How to be a Good Debater - 30 Tips to Destroy Your Opponents
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How to Become a Good Debater

Debating is one of the most complex and demanding assignments, which students will have to face throughout high school or college years. Especially considering how difficult it is for the majority of people to speak publicly.

However, such skills are of a great importance, as they help to plan an argument ahead, choose a proper vocabulary and be ready for any life situation. That is why debating skills are so important and even if you don’t feel like performing right now, after getting familiar with the arguments below you will surely change your mind.

Tips for debates

In order to meet criteria of the judges, you will need to possess the following skills:

  • Provide relevant points, which interlink with the topic;
  • Provide proofs and credible data instead of your own opinion;
  • Remain objective to keep your arguments logical. Of course, it is good to feel passionate about the subject but it may look like aggression and can easily upset yourself or the audience;
  • Take into account the audience. Your words should be interesting and engaging without too long phrases or complicated data;
  • So what makes a good debate? Always use rhetoric, when you want to persuade the audience. It includes ethos (ethical approach), pathos (emotional approach) and logos (logical approach);
  • Use brief and organized notes to always remain on track. You can use those for your rebuttals as well;
  • Use comparisons and claims to explain why your arguments are more important and valuable than those of the opposite team or speaker;
  • Use humor only if you are sure that you are good at telling jokes. If not, it will only do you harm;
  • Remain flexible, as you never know where an argument might take you. Use this feature to produce new arguments and make a list of facts, which are able to defeat them.

How to be a great debater using your voice

  • Your speech must be clear and concise;
  • Talk quite fast to deliver all of your arguments but quite slow to be understood by the audience;
  • Always project the voice to the room’s back;
  • Use dramatic pauses;
  • Don’t forget to vary tone and emphasize words or phrases you find important.

Be confident

  • Always have a relaxed posture and pose;
  • Never use words-fillers;
  • Know the topic perfectly;
  • Avoid being nervous and use body language properly;
  • Keep eye contact with your audience.

How to be a better debater, when you speak

  • Your language should be simple;
  • Always refer to the opposite team, using ‘My opponent’;
  • If you are using a rebuttal, apply phrases like ‘My opponent claims.., however…’
  • Avoid exaggerations, like ‘always’ and ‘never’;
  • Never say that the opponent is wrong. Instead replace it by saying ‘you are mistaken’.

Things to avoid

  • Making up and falsifying evidence;
  • Disagreeing with decision of the judges;
  • Attacking the speaker, not the idea;
  • Being aggressive or offensive;
  • Interrupting opponents and judges. In such a way you will not only show that you don’t know how to be a good debater but also that your arguments are not strong enough;
  • Disagreeing with commonly known facts.

Benefits of becoming a strong debater

If you are still not sure whether being a skilled debater will be of a great use, you should definitely get familiar with some of the benefits of becoming one.

Possessing outstanding critical skills

Even if you don’t need outstanding debate skills you may surely need at least basic knowledge of the issue, because every day we face arguments and disagreements, when there is a need to protect our space and ideas.

With the help of debating you can avoid fights and escalation of a conflict, standing on your ground instead of screaming and cursing. You will be able to think critically, analyzing arguments, instead of simply drifting in anger.

An ability to clearly render your thoughts

Apart from learning how to debate effectively you will get a chance to express yourself and be heard without any difficulties.

You will be able to choose a proper tone, adjust it to the subject and audience, and will manage the topic with ease, as if you were an experienced politician.

Getting new knowledge and educating yourself

Debate training helps you to find multiple sources, analyze them and distinguish relevant information from false one. This skill is very important, as it helps to work on all sorts of other assignments.

In addition, you will greatly speed up the process of finding necessary information and will keep your language professional and clear.

Thinking on your feet

This important skill is one of the most required in the modern world, because it helps you to face any life situations, when it is necessary to make up your mind really quickly.

Hesitating may cost you money and time, so learning how to become a great debater is a great contribution not only to your grade but also to the future life.

Solving conflicts

We are living in a world of emotions, stress and conflicts, so being able to avoid or minimize them is one of the key features you need to learn in order to lead a happy life.

When you learn how to get better at debate you understand how to focus on a matter, not on an opponent. In addition, you learn how to lose graciously, which helps in real life with all of its compromises.

Showing empathy

I wish they were teaching debate skills middle school to help teenagers understand needs of others and remain attentive even if they don’t agree with opponent’s point of view.

Feeling empathy towards others is definitely a good skill to acquire, which helps to show how kind, generous and well-bread you are. Isn’t it one of the key principles of learning how to have a good debate?

Finding a way out of difficult situations

Debating is a great chance to learn how to find solutions for difficult matters and complex assignments. It doesn’t matter whether you need to write a speech on nuclear weapons or neurobiology: you will need to spend lots of time on research and making up strong arguments.

This, in turn, will help you to be prepared for various life situations, even if you haven’t read tens of books on debate skills.

Presenting yourself

Apart from the information itself, you will need to be able to present yourself in the best light. It is an important part of how the audience and opponents see you and as the saying goes ‘you will never have a second chance to make a first impression’.

Think in advance what and how you are going to speak, use a light and calm tone with clear language and vocabulary. All of these nuances will make it much easier for the audience to understand what you are trying to say.

Trust us, good presentation will greatly contribute to the result of your speech and will earn you respect of the audience.

Boosting confidence

Apart from learning how to make a good debate, you will become more confident! Once you are confident and know what your strong sides are, you are able to take additional risks and handle responsible tasks.

Becoming a more confident person will higher your self-esteem and make you stand out from the rest.

Raising social conscious

When you learn how debate you get lots of new information on modern social and political affairs. During such a debate you will need to address multiple issues and points of view, so when preparing for your speech you will need to learn news and background of multiple events.

In addition, you will need to become more active socially and interact with others.

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