Nowadays, schools are bringing debate to their classrooms. This is an opportunity for students to develop critical thinking and other valuable skills for further academic pursuits.
Preparing for a debate is a mammoth task to handle. As students, we have taken part in such debates before or plan to participate in one, and the task seems daunting.
Here are some tips to help you prepare and make your argument solid and flawless.
Get acquainted with the rules
Many forget how important it is to understand the rules and format of the debate. Debate rules and steps are rigid, and if you break them, your team faces a ‘fine’ or has to forfeit.
Note that each debate type has different rules and structures, which brings us to the next point.
Understand the type of debate you are holding
The rules and formats of the various types of debates differ.
By understanding which form of debate you are taking part in, you know what to expect. This way, you are less likely to become flustered or confused.
Here are the different types of debates:
Debate in Parliament
Debate on Team Policy
Debate on Cross-Examination
Do your research
As debaters, you need to be well-read and knowledgeable of your topic.
Research allows you to find statistics, worked examples, and evidence, which is crucial information to support your point.
Be sure to also research possible arguments that your opponents might bring up. This way, you are prepared and able to counter them.
Stay on topic
You only have so much time, and you do not want to waste it beating around the bush right at the first point.
So instead, organise your ideas and plan them out in the preparation stage.
Then during the actual day, tell your audience your key points and only elaborate on them further when the time permits.
Practice your speech
When you practice your speech in front of others (be it your family, friends or teammates), you become more confident, learn to get used to presenting it. Ask these people for their opinions on your speech to improve on it.
Here are some questions you can ask to help improve your speech:
1. Is it clear?
2. Which areas sound messy?
3. What do you not understand?
4. What are the key points?
5. Are you convinced?
Use this opportunity to time yourself too! Make sure that it is not too short, nor does it overrun.
It is the big day! You have your speech ready, your statistics in your hand, and is familiar with the rules.
Now the only thing left is to deliver your speech in a confident tone.
Studies show that people are more likely to believe statements produced in a confident tone than those spoken hesitantly. So make sure you stay focused and confident!
Though participating in a debate can be intimidating, with sufficient preparation, you are more prepared and have a more cohesive argument to present on the day of the debate.
We hope that this article helps you to better prepare for your debate. Good luck!