Preparation for a Debate How to Prepare for a Debate “People generally quarrel because they cannot argue.” This quote by Gilbert K. Chesterton rings true when taking into consideration any domestic argument. Debating is a method used to argue a topic between individuals or team members. Generally debating is used to maintain order while the opposed argue. Here are some helpful guidelines for the preparation of a three aside parliamentary style debate. Firstly, when preparing for a three aside parliamentary style debate you must find out what your motion is.
Your motion tells what side or viewpoint of the topic you will argue; this is key to determine where you will begin researching. A good debater can see both sides of any topic. You can either be on the side of the opposition or on the side of the proposition. The ‘prop’ are the promoters of the motion, the ‘opp’ opposes against it. Secondly, in preparing for this particular kind of debate it is necessary to know the format.
Knowing the expected debate format is essential to both teams to ensure a smooth honest debate. The format for a three aside parliamentary style debate follows an alternate pattern starting with the propositions first speaker, and then the first speaker of the opposition follows. This alternation continues for the other team members as well. Each speaker has a maximum talk time of three minutes. The chairperson will conduct the debate, and is seated in the middle with the ‘prop’ on his right and the ‘opp’ on his left.
During the debate the chairperson is in charge and their word is final and must be followed. The chairperson will introduce the speakers, and also thank them when their talk time has ended. During this parliamentary debate points of information are allowed by the team that is silent while the other speaks. Any points of information that a team wishes to make are not allowed during the first and last minutes of the speaker’s argument. This restricts all points of information to a one-minute window.
The procedure for adding a point is critical. The team member will stand and say “Point of Information”, at this time he must wait for the speaker’s response of ‘accept’ or ‘reject’. If accepted the point is limited to one short phrase of roughly 10 words. At any time the speaker can stop the point and continue on with his or her argument. If the point is rejected the opposed must sit immediately and no point is made. A good debater can respond to a point made by the opposite team and then continue where they left off uninterrupted.
Our third guideline in preparing for a parliamentary style debate is the function of each team member. The first member of the proposition introduces their motion and defines it. Once it is defined they outline their case line and division given to each speaker. As a result of the topic being divided amongst each team member, research is also conducted according to that division. Generally, the first ‘opp’ will need to ask their self, “What am I defining and what are its advantages?” The next to speak will be the first speaker of the opposition.
This speaker will either agree or disagree with the proposition’s definition. However, most times it is best to go with the definition given as to avoid straying away from the given motion. It will be necessary during research for the first speaker of the ‘opp’ to ask their self, ” Why am I opposing this motion?” and be able to explain the answer. To rebut is to cement your argument around your definition. Hence, the roles of the second and third speakers are unchanging from one team to the next.
The second speaker gives the information, which is the rebuttal process, followed by his case. Unlike the first speaker who does not rebuttal the second speaker’s argument is virtually 50% rebuttal. The third speaker brings it all towards conclusion and lays it on thick holding together his argument with those of his team members, his points are all rebuttal. At this time all the speakers have spoken and the debate is closed by the speaker thanking the members of both teams, the debate is over. Now the process begins of deciding which team will be deemed victorious.
However, judging is optional and not all debates end in a winner looser situation. If points are given, it should be noted that justifiable points of information will be awarded points.