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VIDEO:

THE ART OF
D E B AT E _ N E V E R
LOSE AN
ARGUMENT AGAIN
HISTORY
DEBATE AS ‘PUBLIC ARGUMENT’:

▶ DATES BACK TO ANCIENT GREEKS: PLATO, ARISTOTLE, SOCRATES

DEBATE AS PUBLIC ARGUMENT:

▶ COMPETITIVE DEBATE: THE BRITISH / 19TH CENTURY


FORMATS
• POLICY DEBATE
• LINCOLN-DOUGLAS
• PUBLIC FORUM
• PARLIAMENTARY
• CONGRESSIONAL
• IMPROMPTU
FORMATS / MAIN IDEA
▶RESEARCHING
▶BEING ARTICULATE
▶BEING ABLE TO CONVINCE A ‘NEUTRAL THIRD PARTY’
HOW TO STRUCTURE AN ARGUMENT
AN ARGUMENT HAS THREE BASIC PARTS:
• A CLAIM
▪ WHAT IT IS YOU ARE TRYING TO PROVE IN THE FIRST PLACE
• A WARRANT
▪ THE EVIDENCE FOR WHY THAT IS TRUE
• AN IMPACT
▪ WHY IT MATTERS IN THE FIRST PLACE
BURDEN OF REJOINDER
▶REJOINDER:
▪ FORMAL / A REPLY, ESPECIALLY A RUDE ONE

▶CONSEQUENCE
▪ IF YOUR OPONENT BRINGS SOMETHING UP YOU NEED TO RESPOND
TO IT; IF YOU DON’T, THEN, IT’S TRUE
A TECHNIQUE: SWITCH-SIDE DEBATING

▶IN ONE ROUND YOU ARE GOING TO AFFIRM A RESOLUTION


AND IN THE NEXT ROUND YOU ARE GOING TO NEGATE IT
KEYS TO DEBATE VICTORY
1. PRACTICE ‘DEBATE JUDO’
1. JUDO PHYLOSOPHY: IF SOMEONE TAKES A PUNCH AT YOU, YOU
DON’T PUNCH BACK. YOU USE THE ENERGY OF THAT PUNCH TO
FLIP THEM ON THEIR BACK

MEANING: CONCEDING A LESSER ARGUMENT FROM YOUR OPONENT


GIVES YOU THE POWER TO FLIP OVER A STRONGER ONE
KEYS TO DEBATE VICTORY
2. LISTENING
1. LISTEN CAREFULLY TO YOUR OPONENT’S ARGUMENTS. IF YOU
DON’T KNOW WHAT YOUR OPONENT IS SAYING YOU ARE NOT
GOING TO BE ABLE TO RESPOND TO THEIR ARGUMENTS.
EVERYTHING THEY SAY THEY HAVE TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE
FOR.
KEYS TO DEBATE VICTORY
3. THINK FAST
1. IN A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME, CONVEY A LOT OF WHAT YOU
WANT TO SAY IN A COMPELLING, CONVINCING WAY.
KEYS TO DEBATE VICTORY
4. READ THE JUDGE/AUDIENCE
1. THE KEY WORD IS: ‘ADAPT’. THE SAME TOPIC PRESENTED IN
FRONT OF DIFFERENT PEOPLE REQUIRES A DIFFERENT APPROACH,
FROM THE ACCENT YOU USE TO KEY WORDS AND EMOTIONAL
APPEALS.
WHY SHOULD YOU DEBATE?
DEBATING TRANSLATES INTO REAL-WORLD SKILLS
1. JOB INTERVIEW
2. GENERAL CONVERSATIONS
3. ‘HITTING ON SOMEONE IN A BAR’
4. ABILITY TO READ OTHER PEOPLES’ ARGUMENTS: SEPARATING OPINIONS
FROM FACTS
5. GETTING ALONG: HOW DO I FIND THE OTHER SIDE HERE?
6. EMPATHY: HOW TO PUT YOURSELF IN SOMEBODY ELSE’S SHOES