Student Leadership #002

The Art of The Debate... Joe's Way

Student Leadership #002
Title Slide of The PowerPoint Version

The Art of The Debate…Joes Way

Your game plan for how you debate is going to be influenced by many factors one of which will be how much opposition you face, if you face little opposition, it will be much easier to walk away with a victory. Whenever I had a debate, figuring out what I was going to say was never an issue, I always had that worked out in my head weeks before hand and it gave me time to think about variable factors such as opposition, the issue at hand and the current majority opinion amongst students. Also in a debate, do not be afraid to unleash a little and verbally kick off at someone, no expletives or real nastiness though, unlike speeches, insults are allowed in debates, you’re not there to play, you’re there to win by any means.

If you have little opposition for a debate you can quite easily walk away with a victory in under five minutes as I myself have done. If there was a debate event coming up, I would think of the issues being debated, the current majority opinion and from that I could identify important issues for the school that would face little opposition and walk away with victories and those important issues were now resolved. However it is important to always take note of anyone that is outspoken on issues and has a different opinion to yours because that can throw a wrench in the works and set you back.

My Rules for A Student Leadership Debate:

Rule 1 - Identify the current majority opinion of students.

As a fresh student leader, you don’t want to go straight for the big issues because your success rate is not going to be in your favour. You focus on the smaller issues and resolve them one by one, until you’re solving two issues in one debate. When you do all of that successfully you are then ready to take on the bigger issues but remember, they will require more preparation and will undoubtedly face more opposition.

Rule 2 - Identify the current majority opinion of students.

It is also important that you identify the majority opinion of staff because getting a well liked member of staff on your side can prove very useful.

Rule 3 - Take all variables into account.

Last minute change of topics, another student joins the debate unexpectedly. Think of every possible scenario and have a plan for it so you don’t get caught short changed.

Rule 4 - Have your debate memorized.

It is critical to your success to be able to memorize your debate, if you cannot memorize the entire debate, at least memorize the talking points and a brief overview of each.

The 3 Stage Debate System:

Stage 1 - State the issue you are going to be debating.

Let the people know what your going to debate but not in a simple sentence, inject some drama in it, it’s a debate you want them on your side, you want to captivate them and have them listen to your every word.

Stage 2 - Cover your talking points and go in depth on them.

In this stage I would recommend a seamless transition from Stage 1 to Stage 2 to minimize the risk of interrupting how captivated they are when you are delivering your talking points and your expansions on them. Talking Points can also be your Game Plan.

Stage 3 - Your Closing Argument.

It goes without question, you have to finish your debate on a strong note. You can’t do a strong, convincing debate and finish it weakly especially if you’re losing because then it looks like you gave up.

Example of a 3 Stage Student Leadership Debate:

Game Plan

If you follow what I’ve written here, you too will be victorious at debates as well… I will say it is very very easy to mis-judge a debate and royally screw it up. Always double check everything and make sure you have your facts straight.

I hope you have all enjoyed the second installment of the student leadership series I am doing and as always please share this with a student leader that may need to read it.

See you in the next article, ladies and gents.

P.S. All the articles I’m writing on in the student leadership series will be included in the student leadership book I plan on releasing possibly this year or next year.

P.P.S. All student leadership articles will also be available in PowerPoint format.

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Joe Chessher
Joe Chessher
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