You may not even agree with this side. However, articulating ideas in a passionate way and with conviction from a perspective you don’t personally agree with is great practice for future endeavors. It’s about committing and following through. If you show signs of doubt, it will be difficult to win your argument.
Whether you’re debate is written or oral, this process will help put things into perspective. Organize your thoughts using this formula:
It’s natural to be nervous, but the more you practice out loud with friends, roommates, family members, or even alone in front of a mirror, the easier it will be for you to appear calm, cool and collected. Confidence will help you win.
Don’t be afraid to convey passion when you speak. It will make your argument more compelling and interesting. Passion is a valuable tool in a debate. For example, people feel strongly whether they are for or against the legalization of marijuana, or abortion. Tap into that passion, but remember to stay level headed.
You’ll be making mental or physical notes as the other side presents their case. Chances are, you’ll want to rebut some of the opposing arguments. You won’t have time to rebut them all. If you nitpick every argument, you’ll water down your own perspective. Be selective.