Three Truths About Speed In Debate

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Three Truths About Speed In Debate

1.There is NO PROPER Speed In Debate

Many young debaters are overly concerned with speed in debate. The truth is, there isn't a correct or proper speed in debate. In fact, your speed should change with every round, according to what your judge wants to hear. Some judges prefer persuasion, and others, who might flow on a lap-top, might be able to type your speech verbatim. Debate for your judge, not some supposed norm you think your supposed to follow.

2. You Will Inevitably Beat Someone Who Is Faster Than You, And Lose To Someone Slower Than You

If there's anything I've learned from judging debates for the last ten years, it's that anyone can win, any time, any where. Everyone makes mistakes- the question is can you capitalize?! Speed helps you cover the flow, answer all the other teams arguments. But it also creates its own problems, like reading too many pieces of evidence, or not providing enough depth to extensions of previous arguments. Generally speaking, quality wins more than quantity.

3. Persuasion Is Important

Speed and persuasion are tactics, not strategies. Each has a time and a place. Important arguments should be delivered at a slower rate, not only for rhetorical effect, but also so that judges have more "pen time" to flow those round winners. College debate is most often housed within communications departments. We should forget about the origins and foundations of the activity, which certainly include public and persuasive speaking.

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