The Pros and Cons of Pro and Con

Student Congress is one of the most rapid-fire events in Forensics--second only to debate. On average there may be thirty competitors in a classroom, and at random points they are either jumping up for a first shot at speaking or raising their hands in a fury. To an outsider, this would be more than confusing to follow. And with this comes little room for error. Because there are so many potential finalists, and only awards for the top two, a speaker has to do everything they can to be memorable. The easiest way to stand out is through the speeches one delivers. Then, a speaker can not only stand out by what is said but how. A competitor can also be unique in what the defense for their opinion is. Over the next few paragraphs, the pros and cons will be weighed of speaking pro or con in a room. It is tricky, and with each comes upsides and downsides. But if a speaker is aware of these differences, their chances for being caught off guard will be greatly diminished.

Pros of Speaking Pro

Speaking pro has many advantages. The first would be authorship speeches. If a competitor wrote the speech then they have the ability to not only create the bill/resolution, they also have first draw at speaking on it. This not only allows someone to speak on something they obviously support, it also allows them to override precedence--regardless of their current speaking position. Another advantage to speaking pro is that a competitor can give a sponsorship speech as well. If from the school of the author, a speaker has the ability to sponsor that bill/resolution. Once again, this can override precedence. This can work well; especially when trying to get as many speeches in as possible. The last advantage of speaking pro is that a competitor gets the chance to show what they support. It is so easy to speak against something. But speaking pro tends to find favor with the judge. Especially when a speech’s opinions are thoroughly backed with well thought-out sources.

Cons of Speaking Pro

There is truly only one major con of speaking pro (which can have larger, branching consequences). The number one downside to speaking pro is that a speaker must support every single part of the bill or resolution that is being talked about. One of the common mistakes Congress competitors make is that they assume that as long as they support the topic they can speak for the pro side. But this is not the case. When speaking pro a competitor is saying that they support the bill or resolution and not just the idea itself. This is why the bill must be read very carefully before deciding to offer support. One of the easiest defenses someone has when questioning a pro speech is of the pro speaker contradicting a part of the bill, sometimes even without their realization. This will not only make the pro speaker look foolish, but they are left with no defense and will be docked major points for this obvious error. In order to avoid this dilemma read the bill or resolution very carefully and understand the context of every stated sentence.

Pros of Speaking Con

The most obvious pro of speaking con is that this is the easiest stance to take in Student Congress. This is so for two reasons. First, all one has to do is find one thing wrong with a bill or resolution. This automatically establishes a speaker as opposed. Even if the concept is strong and the pro side has a solid defense, competitors can still take the angle that they only see one or two errors with the proposed legislation. This is all that is needed to substantiate a reason for choosing con. In other words, there are so many methods for siding with con, and it is very difficult to corner someone for having false reasons for choosing con. A second and less obvious advantage to speaking con is that competitors can always argue that legislation is too expensive. Even if the pro side has a strong argument, merely make the case that any program or resolution will cost too much to implement. This is a tactic that is used often, so do not talk about cost too much or risk being unoriginal.

Cons of Speaking Con

The one major con of speaking against legislation is that a speaker might come across as a downer. Sometimes it is necessary to tear apart proposed legislation but not every opportunity. Be careful when speaking con to not send the message of disliking every proposed idea. This ultimately can leave the impression of being the constant critic without any beneficial ideas to offer. Siding with con consistently also makes a competitor predictable and limited in range. If the con side is chosen to defend, make sure to mention an alternative solution that is personally felt to be more efficient and cost-effective.

These are the hindrances to be aware of when speaking either pro or con. Use the upsides to personal advantage and be careful of the downsides. The disadvantages of the pro or con will affect a speaker only if allowed. When speaking on a piece of legislation, be prepared for the stance the opposition will take and counter it with a stronger argument.