Debate Tip of the Week: Understand Your Weaknesses

The NED Fall Debate Workshop Series begins this Saturday, so sign up now! These workshops are an invaluable resource to jumpstart your year and focus on key debate skills. When I teach at debate camps, I used to poll the crowd ahead of time, asking them what they would most like to improve on inContinue reading “Debate Tip of the Week: Understand Your Weaknesses”

Debate Tip of the Week: You Must Flow

A lot of debaters are sloppy with their flowing, and it’s causing them to lose rounds. Flowing is the foundation of debate. It’s how we understand what’s happening and how we organize our thoughts. If your flow is a mess, your speeches are going to be messes. I know everyone knows that one experienced debaterContinue reading “Debate Tip of the Week: You Must Flow”

Tip of the Week: 6 Debate Bag Essentials

The tournament season is going to be here before you know it, so make sure your debate bag is stocked and prepared for whatever situation you might encounter. Here are six debate bag essentials. 1. Pocket Dictionary Nothing’s worse than watching a round where debaters misinterpret a piece of evidence because they don’t know whatContinue reading “Tip of the Week: 6 Debate Bag Essentials”

Debate Tip of the Week – Choose Now: Shortcuts or Genuine Improvement

The easy solution is always tempting, but sometimes taking it can set you back in the long run. I believe this is largely true of debate, where people seek out straightforward tactics to cut through the complexity of the activity. Unfortunately, in doing so they sacrifice understanding and leave themselves vulnerable to counter-attack and ignorantContinue reading “Debate Tip of the Week – Choose Now: Shortcuts or Genuine Improvement”

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”