Debate Tip of the Week: What To Do With A “No-Flow” Judge

A couple of weeks ago I solicited ideas for these debate tips from my club, and someone asked for advice on what to do with a judge who seems to care more about the presentation of arguments than the arguments themselves. It’s hard to gauge if the judge is going to do that mid-round, butContinue reading “Debate Tip of the Week: What To Do With A “No-Flow” Judge”

Debate Tip of the Week: Define “Voting Issue”

It’s very rare that I see any debater actually define what they mean when they say “voting issue.” Typically the implication seems to be that a voting issue is “arguments I have a fondness for” or “a convenient grouping of arguments so I can reorganize the 2NR.” If that’s the case, why use this strangeContinue reading “Debate Tip of the Week: Define “Voting Issue””

Debate Tip of the Week: Question “Significance”

When I say to question significance, I’m not talking about the significance of the affirmative team’s harms, I’m telling you to question the idea of significance in the first place. What is significant? No, really. I’d love to know because it seems like half of the rounds I’ve watched lately have four debaters with aContinue reading “Debate Tip of the Week: Question “Significance””

Debate Tip of the Week: Analysis Before Evidence

Here’s a quick and simple way to become more persuasive and increase word efficiency: always present your analysis of the argument before you read the supporting evidence. Why is this more persuasive? Because so many debaters follow the same pattern. They give the tag of their argument (ideally) and then say “I have some evidenceContinue reading “Debate Tip of the Week: Analysis Before Evidence”

Debate Tip of the Week: Vary Sentence Length

You’ve probably heard many, many different tips for how to make your speaking more dynamic and exciting. Varying speed and pitch can be good, as can picking places to become more enthusiastic. One could teach a class about how to use gestures effectively. What you want to avoid is sounding monotonous or, perhaps even worse,Continue reading “Debate Tip of the Week: Vary Sentence Length”

Debate Tip Of The Week: Use Prep Time Wisely

On more than one occasion I’ve seen debaters treat prep time as the only time in which they can prepare, and it’s baffled me. Don’t fall into that trap. Think of “prep time” as “extra time”. In reality all time you’re not actively giving a speech is prep time. Here are some tips to useContinue reading “Debate Tip Of The Week: Use Prep Time Wisely”

Debate Tip of the Week: Work Backwards to Generate CX Lines

Cross-examination is perhaps the most difficult debate skill to excel at. Most debaters, after some experience, are fine at cross-x, but it’s been years since I’ve heard anyone actually gain a lot from the exercise. To be honest, I usually check out a bit during those three minutes when I’m judging because I know nothingContinue reading “Debate Tip of the Week: Work Backwards to Generate CX Lines”

Debate Tip Of The Week: Always Improve Your Flowing

I’ve coached over 50 different people in debate this year and all but a couple have had identifiable areas where they could improve that directly lead back to flowing. Not tagging their arguments consistently? Did you have those tags written down before your speech? Missing nuances in the evidence people are reading? Are you busyContinue reading “Debate Tip Of The Week: Always Improve Your Flowing”

Debate Tip of the Week: Always Think “Compared to What?”

People are constantly making choices. We’re blessed with the ability to analyze and employ reason to make those choices. Indeed, the fundamental axiom of economics is that people make choices. From there all basic economic principles are derived. A choice implies multiple options and therefore multiple possible realities. When we are faced with a choiceContinue reading “Debate Tip of the Week: Always Think “Compared to What?””