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8 TIPS for Debate

Anyone would be nervous when trying something new for the first time in their life, ranging from swimming, bungee jumping, to what you’re up to here, debate. Even though you’ve done many practice debates, debating in real tournaments may still be somewhat different. For instance, you no longer debate with people you’re familiar; you may not be judged by a great judge; you will have multiple rounds a day. In general, it’s just an entirely different experience than just simply doing practice debates. And now, here are some tips for the anxious and panicking you:

Before debate:

Tip 1: Organize your documents

Imagine if your debate is starting, and you suddenly can’t find your blocks, and then you start panicking. You could of course ask your teammate to send it to you, but it’s simply easier to organize all your documents beforehand. I would suggest putting all your documents including speeches and blocks into one folder, so you know clearly where they are.

Tip 2: Practice your speeches

If you’re the first speaker, don’t wait till the last night to practice your speeches, because you may not finish it. Even though people differ in English skills, the delivery of a fluent one thousand word speech in four minutes would take several hours to practice, and spreading it out in a week attains would maximize the fluency. In addition, it’s also important to find a good pace for the speech so that you don’t finish to soon or not be able to finish which both may cause the judge to deduct your speaker points.

Tip 3: Clarify opponents’ speech in crossfire

All kinds of debater exists throughout China. If you face a debater with incredibly fast constructive speech or unclear pronunciation that thwarts from getting their contention, don’t freak out! Ask about their contentions during the crossfire. This also applies to another situations where you didn’t understand the opponents’ contentions.

Tip 4: Don’t let your opponent cut off your sentence during crossfire

Tournaments in big cities like Shanghai and Shenzhen don’t lack very aggressive speakers, and they’re especially aggressive during crossfires. They may just simply try not to let you speak which may cause you to lose the debate. To avoid this situation, point out to the judge that they are not respecting you with phrases like “not allowing me to finish”, “please let me have a response to your question”, etc.

During debate:

Tip 5: Don’t talk when your teammate or opponent is speaking

The judge would view talking during speeches as disrespectful during the speech time of someone. Communication is certainly important during the debate, but doesn’t necessarily involve talking. An alternative would be to type in WeChat or other online communication networks, which won’t trigger the judge.

Tip 6: Treat it like usual practice

Even though you’re now in a tournament, it’s no different except the people you deal with. So just treat it like the practice debates you did and perform the best of you.

After debate:

Tip 7: Save your flow sheets

Flow sheets are crucial in debates. First, you could know the contentions of your opponent and you might face them in the eliminary rounds. Second, you can make blocks to new contentions immediately after the round so you can deal with them easily afterwards. Third, flow sheets also reveals some flaws in your arguments / contentions, showing space for improvement.

Tip 8: Don’t waste your waiting time before the next round

You might be in Flight A for the first round, and Flight B for the second. In this case, you have abundant time to rest. However, don’t just waste all the time by doing random things, but actually do some more blocks or improve on your constructive. This is especially important if you think you lost the last round you should reflect on why you lost: is it because that you don’t have the blocks? Or did you simply lose because of their great delivery? Or did you not weigh the impact in the final focus?

Take note of these TIPS and so you won’t freak out before your first tournament.

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