2. A debate is a structured argument. Two sides speak
alternately for and against a particular contention usually
based on a topical issue.
3. Proposition : Also called the resolution, is the subject for debate. It
is presented by the moderator in the form of a statement.
Affirmative : The affirmative side of the debate takes the position that
the statement made is true.
Negative : The negative side would take the opposite position.
Audience : In academic debate neither side is allowed to interrupt the
other. The debate moderator alternates between one side and the other,
gives them specific blocks of time and holds them to those times. The
audience evaluates the arguments of the two sides. Whether it is by the
audience itself or by selected judges, each side is rated based on its
4. Introduce the topic
Assign the Affirmative and the Negative
Give Time for Research
Keep Track of Time
Make a Judgment
The manner in which you communicate your arguments. This is the most
basic part of debating to master. Content and strategy are worth little
unless you deliver your material in a confident and persuasive way.
It is vital to talk at a pace which is fast enough to sound intelligent and allow
you time to say what you want, but slow enough to be easily
Varying tone is what makes you sound interesting. Listening to one tone for
an entire presentation is boring.
Speaking quite loudly is sometimes a necessity. Speaking too
quietly is clearly disastrous since no one will be able to hear
It is also important to keep it simple.
Use of notes and eye contact
Notes are essential, and there is absolutely no point in trying
to speak without notes. Eye contact with the audience is
very important, but keep shifting your gaze. No one likes to
be stared at.
Content is what you actually say in the debate.
Case (argument)- the whole
Introduction - The case your group is making must be outlined
in the introduction. This involves stating your main
arguments and explaining the general thrust of your case.
Conclusion - At the end, once everyone has spoken, it is useful
to briefly summarize what your group has said and why.
8. Debate Research
For a Debater, knowledge is power. No matter how eloquent or passionate a
speech may be, it will ultimately be toothless with key information and
evidence to support the argumentation. Thus, debaters will have to be well-
read and well-researched if they are to improve
Constructing a speech
Arguments and rebuttals (disproving). No doubt these two elements will form
the backbone of speech.
The Psychological Dimension of Debate
Debaters are no doubt aware of the physical aspects of debate (listening and
9. speaking) as well as its mental aspects (thinking of arguments and rebuttals).
Unless gifted with a perfect, photographic memory, speakers will need to use a
notebook or palm cards to write down the components of the speeches to
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.
10. You must be recognized.
During debate, no member can attack or question the motives of
Speaker time limits
If the member interrupts the speaker, the time consumed will be
taken out of the speaker's allotted time.
11. The topic to be debated should be announced.
The participants should be aware of the topic
Participants should be aware of the procedures to be followed.
Select participants to take part in the debate and divide debaters into
two teams . One team in support of the resolution (pro) and one team in
opposition to the resolution (con). The most common number of
members per team is two, but more than two may be used.
Select a chairperson and a timekeeper.
Allow sufficient time for participants in the debate to prepare
"constructive arguments." Constructive arguments should be based
upon three to five major points which are logically developed
12. The way you present it verbally will have an effect on your audience.
Maintain eye contact with the people around the room, especially the
Start by taking a deep breath, look up at the mediator and audience
and greet them.
"good evening/morning adjudicator, fellow debaters, audience. My name is Sam.”
Speak slowly , carefully, and somewhat convincingly.
Do not worry about what you have just said, concentrate on what you are about to
Don't give up
Use hand gestures that illustrate your argument.