Call/text: (617) 682-9697 | e: [email protected] | f: 617-391-3067

The core skills of a successful debater

Over the next 10 days debaters from the Lakeland Central School District debate team will compete in a debate tournament in Hangzhou, China and engage in demonstration debates in Nanjing and Shanghai.

To prepare for these debates, particularly the demonstration debates, I asked the coach of the Nanjing Foreign Language School, Thom O’Rourke, for a list of skills he’d like us to demonstrate. Thom, the coach of last year’s China national champions, outlined the following:

1. Sound like you are winning. “Sound like you are winning” literally means that – it means that as a debater you need to sound like you are winning the debate, even if you believe that you are in fact losing the debate. To sound like you are winning, you should (a) look directly at the judge when speaking, (b) down play the significance/relevance of any argument the other team may be winning, (c) act confident (particularly in the cross-examination, and never let it appear that your opponent is the stronger one in the debate.

2. Flow. Flowing is simply the process of taking notes in the debate in a way that keeps track of the flow of the arguments from left to right. You should write down each argument that is made by you or your opponent and then the answers that are made to those arguments. If an argument is not responded to by your opponent, you should point that out to the judge.

3. Debate from your flow.  Debating from your flow includes not only pointing out if arg

Subscribe for Access To More!