Wednesday, 5 October 2011

PLC Debate Why You Should Learn To Be A Good Debater

Why should you learn to be a good debater? As a student you can have on your CV that you took part in school debates. Why is this important to you or your employer? It shows you can communicate, that you can question, that you are not afraid to get up in front of a group of people in your workplace and show them why your opinion is important. In short, it gives you a voice and demonstrates managerial capability, confidence, critical thinking and an ability to present discussions convincingly while working as a team. It makes you more employable and gives you the power to make people listen. Debating is an essential sill regarding learning how to climb up the jobs ladder, to negotiate more hours or a promotion or even to get a job.

Many bosses, politicians and leaders need to have great debate skills to show their staff or those who follow them why their vision for the way ahead is so important. They also have to listen to and assess in their own businesses department managersor employees  debating for the best way ahead for their company (eg accounting department argues to cut costs while the marketing department may be arguing to spend money on marketing campaigns to make money). As a manager, you have to assess who’s argument sounds more important, make a decision on it and then communicate to all departments clearly why that decision was made. There are always two sides to a point.

Debates can get heated, they can be controversial yet also intelligently deal with the subject at hand. You may not agree with certain arguments, some will make you question pre-established beliefs, but one thing is clear. You are getting to hear both sides of the argument to enable a more informed decision.

The Concern debates are one of the longest running competitions in Irish secondary schools, dealing with  important world issues.The debates center around topics like child labour, debt, globalisation, HIV/AIDs and more. Although this videoclip below deals with debating within a secondary school, the clip is still useful for college students as the impact of being a good debater is shown as well as the opinions of debaters around the country.

Youtube Video
Concern Debates

Uploaded by on 16 Oct 2006

Here is a lego based video outlining 12 steps to create a debate setting:
Youtube Video

How to Debate: An Introduction

Uploaded by on 16 Jul 2008

Debates can change minds. Intelligently argued points backed up with reasoning, facts and statistics can deliver compelling viewpoints. Here is a clip from the movie The Great Debaters with Denzel Washington. The debate takes place in the 1930s where the Wiley debate  team takes on Harvard College to argue over whether the negro population should have state access to a university. The film is based on a true story

Youtube Video

Great Debaters - Justice Right Now 

Uploaded by on Sep 11, 2011

Great Debaters - Welfare State Debate

 Uploaded by on Sep 11, 2011


How to debate?
There are 2 types of people who debate,  those people who are very nervous at the idea of a debate and then there are great liars. Everyone is a little nervous debating a topic, we want to get our points across, we want to be heard, but how?
Debating isn’t about shouting at each other. Think about how your opponents arguments to suit your own argument. Does it make your debate more persuasive that you accept or concede some of your opponents points? Should you even think of them as an opponent
There are 3 main areas to look at regarding debate techniques
1 Clarity
2 Evidence
3 Emotionalism

1 Clarity
You are going to be talking with people who may have a very different opinion to yours on a topic so clarity is key. Ask yourself as you prepare, is there any way my opponent  can use my words against me? If so, can I pre-empt their attack with a counter attack? Eg “of course you are going to hear the opposing team propose that .........” Appear confident
2 Evidence
What evidence have you got to back up your argument. This is essential to an effective debate. How much waffle is there in your argument? Opinions are far stronger when backed up by evidence. Eg “According to CSO figures for 2011, there has been a downward trend in X, so it is essential that we move forward .....”. Remember that your research can contradict and perhaps evolve authoritative sources opinions by your use of facts and figures. Can you put those facts and figures into something that your audience can easily understand. Can you source the information if queried about it? Eg “Where did you get those figures from?”. How will you present those facts and figures?

3 Emotionalism
Emotionally charged words depending on how they are harnessed can make or break your argument. You need to inject  life into your statistics or you run the risk of your argument falling flat. If you use words that can inspire and hook your audience, it will make your facts and figures even stronger. You need to think about how you can appeal to your target audience and judges that are watching you. Think about how you would be affected if you were a member of the audience. Can you relate a short personal story to the topic that you think is relevant? You want to show how passionate you are, while also delivering a constructive, rational argument.

Losing your temper in a debate shows you are passionate, but you are also in danger of looking foolish so keeping calm and defeating your opponent through skill gives the impression of a more effective argument most of the time. Finish strong, your conclusion should be a reminder and summation of what your argument was about. Your audience needs reminding. Think of how you are in class with teachers, have you ever day-dreamed through any important points? The same thing is true with your audience.

How do I argue my point?
Look up information regarding the topic (from both sides, you want to have an idea what the opposition is going to say). Decide how you are going to organise the information. Can you twist the facts and figures to your advantage? You can acknowledge certain flaws of the side of the topic you are arguing for.
Your Introduction
How are you going to get your audiences attention right from the start? They are thinking “why should I listen to you?”. Perhaps not everyone at the debate is there through choice or even educated about the topic you are presenting. How are you going to address that?  A relevant general thought , joke or short story can be effective if intelligently applied.
Your Body
This is the meat of your argument. This is where facts, figures, statistics, trends and examples can be constructively applied. Are you going to interact with your audience to engage them? Will you use any physical props to help demonstrate your point?
Your Conclusion
This is your last chance to let your audience know why your side of the topic is so important. Effectively summarise your main points to remind your audience what you discussed. Can you disprove your opponents argument? Reaffirm why your point is so important.

Please contribute and tell us what is wrong with the following examples
Examples of bad debate
“Man United are the greatest football team ever”
“No they’re not”
“Yes they are you twit”

Examples of bad debate
“All those politicians are so stupid”

Examples of bad debate
“You’re stupid and everyone hates you”
Should Ireland Go Nuclear Debate Example

Here is a debate regarding if Ireland should go nuclear or not? The clip below shows
Denis Duff from Better Environment with Nuclear Energy argues for the use of Nuclear power in Ireland
Youtube Video 

Should Ireland Go Nuclear? FOR 

Uploaded by on 8 Jan 2009
Here is the motion against Ireland going nuclear by 
Gary Fitzgerald, Green Party candidate for local election, argues against the use of nuclear power in Ireland.

Uploaded by on 8 Jan 2009

How clear were they?
What evidence did they use?
Were they emotional or not?
How did they conclude?

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