A Great Debate Speech: 6 Key Factors

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Here are 6 Key Factors to keep in mind as you prepare to deliver a great debate speech:


1) Sound Philosophical Reasoning: A great debate speech will have a sound philosophical reasoning running through it but will also be supported by specific facts and evidence. You want your debate speech to have a logical philosophical framework supported by a mutually reinforcing value premise and value criterion. This sound philosophical reasoning will serve as a wall for your individual arguments. This truly comes with practice and through reading up on philosophy.

2) Evidence and Facts: A strong philosophical case backed up by hard evidence, facts and strong sources will be tough to argue with. Debate cases that are only based on philosophical reasoning may often appear obtuse and disconnected from realty. If you have a philosophically strong case that is supported by a wide range of hard evidence than you will have a very strong debate case. Know your sources, be confident to stand behind them, and don't let your opponent question your sources. Ensure they are legitimate facts and have a minimum of two-three solid sources to back up any fact. If you let your opponent tear into your facts without a fight, you will appear weak and your case will appear fabricated. Stand behind your work.

3) Foresee Opponent's Arguments: Address and refute the major oppositional arguments before they are brought up. This tactic will give you a head-start on refuting your opponent and will allow you to drill deeper into specific refutations of your opponent, making you look more prepared and lethal in your argumentation. It will put your opponent on the defensive and keep you on the offensive, which is always important.

4) Confidence: Perception is reality in the world of competitive debate. Always look confident. Never give an inch in appearance. Go into the round thinking and knowing you have the superior arguments and that your opponent's arguments are weaker. Keep your opponent on the defensive. Speak with complete confidence. Remember, in the end, the judge will be making a call based on both reasoning and perception. Never let perception cost you a round. Look confident. Talk with confidence. Walk with confidence. Speak firmly. Pause to reiterate points. Connect with your judge, without sucking up.

5) Strike at the Heart of your Opponent's Case: Debate is a zero-sum competition. There will be a winner and a loser. You want to be ruthless and fearless in your attacks and comprehensive and confident in your defense. Strike at the heart of your opponent's case by questioning his values and the philosophical reasoning behind his case. Question his logic at every turn and make his facts irrelevant by questioning the sources and their relevancy. The more you can invalidate the heart of your opponent's case, the more defensive he will become. Be ruthless and fearless in your attacks. Even if all of them don't hit the mark, enough will to give you the win, and your opponent will appear flustered and weak in trying to respond to all your points.

6) Stay Calm and Collected: Someone who is confident they are winning will not appear stressed or flustered. They will have the confidence to stand behind their arguments and no matter what their opponent throws their way, will always appear calm and collected. Such an appearance exudes confidence and strength. Obama always was calm and collected, yet firm, in the debates - and he wore out his opponents because they grew agitated and stressed at having to constantly try harder and harder to throw him off his game.

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