Wednesday, 5 October 2011

PLC Debate How to write a speech

A debate is not simply a speech, it is a defense of an idea with your teammates. Writing a debate speech can seem a daunting proposal for many. Is my argument good enough? Are my facts and opinions based on those facts convincing enough? How are the opposition going to discredit me? Are you going to be positive or negative? Is it possible to preempt what could be said to discredit your argument?

Are you going to be dramatic? How are you going to do this? Will humour make your argument stronger? What are the guidelines and rules for the debate and how will you keep to this?

In a debate competition, the topic may be chosen for you and even the side of the argument. You may be arguing for or against something you do not personally believe. How are you going to overcome this?

Preparation In a debate knowing both sides of the argument is crucial in your preparation so you have a more informed analysis of the topic. You are going to debate controversial topics, how are you going to be able to live with who you are if you are debating an issue you strongly oppose? 

For example, if you were debating "the future role for Irish students in the 21st century", wouldn't it be important to look at both sides of the issue? To simply look at this positively would mean to view the world through rose-tinted glasses. On the other hand to only look at the issue negatively may see you as a bringer of doom and gloom and close off anything positive which could be achieved. Preparation for your debate is key to achieving success. Think about what is the issue and focus on that. How is the topic worded and can you use it to your advantage?

Summarise your main points and subpoints What are your main points that you want to get across to the opposition? Write down your main points and even subpoints within a point which you can use throughout the debate and during rebuttals. How can you mke your points clear to n udience who my not be as expert on a topic as you?
Listen to what your opponent has to say. How can you use what your opponent has said to make your argument stronger. Will you do this in a positive or negative manner?

Practice and rehearse the manner in which you will deliver your speech. This will make it sound better and also give you the peace of mind that you know what you are talking about. As a result, you may appear more confident to debate your topic. The words that are emphasised can motivate an audience's opinion of your argument or leave them lost and your argument sounding flat. Shouting your points all the time does not always get your point across.

Here is an example of how shouting throughout a speech can lose it's central message and importance.

Bill Clinton Falls Asleep During Martin Luther King Speech

Uploaded by on 21 Jan 2008

Here is a clip where a speech was given at the UN by a teenage girl,  Severn Suzuki, who was representing ECO, an environmental children's organisation.Note the words that are emphasised to get her point across.It has received well over 6 million views.

Youtube Video The girl who silenced the world for 5 minutes
Uploaded by on 18 Apr 2008

Prepare your questions and answers
What would you like to ask the opposing team? Are there any flaws in their argument? Do your facts contradict their facts? What kind of questions do you think you will be asked? Can you prepare an answer for questions you think you might be asked?

Here is a clip from Bill Clinton handling a heckler. Clinton's manner of speech is usually relaxed but it does occasionally flare up. To give this video some context, this is the run up to the 1992 election when Bill Clinton was up against George Herbert Walker Bush. Bill Clinton in this speech was speaking in favour of condoms in public schools when he got heckled by Bob Rafsky of an AIDS activist awareness group. How do you think he handled this situation?

Clinton's Angry Response to Heckler 

Uploaded by on 30 Mar 2006

Now lets look at how some famous political figures like Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul dealt with the idea of US foreign policy. When analysing this, try to be more influenced on the mannerisms of each figure and how they dealt with the question posed rather than the content of what was said, especially if you wish to leave a comment on this blog. How do you think he answered this question?

Terrorism: Ron Paul vs. Giuliani @ SC Debate 

Uploaded by on 15 May 2007

Have Conviction You must believe your argument. How will you structure it accordingly? Should you acknowledge that there are holes in your argument even if you don't believe it? And just for a little bit of humour after all that, here is a clip which shows the power of speech and how anybody can influence people by not just what they say but how they say it. The kid in this clip has such conviction regarding what he is saying that he has become an internet phenomenon. You MUST look at both videos below

Thumbs Up for Rock and Roll! 

Uploaded by on 19 Apr 2011

The clip above received over 3 million views and then somebody made this clip below

Bike Kid Gives Speech to the Nation

 Uploaded by on 4 Jun 2011

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