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14 September 2007

Tips: Speaking Order

There are different rules for speaking order based on the compeition and style of debate. You would be surprised how such a basic rule can be misunderstood by the participants. I once had a speaker insist on calling the Chief Adjudicator when I refused to allow him make the Prime Ministers Rebuttal speech at the end of Round 1 of a World Championships. The response from the tab room was short and not in his favour. Therefore it is worth touching on some of the different speaking orders so people can see how they vary.

Also note that in some cases the speakers have titles (e.g. Prime Minister). It is not required to address the speaker by these titles and it is actually rare to hear them used.

Worlds/British Parliamentary Debating (4 teams of 2):

  • (1.) 1st opening proposition (Prime Minister).
  • (2.) 1st opening opposition (Leader of the opposition).
  • (3.) 2nd opening proposition (Deputy Prime Minister).
  • (4.) 2nd opening opposition (Deputy Leader of the Opposition).
  • (5.) 1st closing proposition (Member of Government).
  • (6.) 1st closing opposition (Member of Opposition)
  • (7.) 2nd closing proposition (Government Whip).
  • (8.) 2nd closing opposition (Opposition Whip)
North American Debating (2 teams of 2)
  • (1.) Prime Minister Constructive (PMC)
  • (2.) Leader of the Opposition Constructive (LOC)
  • (3.) Member of the Government Constructive (MG or MGC)
  • (4.) Member of the Opposition Constructive (MO or MOC)
  • (5.) Leader of the Opposition Rebuttal (LOR)
  • (6.) Prime Minister Rebuttal (PMR)

(note the reversal of Prop-Opp rotation between speakers 5 and 6. This is common in formats using rebuttal/reply speeches)

For more details on North American Style see here

Australasian Debating (3 on 3)

  • (1.) First Affirmative Speaker
  • (2.) First Negative Speaker
  • (3.) Second Affirmative Speaker
  • (4.) Second Negative Speaker
  • (5.) Third Affirmative Speaker
  • (6.) Third Negative Speaker
  • (7) Negative Reply Speaker
  • (8) Affirmative Reply Speaker

For more details on Australasian style see here

These are the three main Internationally used debating formats. There are others which are not as common. Two of note are the Irish Times (because of it's size) and World Schools (because that's what many students are familiar with prior to going to college)

Irish Times Debate: (up to 10 teams of 2)

  • (1.) 1st speaker from opening prop.
  • (2.) 1st speaker from opening opp.
  • (3.) 1st speaker from 2nd prop team.
  • (4.) 1st speaker from 2nd opp team.
  • (5.) 2nd speaker from opening prop.
  • (6.) 2nd speaker from opening opp.
  • (7.) 2nd speaker from 2nd prop.
  • (8.) 2nd speaker from 2nd opp.
  • etc, etc, etc, etc through all teams (it can take 3-4 hours)

If there is a mixture of teams and individuals (e.g. in Times final) the Individual speakers are inserted in the middle of the debate i.e. after the first speaker for the last team and before the last speaker for the for the first team.

  • (1.) 1st speaker from opening prop.
  • (2.) 1st speaker from opening opp.
  • (3.) 1st speaker from 2nd prop.
  • (4.) 1st speaker from 2nd opp.
  • (5.) 1st proposing individual.
  • (6.) 1st opposing individual
  • (7.) 2nd proposing individual.
  • (8.) 2nd opposing individual.
  • (9.) 2nd speaker from opening prop.
  • and so on.

World Schools Debating Format (2 Teams of 3)

  • (1.) First Proposition Speaker
  • (2.) First Opposition Speaker
  • (3.) Second Proposition Speaker
  • (4.) Second Opposition Speaker
  • (5.) Third Proposition Speaker
  • (6.) Third Opposition Speaker
  • (7) Opposition Reply Speaker
  • (8) Proposition Reply Speaker
For more info on World Schools Format see here

Finally if you are holding a debate for individual speakers then run it straight down the line prop and opp. Don't use reply speeches as these could give an unfair advantage to two participants.
  • (1.) 1st proposition speaker
  • (2.) 1st opposition speaker
  • (3.) 2nd proposition speaker
  • (4.) 2nd opposition speaker
  • (5.) 3rd proposition speaker
  • (6.) 3rd opposition speaker
  • (7.) 4th proposition speaker
  • (8.) 4th opposition speaker
  • and so on depending on the number of speakers

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