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16 December 2005

Preparing for Worlds 9: Good & Bad

Preparing for Worlds Post 9: Good & Bad things in debating.
This comes from the same handout I took the "debating on first principles" post from. I used it for a quick prep with some worlds teams a couple of years ago but now I am not sure where I pulled all the info from. I'm sure I didn't write most of it but I don't know where it came from. Probably a mailing list somewhere. Apologies to the person who did write it for not crediting them. UPDATE: After some comments and e-mails I think the bulk of this came from Dan Neidle's guide from the British Debate mailing list. Dan was a Worlds finalist so he knows what he is talking about.

Good Things
i) Judges love teamwork. Work out a neat way to divide your content between the two of you. Then ensure the first speaker says what the second will do, and the second refers to what the first has said.
ii) Finish memorably - i.e. with a prepared peroration.
iii) Offer as many points of information as you can. Accept only two yourself
iv) Be aware of your position in the debate
v) Picking up contradictions in your opponents’ arguments

Bad things
Some great ways to lose marks are:
i) Reading from a prepared script
ii) Blatant contradictions with a previous speaker or yourself
iii) Use of ludicrously untrue ‘facts’
iv) Incomprehensible delivery
v) Ignore your partner completely
vi) Finish more than thirty seconds late or early
vii) Offer no points of information. Accept none at all, or every one that’s offered.
Judges should not take into account the relative difficulty of a team’s arguments. If the tournament organisers think the legalisation of assault weapons is a good debate then that’s their call - it’s not for judges to start creating a handicap system.

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